Murmur on the Ornery Express Gallery Transcript
Season 8 Episode 9
Murmur on the Ornery Express Title Card
Murmur on the Ornery Express
Original Airdate October 22, 2002
VHS release Mysteries
DVD release Season 8
Previous Episode Trading Phil
Next Episode Back To School

"Murmur on the Ornery Express" is a Season 8 episode of Rugrats.ย 

Characters Present


Boris and Minka bring the Rugrats and their families on a scenic train trip to Little Biendeltown, a re-creation of "the Old Country". When Minka's necklace and Chuckie's Wava Bear go missing en route, will the babies solve the mystery of who the train robber is? - Description from Klasky Csupo


The episode begins at Tommy's house, where Chuckie is playing with a pull-string toy train, and having a good time. Tommy tells Chuckie he's good with trains, and Chuckie adds that he's potty-trained, too.

In the kitchen, Boris and Minka are with Didi and Stu, as Minka tells them about the vacation they plan to take on an old-fashioned steam-driven train to Little Biendeltown. Didi reads over the brochure, and finds that Little Biendeltown is a recreation of the old country with all its whimsical charms. Boris isn't too excited about the vacation, claiming that all Little Biendeltown has are dust and a yak, and that it's not worth a two-day train ride. Minka tells Didi that they plan to spend their second honeymoon at Little Biendeltown, and invites her, as well as her family and friends, to join them. Didi asks Minka if brining everyone to her second honeymoon is really a good idea, but Minka tells her that she'd love someone other than Boris to talk to for eighteen hours. Didi tells Minka that she's never been on a scenic train trip before, and is excited to see the sights on the way over. She asks Stu if it sounds fun, and Stu chuckles nervously.

As Chuckie continues playing with his toy train, Didi tells him, as well as Tommy, Phil, Lil, Dil, and Kimi that they're going to ride on a real train, and even sleep on it overnight. Tommy is excited to be riding a real-life train, as are Lil and Kimi. Chuckie, however, tells his friends that he doesn't want to go. Tommy asks him why not, especially considering how much he loves trains. Chuckie points out that real trains aren't pulled by strings, and move by themselves, with nothing to stop them. Tommy assures Chuckie that real trains are just like his toy train, only much bigger so the adults can play with them. Chuckie tells Tommy that that still sounds very scary, but Tommy assures him that he, and all their friends will be there so he won't be alone, and even tells him he could bring his teddy bear, Wawa, with him. Chuckie likes this idea, especially because that way, Wawa won't be alone and afraid at home by himself.

At Angelica's house, Charlotte is busy working on her laptop as Drew tells her that the vacation they're taking with Tommy's family is a family vacation, where they will take two relaxing days on a train, and he wants her to promise not to work. Charlotte tries to tell Drew that she can take her laptop with her, but Drew insists that she leave it behind, and she reluctantly decides to do as she says. Angelica tells Cynthia that since they're going on a train trip, they'll have to break out the extra-extra-special accessories.

At the train station, Drew is shocked to find Charlotte still on her cell phone. Charlotte tells Drew that she's just giving Jonathan last-minute instructions before they board the train, but Drew takes her cell phone away from her. He doesn't know that Charlotte has also brought her back-up cell phone with her. Minka is excited to be spending her second honeymoon at a hotel with cloth napkins, and Lou, who is with Lulu, is impressed with what he hears from her. Minka then tells them that her second honeymoon will be more exciting than her first. She asks Boris if he agrees with her, and Boris mumbles that it sounds very exciting. Howard shows his tote bag to Stu and Chas, where he keeps a back-up nail clipper, sunblock, a bag of jerky, and a green pen. Chas shows his camera to Stu and Howard, and asks Stu and Howard if they know that Little Biendeltown is home to the world's largest rubber band. Chuckie is with Tommy, Phil, Lil, and Kimi as he tells them that maybe the train won't be too big. Just then, he hears the train's echoing whistle, and is scared when he sees the steam train pull into the station, as he visualizes it as a monster. Tommy tries to calm him down, telling him he promises nothing bad will happen to him.

