TRIVIA COMPILED BY
“Oh..hello, everyone! What's the occasion?”
Missing Christmas Decorations'
Series 17 marked a new beginning for Thomas & Friends
with a new production team taking full-effect on the HIT Entertainment side, and a new animation company – Arc Productions,
taking over from Nitrogen Studios. Andrew Brenner and Ian McCue were keen to
take the series back to its roots of strong storytelling, abandoning the formulaic writing structure that had been in place
under the previous team, and to add some elements of railway realism into the series – hence the appointment of Sam
Wilkinson, the Railway Consultant for the TV Series.
Andrew has stated that he wants the series to return
to being stories of a working railway, similar to the original concept that the Rev. Awdry held so dear. The series was seen as a big improvement in terms of writing quality – with more humour, creative
freedom and realism thrown in and being somewhat reminiscent of the classic episodes. A selection of five episodes were released
exclusively at Wal*Mart on the Railway Mischief DVD, and were positively received by fans, who applauded the improved writing
quality and the return of familiar names who had worked on the series previously such as Paul Larson and Lee Pressman. Ten episodes of Series 17 then aired on Channel 5 in the UK and were met with similar
Series 17 marks the first time a new Storyteller has
performed for both the UK and US broadcasts of the television episodes since Ringo Starr, with Liverpool actor, Mark Moraghan,
taking up the reigns and following on from Michael Angelis and Michael Brandon.
Stephen the 'Rocket' Engine
Millie the Narrow Gauge Estate Engine
Caitlin the Pink Streamlined Engine
Connor the Blue Streamlined Engine
the Dockside Tank Engine
Norman the Red Diesel
Sidney the Forgetful Diesel
Hey Hey Thomas!
On A Journey Today
VOICE ARTISTS (USA ONLY)
JULES DE JONG
MARTIN T. SHERMAN
EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE OF PRODUCTION
In 2014, we
ran a poll on Series 17 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!
More clips coming soon!
17.1 - Kevin's Cranky Friend
Written by Lee Pressman
Brendam Docks is extremely busy one day, which leaves Cranky overworked
- cargo piles up on the quayside and engines are kept waiting. When Thomas arrives late at the Big Station, he explains why
to the Fat Controller, who goes to investigate. Appalled by the mess and delays, the Fat Controller decides to find another
crane to give Cranky some help. Cranky argues that he doesn't need help, but the
Fat Controller is adamant and asks Victor if he could borrow Kevin from the Steamworks to help out for the day.
Thomas takes Kevin to the Docks where Kevin eagerly introduces himself
to Cranky. But Cranky still refuses to accept help from a "funny little crane!" He just orders Kevin to stay in a corner out
of his way. Salty is quick to comfort Kevin, assuring him that he'll get used to his "cranky ways".
In his haste to clear through the extra workload, Cranky becomes
careless and drops a load of pipes across the quayside. Kevin rushes over and quickly arranges the spilt pipes into a neat
pile. But instead of being grateful, Cranky is ruder than ever, blaming Kevin for the mess - "watching me all the time,
making me nervous!" - before ordering him back to the corner of the quayside.
Almost immediately, Cranky upsets a crate of chickens, which scatter
across the dock in mass panic. Once again, Kevin rushes over to help the dock workers round up the escaped chickens. Salty
praises Kevin, but Cranky is less than pleased with Kevin sticking his hook in where it's not wanted. He orders Kevin back
to his corner and to stay firmly out of his way.
Kevin is crestfallen; he feels that Cranky doesn't like him. But
Thomas and Salty assure him that Cranky has some good in him beneath his gruff exterior.
Then there's trouble again - Cranky knocks over a barrel, which rolls
towards the edge of the quayside. For a moment, Kevin hesitates whether he should help or not. But at the last moment he rushes
over and saves the barrel - only to fall into the sea himself. Cranky grumpily fishes Kevin out before he starts to sink.
When the Fat Controller arrives and sees Kevin draped with seaweed,
he is very cross - feeling that Kevin is being no help at all, he's about ready to send him back to the Steamworks in disgrace.
At that moment, riddled with mild guilt, Cranky speaks up, admitting it had been his fault. He goes on to say that, although
a little reckless, Kevin is still a hard worker and Really Useful, much to Kevin's amazement. Satisfied to see them getting
along, the Fat Controller changes his mind and allows Kevin and Cranky to carry on as usual.
Kevin thanks Cranky for sticking up for him, and even Cranky finally
admits that "two hooks are better than one". Kevin gaily returns to work as Thomas and Salty look on happily. And while Cranky
admits that Kevin is doing a good job…he wishes that he wouldn't do it so cheerfully!
