Series 2

R Healy

Quote Of The Series

"Coughs and Sneezles spread Diseasals..."
The Diseasal

A Bit About Series 2

Series 2 was filmed in 1986 and broadcast the same year.  Unlike its predecessor, the Producers chose to variate between the Railway Series books they chose to use, picking up from where they left off with the earlier volumes and choosing stories from the newer ones too, even asking Christopher Awdry to write new material for the Railway Series to provide new "Thomas" stories.
And again, unlike it's predecessor, this series was slightly darker, and brought forth the idea of modernisation with engines like Diesel, Boco and Daisy being brought into the fold.  The possibility of engines being scrapped became more and more apparent with the introduction of Donald and Douglas, and how "Diesel" and his friends were becoming more of a firm fixture on the mainland and pushing "proper engines" out.
Series 2 also saw the Producers choose some of the more dark, dramatic and powerful moments of The Railway Series, and executed the filming, direction and general creative production of the episodes faithfully, making for far more intense and compelling viewing than Series 1, and showcasing the development of Thomas as a whole. 
Many fans regard Series 2 as the peak of Thomas the Tank Engine's quality on television.

Characters Introduced In Series 2

Duck the Great Western Engine
Donald and Douglas the Scottish Twins
Bill and Ben the China Clay Tank Engine Twins
Diesel the Shunting Engine
Daisy the Diesel Rail-Car
Boco the Diseasel
The Spiteful Brake Van
Trevor the Traction Engine
Harold the Helicopter


Ringo Starr (UK / US)
George Carlin (US Re-Recordings)

Key Production Team

(Britt Allcroft Ltd.)
Britt Allcroft
(Clearwater Features Ltd.)
David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona
Mike O'Donnell & Junior Campbell
(Bluebird Themes)

David Mitton

In 2013, we ran a poll on Series 2 to determine what the best episodes of the Series were as well as what else fans enjoyed about it.  Best characters, episodes and aspects of production are included and broken down in our poll results blog!


Series 2 Episode Guide

The Rev. W. Awdry & Christopher Awdry
Britt Allcroft & David Mitton
2.1 - Thomas, Percy & The Coal / Double Trouble (US)
Written by Christopher Awdry

Thomas boasts that blue is the proper colour for an engine, but later on his paintwork is accidentally coal-dusted by Percy and his trucks, loading up near the coal hopper. Percy laughs at Thomas’ misfortune which make Thomas cross, believing that Percy ruined his paint on purpose. However, the following day, Percy receives his comeuppance when his brakes fail and he crashes through unsafe buffers, ending up wheel-deep in a coal pile. Thomas has the last laugh, but that night the two friends make up and promise to be more careful with coal.

2.2 - Cows / A Cow On The Line (US)

Edward is feeling his age, clanking loudly as he goes about his work. While delivering cattle trucks to market, his noisy train startles a herd of cows, which charge the train and break the couplings, causing some trucks to be left behind. Gordon and Henry laugh and boast about Edward’s predicament; until one day both engines encounter Bluebell, a mournful cow, wandering on a bridge, searching for her lost calf. No matter what they or their crews try to shoo her away, Henry and Gordon become nervous around such a delicate animal. Eventually, Percy brings the lost calf to her mother, and the engines are able to leave once Bluebell and her calf are led away. But once word gets round, Gordon tries to turn the situation around for Edward – but the old engine knows what truly happened…!

2.3 - Bertie’s Chase

Edward is unaware that Bertie is carrying Thomas's passengers, and so neglects to wait for him pulling into the station - which means the poor little red bus has to start a chase across the Island to try and catch up and deliver the passengers.  However, each time he comes close, he misses Edward who's already moved on.  But Bertie is determined to catch him and his passengers encourage him to keep on.  Third time lucky, Bertie meets Edward at the station and the passengers catch their train - and give Bertie a big thank you for his effort.

2.4 - Saved From Scrap

Whilst making a delivery to the scrapyard, Edward meets a traction engine called Trevor, sadly awaiting his fate, because Master thought him “old fashioned”, Trevor reminisces his happier days with Edward, when he was useful and gave children rides. Edward wants to rescue Trevor but can’t think who would want to buy a traction engine – until he encounters Vicar of Wellsworth. After some persuasion, the Vicar brings his two boys to see Trevor in action, with help from Trevor’s driver, Jem Cole. The Vicar is very impressed and buys Trevor there and then to live in the Vicarage Orchard. Trevor is much happier now, with new paintwork and constant work to keep him busy.