Everyone boards the train, including Angelica, who has brought Cynthia and a travel dollhouse. Inside one of the pullman cars, Didi shows a map to Kira, telling her about a fun game they could play; after the train passes each landmark on the map, they can mark the landmark with a little check. Just as the train is about to leave the station, a mysterious tall dark stranger in a trenchcoat and hat and carrying a briefcase boards it. Chuckie looks out the window and tells Tommy that the train station is moving away. Angelica tells Chuckie that the train is moving, not the station, and there's no way off the train. Chuckie groans in fear, but Tommy assures him that the train is moving slowly. This calms Chuckie down, until Angelica tells him that soon, the train will move faster and faster. Phil tells Lil that right now, Chuckie isn't in any big hurry. The train picks up speed, frightening Chuckie, who pulls Wawa out of his backpack. Angelica ridicules Chuckie for bringing Wawa with him on the train, and Chuckie tells her that Wawa wanted to come with him. Lil then points out to Angelica that she brought a toy as well, in the form of her Cynthia doll. Angelica tells her that Cynthia isn't a toy, she's a traveling companion. She then decides to put Cynthia down for a beauty nap, so she puts her in a sleeping bag her size, and sets her down near her dollhouse. Chuckie decides that Wawa could use a beauty nap as well, and sets him down near Cynthia. Chuckie then assures Wawa that he's here for him if he needs him. The train's whistle blows, and Chuckie screams and hides behind the curtain next to him in fear. Kimi tells Chuckie that it's "just a choo-choo." Chuckie tells her that it's not a choo-choo but a big, scary train, he doesn't like it, and he never will.

A little later, everyone has dinner in the dining car. Chuckie is enjoying ice cream, Lulu has tea, and Lou is about to eat a cheeseburger, when an elderly gentleman approaches him and Lulu. Lulu recognizes the man as Dwayne Tickerbacker, her ex-boyfriend. Dwayne asks Lulu if she really is in front of him, and Lulu assures him she is. She tells Dwayne that she hasn't seen him in years, and Dwayne tells her that she doesn't look a day older than when he last saw her. He kisses her hand, until Lou shouts "Ahem". Lulu introduces Dwayne to Lou, telling Lou that she and Dwayne used to see each other quite a bit, ages ago. Lou, who is jealous of Dwayne, tells him that he's Lulu's husband. Dwayne tells Lou it's nice to meet him, and tries to shake his hand, but Lou refuses to shake back, telling Dwayne that Lulu is his wife now. As Tommy eats his ice cream, he sees the mysterious stranger in the window. He tries to tell Chuckie about the mysterious figure, but Chuckie is too occupied with his ice cream. The tall dark stranger walks away, and Tommy, not wanting Chuckie to be any more afraid than he already is, decides not to tell him about the figure after all. Chas reads a newspaper, with an article about a notorious train robber on the loose. Stu assures Chas that no criminal mastermind would even think about hitching a ride on the Biendeltown express.

Angelica drinks her soda, when Brett, a rich-looking young boy gets her attention. Brett orders a chocolate malted and a chip-a-doodle, then asks Angelica if she's tried the latter before, as they're exquisite. Angelica is lovestruck, then tells Brett that she hasn't. Brett orders a second chip-a-doodle for Angelica, and Angelica sighs lovingly.

Meanwhile, Drew becomes suspicious about Charlotte, as she has been in the ladies' room for a very long time. As various passengers, needing to use the bathroom, knock on the bathroom door, Charlotte is revealed to be doing office work in the bathroom, talking to Jonathan on her back-up cell phone, and writing on toilet paper.

Back at the dining room, Didi tells the rest of the adults that if they all took turns watching the children, the rest of them could enjoy the sights. Dwayne walks up to the adults, carrying a tray of drinks, and telling them he thought they could all use a nice, cool, drink. He then looks over at Lulu, who takes a glass of water from the tray and thanks him for it. An angry and jealous Lou takes a glass of water from the tray as well. Lulu tells Lou to be nice to Dwayne, then drinks from her glass. Kira looks over the map and tells Didi that the first sight, Vegetable Rock, should be coming up any second now. Didi looks over the map, seeing that Vegetable Rock is a natural stone formation in the shape of an asparagus. She and Kira look out the window, until Dil spits up on the map. Didi and Kira turn their attention to him, missing Vegetable Rock in the process. Kira then gets a napkin and wipes Dil's face, and Didi thanks her for her help.

