epguide_series16.jpg

Series 16

TRIVIA COMPILED BY
R Healy

Quote Of The Series

GORDON: “But Sir, I am Gordon and I pull the Express!”

THE FAT CONTROLLER: “I know who you are, Gordon...”

 

Gordon & The Fat Controller
'Express Coming Through'

A Bit About Series 16

Series 16 seemed to pick up from where Series 15 left off, but with the fundamental difference that the rhyming that had been so prevalent throughout the previous series had been stopped completely in its tracks.  However, we were still stuck with the same repetitive storyline structure, questionable morals and unrealistic situations that have plagued the series for so many years.  However, it was seen as a slight improvement by fans, as indicated by our opinion poll, with little bits and pieces being flung in by the production team to add to the lacklustre episodes.

 

Series 16 marked the end of several things associated with Thomas & Friends.  This series was the last one to have Head Writer, Sharon Miller, and Script Executive, Sam Barlow, at the helm of the writing team; it is the last to use the rigid storyline structure which has kept creative freedom at bay for so long, and marks the last work done for the series by the much-loved Nitrogen Studios, who have steered Thomas diligently through his CGI transformation and won the appreciation and support of fans across the globe.

 

Positive aspects of the series saw the return of the original ‘Thomas’ theme by Mike O’Donnell and Junior Campbell, which played during Percy & The Calliope, and the return of the narrow gauge engines, who had been due to come back prior to this in Blue Mountain Mystery, (which had been due for release before Series 16).  We also saw the introduction of new ‘friend’ Stafford the Electric Battery Engine, and met Winston the Inspection Vehicle prior to his proper introduction in Blue Mountain Mystery this autumn.

 

Once again, Series 16 was covered daily by Simon Martin as part of his excellent SiF Blog series, however, this year, we have purposely held opinion polls which have given us an indication of how the fans feel regarding what works, what doesn’t and what appeals to them most.  Missoliverandblossom has allowed us to feature his YouTube video series where he expresses his opinions and frustrations over the episodes of Series 16.

Characters Introduced In Series 16

STEAM ENGINES

N/A
 
DIESEL ENGINES
N/A
 
ELECTRIC ENGINE
Stafford the Electric Battery-Powered Engine
 
NON-LOCOMOTIVE CHARACTERS
Winston the rail-car

Songs Of The Series

Thomas & Percy: Best Friends

Voice Cast

STORYTELLERS

Michael Angelis (UK)

Michael Brandon (USA)

 
CHARACTER VOICES (UK)

BEN SMALL

TERESA GALLAGHER

KEITH WICKHAM

MATT WILKINSON

 

CHARACTER VOICES (USA)

MARTIN SHERMAN

KERRY SHALE

WILLIAM HOPE

JULES DE JONGH

GLENN WRAGE

DAVID BEDELLA

 

CHARACTER VOICES (UK & USA)

RUPERT DEGAS

STEVEN KYNMAN

Key Production Team

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Marion Edwards
 
PRODUCER (Nitrogen Studios)
Nicole Stinn
 
PRODUCER (HIT Entertainment)
Ian McCue
 
MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS & SONGS
Robert Hartshorne

VOICE DIRECTOR
Sharon Miller

DIRECTOR
Greg Tiernan

Related Videos

Series 16 Video Reviews by MOAB

Missoliverandblossom of YouTube rants, raves, laughs, jokes and reviews Series 16 episode-by-episode in this review series playlist.

 

WARNING:

Videos contain strong language and occasional adult humour throughout.  These videos are not recommended for children or the easily offended.

Related Links

Series 16 Poll Report

Following the airing of Series 16 in UK and Australian television, Sodor Island Fansite held an opinion poll to gauge reaction to a number of topics regarding the latest series.  Here, you can read what the fans thought, what episodes they thought stood out over the others and whether or not people will be buying this season on DVD.

Series 16: Voice Recording

Previously published on our 'Behind the Scenes' page, but here, we're going to put it at easier reach for fans who want to read about how Series 16 was recorded.  SiF member, Ellsworth, took a trip to The Sound Company in London in July last year to see Ben Small and Keith Wickham record an episode!

Thomas & The Blogger - A Series 16 Parody

Last year we poked fun at the poor writing, repetition and rhyming of Series 15.  This year, we've turned things on their head and changed focus to laugh at ourselves.  Based on Simon's excellent series of blogs, Professor Vengeance and Ryan look at how Simon might react on a trip to Sodor...

Thomas & Friends On Demand

Series 16 Episode Guide

HEAD WRITER
Sharon Miller
 
SCRIPT EDITOR
Rebecca Evans
 
SCRIPT EXECUTIVE
Sam Barlow

16.1 – Race To The Rescue

Written by Sharon Miller

Flynn is unsure of how he’ll manage running on the road again after so long away from it.  After being fitted with new road wheels by Victor at the Steamworks, he decides to give it a go.  But Flynn is shaky and nervous, and his anxiousness is only made worse when Charlie calls him a “Big red wobble on wheels!”

