Series 20

TRIVIA COMPILED BY
J Gibbons

Quote Of The Series

“Oh the indignity!”
“Hey! That's my line!”

 

The Fat Controller & Gordon
'Buckled Tracks and Bumpy Trucks'

As the landmark twentieth TV series for Thomas & Friends, this batch of episodes needed a special touch; much like with Series 10, first broadcast over a decade ago, Series 20 contains 28 episodes - including the first adaptations of Railway Series material made since the end of Series 4 - discounting The Adventure Begins in 2015.

 

Chronologically taking place after Series 19 and Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, but preceding The Great Race, Series 20 shows the further development of characters introduced in 2015 - including Philip, Ryan, Skiff, Glynn, Judy and Jerome (the latter of whom debuted in The Adventure Begins) - tying up any loose threads left dangling after the 70th Anniversary series and specials.

 

The Railway Series adaptations featured all derive from the three latter stories in 1967's 'Small Railway Engines', including 'Tit for Tat', 'Mike's Whistle' and 'Useful Railway' (as elements of 'Ballast were already covered in 'Lost Treasure'), seeing the characters of Rex, Bert, Mike and the Small Controller brought to the small-screen for the first time ever - with all respective adaptations written for the screen by Andrew Brenner, reprising his role as Head Writer once again.

 

Series 20 also gave several returning characters more (and much needed for some) screentime, such as Daisy the Diesel Rail-Car, who had previously appeared in only three episodes of the TV Series, and one special (Calling All Engines!) before returning in 2015 as a surprise for the final scene of 'Legend of the Lost Treasure' - with four episodes, all penned by the talented Davey Moore, giving her the limelight she deserves!

 

Donald and Douglas, the Scottish Twins, also take centrestage in 'Love Me Tender' (also written by Moore), with Rob Rackstraw taking over the role of the latter twin from Joe Mills.

 

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In recognition of the advent of The Great Race, Series 20 also incorporated elements of the latter special that would appear to set it up chronologically, such as a musical episode ('Sidney Sings'), international/foreign engines, (i.e. Hugo the Rail-Zeppelin) and the Fat Controller's engines travelling to the Other Railway on the Mainland (as in 'Letters to Santa').

 

Series 20 - much like 17 and 18 before it - seemed to return to further development of new/returning characters, as well as a variety of loose story-threads that are contained within the series, or appear to carry on from prior episodes.

STEAM ENGINES

Ryan the Big Tank Engine

Glynn the Coffee-Pot Engine

 

DIESEL ENGINES

Hugo the Rail Zeppelin

 

MINIATURE ENGINES

Rex the Small Green Engine

Mike the Small Red Engine

Bert the Small Blue Engine

 

ROLLING STOCK

Jerome & Judy the Breakdown Crane

Bradford the Brake Van

 

OTHER

Skiff the Rail-Sail Boat

Songs of the Series

Glynn's Christmas Wish

 

It's Halloween!

Voice Cast

STORYTELLER

MARK MORAGHAN

 

VOICE ARTISTS

JOHN HASLER

NIGEL PILKINGTON

KEITH WICKHAM

TERESA GALLAGHER

KERRY SHALE

STEVEN KYNMAN

TOGA IGAWA

ROB RACKSTRAW

CHRISTOPHER RAGLAND

MIRANDA RAISON

JONATHAN FORBES

MATT WILKINSON

JONATHAN BROADBENT

OLIVIA COLMAN

BOB GOLDING

TIM WHITNALL

JOE MILLS

TOM STOURTON

DAVID BEDELLA

MIKE GRADY

MAGGIE OLLERENSHAW

ROBERT WILFORD

RASMUS HARDIKER

TRACY-ANN OBERMAN

NATHAN CLARKE

 

VOICE ARTISTS (USA ONLY)

JOSEPH MAY

WILLIAM HOPE

DAVID MENKIN

GLENN WRAGE

JULES DE JONG

JOHN SCHWAB

Key Production Team

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Christopher Keenan

 

PRODUCER

(HIT Entertainment)

Ian McCue

 

PRODUCER

(ARC Productions)

Robert Anderson

Tracy Blagdon

 

MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS

Chris Renshaw

 

VOICE DIRECTOR

Sharon Miller

 

RAILWAY CONSULTANT

Sam Wilkinson


DIRECTORS

Dianna Basso

In 2017 we ran a poll on Series 20 to determine what the best episodes of the Series were as well as what else fans enjoyed about it.  Best episodes, songs, new friends and aspects of production are included and broken down in our poll results blog!

Related Videos

Including some fan-content, remakes and reviews – and Series 20 content from the Official Thomas & Friends YouTube Channel!

Related Links

Thomas & Friends On Demand

 

HEAD WRITER
Andrew Brenner

20.1 - Sidney Sings

Written by Lee Pressman

Sidney, the Blue Diesel Shunter, is rather forgetful in his nature; even more so when left around in the Dieselworks waiting for his new wheels to eventually arrive - all thanks to help from Percy.

 

One day, more recently, Percy comes off the rails and is in need of new wheels at the Steamworks. The Fat Controller orders Sidney to collect them from Brendam Docks, but Sidney - nervous about such as prestigious job, because of his forgetful nature - is unsure to start with, until Thomas helps out by recommending that Sidney sing to himself about his work, in order to remember it properly.

 

Everything starts out well at first, until a pompous remark from Gordon throws Sidney off - and he ends up at Whiff's Waste Dump, convinced that he's picking up an old boiler, before getting himself mixed up again when Whiff tells him that "an elephant never forgets!"

 

Eventually, poor Sidney returns to Knapford feeling upset with himself; but the tables turn when some passengers are waiting for an engine to take their train...to Brendam Docks.

 

Upon arrival, Sidney's passengers sing his praises to the Fat Controller - who is frustrated by Sidney forgetting about Percy's wheels in the first place. However, Sidney - now more confident again, and still singing! - delivers the wheels to the Steamworks in Crovan's Gate, even though evening has drawn in and everyone else has gone home, leaving Percy and Sidney laughing together over the day's events.

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20.2 - Toby's New Friend

Written by Andrew Brenner

Philip has settled in at Knapford Station, getting to know his fellow engines - but he has yet to meet Toby the Tram Engine, whom he is fascinated by in shape and size; however, when the two eventually meet, it appears that Philip's excitable nature is too much for Toby, even though Henrietta warms to the Diesel Box-Cab a little!

 

Soon, Toby and Henrietta are out along the Branch Line taking workmen to the Quarry; Philip eventually catches up to them, and challenges Toby to a race. Despite his initial hesitance at the idea, Toby is chanted on by the workmen, and the race is on!