As Didi sets Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Kimi down in their compartment in one of the pullman cars, Howard paces nervously when he thinks about the train robber. They, along with Stu, all walk away as Angelica walks in. Tommy asks Chuckie if the ice cream room was fun, and Chuckie tells him it was, and maybe the train isn't as scary as he thought. Just then, the train goes into a tunnel, causing the entire car to go dark. Everyone panics, and Angelica looks for Cynthia. The train then goes out of the tunnel, and Angelica now has her dollhouse in her arms. Chuckie tells Wawa not to be scared, as he is with him, only to find out that Wawa isn't on the table anymore.

As it turns out, Wawa isn't the only thing missing; Minka's necklace is missing as well. Kira and Didi are shocked to hear that someone stole Minka's necklace, and Minka tells them it happened when the train went through the tunnel. Boris tells Minka that she probably left her necklace back home on the TV, but Betty assures Boris that she saw Minka wearing her necklace when they boarded the train. Chas then starts to suspect that the robber has boarded their train.

In the second act, Betty leads the conductor to Minka, telling him to help her find her missing necklace. The conductor tells her that the only thing he does is punch the passengers' tickets, but he will call the detectives so they can meet them in the morning at their first stop. Chas then ominously tells the conductor that before the morning, there's the night.

That night, Howard falls asleep watching over the babies. Chuckie tries to sleep, but has trouble, and awakens when he hears loud rattling. He then sees the tall dark stranger outside the door, with something in his hand. He thinks that the stranger stole Wawa, and wakes Tommy up. Tommy asks Chuckie what's wrong, and Chuckie tells him that he saw the mysterious stranger (whom they refer to as the "shadow guy") outside the door, and he has Wawa. Lil tells Chuckie that he must have dreamt about the "shadow guy" , and Kimi agrees with her. Phil says that he could dream up the "shadow guy" if he could go back to sleep, but Tommy is the only one who believes that Chuckie didn't dream the "shadow guy" as he saw the mysterious figure as well. He then tells his friends that he didn't say anything because Chuckie was enjoying eating his ice cream, and he didn't want to scare him. Chuckie thanks Tommy for his generosity, but then tells him that he's scared now, and asks him what they should do, as the mysterious figure still has Wawa. Tommy assures Chuckie that the "shadow man" won't have Wawa for long, and he has an idea.

With Howard still asleep, Tommy takes Howard's belt and uses it to open the door as he tells his friends that they're going after the tall dark stranger. Just as he and his friends get the door open, the stranger walks away. They follow him down the hallway to the next car, and Chuckie visualizes the vestibule between the cars as a scary clown face. Kimi holds Chuckie's hand and asks him if he's okay as she, Tommy, Phil, and Lil walk through the tunnel. Chuckie nervously assures her that he is. Phil sees the "shadow guy" walk through a door, and they follow him, but they are much too late, as the door closes on them. They knock on the door, until Lil sees an emergency brake handle near the door. She thinks that that handle will open the door. The babies all climb on top of each other, until Kimi grabs hold of the emergency handle. She pulls it, and the train screeches to a halt. Didi and Kira awaken, and the former asks everyone if they're all right. Minka tells Didi that their train ride isn't very comfortable. Boris agrees with her, having hurt his hip. Lou then tells the other adults that Dwayne must have been responsible for stopping the train. The conductor then assures the adults that some babies have pulled the emergency brake. Didi, Kira, and Betty are all shocked when they hear this.

As Didi and Kira tuck the babies back into bed as the train resumes moving, Didi asks Kira what the babies were thinking. They then go out the door as Howard falls asleep again. Betty wakes him up, and scolds him for not keeping a close eye on the babies. Howard tells her he didn't know how they opened the door, and without his belt to hold them up, his pants fall down. He then pulls them back up in embarrassment.