Flynn is needed at the Search and Rescue Centre to respond to an emergency.  A shed is on fire, and Rocky advises Flynn to go via the road as it is quicker.  But Flynn is not sure he’ll manage by road, so to be safe, he goes by rail instead.  On the way, he finds Butch needing a tow, and Bertie whose radiator has overheated and needs water.  Flynn is too scared to venture onto the road again and apologises, but he cannot help them.  When he arrives at the scene he finds his water-cannons are too far away to be of any use. 

The Fat Controller scolds Flynn for not coming by the road.  But the villagers who have gathered nearby cheer Flynn as a hero, and this gives him the courage to try again on the road.  This time, he manages just fine and puts the fire out with ease.  Then, he ventures back along the road to help Butch and Bertie – and Thomas congratulates him on a job well done.

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.2 – Ol’ Wheezy Wobbles

Written by Sharon Miller

The Logging Locos are sad.  Ol’ Wheezy the log-loader machine has stopped working and no-one knows how to fix him.  Thomas, thinking he knows all about machines, has a go at fixing Ol’ Wheezy, but it does no good. 

So instead, he decides to go to the Dieselworks to fetch Den.  Den won’t come to Misty Island without Dart, but Thomas coaxes him into coming over with him anyway, telling him it’s an emergency.  But when Den can’t fix Ol’ Wheezy either, he leaves.  Thomas follows him back and this time, he asks Dart to come instead, but Dart refuses to come without Den.  Thomas is impatient and tells Dart that it’s important, so Dart follows, and finds that he cannot fix Ol’ Wheezy either.

Thomas returns to the Dieselworks again to find the two engines and this time, he asks them both to come and fix Ol’ Wheezy.  This makes them very happy, and together, they’re able to get the old log-loader machine working again.

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.3 – Express Coming Through

Written by Sharon Miller

Thomas is given the special job of taking Dowager Hatt and her guests on a special tour of Sodor before her ‘Welcome to Sodor’ party at Knapford.  Gordon is surprised, thinking that he should have been chosen.  The pride goes to Thomas’s smokebox and he decides to take the visitors around onboard the Express.  Gordon doesn’t think Thomas is strong enough to pull the Express, but Thomas thinks differently.

But as Thomas gets the train underway, he finds that the Express coaches are too heavy for him.  He doesn’t want Gordon to know this, so he leaves some of the visitors at each place he visits so that they can enjoy one of the special sights of Sodor, each time in a place that Gordon won’t pass through.

When they arrive back at Knapford, Dowager Hatt is upset to find that her visitors are missing, and Thomas feels very silly indeed.  He decides to ask Gordon to help him set things right, and soon, all the visitors are safely at Knapford and ready to enjoy the party.  But there are no balloons!  So Thomas kindly offers to race to Brendam Docks to fetch some.  When Thomas returns, the Fat Controller welcomes the visitors to Sodor and declares that while some of his engines are strong and some are fast, they are all really useful.

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.4 – Percy & The Monster of Brendam

Written by Sharon Miller

Percy is sent to Brendam Docks to collect furniture for Dowager Hatt.  Whilst there, the fog begins to roll in from the sea, and Salty tells him the story of the ‘Monster of Brendam’ – which an engine saw many years ago... “it was tall like a tower... it turned and it twisted, it croaked and it creaked...”

Percy is fascinated by the tale and sets off along the main line to find the monster.  On the way, he tells Edward about it – and ends up startling him when Edward sees a tall object poking through the mist.  Edward races forward in alarm and bashes into Rocky, who’s doing track repairs.  He thought Rocky was the monster.  Percy puffs away to find help elsewhere.

On the way, he meets Toby at a level crossing – and it’s there that they see something turning and twisting ahead of them.  Toby races forward in alarm, with Butch, who is doing a three-point turn, hitting his train of pipes.  Percy puffs away again to find help.

On the way, he finds Henry at the water tower, and invites him to find the monster with him.  There, they both hear the sound of a croaking and creaking – and Henry races away in alarm.  Percy calls out and asks if it’s the monster – leaving Diesel, whose axles need oiling, hence the noise, feeling rather offended.  By the time Percy returns to Brendam, he’s very late to pick up the furniture.  And he has forgotten to help his friends!

Percy puffs back quickly and encourages Edward and Toby to follow him back through the fog to Brendam Docks.  It’s there that they meet Henry, and they each see something tall, like a tower, turning and twisting, croaking and creaking...!  It’s Cranky!  Salty laughs and tells them it’s true – Cranky is the ‘Monster of Brendam’ after all.

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.5 – Ho Ho Snowman

Written by Sharon Miller

Thomas and Charlie are shunting trucks on Gordon’s Hill when Henry steams past looking very glum.  Henry doesn’t like snow, and he’s got lots of coal trucks to deliver to Brendam Docks and is taking them a few at a time so that he won’t slip on the icy tracks.  Charlie offers to tell Henry a joke to cheer him up, but Henry declines and carries on to the Docks.