 

...only to soon be over when Philip goes ahead, nearly crashing into Thomas, Annie and Clarabel!

 

Toby arrives at the Quarry feeling glum, but Philip feels glummer - assuming that Toby doesn't like him; he later says so to Thomas back at Knapford, who explains that Toby isn't a Diesel Box-Cab as Philip first thought - but a Steam Tram, and that they don't have to like the same things to be friends; this point is backed up further by Toby himself when he and Philip see each other again at the water tower.

 

From then on, Toby and Philip have since been friends, and while he tries his best to be a little quieter, Philip only does so a little too loudly!!

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20.3 - Henry Gets The Express

Written by Helen Farrall

Gordon wakes up one morning, surprisingly refusing to pull the Express! His reason being that his firebox hasn't been cleaned out yet, due to tiredness the day before. Thomas suggests that Henry take it instead, but Gordon only shrugs this idea off - worrying Henry with his remarks on how difficult it is to pull such a prestigious train.

 

Eventually, Thomas brings Gordon's coaches to the platform at Knapford - telling the Fat Controller the situation, and that he thought of Henry as the Express engine in Gordon's place. The Fat Controller approves, making Henry happy - despite his worries, at first, finally being assured when the Guard at Kellsthorpe Road comments that he wishes Henry "could pull the Express all the time!".

 

Meanwhile, Gordon finally arrives, and is ordered to take goods trains in Henry's place; at first, he pulls some trucks to Brendam Docks, before collecting another train of coal to deliver back to Knapford Station - enviously watching a proud Henry passing by along the way. After declining Gordon's request at pulling the Express again, the Fat Controller sends the big blue engine to the Blue Mountain Quarry - to collect some stone trucks. Skarloey and a surprised Rheneas all watch as Gordon's trucks give him a hard time, until he eventually concedes not to pull them, before going back to Tidmouth.

 

That night, Gordon is berated for shirking his goods train by the Fat Controller, who orders him to take 'The Flying Kipper' - otherwise, Henry would pull the Express "forever." At last, following some clever wordplay from Henry regarding whether he'd be up to the task - Gordon leaves the shed to pull the Fish Train. He returns next morning, elated to be given back the Express...as soon as he's had a washdown first, to remove the scent of smelly fish.

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20.4 – Diesel & The Ducklings

Written by Lee Pressman

It doesn't take much for Diesel to upset anyone; but after Thomas gets a nasty surprise from him at the Docks, and Percy at the washdown, Thomas has had enough of his "rough and tough" behaviour - which is only egged on more by 'Arry & Bert.

 

However, upon witnessing a group of ducklings being gently cooed by Diesel, Thomas is highly amused! He does, however, agree to take a vow of silence if Diesel agrees to be nicer to the other engines. At first, this goes well - as Diesel passes on kind (albeit rather forced) greetings on to Gordon, Henry and Edward; but to avoid 'Arry and Bert seeing this at the Big Station, Diesel goes back to being rude to poor Emily - only to turn nice again, confusing the other engines, as soon as Thomas spots him and utters a small, "quack...quack...quack."

 

Unfortunately, Diesel continues to act out against everyone - even going so far as to hold up Gordon and James on the same line, coming down Gordon's Hill, and bumping the trucks wide awake in the Yard - but in both instances, Thomas quacks again, frightening Diesel into behaving; eventually, 'Arry & Bert catch on to this obscure attitude adopted by Diesel, so Thomas resorts to showing the pair the very same ducklings befriended by Diesel earlier on.

 

But as they rush to the siding by the ducklings' lake, Thomas nearly runs into them on the line!! He stops just in time however, thanks to Diesel crying out in horror; Diesel also berates Thomas for going so far, before insisting on his "rough and tough" behaviour again...only to find 'Arry and Bert cooing the ducklings as well, and for Thomas to call them all "softies at heart!"

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20.5 – Bradford the Brake Van

Written by Lee Pressman

When Samson arrives from the Mainland with his Brakevan, Bradford, the latter takes notice of Thomas struggling with the Troublesome Trucks - offering to help and keep them in order; Bradford does so instantly with a no-nonsense attitude that quickly shuts the trucks up, much to the surprise (and satisfaction) of Thomas and the other engines.

 

However, Bradford delays Thomas' departure from the Blue Mountain Quarry by pointing out that the stone in the trucks is just a millimetre too high! The Fat Controller hurries Thomas along when he finally gets to the Docks, leaving Whiff to take charge of Bradford on his rubbish train, and then with Henry and 'The Flying Kipper' later still; both times, the engines are delayed due to the most minor of infractions - and before long, everyone is annoyed with Bradford.

 

The next morning, Thomas sidles quietly away with his trucks again - doing his utmost to avoid being noticed by the haughty brakevan; however, Bradford does so, calling out to Thomas that he needs to speak with him. However, when Thomas and the trucks arrive at Gordon's Hill, the train goes much too fast upon going down - crashing into the back of Percy's train!

 

Luckily, however, the damage isn't too serious, and Harvey clears up the mess instantly - but the Fat Controller is upset that Thomas went without a brakevan this time. Returning to the Yards, Thomas apologises to Bradford for ignoring him; but Bradford merely explains that he was trying to say "goodbye" to everyone - as Samson is taking him back to the Other Railway. Everyone whistles to note Bradford's departure (albeit with an abrupt halt from the latter at first), as he leaves....while the Troublesome Trucks prepare to make mischief again.

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20.6 – Saving Time

Written by Andrew Brenner

One day, Samson arrives in the Yard, declaring to Thomas, Stanley and (a blatantly oblivious) Diesel that he's needed by the Fat Controller for an important job at the Blue Mountain Quarry...only for Thomas to correct him on the fact that he's not "the only engine for the job", and they set off together.

 

Determined to prove himself, Samson is coupled up to a tremendous number of stone trucks to pull at his own instance; however, he ignores some light-ribbing from Sir Handel and Peter Sam - deciding to carry on regardless. Eventually, after a near miss with a red signal, Samson comes to Gordon's Hill - struggling more than once with the trucks, even with Thomas's help; until eventually, when Paxton appears behind them on the same line, the two engines enlist his help as they finally make it across - nearly ending up going too fast!

 

The Fat Controller waits for them at the Docks, reprimanding both engines for their lateness; Samson apologises, before returning with Thomas to the Quarry - only this time, instead of taking so many trucks in one go....he pulls just a single truck with a brakevan back to Brendam Docks!