Brett leads Angelica to the sleeping babies, and asks her if they're precious. Angelica tells Brett, "They're the most adorable little Baggamuffins.". As they close the door, Chuckie tells Tommy that their vacation was supposed to be one where nothing bad would happen, but bad things keep happening over and over. He then worries that he'll never see Wawa ever again. Phil and Lil agree with him, telling him that the mysterious figure is too hard for them to catch. Chuckie cries, until Tommy tells Phil and Lil that Chuckie needs their help now more than ever, and telling him that bad things are going to stay bad certainly isn't helping him. Tommy tells Chuckie that he promised him that nothing bad would happen to them on the train, and something bad did happen, but he's still his best friend, and he promises that he will get Wawa back if it's the last thing he does. The mysterious stranger is then revealed to be in the train's observation car.

The next morning, the train stops at a station as two detectives board it. Tommy looks out the window and tells Chuckie that the two "defectives" must have heard about Wawa being stolen and are here to help them look for him. Chuckie is amazed, and tells Tommy that he lost Wawa many times before, and no detectives ever came any of those times.

As the train sets off again, one of the detectives asks the adults to report any suspicious activities they might have witnessed. Lou then tells the detective that he never liked Dwayne's looks. Dwayne then nervously asks the adults if any of them would like coffee. Betty tells Dwayne that she'd be happy to have him serve her some coffee. As Dwayne serves Betty her coffee, Minka tells the other adults that this is not the way she wanted her second honeymoon to turn out. Boris falls asleep as she talks.

Meanwhile, Kira tells Didi that they should be near Cough Drop Pass now. Didi tells Betty that years of natural erosion have formed a stone replica of a soothing losenge. The detective then asks Didi and Kira to follow him so he can ask them a few questions. They do so, but miss seeing Cough Drop Pass in the process.

Drew asks Stu if he wants to sneak out of the car and have some fun, and whispers what they could do together in his ear. Stu nervously grins and high-fives Drew. Lou walks up to Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Kimi and tells them that he's going to be watching over them today to keep them out of trouble. The tall dark stranger walks up to the door just as Lou falls asleep. Tommy sees the stranger, and what looks like Wawa in his hand.

In the third act, the tall dark figure walks away as Tommy tells his friends that he just saw him, and now they have to catch him. Chuckie tells Tommy that Lou is watching them, and it's impossible to get away from him, but Lou has fallen asleep. Tommy then reaches into his diaper, revealing he still has Howard's belt with him, and tells Chuckie that he has an idea. Once again, he uses Howard's belt to open the door, and leads his friends to follow the mysterious figure. Just as they walk away, Didi knocks on the door and asks Lou if the children are okay. Lou tells her, "Sleepin'!", and Didi, thinking Lou meant the children are sleeping, tells Lou that she won't disturb them.

Stu and Drew are now at the observation car, and Stu shouts that he's having fun. Drew tells him, "Don't fall!", and pokes him. Stu angrily tells him to cut it out, and Drew tells Stu that he's a baby.

Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Kimi sneak past Charlotte, who is typing on her laptop, and the engineer walks into the coach. Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Kimi walk into the engine, where Phil and Lil play with the coal. The twins are impressed with how dirty the coal is, but Tommy tells them they don't have time to play in the coal. Kimi then pushes some buttons on the control panel, and the furnace opens. This scares Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil, then Kimi presses the buttons again, closing the furnace. Just then, the speed of the train increases, and the engine begins puffing out black smoke. The door of the observation car slams shut, locking Stu and Drew out.

Meanwhile, Didi looks over the love geysers on her map, telling Kira that the love geysers erupt once every 96 days, and the twin water spouts form the shape of a heart. She then tells her that today's the day they're going to erupt. With nothing to distract them this time, Didi and Kira look out the window, but the black smoke from the engine covers up the love geysers just as they erupt, causing Didi and Kira to miss them. Didi is disappointed, as she and Kira have no little checks on their maps, and finds their vacation stressful. Angelica walks up to Kira, who asks her where she's going. Angelica tells her that Charlotte said she could go to the kids' coach, and to tell Drew she's there if she sees him. Didi then asks Kira where Stu and Drew are.