Charlie then decides to show Henry that snow can be fun.  He puffs away to find the big snowman on Henry’s route and hides behind it.  Every time Henry puffs by, Charlie calls out to him and attempts to tell him a joke.  Soon, Henry’s had enough.  He’s so scared of the talking snowman, he steams away to Tidmouth Sheds to hide.

Charlie feels bad and comes to find Henry, but he won’t come out of his hiding place.  Charlie explains why he played the trick that he did, and offers to make it up to Henry by being his back-engine to help him finish his coal deliveries.  Henry is delighted and agrees.  The two engines work hard all afternoon, and Henry begins to truly appreciate how beautiful the snow can be.  As they puff home together, they stop at the spot where the snowman is standing and share a joke.

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.6 – Flash, Bang, Wallop!

Written by Jessica Sandys Clarke

A famous Photographer is coming to the Island of Sodor to take pictures of the engines for a special book.  The engines are very excited and all hope they can be featured in the photographs, but Gordon is confident that he will be in more photos than anyone else – which makes Thomas all the more determined to outdo him.

As he puffs to Farmer Trotter’s Farm, Thomas spots the Photographer getting ready to take a photo of Percy.  Thomas rushes forward to get into the shot, but ends up obscuring Percy completely from the picture!  Worse still, Percy is so dazed by the experience, he is diverted into a siding and runs into a pile of coal!

Further along, he finds the Photographer getting ready to take a photograph of James.  Thomas races forward to get into his photograph too, and once again, he cuts James completely out of the picture.  James is so surprised by it all, he’s diverted into a siding and derails hits the buffers.

On his way back, Gordon calls to tell Thomas that he’s been in lots of photographs already.  Thomas hurries away to find the Photographer so he can try and beat Gordon.  Thomas finds him on a bridge preparing to take a photograph of Henry.  Thomas races forward trying to get into Henry’s photograph too, but this time, his steam causes the Photographer to drop his camera onto the track – where it smashes.  The Photographer has lost all his pictures for the day, and there is very little time left to take more.

Thomas is scolded by the Fat Controller, but kindly offers to fetch another camera so that the Photographer can replace the pictures he took before.  On the way, he apologises to Percy and James and tells them he’ll fetch help when he’s delivered the camera.

A few days later, the Photographer arrives back on the island with his new book about the engines of Sodor.  There, on the front cover, is a picture of Rocky putting Percy back on the track with Thomas looking on.   

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.7 – Thomas & The Rubbish Train

Written by Andrew Viner

Thomas is given the task of being Whiff’s back engine as they collect rubbish all over the Island of Sodor.  Diesel teases Thomas and tells him that taking the rubbish train will make him a “smelly engine”.  Thomas ignores him and puffs away with Whiff to deliver the rubbish.  But on the way, he meets the Duchess of Boxford, looking very sad.  She wants to go tea with Lady Hatt, but Spencer is busy with the Duke.  Thomas kindly offers to take her himself when he’s finished helping Whiff.  But then he remembers what Diesel had said earlier, and begins to worry.

So, every time Thomas comes to a junction or a branch line, he puffs away to let Whiff manage alone.  Thomas puffs past a field of flowers, the sea on the coastal track and the bakery, and rejoins Whiff at the end of each branch.  But still Gordon and Emily think he and Whiff are very smelly engines.

Eventually, when Thomas returns to help Whiff for a third time, he’s lost him completely.  Poor Whiff is so exhausted from moving the heavy rubbish trucks on his own, he has to take a rest at Wellsworth station, where the Duchess is waiting.  Thomas soon catches up – and batters into the end of the train, sending the rubbish flying everywhere and making a terrible mess.  Thomas apologises to the Duchess and Whiff for being so silly.  Knowing he has to set things right, he offers to let Whiff take the Duchess to Knapford in his place.  Whiff is delighted to help and gives the Duchess a ride in his cab, whilst Thomas gets Rocky to rerail the trucks so he can deliver them to the Dump.  Later, when Thomas meets them again, he leads a cheer for Whiff, whilst the Duchess chimes in with one for ‘Really Useful Engines!’

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.8 – Thomas Toots The Crows

Written by Dan & Nuria Wicksman

Farmer McColl is having a terrible time.  His scarecrow is being repaired and there are dozens of crows eating the seeds in his field with nothing to scare them away.  Thomas kindly offers to watch Farmer McColl’s field and blow his whistle to make sure that the crows stay away.

But when two crows come back for more seeds, Thomas makes doubly sure they don’t stay – by chasing them across the island of Sodor!  First, Thomas chases the crows to the Dieselworks, where his hooting and tooting wakes Den, who is asleep in the yard.  He then chases them to the Steamworks, where his whistle startles a workman who is painting Gordon – giving the grand Express Engine a black paint moustache!  Finally, Thomas chases the crows to Mavis’s Quarry, where he frightens Mavis, who bashes into a line of trucks.

When Thomas arrives back at the field, he’s surprised to find a flock of crows have gathered on Farmer McColl’s field and they’re eating his seeds again.  Thomas realises he hasn’t done his job properly, and to make up for it, he agrees to stand guard at Farmer McColl’s field all night – blowing his whistle at any crows that try to eat his seeds.  Thomas stays all night while Farmer McColl fixes the scarecrow, and when morning comes, he’s finally able to go home – tired, but happy that he helped out.

