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Depiction in the series
Outside of the title sequence, the Friendship Express appears in several episodes. It is usually featured with a pink caboose, but in the second version of the title sequence, MMMystery on the Friendship Express, and Maud Pie, the caboose is blue.
In Over a Barrel, the Mane Six ride a train with a black locomotive pulled by several stallions on a track to Appleloosa. While having a different design from the Friendship Express, this train is referred to as the Friendship Express on page 124 of the My Little Pony guidebook The Elements of Harmony.
The Friendship Express makes its series debut in Hearth's Warming Eve when the Mane Six and Spike use it to travel to Canterlot to perform in the Hearth's Warming Eve pageant. The black locomotive version of the Friendship Express from Over a Barrel appears in Granny Smith's flashback in Family Appreciation Day.In The Last Roundup, Applejack boards the Express to travel to Canterlot to compete in the rodeo. In the same episode, when Applejack does not return, the rest of the Mane Six board the train to travel to Canterlot to try to find her. When they get a lead, they take the train again to travel to Dodge Junction. In an attempt to lose the rest of the Mane Six in their pursuit, Applejack's carriage crosses a railroad crossing just before the Express arrives. At the end of the episode, Applejack and her friends take the train home to Ponyville. The train also makes a brief appearance in It's About Time, when Twilight, Pinkie and Spike get off it to sneak in at Canterlot.
The majority of the episode MMMystery on the Friendship Express takes place on the Express. In A Canterlot Wedding - Part 1, the Mane Six take the train to a heavily guarded Canterlot to participate in the royal wedding between Shining Armor and Princess Cadance.
In The Crystal Empire - Part 1, the Mane Six take the train to the Crystal Empire, which has reappeared after a thousand years. At the end of The Crystal Empire - Part 2, the Mane Six board the train from Canterlot to travel back to Ponyville. In One Bad Apple, Applejack and the Cutie Mark Crusaders meet Babs Seed at the Ponyville train station as Babs disembarks the Express. At the end of the same episode, Babs boards the train from Ponyville to travel back to Manehattan.In Just for Sidekicks, Angel sneaks aboard the Express bound for the Crystal Empire to get back to Fluttershy. Spike, who is taking care of the Mane Six's pets while they are away, boards the train with the Crusaders to retrieve him, and the train pulls away from the station before they can get off. On the return trip to Ponyville, Spike, the Crusaders, and the pets re-board the train and find themselves sharing the Mane Six's train car.
In Games Ponies Play, the Mane Six take the Express to the Crystal Empire to welcome the Equestria Games inspector. Later, they meet a pony getting off the Express carrying floral print luggage whom they assume to be the Games inspector. The end of the episode occurs simultaneously with the last train sequence of Games Ponies Play.
In Princess Twilight Sparkle - Part 1, Princess Twilight Sparkle's friends take the train from Canterlot back to Ponyville to prepare for the Summer Sun Celebration. In Flight to the Finish, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are about to board the Express to the Crystal Empire, but Scootaloo decides to stay behind. When Rainbow Dash learns of this, she pulls the train's emergency brake.
In Rarity Takes Manehattan, Rarity and her friends take the Express to the titular city. At the end of the episode, they take the train back to Ponyville. In Rainbow Falls, members of the Equestria Games teams take the Express to the titular village in hopes of qualifying for the games. In Three's A Crowd, Fluttershy's friends see her off at the station as she takes the train to observe the Breezies.In Simple Ways, Twilight accompanies Rarity to the train station to greet Trenderhoof as he disembarks the train. Near the end of Maud Pie, Pinkie Pie accompanies her sister Maud on the Express as she travels to her family's rock farm. At the very end, the Mane Six see Maud off as she leaves to get her rocktorate in rock science. In the third act of For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils, Sweetie Belle and her friends take the Express to Canterlot.
In the cold open of Trade Ya!, the Mane Six take the Express to Rainbow Falls for the annual Rainbow Falls Traders Exchange. In the end of the same episode, the Mane Six take the train and share some of the treasures they received on their way back to Ponyville. In Equestria Games, all of the competing athletes and teams take the Express to the Crystal Empire to compete in the Games.
In The Cutie Map - Part 1, the Mane Six take the Express to go to a mysterious village they are summoned to, but they come to the end of the line in a deserted area, so they travel on hoof the rest of the way. In The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie take the train from Ponyville to Griffonstone when the Cutie Map summons them there.
In Party Pooped, Pinkie takes the train to Yakyakistan on a mission to salvage the disastrous Yakyakistani delegation in Ponyville. In Canterlot Boutique, the Mane Six disembark the Express at Canterlot to see Rarity's new boutique. In Made in Manehattan, the train appears during a long shot of Manehattan.In The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows, the Friendship Express is referred to by name for the first time in the series when Pinkie mentions that Shining Armor and Cadance are taking it instead of the Crystal Empire train. In Hearthbreakers, the Apple family and Pinkie Pie take the Express to the Pie family rock farm for Hearth's Warming. Near the end of the same episode, the Apple family take the train back to Ponyville after they are sent away by the Pies, but Applejack yells for the conductor to stop the train so they can return to the farm.
In The Crystalling - Part 1, the Mane Six, Spike, and Starlight Glimmer all take the train to the Crystal Empire to attend the Crystalling of the newborn Flurry Heart. At the end of The Crystalling - Part 2, the same group departs from the Crystal Empire once again by way of the Express. At the beginning of The Gift of the Maud Pie, Pinkie and Rarity take the train to Manehattan. In Spice Up Your Life, the Express is seen going to Canterlot.
In The Times They Are A Changeling, Twilight, Starlight and Spike take the rather deserted Friendship Express to the Crystal Empire, but when they get to the station, it is just as empty. In Dungeons & Discords, the Mane Six travel to Yakyakistan via Friendship Express. In Buckball Season, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie take the train to Appleloosa for the upcoming buckball game.
Depiction in films
In the cold open of this film, the Friendship Express pulls into the Crystal Empire station, where the Mane Six disembark.
The Express appears in a dimensional rift opened by Midnight Sparkle as it speeds down a hill in a deserted area.
Depiction in the comics
The Friendship Express appears on cover B of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Issue #3, pages 1 and 15 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Issue #30, pages 2 and 22 of My Little Pony: Friends Forever Issue #4, page 1 of My Little Pony: Friends Forever Issue #22, page 5 of My Little Pony: Friends Forever Issue #24, and page 1 of the My Little Pony Holiday Special comic.
MerchandiseThe Friendship Express has been released twice, first in a playset with one train car and a Pinkie Pie toy and again in the "Friendship Express Train Around Town Playset" with three train cars and Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, and Apple Bloom toys. The Around Town Playset is compatible with separate releases of "Fluttershy's Nursery Train Car" and "Sweetie Belle's Ice Cream Train Car". In each toy release of the Friendship Express, it is called the "Friendship Express Train" with a trademark symbol. A new version of the Friendship Express Train is to be released in the Explore Equestria toy line.