Stu and Drew are still outside the observation car, trying to push and pull the door open, but it won't budge. Drew blames Stu for getting them locked out, but Stu tells Drew there has to be a way back into the train. Stu has an idea, and tells Drew they can shimmy across a few cars until they find an open window. The train goes faster, and Drew tells Stu that his idea sounds safe, and that he can go first. Stu tries to do so, but is very scared.

Didi goes into Lou's compartment to check on the babies, only to find out they aren't there. She screams in fear and frustration, waking Lou up. The babies are in the kids' club car, crawling under the tables as Stu and Drew shimmy across the other side. As Brett eats from a box of chocolates, he tells Angelica that the most wonderful thing about traveling is meeting new people. He asks Angelica if she agrees, and Angelica lovingly tells him she does. Stu and Drew reach the window near them, and Drew knocks on it, but neither Angelica nor Brett pay any attention.

Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Kimi reach the baggage car, and Tommy whispers to his friends that they have to be real quiet if they want to catch the tall dark stranger. As they look around, the stranger emerges, and Lil shouts, "It's him!". Chuckie then trips over his untied shoelaces and stumbles backwards. He bumps into a stack of luggage and runs away before it can fall on him. All the adults hear the noise in the baggage car and rush over to investigate, except for Charlotte, who tries to call Jonathan one last time. Stu and Drew find an open window and follow the rest of the adults into the luggage car. As the tall dark stranger emerges again, the sound of a cell phone ringing can be heard. All the adults and babies watch as the figure reveals himself to be Jonathan, who is on the phone with Charlotte. All the adults gasp when they find out Jonathan snuck aboard the train. Jonathan explains to them that Charlotte made him sneak aboard the train so she could get work done. Stu and Drew look over at Charlotte, who hangs up her cell phone and tells them that she only wanted to get her work done so that she could spend more time with them. She then reveals that she now has a new draft. Chuckie is disappointed that he didn't find the thief who stole Wawa, but he sees that the shadow of Jonathan's hand holding his cell phone made it look like he had Wawa.

When the babies are back in the coach, Tommy paces the floor, wondering who stole Wawa if Jonathan was the "shadow guy". Chuckie angrily tells Tommy that he wants to know who as well. Tommy asks Chuckie if he looked everywhere for Wawa, including under the seat cushions. Chuckie angrily assures Tommy that he always keeps Wawa right next to him. Tommy looks under the seats and feels something. Kimi asks him what it is, and Tommy pulls out Angelica's Cynthia doll. Lil asks Tommy what Cynthia was doing under the seat, and Tommy quickly figures out who has Wawa. If he and his friends have Cynthia, he asks his friends who they think Angelica has. Before they can get out the door, Lou returns, telling them he's watching over them like a hawk, and this time, they won't get away from him. Almost instantly, Lou falls asleep.

Back at the dining car, Brett shows Angelica his most prized possession, his gold watch, which he tells her it once belonged to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Angelica decides to show Brett what she considers her most prized possession. She opens her dollhouse, only to find Wawa inside. She screams when she realizes this, and tosses Wawa into the air just as Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Kimi arrive. Chuckie catches Wawa, and is happy to see him again. Angelica tells Chuckie that Wawa is disgusting, and is about to call him and his friends dumb, but realizing she can't say anything bad in front of Brett, calls them "Dumazingly wonderful precious babies". Tommy tells Angelica that he and his friends found Cynthia for her, and Angelica takes Cynthia from them. She apologizes to Cynthia for leaving her behind, and realizes that when the train went through the tunnel, she must have grabbed Wawa by mistake. Chuckie tells Wawa that now that they're together again, he doesn't have to be afraid anymore. Tommy tells his friends that they solved the mystery of the missing teddy bear, and Phil tells his friends that they have to get back to the coach before Lou wakes up and realizes they're not there.

One of the detectives walks into the baggage car and looks at a tag on an open suitcase. The tag is revealed to say, DWAYNE TICKERBACKER, and when he looks in the suitcase, Minka's necklace is revealed to be in it. Dwayne is promptly arrested and handcuffed, and as he is taken away, Lou tells Lulu that he was right about Dwayne not being any good. The detectives take Dwayne away when they are dropped off at the next train station, and the train sets off for Little Biendeltown.