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20.7 – Ryan & Daisy

Written by Davey Moore

Daisy and Ryan are doing such a good job of running the new Branch Line to Harwick, that the Fat Controller decides that they should both be given new additional duties.  However, whilst Ryan is hardworking and eager to please the Fat Controller, Daisy remains as lazy and stubborn as ever.

 

The Fat Controller now wants Ryan to help Toby deliver stone from the Ffarquhar Quarry to Harwick, whilst Daisy collects a mail truck first thing in the morning before she begins her passenger run and work later into the evening.  Daisy is horrified when she learns of the plans, and tells Ryan she can’t pull the mail truck – “it’s Fitter’s orders!” She then tells Ryan he’d look great pulling the mail truck... and he agrees to take it in her place.  But the additional work makes him late to meet Toby at the Quarry.

 

Later that day, Ryan meets Daisy in the yard at Arlesburgh West.  Instead of working late, she’s going back to the shed to rest.  She then tells Ryan doing her later passenger run would be really useful and doing her a huge favour.  Eager to please, Ryan runs the evening passenger service – to the bewilderment of the Fat Controller, who wanted to tell Daisy her passenger run was being extended to Knapford Station.  But when he returns to the shed, Daisy is asleep – so he couldn’t tell her, and doesn’t wake her next morning when he leaves to start work.

 

Instead, he decides to run the passenger service himself, whilst taking the mail truck and preparing to take the stone trucks from the Quarry.  All the extra work causes a lot of upset – Ryan’s view is obscured by the mail truck as he puffs through Alresburgh Junction, narrowly avoiding a collision with Duck, and when he discovers he’s late to meet Toby again, he takes the passenger train to the Quarry with him.

 

The Fat Controller, who saw Ryan puff through Arlesburgh West, scolds Daisy for not doing the run from Knapford, and for letting Ryan do all her other extra jobs.  Daisy tries to justify herself by claiming that Ryan wanted to be really useful by helping out, but the Fat Controller is disappointed in both engines – they haven’t been working together.  Daisy recognises the error of her ways and apologises to Ryan, and the Fat Controller tells her that tomorrow, she will be collecting Ryan’s stone trucks instead of taking the mail truck!  Daisy is reluctant, but agrees, and the next morning, sets off to the Quarry, shuddering at the prospect, but grateful to have a friend like Ryan!

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20.8 – Henry In The Dark

Written by Lee Pressman

Luminous, glow-in-the-dark paint is used at the steamworks to paint signs so the engines can see them more easily at night. One day, when Henry’s sent to be repainted, Kevin accidentally gets luminous green paint to repaint him with instead of his usual green; but no-one realises. As Henry travels along the line it gets dark and his paint starts glowing. His glowing paint scares first Thomas, then James and then Gordon who all rush off in a fright but Henry doesn’t know how he’s managed to scare them.

 

At Brendam Docks Salty, Porter and Cranky are all scared of Henry too until Cranky realises it’s just Henry with glowing paint. Cranky shows Henry what he looks like in a mirror and Henry suddenly understands why everyone was scared of him; they all thought he was a ghost!

 

Henry returns to Tidmouth sheds the next morning when it’s light again and his paint is no longer glowing. The other engines are still talking about the “ghost train” and ask Henry if he saw it. Henry tries to explain but the other engines talk over him, and Gordon and James start joking about how scared he must have been. Upset by their teasing, Henry hides himself away in his shed and refuses to speak to any of them.

 

The next night all the engines except Henry refuse to leave Tidmouth Sheds. The Fat Controller comes to talk some sense into them and discovers they’re all too scared of the ghost train. When the Fat Controller points out that Henry has already left to take the Flying Kipper, and so clearly isn’t scared of the ghost train, the others all start to wonder if Henry’s braver than they are.

 

Suddenly Henry arrives with bright glowing paint and gives everyone a fright. The Fat Controller runs off and the the other engines all hide themselves in their sheds. Henry announces that it’s only him and the other engines emerge and ask him why he didn’t tell them earlier that he was the ghost train. Henry explains that he tried to but they didn’t listen. Suddenly all the engines are scared by a figure emerging from the coal heap- the Fat Controller covered in coal dust. The Fat Controller realises what’s happened to Henry and sends him back to the steamworks to be repainted into his usual, non-glowing, green paint with red stripes.

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20.9 – The Missing Breakdown Train

Written by Davey Moore

Judy and Jerome are the Island's resident breakdown train, who are used in cases of emergencies where engines, coaches or trucks come off the rails. They stay in Knapford Yard and, one day while resting, the two are spooked by Ryan, simply wanting to say "hello" to them. Jerome tells Ryan that Rocky receives all the jobs that they used to have, while Judy says they are left in the yard. After hearing this, Ryan takes them up the line to Arlesburgh to give them a change of pace. They are left along the seaside catching sight of Skiff, a lighthouse, ships in the harbor, and seagulls flying above. Evening dawns and, after seeing Skiff repeatedly and developing a dislike of seagulls, the two find themselves bored enough to the point of falling asleep.

 

After waking up weary of the birds and salty sea air corroding their gears, Judy and Jerome decide to ask an engine to move them somewhere else. Oliver, being the first to pass by, gets roped into taking them to a siding by a field of sheep. Quickly finding themselves bored, Duck becomes the next engine to move them. Meanwhile Daisy is returning home from her day's work when a bull strays onto her line, prompting a nearby signalman to quickly reroute her on a siding, where she derails. Thomas is first to respond and searches for the breakdown train and Knapford to no avail, and Ryan tells him that he knows where they are. He heads back to Arlesburgh expecting to find Judy and Jerome still on their siding only to find them gone. Skiff tells Ryan that Oliver took them down Duck's branch line, while Oliver tells him that Duck took them elsewhere yet again.

 

Judy and Jerome have been relocated all the way to the Blue Mountain Quarry, which Jerome finds too noisy for his preferences. Ryan finally finds them and quickly takes them to Daisy, the breakdown pair delighted to have a job again. That night, Sir Topham Hatt visits Arlesburgh goods yard after Daisy and Ryan have returned and speaks to Jerome and Judy. He praises them for a job well done, but tells them how important it is that their location is known in case of emergencies. They apologize and tell him that they hadn't been used properly in a long time, and decides they may stay at Arlesburgh to handle accidents on the western side of the island, while Rocky can stay at the Search and Rescue center to handle cases on the eastern side. Everyone is happy about this and Jerome and Judy are pleased with their new assignment, that is until a seagull once again interrupts them.