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.9 – Bust My Buffers

Written by Sharon Miller

At Brendam Docks, Gordon has an unpleasant encounter with Diesel, ‘Arry and Bert.  As he tries to move forward with the Express, he bashes into Diesel’s flatbed, which causes damage to his bufferbeam.  To make matters worse, Gordon is sent to deliver engine parts to the Dieselworks, before coming back to the Docks to pull the Express again.

But as Gordon shunts his trucks in the Dieselworks, he is too engrossed in being ‘snooty’ that he doesn’t see the truck ahead of him.  He batters into it, causing more damage to his bufferbeam – and this time, it falls off completely!  Den and Dart offer to fix him, but Gordon refuses to accept their help claiming at only “steam engines can fix steam engines”.  As he tries to leave the Dieselworks yard, he meets Mavis, who warns him of the dangers of going on without a buffer and orders him to return to be fixed at once.  Reluctantly, Gordon agrees and slinks back in to a grinning Den and Dart.

The two engines present Gordon with a yellow and black stripy buffer-beam, designed for Diesels, as a temporary replacement.  Gordon is horrified and refuses to wear it.  He steams out of the Dieselworks again, this time, meeting Salty on the way out.  Salty warns Gordon again of the dangers of not having a buffer beam and sends him back to see Den and Dart.  This time, Gordon reluctantly accepts the Diesel bufferbeam and leaves the Dieselworks feeling very undignified and hoping no-one will see him at the Docks.

When he arrives back at Brendam, the Docks are busy and bustling and lots of engines see Gordon arriving with his yellow and black Diesel buffer.  Gordon feels very silly and Diesel calls him “Gordon the Diesel”.  But Thomas makes him feel better by reminding him that the new bufferbeam still really useful after all.  Gordon goes about his day’s work feeling a lot better and returns to the Dieselworks later in the evening.  There, he thanks Den and Dart for their help and happily accepts his old bufferbeam again.

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.10 – Percy & The Calliope

Written by Max Allen

Percy and Diesel are out collecting scrap for the Smelter’s yard.  One of their collection points is at the Duke & Duchess of Boxford’s Summer House, where the Duchess is getting rid of an old Calliope because it no longer works.  Diesel is happy to take it away, but Percy would like to try and get it to work again.  As he puffs along the track, he becomes all the more determined to find a way.

On the way to the Smelters, Percy has to stop to take on more water before carrying on.  Because water makes him work, he thinks perhaps it will have the same effect on the Calliope as well.  He hauls the train back and lets the water tower fill the Calliope... but nothing happens.  Percy expects to hear the Calliope play some music, all it does is give a loud gurgle instead.  Despite Diesel’s teasing, Percy is still convinced he can make the Calliope work again.

Further on, Percy stops the train to take on more coal.  Then, he has another bright idea, and thinks the coal might make the Calliope work again too.  He hauls the train back and lets the coal fill up the Calliope... but again, all the Calliope does is give a loud rattle and a cough of dirty black coal dust, which covers Percy!  Diesel laughs at Percy for trying to fix it again, and they carry on for the Smelters.

Further along again, Percy and Diesel find the Fat Controller and his assistants having trouble with his car, which won’t start.  Percy asks if he can help, but the Fat Controller tells him no.  With a big effort, the Fat Controller’s assistants push the car into life again.  This gives Percy another idea for his Calliope.  He decides to try pushing up the hill to see if it has any effect.  But the downward journey is a disaster – with the Calliope flying off the line and into the grass.  Percy is sure that the Calliope will be scrapped now.  He blows a sad whistle, which Diesel says is the “only piece of music he’s heard all day.”

This gives Percy his best idea yet.  His Driver connects Percy’s piston to the Calliope, pumping steam into it.  With a rattle and a rumble, the Calliope bursts into life and begins to play a beautiful tune.  The Fat Controller hears Percy from the road and comes to see what’s going on.  Percy explains what he did and the Fat Controller is delighted – Percy has saved a very important part of Sodor’s history!  He tells Percy to take the Calliope to the Steamworks, where Victor will restore it properly.

Victor gives the Calliope back it’s lost glory and Percy is given the great honour of being the first engine to ‘play’ it at the Dieselworks, with the Fat Controller, The Duke and Duchess, Victor, Kevin and a rather bemused Diesel coming to listen to it play once again.

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.11 – Thomas & The Sounds of Sodor

Written by Gerard Foster

Thomas is given the job of taking a Great Composer around the Island of Sodor for the day so that he can compose a special tune for a concert that evening.  The Fat Controller asks Thomas to let the Great Composer hear the ‘Sounds of Sodor’.  On the way, Thomas stops to think hard about what the Sounds of Sodor are.  He listens to the sounds around him in the countryside – birds, animals and the sea.  He doesn’t think that the noisy engines like Percy and Emily are ‘Sounds of Sodor’ and decides to take the Great Composer to places where there are no other engines to disturb the tranquility.