2.5 - Old Iron

After one delay too many, James complains about Edward being too old and slow, marking him as “old iron”, but Thomas and Percy reckon Edward could beat James in a race anyway. This is put to the test when, one day, naughty boys fiddle with James’ controls, sending the red engine down the line without his Driver or Fireman. A brave Inspector decides to pursue after the runaway in Edward, who eventually catches up to James and stop him just in time. James apologies to Edward and the Fat Controller, proud of his heroic deed, sends Edward to have his worn parts mended.

2.6 - Thomas & Trevor / A New Friend For Thomas (US)
Written by Christopher Awdry
Story by Britt Allcroft & David Mitton

Trevor is sent one day to help Thomas build the new harbour near the Junction. Thomas meets Trevor for the first time but isn’t convinced that a steam engine, who doesn’t run on rails, can be of any use. Trevor proves his worth when he helps to clear a small mishap at the harbour, dragging supplies around a mess left by derailed trucks, before spending the afternoon giving rides to children on the beach. Amazed and impressed, Thomas realises how useful a traction engine can be, and takes Trevor home afterward a happier engine indeed.

2.7 - Percy & The Signal
Percy’s constant teasing and tricks annoy the Big Engines, particularly Gordon and James, and decide to teach him a lesson. So when Percy is sent to deliver trucks to the Junction, James and Gordon trick him into how he should obey “backing signals”. When Percy encounters an odd signal – pointing up instead of down to clear the line – he doesn’t understand the way it works and believes it’s a “backing signal”. He begins to reverse as “ordered” until his Driver stops him and explains why signals point up. Percy feels silly, especially when Gordon passes through and witnesses his mistake. The Big Engines enjoy a fun conversation about signals that night, which Percy thinks is very silly!
2.8 - Duck Takes Charge

Percy is the laughing stock of the yard following his signal mishap, until the Fat Controller cheers him up by sending him to help build the new harbour while a bigger tank engine arrives to shunt the yard. The newcomer, Duck (alias Montague), is soon friends with Percy, until Gordon, James and Henry start ordering them about. Duck decides to take action “the Great Western way”, and he and Percy block the paths to the shed, refusing to let the big engines in. The Fat Controller arrives where Duck gives his reasons for their actions, stating that he and Percy will only take orders from their controller, not from the other engines. The Fat Controller understands and is quick to tell the big engines: “This is my railway and I give the orders!”

2.9 - Percy & Harold / Percy Proves A Point (US)

Percy enjoys working at the new harbour, helping Thomas and Toby bring stone trucks for the men. Close by is an airfield, their noisiest resident being a helicopter. Percy meets the helicopter one day, who introduces himself as Harold. Harold is proud of flying and reckons railways are slow and out of date. Percy is cross, but later on, when he sees Harold flying close by, the pair embark in a frantic race to the harbour. At the last minute Percy thinks they’ve lost, but his Driver spies Harold hovering close by, unable to find a place to land! Percy is declared the winner and his Driver sings a song in his honour.

2.10 - The Runaway
Written by Christopher Awdry

Thomas doesn’t feel well and is sent to the Works for repairs. Duck fills in for him and becomes friends with Annie, Clarabel and the passengers. When Thomas returns, he finds he stills has problems – his new brakes feel stiff, causing him to overshoot platforms. So his crew learn to be extra careful, until Thomas’ Fireman falls ill and a Relief takes his place. Unfortunately, the Relief forgets about Thomas’ handbrake, resulting in Thomas, Annie and Clarabel to run away down the line without a crew. Harold the Helicopter zooms to the rescue, bringing an Inspector to the next station, who soon stops the runaway safely.

2.11 - Percy Takes The Plunge
One day, Percy is bragging to Bill and Ben about his battle through the floods to get the Vicar’s School Group home, and crows that “Water’s nothing to an engine with determination!” Henry overhears this and scoffs indignantly, and is beyond words when Percy reminds him of when the big green engine was bricked up in a tunnel for his phobia of the rain!

Later, Percy and Thomas observe a DANGER notice at the Harbour Quay. The real reason is because the foundations of the quay have sunk, meaning that the wharf is uneven and slopes downward to the sea. Percy doesn’t realise this and his curiosity gets the better of him. After foolishly asking “help” from the trucks, he ends up overshooting the buffers and is up to his chin in seawater! When he is eventually rescued, Henry has the last laugh when he hauls Percy to the Works.