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20.10 – Three Steam Engines Gruff

Written by Andrew Brenner

One autumn day on the Ffarquhar line, Thomas and Toby meet during passing trains at Dryaw Airfield. Toby tells Thomas that the trees at this time of year look spooky without any leaves, as if they might reach over the tracks and pick him up like giant hands. Henrietta and Thomas both think Toby is being silly, and Thomas heads off. Farther up the line a fence has broken, leaving Thomas, Annie and Clarabel to wonder if an animal has broken it and run loose. Trevor, working nearby, says he'll notify Farmer McColl of the broken fence. Later that night, Thomas tells Percy and the others about it, leaving Percy frightened as he's due to pull the mail train and suspects something is going to come for him. Soon after leaving, Percy is scared by a noise and rushes back to the sheds, running into Henry in the process. He tells Gordon of the noise, who is unsympathetic and tells him off.

 

In the morning, Percy tells Thomas of the moaning he heard, while Thomas assures both him and Toby that whatever made the sound can't hurt them in the daylight. He isn't worried until he comes to the bridge and slows down, telling Annie and Clarabel about the noise Percy heard, which makes itself known and prompts Thomas to speed up out of fear. At the next station, they tell the others about the moaning, and Percy thinks it may be a troll. Toby agrees and recants the story of the three billy goats gruff, where one goat survived an encounter with a troll by telling it to eat his brother! Out of fright, Toby and Percy rush off to be the first and second to cross the bridge where the sound came from, leaving Thomas to be the third, final "goat".

 

Over the bridge, Toby and Percy speed quickly across to avoid being "eaten". Thomas, however, has to "make the troll go away" as in the story. Rain begins to fall, and Annie and Clarabel realize the sound they all heard wasn't a troll, but a cow. One of Farmer McColl's cattle had broken loose the day before and gotten stuck below the bridge in the mud, and Jem Cole later brings Trevor to help winch the animal up to safety. Jem Cole repairs the fence, but the others only laugh at the Ffarquhar trio's plight when they tell them what had happened. Finally, Thomas breaks the ice by laughing at his own situation and all enjoy a good night together.

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20.11 – Letters To Santa

Written by Helen Farrall

It’s right before Christmas on Sodor and it’s the last chance for letters to get from the children on the island to Santa. Percy takes the post to Vicarstown and Hiro takes over the train on the mainland.

 

Percy is struggling to get through the snow so Harold offers to help. Percy flashes back to his classic race with the whirlybird. Even though he won that race Percy still feels Harold looks down on him in more ways than one. Percy spares just enough time to tell Thomas how he feels. He hurries out of the station to make sure the children’s letters reach the north pole in time. In his hurry, he leaves a sack of precious letters behind. Harold is on hand to fly after Percy with the sack filled with letters he left. Percy thinks this is another race and is determined to prove he doesn’t need help. Percy’s determination lands him in a snow drift blocking a tunnel.

 

The responsibility to deliver all the letters quickly becomes Harold’s. Percy feels like Harold is rubbing it in flying is better than rails. But, flying in a blizzard proves harder than Harold thinks and he is so late to meet Hiro, the hero of the rails has to leave. Harold still manages to catch up to Hiro with the letters but goes missing in action the next day.

 

Percy finds Harold grounded in a field without fuel. Not one to leave a friend stuck in a field for Christmas, Percy brings the whirlybird fuel. Working together they had made sure the children had a good Christmas morning.

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20.12 – Love Me Tender

Written by Davey Moore

Donald and Douglas are the practical, peppy, and proud Scottish twins. Like all brothers, they sometimes go through bouts of sibling rivalry. In this case, they disagree about which lines to clear of snow first and it causes a literal strain.

 

Soon they are faced with more choices of which lines to clear of snow. There is trouble when Douglas refuses to take part in deciding. He feels his brother ignores him and does as he pleases. When Douglas in the leading Donald feels the same way. They have a spirited discussion about it until something gives.

 

That something is Douglas’s tender coupling. Douglas is left stranded when his tender comes off and Donald pulls away without him. Donald is happy to go off on his own. Douglas is fine to be on his own as well and tells Toby so. Neither realizes they have been separated until Thomas points it out. Donald feels terrible for leaving him and races to rescue his brother from the freezing cold.

 

Toby thought they wanted time apart but Donald tells him that doesn’t matter when his brother is in trouble.

 

Finally, Donald finds him but searches so hard and long he runs out of water. He borrows Douglas’ water and helps him to the Steamworks. Even though the brothers sometimes fall out, they are close and come through for each other in the end.

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20.13 – The Railcar & The Coaches

Written by Davey Moore

Daisy the diesel railcar is the only one like her on Sodor. She doesn’t need coaches and works on the Harwick Branchline.

 

When her branchline’s passenger traffic slows down because the seaside becomes out of season. Daisy is moved to Thomas’ branchline while he goes off to run quarry trains. The arrangement includes having to pull his coaches Annie and Clarabel. But, Daisy boasts she doesn’t need the coaches and rudely leaves them behind.

 

Soon there are more passengers wanting to ride with Daisy than she has room for. She has to suck it up and pull Thomas’s coaches with her. Annie and Clarabel feeling slighted by Daisy's rude comments decide to get back at her.

 

They decide to play a trick on Daisy and tell her they hear rusty, creaking springs. Daisy is so horrified such a noise might be coming from her. She leaves the coaches and her passengers stranded rushing to look for a professional to mend her highly sprung springs. Thomas is fed up with this and tells Sir Topham Hat who checks Daisy out and decides there is nothing wrong with her. Still, Daisy rushes off to the Diesel Works more worried something is wrong with her hearing.

 

Meanwhile, because of their trick Thomas’s coaches have been left out in the cold. When Thomas and The Fat Controller show up seemingly to rescue them. The Fat Controller reprimands them for playing their trick on Daisy. The next day they are free of Daisy and more horrified the devious Diesel will pull them instead.

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20.14 – Engine of the Future

Written by Andrew Brenner

A loud rush and a blast of wind is all the engines and residents of Sodor experience on day as a new engine blasts by on the tracks. Sir Handel thinks it's a plane without wings; it's faster than Gordon, faster than Caitlin, and even the Fat Controller doesn't know what's going on. At Ulfstead Castle the great engine slows to a stop... he's long, he's fast, he's a German rail zeppelin named Hugo, and his owner is a friend of Sir Robert Norramby. Hugo tells the Earl that he's a diesel engine driven by an air propeller, and they decide to go for a ride. News of the new engine spreads fast and leaves everyone perplexed, so James, Percy, Philip, Thomas and the Fat Controller head up to Ulfstead to see him. The Fat Controller is impressed and Hugo takes him for a ride as well, while the other engines talk about Hugo. Stephen calls him an "Engine of the Future", and says that Hugo will replace them all soon just as newer engines once replaced Stephen.