After collecting the Great Composer at Knapford, Thomas takes him to the woods so he can hear the waterfall.  But Gordon, who wanted to take the “pretty track” comes thundering past with the Express and disturbs the peace.  The Great Composer is enchanted with Gordon’s sound, but Thomas doesn’t realise and puffs off to find another quiet place for the Great Composer to feel inspired by.  Thomas arrives at the Whispering Woods, where Mavis clatters up pulling flatbeds of logs.  Once again, the Great Composer feels inspired by the hum of Mavis’ engine.  Thomas thinks she’s just being another unwanted distraction which is drowning out the ‘Sounds of Sodor’ and asks her why she is there.  Mavis explains that the Quarry is closed for the day – which gives Thomas a great idea for where to take the Great Composer next.

Thinking that the Quarry would be quiet because it’s closed, Thomas puffs up there with the Great Composer.  But there’s nothing inspiring about the grey walls of slate and the silence for the Great Composer at all – until James puffs out of a siding and follows Thomas around.  His rhythm gets the Great Composer thinking again and he begins writing down another tune.  But Thomas is so distracted by James’ presence, he doesn’t see the buffers at the end of the siding and needs to stop very abruptly, which causes the Great Composer to lose his footing and send his music flying out the carriage window!

Thomas is very sorry, and the Great Composer is very sad because he won’t be able to perform the new tune later that evening at the Town Hall.  Thomas is surprised that the Great Composer was able to compose a tune with all the noisy engines around to begin with!  The Great Composer tells him that the engines had inspired his tune and that they were the ‘Sounds of Sodor’.  This gives Thomas an idea.

On the way to the Town Hall he gathers up James, Mavis, Gordon, Percy and Emily to help him.  When they all arrive together, the Fat Controller is bewildered as to why they’ve all come.  The engines and the Great Composer play their brand new tune – making full use of whistles, puffs, rattles, honks and engine sounds.  The concert is a great success, but the Great Composer acknowledges he couldn’t have done it without Thomas, and Thomas concedes that he couldn’t have done it without his noisy friends!

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.12 – Salty’s Surprise

Written by Sharon Miller

It’s Christmas time on the Island of Sodor, and Edward and Thomas are working at Brendam Docks.  When Salty trundles in and admires the train of presents that Thomas is due to take to Knapford, but the old Diesel smiles and says he doesn’t have time for presents or parties of the festive season – preferring a good story over anything else.  Edward decides he wants to give Salty a Christmas present, and hurries off to the Steamworks to see what Victor can provide.

First, Edward takes Salty a tin of green paint for him to be repainted.  Salty is reluctant to accept – and tells Edward all about the time there was no red paint on the island.  Poor Salty had had to be painted into green instead and no-one recognised him.  So he could never be painted green again.  Edward puffs back to the Steamworks feeling rather sad, but determined to find Salty something else.  When there, Kevin finds a ‘fancy funnel’ which Edward decides to take to Salty instead.

But Salty politely declines the gift again – telling Edward the story of the time he got a fancy funnel before, which rolled off him and into the sea!  So sadly, Salty can never have one again.  Edward returns to the Steamworks one last time, but on the way back to the Docks, he finds a Christmas tree by the side of the line and takes it over to Salty.

Once again, Salty doesn’t take the gift, telling Edward all about the last time he got a Christmas tree, which withered in the sea air and died.  Edward feels sad that he hasn’t managed to get Salty a gift he’d like.  But Salty laughs and tells him that he has given him something he likes.  Edward has given Salty a brand new story to tell, and he gathers Gordon, Emily, Thomas and Edward around to hear all about it.

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.13 – Sodor Surprise Day

Written by Jessica Kedward & Kirsty Peart

It’s Sodor Surprise Day, where friends surprise each other all day long.  Everyone is enjoying the day... except for Gordon who finds the whole celebration to be especially pointless.  Thomas thinks Sodor Surprise Day is fun, and takes it upon himself to follow Gordon around the Island to try and surprise him so he can enjoy the day too, instead of collecting bunting for the Sodor Surprise Day Party from Maithwaite as the Fat Controller told him to.

When Thomas sees Gordon approaching at the Coal Hopper, he blows his whistle to ‘surprise’ him – but instead, surprises Rosie, who bashes into her coal trucks!  She thinks it was very funny – but Gordon insists it will take more than a “little engine’s ‘toot toot’” to surprise him!

Next Thomas decides to hide behind Whiff’s rubbish trucks and wait for Gordon to come past.  Instead, when Thomas puffs out from his hiding place, he surprises Whiff, who bashes into the rubbish trucks and sends a lot of smelly rubbish everywhere.  !  Whiff thinks it was very funny – but Gordon thinks it was silly – and now the two engines “look silly too, covered in rubbish!