2.12 - Pop Goes The Diesel
The Fat Controller brings a diesel shunter to the yard on trial and asks Duck to show him around. Duck tries to help, but Diesel refuses to listen to him, claiming he knows everything. But whilst collecting trucks for Duck, he pulls out the wrong ones, looses his temper and makes a dreadful mess of it. Duck finds it all amusing and so do the trucks, who embark in a delightful singsong of “Pop Goes the Diesel!” leaving Diesel angry and in disgrace.
2.13 - Dirty Work / Diesel’s Devious Deed (US)
The Troublesome Trucks continue singing and laughing at Diesel until Duck orders them to be quiet.  Diesel blames Duck for what had happened, but the other engines know it wasn’t done on purpose, as they would never tell about their differences to trucks. This gives Diesel a spiteful idea and begins telling lies to the trucks, claiming that Duck told them. This is untrue, but the trucks believe every word – Gordon a “Galloping Sausage”, James “Rusty Red Scrap Iron” and Henry is “Old Square Wheels” – and when the three engines realise this, they confront Duck and refuse to let him enter the shed. The Fat Controller is told all, but Diesel claims to know nothing, so he sends Duck away to Edward’s Station. Duck tearfully departs, leaving Diesel smirking quietly with triumph.
2.14 - A Close Shave / A Close Shave For Duck (US)
Duck arrives at Edward’s Station and tells Edward about Diesel’s lies. Edward knows Duck isn’t horrid at all and makes him welcome to his yard. But whilst helping his goods train up the hill, the Trucks break away and chase Duck down the line. Duck tries his best to keep them under control, and ends up crashing into a barbershop, where upon he is lathered by the annoyed Barber! However, the barber forgives Duck when the Fat Controller arrives and explains everything. He praises Duck for his brave actions, adding that he never believed Diesel and sent him packing. After being washed and mended, Duck returns home to a hero’s welcome.
2.15 - Better Late Than Never
Written by Christopher Awdry

The viaduct on the Main Line is undergoing repair work, delaying everything and everyone.  This makes Thomas very cross as he has to wait for the Main Line trains at the junction, making him late with his own connection with Bertie the Bus. Eventually, Bertie begins to tease Thomas about his lateness, until one day Bertie breaks down at a level crossing. Thomas, running late as usual, takes Bertie’s passengers home and sends for help. Afterward, Bertie apologises to Thomas, and they both agree that being late at times isn’t such a bad thing.

2.16 - Brake Van / Donald & Douglas

The Fat Controller sends for an engine from Scotland to help with the goods work, but is surprised to be presented with twin engines, Donald and Douglas. He decides to give them numbers (Donald “9”, Douglas “10”), until he can decide which engine to send home. The twins try to be useful until a Spiteful Brake Van causes trouble for Douglas. Donald warns it to behave, but not before running into a signalbox, damaging his tender. James helps Douglas with the goods work, much to his disgust, until the Spiteful Brake Van starts causing trouble for him.  Douglas offers to help James up the hill with a reluctant goods, but he pushes too hard and smashes the Spiteful Brake Van.  The Fat Controller, surveying the damage and confusion the twins have made, cannot make up his mind about which engine to send away…

2.17 - The Deputation
When an early snowstorm blankets the island, Donald and Douglas work together clearing away heavy drifts of snow. The twins work splendidly, but are still worried about the Fat Controller sending them away. The other engines want the Fat Controller to reconsider but don’t know how to ask him.  Edward suggests to Percy, who tells the engines, about forming a Deputation (with much confusion over pronouncing the word). So they send a rather nervous Percy to speak to Sir Topham Hatt personally. The Fat Controller understands completely and seeing their potentially good work, he decides to let both twins stay for good, with much rejoicing.
2.18 - Thomas Comes To Breakfast

Thomas knows every part of his Branch Line, causing his driver to joke that he could manage without him. This makes Thomas conceited, claiming that he doesn’t need his driver anymore, despite Percy and Toby telling him otherwise. One morning, Thomas starts from the shed all by himself (thanks to a careless cleaner meddling with his controls) but finds that can’t stop and crashes into the Stationmaster’s house. Donald and Douglas arrive to help out, leaving Thomas with badly damaged buffers. The Fat Controller sends Thomas to be mended and decides to enlist a diesel railcar to do Thomas’ work, claiming “Diesels always stays in their sheds ‘till they are wanted!

2.19 - Daisy

The Fat Controller introduces Daisy, the Diesel Railcar, and asks Percy and Toby to show her around.  They do their best, but Daisy becomes a nuisance and they find her very difficult to please, complaining about everything and everyone – even going as far as taking control of the carriage shed after insulting and forcing out Annie, Clarabel and Henrietta. The next day, Daisy makes a terrible fuss when she learns she has to pull a Milk Van. She refuses to take it, arguing with passengers and staff, and claiming that “pulling is against Fitter’s orders.” Finally, Daisy starts her journey, but without the milk van, and deciding to only do whatever job she chooses to do.