 

Later that night the other engines discuss Hugo replacing them, leaving them all bitter to the idea of befriending him. Hugo rolls in asking if there is space at the sheds for him, and an angry Gordon and James tell him to stay away despite Percy opening up his stall. Hugo instead stays at the shunting yard, sad that the steam engines don't want to be friends with him. Things don't go much better in the morning until Hugo explains to Thomas and Percy that he isn't out to replace them, and that he can't even pull trucks or coaches due to not having any coupling hooks. They realize their error and set out to find the others in order to help make Hugo feel better.

 

At Knapford, Hugo is recruited to take sightseers to Vicarstown and back. Percy comes into the station looking to apologize, but is too late as Hugo is heading out for the journey. His passengers delight in the experience, but Hugo remains sad all day until he returns to Knapford. The steam engines have gathered for a surprise party in his honor and apologize for their meanness, which Hugo gladly accepts. That night, they welcome him into Tidmouth Sheds and he is at last content to be on Sodor.

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20.15 – Hugo & The Airship

Written by Andrew Brenner

Hugo, the newest engine on Sodor, is quickly becoming a popular face with everyone he meets. He's sleek and elegant, looking very different from anyone else around him, and is receiving widespread praise. However the Fat Controller as well as representatives from the railway board have concerns, namely that his propeller will be dangerous to use in and near stations. The Fat Controller tells him to be careful, and Hugo explains the safety features he has in place. Thomas, arriving at Knapford, tells the representatives that Hugo is the fastest engine in the world. He heads out to the main line, forgetting to keep his propeller off until clearing the station, causing the Fat Controller to lose his hat and the railway board to have doubts on his safe design.

 

Henry, coming back from the mainland, sees a vessel floating in the sky wearing Hugo's colors, and believes it to be him flying. He tells this to Emily and James, and when Hugo hears about his "flight", he is only confused. Percy also becomes perplexed when he sees Hugo both on the rails and in the sky, losing focus and running into some trucks. Hugo later asks Thomas if he has seen whatever it is that the others were talking about, which leaves Thomas wondering as well. Thomas later encounters the vessel in the air, and Hugo, having seen it by now, rolls by and calls it a "zeppelin", believing he should be able to fly as it does.

 

Hugo follows the zeppelin all the way to Arlesburgh before losing it at the ocean. Hugo, longing to fly just like the airship, talks to Skiff. He tells Hugo how he can work on both rails and in the water, and Thomas rolls in, noting his own aspirations but also being content to stay on the rails. Hugo heads back out to the main line and attempts to fly, picking up speed at Gordon's Hill in hope of launching himself into the air. After multiple tries he finally gives up, realizing he is indeed too heavy.

 

At Knapford, Hugo tells Thomas of his plight and forgets to turn his propeller off once again while entering the station. The Fat Controller assures him that he's still very special despite not being able to fly, and to be proud of the things he can do. Skiff, having been blown out of the station as Hugo rolled in, is eager for another blast from his propeller and asks Hugo for a second round. Hugo backs out, having learned from his mistake and enjoys sending Skiff down the tracks, happy with who he is and what he can do.

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20.16 - Skiff & The Mermaid

Written by Helen Farrall

Skiff the railboat overhears the Fat Controller telling the museum manager that the mermaid will be arriving the next day. Skiff is very excited to see a real life mermaid and starts looking out to sea, eager to see the mermaid arrive. He gets up early the next morning to carry on looking but when she hasn’t arrived by lunchtime he starts to feel disappointed.

 

The Fat Controller arrives with his grandchildren, Stephen and Bridget, for Captain Joe to take them out on a tour of the harbour in Skiff. The Fat Controller climbs into Skiff while Stephen and Bridget wait for Captain Joe to fetch life jackets for them before boarding. While they’re waiting Skiff sees a flash of a tail in the sea and quickly tells the Fat Controller to lift his anchor so they can chase after it. The Fat Controller does so and Captain Joe arrives back with the life jackets just in time to see Skiff plunge into the sea with the Fat Controller onboard.

 

Skiff starts giving the Fat Controller directions to try and chase after the mermaid, but quickly discovers that the Fat Controller doesn’t know how to sail a sailing boat, and after losing the oars they drift out to sea. Back on dry land Captain Joe calls the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre, and Harold the Helicopter and Captain the Lifeboat are sent off to rescue them.

 

Meanwhile Skiff and the Fat Controller have washed ashore on a sandy beach. The Fat Controller starts worrying about how he’ll find food and shelter to survive the days or weeks before they’re rescued, but when Skiff suggests they could sail back to Sodor the Fat Controller refuses to consider it. He starts to lose his grip on the situation and is drawing a face on a rock when they’re discovered by Harold and Captain; it turns out they’re not on a desert island at all but have actually washed up on Sodor, not far from Duck’s branch line.

 

They return to Arlesburgh Harbour where Stephen and Bridget are delighted to see their grandfather again. Skiff explains about the mermaid and the Fat Controller explains that he was just talking about a statue Thomas is delivering for the front of the pirate ship.

 

That night Skiff and Toad spend some time on the pier together. Skiff admits he was disappointed that the mermaid wasn’t real, but at least he now knows there’s no such thing as mermaids. As Toad departs a gap in the clouds opens up and in the light of the moon on the sea Skiff sees a tail in the water. Maybe there are such things as mermaids after all.

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20.17 – Pouty James

Written by Andrew Brenner

James is a mixed traffic engine who can pull both coaches and trucks. But he really likes showing off pulling coaches.

 

He feels so sharp pulling some freshly washed coaches he overruns and undershoots platforms showing off. Even excitable Phillip is quick to call him out. He finally gets in trouble with the Fat Controller and it’s no more coaches for the red engine.

 

After that James sits and pouts in the shed and has to deal with the other engines teasing him about it. They even makes faces at him! Percy tries to comfort James and tells him everything will be alright in the morning but come the breaking dawn nothing has changed. The Fat Controller points this out to him and grounds him further to the shed. More pouty faces from James and more Silly faces at James.

 

Later that day The Fat Controller comes back and James convinces him let him go back to work. James goes back to work and finds himself stuck pulling a smelly rubbish train. Edward has his coaches. James drags his wheels unhappy with this arrangement and earns more trouble for his attitude. He also earns more silly faces from his friends. The Face Controller challenges him to change his attitude.