Finally, Thomas heads for the Docks to try and surprise Gordon when he steams in to collect the fireworks.  Thomas hides behind a set of trucks and judges his moment carefully.  Instead, he surprises Cranky as he’s lifting the crate of fireworks from its flatbed, and he drops them!  The fireworks burst out and fly everywhere, causing havoc all over the Docks.  Gordon is very cross with Thomas for spoiling his special, and for trying to ‘surprise’ him all day long – he now doesn’t like Sodor Surprise Day at all.  The Fat Controller is very cross with him too – now there’s no fireworks, and Thomas still hasn’t collected the bunting from Maithwaite.  With no decorations or entertainment, the party will have to be cancelled.

Thomas feels terrible, but then he has an idea of how to fix things.  He asks the Fat Controller not to cancel the party and sets off to put things right.

Later that evening, Thomas arrives at Callan Castle for the party with a very special surprise.  He blows his whistle, and Harold flies out of nowhere covered in bright colourful fairy lights.  This time, everyone gets a surprise – Gordon laughs!  Thomas has finally surprised him, and now he likes Sodor Surprise Day after all!

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.14 – Emily’s Winter Party Special

Written by Max Allen

It’s time for the Sodor Winter Festival, and the Fat Controller is going to choose the most helpful engine to be this year’s Party Engine.  It’s a very special honour where the engine is covered with lights and is allowed to take a train filled with presents for the children.  Both Thomas and Henry both have jobs to do, but Emily isn’t given any.  She is worried she might be overlooked.  But when a gust of wind blows the Fat Controller’s hat away, Emily volunteers to find it before tea-time.

But Emily becomes preoccupied and instead of looking for the hat, she begins looking for her friends to tell about her special job.  First, she finds Thomas at the level crossing and tells him that she’s looking for the hat, and that the Fat Controller might make her the Party Engine if she finds it.  Then, she finds Henry, and tells him that because she’s looking for the Fat Controller’s top hat, she might be the Party Engine.

Eventually, she becomes so confident that she’ll be the Party Engine, she goes to the Steamworks to be fitted with the lights and collect the Presents Train.  But when Emily puffs out of the Steamworks, it is very dark and she still hasn’t found the top hat!  The Fat Controller arrives onboard Thomas and demands to know why Emily is covered in lights, and why she hasn’t found his hat!  The Fat Controller makes Thomas the Party Engine instead, and Emily is made to follow on behind. 

But on the way to the party, they stop at the level crossing where the children were building a snowman earlier.  To Emily’s surprise, and relief, the snowman is wearing the Fat Controller’s top hat.  Thomas and Emily chuff into the Party to a cheer from the children, and Emily tells the Fat Controller that she has a present for him too – his top hat!  The Fat Controller is delighted and calls Emily “a very helpful engine!

Click Here For The SiF Blog Review

16.15 – Muddy Matters

Written by Max Allen

It’s the day of the Farmer’s Fair, and the Fat Controller wants an engine to take Farmer McColl’s sheep.  James is especially keen to go so he can get his picture for the front page of the Sodor Daily Newspaper.  Farmer McColl is keen to see that Katie the sheepdog and his prize sheep are kept clean so that they will have their photographs on the front page of the newspaper.  James promises to keep them clean and hurries off to the Fair.

When he comes to a junction, James decides to take the dry track to the Fair, which is old and bumpy, instead of the muddy and flat one.  But this causes trouble – as the latch on the cattle truck is jiggled open.  James later arrives at Maron Station, where he meets Emily and boasts all about getting his picture on the front page of the newspaper – unaware that the sheep have broken out of their truck and are making their way out of the station.  James and Katie give chase, but it is no good – the sheep are gone, and he needs to find them quickly!

James soon finds the sheep eating grass at the bottom of a nearby field.  In order to get to them quickly, he’ll have to take the fast, muddy track.  But he wants to stay clean, so he decides instead to take the long, dry track instead.  By the time James gets there, the last sheep is making its way over the hill.  He hurries away again to find them, and this time, he lets Katie bark to try and get them to come to them.  The idea soon works and the sheep start wandering across – only to run away through the muddy field when James blows his whistle with joy.

He’s not happy anymore.  The sheep are now covered in mud and running amok.  Thomas and Percy then pass by and Percy tells James that Farmer McColl is waiting, and he’s excited to see his sheep at the show.  James realises that he cannot let Farmer McColl down, and no matter if the sheep are dirty or clean – they have to be there!  James sends Katie to round the sheep up at the farm, where he will meet them.  Going along the muddy wet tracks, James becomes utterly filthy – and when he meets Katie and the sheep again, they’re muddy as well.

Eventually, James pulls into the Fair, and the Fat Controller is shocked to see how dirty he is – but the photographer for the newspaper is delighted to see such a hardworking engine, sheepdog and sheep, and proudly takes their photograph for the newspaper!

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16.16 – Whiff’s Wish

Written by Alan Bernhardt

When delivering empty rubbish trucks to the Docks, Whiff comes over in awe of Spencer’s grandness when he’s praised by the Mayor.  But Spencer looks down on poor Whiff – who has been given the job of collecting all the rubbish trucks blocking the lines on Sodor.  Spencer tells Whiff that “grand engines don’t collect rubbish” and that they are “strong, fast and loud” – which he will never be.  Whiff then aspires to be like Spencer and prove him wrong.