2.20 - Percy’s Predicament
Daisy continues to be lazy and stubborn, leaving Percy to do her jobs as well as his own. Percy is tired and wants a change, so he agrees to swap duties with Toby. He goes to the quarry to collect Toby’s trucks, but the trucks do not appreciate Percy ordering him about in Toby’s workplace and decide to pay him out.  They push Percy too fast down the hill and into a brake van, leaving Percy perched on a pile of trucks. When the Fat Controller arrives, he is cross with Percy for causing their predicament, but is annoyed at Daisy’s laziness since her arrival. Daisy feels ashamed, but after hearing how hard she worked after Percy’s accident, the Fat Controller gives her another chance. Soon, Thomas comes home, Percy is sent away to be mended, and Daisy works extra hard proving to be a Really Useful Engine.
2.21 - The Diseasel

Bill and Ben, the tank engine twins, live and work near the harbour on Edward’s Line, bringing trucks of china clay from the quarry. One day, they are surprised to find a line of trucks they had left earlier had disappeared. Their drivers see a patch of oil on the track, and suspect that the culprit is a Diesel – but the twins mistake it as a “Diseasel”, seemingly caused by “coughs and sneezles”! Their Drivers decide to rescue their trucks by trickery and remove Bill and Ben’s nameplates to dazzle the Diseasel. They creep to Edward’s yard and find the Diesel with the missing Trucks. Bill and Ben go backwards and forwards, tricking the Diesel into believing they are the same engine, until Edward bustles in and explains everything. The twins apologise to the Diesel, BoCo, who in turn says sorry for the confusion.

2.22 - Wrong Road
Gordon questions why a Branch Line Diesel like BoCo should be allowed to run a Main Line train, and remains indignant on the subject of Branch Lines.
The following evening, he and Edward are due to take two fast trains from the Big Station - but Gordon is sent off accidentally by a woman in floppy green hat - mistaking it for the Guard's green flag.  He has to be brought back before Edward can start, meaning he has to leave first instead.
However, the Signalman at the junction doesn't receive word about the change, leaving Edward on the Main Line route and Gordon running onto the the Branch - where he's left for the rest of the night, and into the early morning when Bill and Ben find him asleep, and pretend they think he's a pile of scrap which they need to dispose of - much to Gordon's horror.  Luckily for him, Boco soon arrives to save the day, and Gordon to this day believes the Diesel to be his saviour – not realising that Bill and Ben were only teasing!
2.23 - Edward’s Exploit
The Big Engines began teasing about Edward’s age, contemplating his preservation. But Duck and BoCo still have faith in their friend, who is requested to take a party of visitors to meet Bill and Ben. On the journey home, however, a fierce storm strikes, making Edward’s run very difficult. Puffing fiercely, Edward’s siderods become damaged and has difficultly starting the train again. With careful handling from his crew and great determination, Edward battles his way through the storm, minus his siderods, and arrives late but safe at the Big Station. The visitors are very grateful; and even James, Henry and Gordon gain further respect for Edward.
2.24 - Ghost Train / Percy’s Ghostly Trick (US)
Percy tells Thomas and Toby a story about a Ghost Train, which he believes haunts the line.  Thomas dismisses the story and calls Percy “a silly little engine”.  Percy is disappointed to find that the story was simply a television drama, but seizes an opportunity to get back at Thomas after crashing into a stray cartload of lime, which gives him a ghostly appearance.  With Toby’s help, they deceive Thomas into believing that Percy’s “ghost” is coming back to warn them. And when Percy does indeed arrive, Thomas hurries away in fright, too afraid to return to the shed until next morning. Percy and Toby chuckle about their adventure afterwards.
2.25 - Woolly Bear

In the Summer, Gangers cut the long grass by the lineside. Percy collects the hay for the farmers to use for their stock. The hay collecting makes Thomas late and he grumbles to Percy about it, going as far as calling him “a green caterpillar with red stripes, crawling in the hay till all hours!” Percy decides to make an effort to keep on time, but, while shunting at the Harbour, a crate of treacle is upset all over him. Still sticky, Percy hurries up the line to keep time and is caught amidst strong winds, which delay him and cause the flying hay to stick on his boiler and cab. When Percy eventually meets Thomas, to him he looks like a giant Woolly Bear Caterpillar, giving Thomas the best laugh of the day! Still covered in hay, Percy returns home to be cleaned, while Thomas and Toby make jokes about Woolly Bears… Percy is not amused!

2.26 - Thomas & The Missing Christmas Tree
Written by Christopher Awdry

During Christmas, the Fat Controller sends Thomas to fetch a Christmas Tree for the party at the Big Station the following evening, but on the way back he gets buried in heavy snow after an avalanche. When word reaches the yard, Donald and Douglas are sent to the rescue, and bring Thomas and the Christmas Tree in time for the party. Father Christmas even flies in to participate (thanks to Harold) and Thomas agrees it was worth getting stuck in the snow to celebrate this wonderful party.