 

With help from his friends, James lightens up and starts having fun doing jobs he doesn’t like. Before long he even enjoys it.

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 20.18 – Blown Away

Written by Helen Farrall

Everyone on Sodor is preparing for an oncoming storm, and Skiff the railboat and Captain Joe are patrolling Arlesburgh Harbour making sure that everyone is safe and everything is secure. Duck and Oliver chide Skiff for still being out before the storm and warn him to get himself safely secured before the storm hits, leaving Skiff somewhat hurt by their comments.

 

Captain Joe comforts Skiff, but before he can secure Skiff properly he’s called away by the museum manager to inspect the pirate ship. When the storm hits Skiff’s sail unfurls and Captain Joe can’t hear Skiff’s cries for help. His anchor rope snaps and he’s blown away down the line until he hits a tree that’s been blown over in the storm.

 

Skiff hears the whistles of Duck and Oliver heading towards him in opposite directions and realises he has to warn them or they’ll run into the tree- and into him! He manages to prise his mast out from under the branch of the tree and hold it up high, unfurling his sail so that Duck and Oliver can see it. They do, and manage to brake just in time to avoid a collision.

 

Duck tells Skiff that if he hadn’t managed to warn them in time he and Oliver would have crashed straight into the tree, and Oliver calls Skiff the bravest little railboat he knows. The next morning Harvey comes to clear the fallen tree and the Fat Controller arrives in Winston. The Fat Controller calls Skiff a hero and tells him that Duck, Oliver and Toad all believe he deserves an award for his bravery, while Duck leads everyone in a rousing three cheers for Skiff.

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20.19 – The Way She Does It

Written by Davey Moore

One morning The Fat Controller visits Daisy to give her a very important job. He asks Daisy to be at her best because she has to pull a group of entertainers to Harwick to put on a show.

 

Daisy brags to silly Thomas only she could give these entertainers the smooth ride they deserve. Then Daisy brags the same thing to laid back Ryan who doesn’t seem bothered dirty old steam engines aren’t good enough to pull these entertainers’ train in her opinion. Next, she brags to Duck using language so fancy him and Oliver are left wondering what she was even going on about. Lastly, the only railcar on Sodor brags to a steer by the line.

 

The next morning Daisy concerned about being her best refuses to carry fleabitten dogs. She refuses to let her passengers bring ice cream aboard or sit their sandy bottoms in her seats after a day at the beach. Thus, she leaves the entertainers’ audience behind.

 

Daisy was not impressed when she realized her imagination got the best of her. Her special passengers turned out to be puppet entertainers and she was even less impressed when they coupled their old van loaded with their puppet stage behind her. And then there was trouble when she left that van behind.

 

The Fat Controller had to charter a bus for the audience she left behind. Daisy feeling silly for her mistakes decides to lend her well sprung diesel railcar self as the puppet stage.

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20.20 – Mucking About

Written by Davey Moore

Max and Monty the dump trucks love to race Thomas the tank engine. Most of the time Thomas enjoys racing them but other times they are too devious and downright dangerous crossing back and forth right in front of Thomas rolling down the tracks.

 

The dump trucks work with Alfie, Oliver, and Jack on a digging site line side to Thomas’ Branchline. They take the dug-up earth away from the site to the dump. Edward says the best way to deal with devious construction vehicles is to ignore them but it proves too hard to ignore their dangerous stunts.

 

In their games, Max and Monty break Oliver the excavator. They don’t stop their either. Instead of jumping loads where they are supposed to, they decide to dump earth over a wall. Turns out they are dumping mounds of earth onto the rails.

 

Thomas is on his way back after Oliver has been repaired when this pile of earth on the rails causes him to have an accident. Luckily his friends come to help and put him back on rails.

 

How the earth got there is a mystery until Max and Monty are caught in the act. The policeman punishes them with taking the earth away by morning and warns them not to muck around anymore. But, they are soon back up to their mischief.

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20.21 – Cautious Connor

Written by Andrew Brenner

Connor and Caitlin come from the mainland. They are even faster than Spencer and Gordon. Stephan is reminded of his heyday when they meet and compliments Connor for being “Bang on time”. One day Connor is slowed down waiting for a ship to pass through the channel at Vicarstown Bridge. Connor rushes to make up time and a coupling rod pops off his driving wheels nearly derailing him.

 

Connor worried he was going too fast putting himself and his passengers at risk. Victor tries to comfort Connor by telling him the assembly just got loose and these things happen. But when Millie sees him and asks about the accident Connor is still worrying about it. He has decided to be much more careful pulling his trains very slow.

 

Thomas wonders why he is going so slow and Connor tells him is he’s worried about his couple rods popping off again. Thomas suggests he should return to the Steam Works to have himself checked out again. Victor tells him again it’s all right to run at high speed like he’s meant to but Connor continues to crawl down the line.

 

When Thomas overtakes him again he feels bad about how slow Connor is going and decides to help just in time to prevent him from having more disgruntled passengers. He sets up a race with Stephen.

 

Connor reminds Stephen there is no way he can beat him but while he’s worrying about his coupling rods coming off again it's Connor who will get lapped by Stephen. Stephen give’s Connor a pep talk about the kinds of worries engines of his day had. They even had to worry about exploding and putting themselves back together. Or did they? Stephen’s pep talk convinces Connor he can pick himself up and be bang on time again. Stephen’s story may have been embellished but it got Connor moving and happy again. Sometimes that’s all someone needs to get moving again.

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20.22 – All In Vain

Written by Helen Farrall

James is excited to be given the job of taking the Mayor of Sodor to a ball at Callan Castle, but he has to complete all of his regular jobs first. James thinks this will be easy, but things soon start to go wrong. A bag of sugar is dropped all over him at the docks and later he’s covered in mud and coal dust. James grits his teeth and doesn’t complain, focussing instead on completing his work on time.

 

Seeing James both very dirty and very busy Edward offers to help so he can finish earlier, but James refuses the offer. Edward looks doubtful but lets James proceed without help.

 

James does indeed finish all his jobs in time for the mayor, but while being cleaned one of the cleaners notices a tiny scratch on his paintwork. Horrified at looking anything less than his best for the mayor James panics, rushes off to the steamworks and demands that he’s repainted from top to bottom before pulling the mayor’s train. Victor doesn’t think there’ll be time for the paint to dry, but James replies that being a windy evening, the wind will blow his paint dry on the way to pick up the mayor. Victor acquiesces, and after leaving the steamworks with wet paint James rushes into the wind. The wind swirls up lots of dust and dirt and when James meets Edward he’s horrified to discover that lots of dust, dirt, leaves, and twigs have all got stuck to his paint.