So later, instead of doing his own work and collecting rubbish trucks, he takes on some of Emily’s heavy coal trucks and some of Edward’s flatbeds of fence-posts, thinking this will make him a grand engine.  Further up the line, he comes to a bend in the track and blows his whistle loudly, because this is what ‘grand engines’ do.  But as he passes under a bridge, he finds Percy standing on the line ahead, and bashes into the back of him.  Whiff asks why Percy has stopped – and Percy explains it’s because of the line of rubbish trucks blocking the line.  Because of this, Percy will be late to collect his mail trucks.

Whiff realises how silly he’s been.  He remembers now that he has his own job to do by collecting the rubbish, and he feels guilty that Percy will now be late for his job too – and Percy is never late!  Whiff then realises that both he and Percy are ‘grand engines’ after all – because they both try to do their jobs well.  He collects the rubbish trucks and takes them away to clear the line.  Then, he delivers the coal and fence-posts before collecting all the rubbish trucks to the Dump.

On the way, he meets Spencer at Wellsworth who reminds him that he will never be a grand engine – but Whiff doesn’t care.  He’s doing his job well!  And when Gordon pulls in with the Express, the Fat Controller and the Mayor step out of their carriage to say “Well done!” to Whiff for doing such a good job, and the Mayor calls him a “Grand Engine!

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16.17 – Welcome Stafford!

Written by Sharon Miller

Spencer is especially pleased to be given the honour of showing around the new shunting engine, Stafford, around the Island of Sodor.  When he arrives at the Steamworks, he finds Stafford is the centre of attention.  Stafford explains that he is an electric engine – and runs on a battery instead of using a boiler or a Diesel engine.  Spencer is proud to show such an unusual engine around the Island, and is desperate to get started, but Victor is keen to remind him about Stafford’s battery.  Spencer ignores Victor’s warning, insisting that he knows all about batteries and ushers Stafford out of the Steamworks for their grand tour of Sodor.

Stafford tries to remind Spencer about his battery, but Spencer is more concerned with looking grand in front of the others at the Search and Rescue Centre.  As a result, Stafford comes to a stop when his battery runs out, whilst Spencer races away to introduce him to the Rescue Team.  They are bemused – and it’s only when Flynn asks where Stafford is that Spencer realises he’s missing.  He races away to find Stafford recharging at a halt.

Stafford tries to remind Spencer about his battery again, but Spencer isn’t concerned with that – he has a trip to Misty Island planned.  Stafford follows on, but once again, he runs out of power and comes to a halt.  Spencer puffs on to Misty Island alone, and introduces Stafford to the Logging Locos – Bash and Dash question whether Stafford is very small... because he’s not there!  He puffs away to find Stafford recharging at the halt again.

Stafford tries to remind Spencer about his battery for a third time, but Spencer has an appointment for them to keep with the Duke and Duchess of Boxford and leads the way again.  Stafford follows on, but once again, he runs out of power in the middle of the track, whilst Spencer steams on.  When he gets to Boxford Halt, the Duke and Duchess are just as surprised as everyone else.  The Duke asks Spencer if he had let Stafford’s battery run down, and Spencer is embarrassed to admit he had.  The Duke decides to take Spencer to look for Stafford at once.  They find him at the same spot being recharged for a third time.

The Duke and Duchess are very impressed with Stafford.  But there’s trouble afoot – Spencer’s run out of coal and now he cannot go anywhere.  The Duke and Duchess are due to meet the Fat Controller at Knapford – so they ask Stafford if he can push Spencer there.  Stafford kindly agrees.

When they reach the station, Stafford is the centre of attention – whilst Spencer is ignored by everyone, and the Fat Controller calls him a “really useful engine!

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16.18 – Don’t Bother Victor!

Written by Sharon Miller

The Thin Controller is attending a meeting with The Fat Controller, and so, he leaves Peter Sam, who has just finished a night of shunting coal trucks, in charge of the narrow gauge railway for the day.  Victor is due to visit later for his weekly repair visit, but Peter Sam is advised by the Thin Controller not to bother him before his visit with little things.  Peter Sam takes this warning a little too literally, and after the Thin Controller leaves, Rheneas comes rushing into the yard telling Peter Sam that Sir Handel is creaking and croaking at the halt and that they need Victor.  Peter Sam dismisses Rheneas and tells him that he will fix Sir Handel instead.

He finds Sir Handel struggling to move, so Peter Sam decides to give him oil to lubricate his joints.  However, this only makes matters worse, and poor Sir Handel finds that he cannot move at all.  Then, Rheneas steams in again and tells him that Skarloey has something wrong with his funnel and he needs Victor.  Again, Peter Sam dismisses Rheneas and tells him that he will fix Skarloey.

Skarloey is by the water tower with a blocked funnel – which is preventing him from moving as well.  Peter Sam decides it would be a good idea to pour water down the funnel to clear the blockage.  All this does is put Skarloey’s fire out.  Then, Rheneas steams in again and tells Peter Sam that Duncan’s rods are rattling and he needs Victor.  Again, Peter Sam dismisses Rheneas and tells him that he will steam to Duncan.