The train stops at Little Biendeltown, and everyone has a wonderful time, especially Minka. When it is time to leave and get back on the train, Stu dreads the thought of having to spend another eighteen hours on the train. Chas takes a photo of Kira, and tells her about the size of the world's biggest rubber band. Angelica boards the train and tells Brett it's time to go. Brett tells her that he can't go with her, and that he's staying at Little Biendeltown. Angelica asks him why, and he tells her that his family lives there, and they run the Little Biendeltown School of Deportment and Ballroom Dancing. Angelica tells Brett that it must mean goodbye for the both of them, and their parting is such sweet sorrow. She then realizes that because of him, she was forced to be nice to the babies. Brett asks Angelica if she means, "The precious ones", and Angelica closes the door on him. She then re-opens it briefly to tell him, "Later, Smoothie!".

As the train heads back home, Tommy tells Chuckie that he told him that everything would work out. Chuckie tells Tommy that he's right, and now they can have a nice, fun trip back home with nothing crazy happening. Just then, the train blows its whistle as it goes through a tunnel, scaring the babies and ending the episode.


  • The episode is a parody of the novel Murder on the Orient Express.
  • This is the first episode that reunites Dan Castellaneta and Nancy Cartwright where Dan voices Homer, Krusty, Sideshow Mel, Itchy, and Abe while Nancy voices Bart, Nelson, and Ralph in The Simpsons.
  • It's shown that Stu seems to have a fear of trains in this episode. He even seemed a little scared of the toy train that Chuckie was playing with at the beginning of the episode. This fear may have developed from nearly being run over by the train from the North of the Border theme park in the episode Where's Grandpa?.
  • Tommy acts as if this were the first time he had ever been on a real train. While it was indeed the first time for Dil, Phil, Lil, Chuckie and Kimi, Tommy and Angelica had previously ridden on a train in Family Reunion on their way to the Pickles family reunion. Though it is unlikely Tommy remembered it due to his very young age, and the train in that episode was a regular commuter train that was most likely pulled by a modern diesel locomotive (though it isn't seen in the episode), compared to the scenic classic-style train pulled by a steam locomotive seen in this episode.
  • Tom Bosley appeared before in an earlier Rugrats episode -- last time, he was Billy "Strike" Maxwell in King Ten Pin.
  • This episode also features a pair of geysers that, when they erupt simultaneously (every 96 days), forms a heart formation with their blasts of hot water.
  • The engine on the train has a logo that says "TT", though nothing is mentioned about what it stands for.
  • Stu and Drew were at the back of the line when they came in the window, but were at the front of it, when they stormed in the storage.
  • This is the fourth time "Huh?" is heard.
  • The last two episode and the movie were The Word of The Day, Chanukah, and The Rugrats Movie.
  • After the first period of darkness, both Wa Wa, and the necklace are gone. However, only the babies knew of Wa Wa, the adults did not. Thus, it is unknown why Didi said "They were stolen?!"
  • When Chuckie looks up at the train, the engine turns into a monster locomotive.
  • The engine on the train is a 4-6-4 or a Pacific type steam locomotive. Locomotives of this wheel arrangement were used most common on American railroads during the 1800s and 1830s until 1928.
  • As the Rugrats enter the cab of the engine, they play inside with the coal, touch the controls to open the furnace, and close it by touching the switches, until the engine whistles, speeds up, and rattles as if it might fall apart.
  • The sound of the train's whistle is inconsistent in this episode. When pulling into the station (and when the whistle scares Chuckie a while into the ride), the whistle sounds almost synthesized and ghostly. Other times, it alternates between a traditional steam locomotive whistle and what sounds like a modern commuter train's horn.


Tommy: Don't worry, Chuckie! A real train is just like your toy train! It just has to be bigger so the grown ups can play with them!


The Gallery for this episode can be found here

Video Clip

Charlotte Pickles is a Boss ๐Ÿ˜Ž Rugrats ๐Ÿผ Nickelodeon Animation

Charlotte Pickles is a Boss ๐Ÿ˜Ž Rugrats ๐Ÿผ Nickelodeon Animation


Rugrats - I'll make a man out of you

Rugrats - I'll make a man out of you

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