 

James realises he can’t pull the mayor’s train and asks Edward if he’d be prepared to do it instead. Edward is surprised, but is happy to help. The next day the Fat Controller comes to see James. He says Edward told him how hard James had worked all day and he tells James that if he hadn’t been so worried about a tiny scratch he could have taken the mayor’s train too.

 

The Fat Controller sends James to be repainted again and while his paint is drying the mayor comes to see him. Edward had told the mayor how sorry James was not to have taken him to the ball and the mayor asks James if he’d like to take him in another special train to a dinner at Vicarstown. James does so and this time there isn’t a spot on him.

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20.23 – Buckled Tracks & Bumpy Trucks / Buckled Tracks & Bumpy Trucks (US)

Written by Lee Pressman

Throughout the year the engines have to deal with leaves on the line in autumn, snow in winter and baby ducklings on the track in spring, but in summer the dry weather leads to fires breaking out by the lineside. Flynn and Belle are returning from putting out one such fire when they discover a section of track where the hot sun has made the rails buckle. They consider spraying the tracks with water to cool them down but Flynn has run out of water and Belle wants to save what little water she has left.

 

At Knapford station the Fat Controller receives a white safari hat as a present from his mother to keep him cool in the hot sun. Despite him thinking it makes him look ridiculous Dowager Hatt insists he wear it as the white colour will reflect the sun’s heat.

 

Meanwhile a glass bottle falls out of one of Whiff’s rubbish trucks as he passes over the buckled tracks and the sun shining through the bottle slowly starts to set the grass on fire.

 

The Fat Controller leaves his office to deal with the buckled tracks, but when he considers leaving his new hat behind he starts to imagine the photo of his mother on his desk telling him to wear it! With passengers laughing at him he attempts to “accidentally” leave it on a baggage trolley only to be thwarted by a “helpful” porter returning it.

 

The fire started by the glass bottle has grown and Belle and Flynn are dispatched to put it out. While driving to the same section of track the Fat Controller throws his hat away out of the window, but it flies back into his car again.

 

Flynn and Belle arrive at the fire where Belle is derailed by the bumpy tracks, but Flynn is able to extinguish the fire using his road wheels. Thomas brings Rocky to re-rail Belle but the Fat Controller wishes there were some way to prevent the tracks from buckling in the first place. Thomas suggests painting the rails white so they reflect the sun- just like the Fat Controller’s safari hat. The Fat Controller thinks this is an excellent idea and is very pleased by the results once it’s put into practice. Despite having his mother to thank (indirectly) for the idea he decides to have one more go at getting rid of his safari hat and gives it to a goat in a nearby field, but the goat, after taking a bite out of it, throws it back at him.

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20.24 – Tit For Tat

Written by The Rev. W. Awdry

Adapted by Andrew Brenner

On Sodor's smallest railway are three miniature engines who work the line: Bert, Rex and Mike. They take passengers on tours, run ballast trains for the larger engines to pick up, and carry wool loads from local farmers. One day, two clergymen arrive to take pictures of engines from all over the Island: they take photographs of Skarloey on the narrow-gauge railway, James and Toby on the larger lines, and finish up their day photographing Thomas at Ffarquhar Station. Before they visit the miniature Arlesdale Railway, rain begins to fall and the visitors postpone their efforts until the next day.

 

The following morning, Bert's driver tell the Arlesdale engines that the visitors have arrived and that they'd like to put them in both "moving pictures" and a book. Bert meets the clergymen at the station before departing with his first train, and invites them to ride in his cab which they agree to do later on. Bert is first smitten with their kindness to engines, but is perplexed when they don't wave back while photographing him. As he continues on his journey, the men stop at different points continuing to see him, but at one point accidentally splash Bert with mud from a puddle without realizing it. Bert is furious when they once again photograph him complete with mud on his face and boiler.

 

At the end of the line, Bert's driver cleans his face of mud and coaxes him to "forgive and forget" the mishap. One of the clergymen asks for the offer of a tender ride, to which Bert's driver agrees despite his reluctant engine. The train takes off back down the line and into a forested glade, still teeming with dripping water from the previous day's rainfall. Bert concocts a plan to pay the clergyman back, and while climbing a steep hill, he slows down in order to build a full head of steam. He blows a cloud of vapor straight into a moist tree, causing it to spill water all over the clergyman and his driver. Bert laughs to himself throughout the remainder of the journey, having pleased no one else.

 

At Arlesburgh West, the Small Controller scolds Bert for his actions and sends him to the shed for the remainder of the day. The two clergymen see this and, feeling bad for their mistake, apologize to Bert and offer to clean the remaining mud off of him. When Rex and Mike finish their jobs for the day, they return to see Bert cleaner than they'd heard, and he explains what happened. He also tells them that he'll be in a book and on the television in the "moving pictures" as his driver promised, which the others find incredulous. But we do know that "it did happen, didn't it?"

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20.25 – Mike's Whistle

Written by the Rev. W. Awdry

Adapted by Andrew Brenner

Rex and Bert are relatively peaceful in their duties on the Arlesdale Railway, but Mike is prone to being short-tempered and grumpy. When Thomas arrives one morning to collect Mike's load of ballast, he tells the three little engines that Duck's whistle has jammed after his driver cooked an egg on it. When Duck passes through the station, the others laugh at him but Mike instead tells them that Duck making such a noise is "shocking". Bert and Rex goad him on, laughing at him instead of Duck as Mike begins boasting about his whistle. Their teasing causes Mike to build excess steam pressure and break his safety valve. Mr. Fergus Duncan, the Small Controller, hears this and reschedules Mike to carry passengers instead of his usual ballast train once his safety valve is in order, much to Mike's chagrin.

 

Mike continues to be grumpy when preparing to take out his first train. Passengers annoy him also by calling him a "cute little steam engine", and his driver reminds him to behave as they head out. Mike dwells on the other engines' laughing and begins blowing his whistle excessively at everything he sees. At the end of the line, Mike's driver inspects him for faults and the little red engine tells him there's nothing wrong. On the way back, the driver hears something rattling on his boiler shortly before they are stopped by a stray cow on the line. Mike attempts to scare her away by whistling loudly and bumping at her, but the cow refuses to move. He becomes so angry that his whistle breaks loose, and the steam pressure causes it to fly into a field, far out of sight.