But on the way there, Peter Sam runs out of coal, and is left stranded in the middle of the line.  When Rheneas puffs past this time, Peter Sam asks him to fetch Victor.  Rheneas politely declines, reminding Peter Sam that he himself had said they mustn’t bother Victor with “little things”.  Peter Sam feels sad and disappointed, but then he remembers what Thomas told him – “When you’re in charge, you get to make all the decisions!” so Peter Sam decides they need to fetch Victor, and calls Rheneas back to go and fetch him this time.

When Victor arrives, he asks Peter Sam why he didn’t fetch him earlier.  He explains that the Thin Controller had told him not to bother Victor before his visit.  Victor laughs and reminds Peter Sam that it’s his job to fix really useful engines – and both he and Peter Sam spend the rest of the afternoon doing just that, fixing Skarloey, Sir Handel and Duncan before going back to the Transfer Yards, just as Thomas and the Thin Controller arrive back.

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16.19 – Happy Birthday, Sir!

Written by Sharon Miller

It’s the Fat Controller’s birthday.  Salty tells Thomas and Winston, the rail car, a story that Edward told him about the Fat Controller when he was a young man.  In the early days of the railway after Edward first arrived, he would take the Fat Controller around in the railway’s oldest carriage on his birthday, sharing slices of cake with the passengers at every station along the line.  Edward has very fond memories of the Fat Controller in those days, but Salty reminds them that the carriage has been lost for several years.

Thomas is given the responsibility of taking Winston, the rail-car, along with him on his jobs for the day, whilst the Fat Controller goes shopping with Lady Hatt and Dowager Hatt.  But Winston isn’t focussed on the jobs at hand – he’s more interested in finding the old carriage for the Fat Controller. 

Every time Winston and Thomas stop to collect more trucks, Winston disappears.  Whenever he comes back after Thomas calls to him, he tells him he was looking for something – but doesn’t mention what.  Thomas becomes frustrated with Winston and insists that “Looking for things isn’t being really useful!”

Eventually, Thomas orders Winston to roll along in front of him so that he can keep an eye on him and stop him from wandering off again.  But on the way to the Docks to meet the Fat Controller, Winston is moving very slowly and making Thomas worry – they might be late.  Then, Winston spots something in the woods and slows down very suddenly, causing Thomas to bash into him.  Thomas feels guilty – he thinks he’s let the Fat Controller down by not showing Winston how to be really useful, and they’re going to be late for him on his birthday.  But Winston is happy – he’s spotted something that will make the Fat Controller very happy!  This time, Thomas asks what Winston has been looking for throughout the day, and Winston explains it’s been the old carriage he used to ride in on his birthday.  And he’s found it nestled among the trees on a siding near to where they are.

Thomas is very excited and takes the carriage to the Steamworks to be restored by Victor, so that he and Winston can give the Fat Controller his biggest birthday surprise ever.  They meet the Fat Controller at the Docks, and take him to Knapford Station to “show him why they are late” to meet him.  The Fat Controller is overwhelmed with emotion when he sees Edward pulling in with the old carriage – beautifully restored to its original glory.  Thomas and Winston wish the Fat Controller a happy birthday, and he thanks them both for their efforts on their “Really Useful Day!”

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16.20 – The Christmas Express

Written by Sharon Miller

It’s Christmas time on the Island of Sodor, and the little engines have been so busy that they haven’t had time to prepare for it.  At the end of a busy day, Thomas is preparing to meet Bash, Dash and Ferdinand to collect the Christmas Tree from Misty Island.  Rheneas is disappointed, the little engines don’t have one of their own, so he asks Toby to take him to Misty Island so that he can get one to surprise the others.

Toby is reluctant – Salty has told him a lot of strange stories about Misty Island, and now he thinks it is scary – but Rheneas is too excited to listen and steams onto a flatbed in spite of Toby’s protests.  The two steam over to Misty Island where Toby takes Rheneas on a tour to find the best possible tree.  Toby wants to go slow, but Rheneas insists he goes fast.  When they reach the Hollow Tree Tunnel, Toby is so scared, he decides to close his eyes so he won’t see anything else that frightens him. 

He races along the line past perfect Christmas Trees, but despite Rheneas calling for him to stop, Toby keeps on going until they reach the Shake Shake Bridge.  Rheneas is worried, it’s getting light and the other engines will wake soon – so once again he encourages Toby to hurry.  And once again, Toby closes his eyes and hurries across the bridge, and onward across the Island.

When the mists finally come down, Toby grinds to a halt – terrified at the sight.  Rheneas tries to encourage him to hurry, but Toby is too scared to move, even with his eyes closed.  Rheneas then realises that rushing Toby has done them no favours, and instead, he agrees to let him chuff slowly and carefully.  Then, Bash, Dash and Ferdinand arrive to guide them to the perfect Christmas Tree.

The two engines return to the Blue Mountain Quarry to a hero’s welcome, hooted and cheered by the engines and workmen, with Skarloey calling it a “Wonderful Christmas Holiday surprise!”

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