 

The train's crew search the field for the whistle to no avail, and the passengers become cross at being delayed. Mike explains that he has to whistle at certain places in order to follow the rules, and the passengers decide to remedy this by whistling for him instead. Everyone thinks this is a grand idea except for Mike, and the cow even moves off the line, forcing him to accept their help. The passengers whistle at designated stops throughout the remainder of the journey, enjoying themselves immensely. Despite their fun, Mike feels ashamed at losing his whistle, thinking himself an "improper engine".

 

At Arlesburgh West, Duck questions him on his lateness and Mike confesses what happened, prompting Duck to sympathize with his plight. Thomas arrives for another load of ballast, so Rex and Bert use the opportunity to have fun at Mike's expense once again, telling Thomas the whole story. Even Thomas begins to laugh, but instead of being cross again, Mike reflects on how he could have done things differently. He leaves the station willing to laugh at his own case, finally seeing the humor in a faulty whistle.

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20.26 – Useful Railway

Written by The Rev. W. Awdry

Adapted by Andrew Brenner

In addition to taking away ballast trains from the Arlesdale line, Thomas sometimes takes passengers there to visit the little railway. When he does, he is always polite to Rex, Mike and Bert, but his passengers don't take them as seriously as he does, calling them "tiny", "cute", and "a toy railway". This irritates Mike, who continues having instances of animals blocking his track. That night, he complains to his friends about sheep making his job difficult, but Rex tells him that they are also good for other things including making clothes. Mr. Duncan arrives to outline their jobs for the next day and, upon hearing Rex's knowledge on sheep and wool, assigns him the wool train. Rex gladly accepts, believing it to be easy work.

 

Rex is in a good mood the next day as farmers prepare his wool train to be taken down the line. He stops at several farms, never losing confidence in the easiness of his job. The last truck to be loaded has wool coming from Willy, who is late with his bales. As he speeds up to cover for time, Willy's trailer loses balance and tips on a corner, sending bales down a hill onto the track dead ahead of Rex. Willy calls to warn the train, but he is too late and Rex can't stop in time. He crashes into the wool and loses traction, jumping the rails and sliding to a stop on an embankment.

 

The Small Controller comes to inspect the crash. Willy apologizes both to him and to Rex for causing the accident, but poor Rex has to remain on the embankment until that evening after all other trains have finished. Bert and Mike make fun of his predicament every time they see him, and Rex has to endure their taunts in silence all day until they can come to his rescue. As they are returning home, Rex feels bad, having believed he brought the accident on himself for his conceit. The others assure him it wasn't his fault at all.

 

Back at Arlesburgh West, the Small Controller is waiting for them with a group of customers who praise them all for how they handled the accident. The customers agree that, far from being a toy railway, they are really useful and hard-working and assure the engines of extra traffic in the days ahead. The engines agree that the incoming work will be "easy peasy, lemon-squeezy", and that they are a Really Useful Railway indeed.

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20.27 - The Christmas Coffee-Pot

Written by Helen Farrall

Marion finds a talking Christmas tree by one of the sidings on Thomas’s branch line, but no-one believes her. Thomas is sufficiently intrigued to investigate and discovers that the “talking Christmas tree” is none other than Glynn, the old “coffee pot” engine who used to work on the branch line many years ago, his appearance having been obscured by the trees that have grown up over the years.

 

Glynn laments that when the Fat Controller discovers him he’ll probably have him scrapped, but unfortunately for him Marion has already told the Fat Controller about her talking Christmas tree and he’s coming to see it for himself. When the Fat Controller and Marion arrive Marion is baffled that the tree is no longer there. The Fat Controller suggests the tree must have walked away, but sighs with exasperation when Marion thinks this is quite likely.

 

Thomas has taken Glynn to Knapford yards for safety and agrees to keep Glynn a secret from the Fat Controller. Instead he tells Sir Robert Norramby, the Earl of Sodor, who agrees straight away that Glynn must be restored.

 

The Earl arranges for Glynn to be restored at the steamworks but partway through his restoration the Fat Controller arrives and sees him. Glynn is worried about what’s going to happen, but the Fat Controller is delighted to see Glynn and thinks it’s a splendid idea for Glynn to be restored. He asks Glynn to take him to the Earl’s Christmas party once he’s back to working order.

 

Glynn does so and on the way there the Fat Controller remarks that Glynn is once again looking as splendid as he did on the day he built him. On their way in they see Marion, but when Glynn says hello to her Marion thinks it’s the Christmas tree on the platform that’s talking to her and tries to talk back to it…

 

The Earl welcomes Glynn to his new home of Ulfstead Castle, and thanks Thomas for rescuing him, although Stephen looks a little concerned at the Earl’s enthusiasm for the new arrival. The Earl then wishes everyone a Merry Christmas.

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20.28 - Over The Hill

Written by Helen Farrall

Glynn is settling in at Ulfstead Castle, and the Earl decides to take advantage of the castle’s closure to the public over Christmas to show Glynn around the estate. He shows Glynn the castle grounds and the Dinosaur Park, but they’re followed around by Stephen who’s feeling jealous of the attention being lavished on Glynn and feels that his place has been usurped. Stephen makes snide remarks about Glynn, telling him that he can do the teas and coffees for visitors, and saying that the coffee pots quickly went out of use. He also boasts about his own exploits as the Rocket, and recovering King Godred’s crown. The Earl sticks up for Glynn, pointing out that the coffee pots had long and productive working lives, and takes Stephen down a peg by reminding him of how he got trapped in the old mines.

 

Stephen continues his put downs after the Earl has left and starts bragging about how he beat four other engines at the Rainhill Trials. After Glynn remains unflappable Stephen challenges Glynn to a race to Knapford. Glynn isn’t sure this is a good idea, but agrees to it to prove Stephen wrong about him. Mille starts their race and then decides she’d better tell the Earl what’s going on.

 

Stephen and Glynn race down the main line, very, very slowly, much to the annoyance of Gordon and James who get stuck behind them. Stephen and Glynn agree with each other that the younger engines have no respect for their elders and their history, and that people take railways for granted instead of appreciating them.

 

The old pair receive cheers as they parade through stations and quite a crowd has gathered to see them arrive as they reach Knapford station together, the competitive part of their race quite forgotten about. Although the Fat Controller and several passengers are very cross about all the trains that have been delayed as a result of their race, the Earl is delighted to see Stephen and Glynn getting on so well together. Stephen and Glynn realise they’re no longer angry with each other and that they get on quite well together, and the Earl suggests that, so long as they stay well away from the main line, they can hold a “classic engine” race every year.

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