17.2 - Scruff's Makeover
Written by Lee Pressman
When Scruff is sent to collect some rubbish trucks from Tidmouth
Sheds, Gordon, Henry and James snootily remark of how dirty he looks. Scruff doesn't mind; he's happy the way he is.
On his way back to the dump, Scruff stops at the Big Station to say
"Good Morning" to the Fat Controller. But the Fat Controller is applied at the state the small engine is in; covered in soot,
grime and rust. He orders Scruff to deliver his trucks and then head to the Steamworks to be washed and repainted.
Scruff miserably does as he's told. Arriving at the Steamworks, Victor
and Kevin make him feel welcome as he is sanded down, patched up, scraped, painted and polished thoroughly. When the work
is done, Scruff just wants to get back to work at the Waste Dump. Outside the Steamworks, however, he catches sight of his
reflection in a mirror - and is amazed by how wonderful he looks.
On his way back to the dump, he passes Gordon, Henry and James again.
This time, the big engines all compliment his new look, which goes to Scruff's smokebox.
Back at the Waste Dump, Whiff is pleased to have Scruff back as he
needs help with shunting the rubbish trucks. However, Scruff has second thoughts: he's more concerned now of getting his gleaming
new paintwork dirty, and decides to find a different job.
Traveling across Sodor, Scruff comes across Thomas, Percy and Gordon,
and asks politely if he could do their jobs for the day - taking Annie and Clarabel, pulling the Mail and the Express, he
reckons, would keep his paintwork shiny and clean. But each engine in turn refuses to give up their job, reminding Scruff
that he has his own work at the Waste Dump. Gordon's advice proves to be the more effective - "If you don't
do your job, then you're not a Really Useful Engine anymore."
Realising that Gordon is right, Scruff heads back to the Waste Dump.
He finds Whiff already overworked, and decides to take extra care to not get dirty. But suddenly, a crane drops a load of
rubbish onto Scruff, dirtying him up all over again. Only Scruff doesn't mind; getting dirty is part of the job, and eagerly
sets to work helping out Whiff again. At the end of the day, when the Waste Dump is neatly organised once
again, Scruff decides it's better to be a Really Useful engine than a clean one any day.
17.3 - Wayward Winston
Written by Lee Pressman
One day, whilst taking the Fat Controller and his family for an outing
at Ulfstead Castle, Thomas comes across a very bumpy section on the Main Line. The Fat Controller decides that the damaged
track must be mended immediately.
Soon, workmen are sent to mend the bumpy track. The Fat Controller
arrives every day onboard Winston, his Inspection Car, to oversee the repairs. But the Fat Controller still hasn't learnt
how to drive Winston properly, jerking along in fits and starts - what's more, Winston is forever reminding him to apply his
handbrake. Although Winston tries to be patient, some of the big engines still tease him about it.
One day, Percy comes across Winston during the track repairs, and
notices him looking very sad. Winston has finally tired of the Fat Controller's bad driving, and longs to go without a Driver
for a change. Percy laughs and reminds Winston how important it is for every engine to have a Driver.
The Fat Controller and Winston journey a little further on to another
section under repair. Once again the Fat Controller forgets to apply Winston's handbrake - but this time, Winston does not
remind him…very, very slowly he begins to roll away by himself. By the time the Fat Controller realises what's happened,
Winston gathers speed and careers away, whooping with joy! The Fat Controller
and the Workmen try to catch up, but it's no use. In desperation the Fat Controller stops Thomas with a stone train and, jumping
into his cab, orders him to give chase after the runaway car.
Winston is having the time of his life; with no Driver he finds his
journey much more comfortable. But Thomas and the Fat Controller are not far behind, determined to stop Winston before disaster
strikes. At the next junction, the Signalman sees Winston has no Driver and tries
to send him off the Main Line - but he diverts Thomas instead! He makes an emergency call to the next Signalbox, and the Signalman
there quickly switches Thomas back onto Winston's line.
Meanwhile, Winston's fun quickly comes to an end. He almost crashes
into Bertie at a level crossing, and narrowly misses Paxton at a Junction when he's unable to stop at a red signal. Suddenly,
Winston wishes he had a Driver now…
As he speeds towards Tidmouth Sheds, Winston sees a line of trucks
ahead. With no one to apply his brake, he shuts his eyes and waits for the crash…next moment his engine splutters loudly,
and he quickly slows to a gentle stop. Winston wonders what happened just as Thomas and the Fat Controller catch up. The Fat
Controller angrily points out that Winston ran out of petrol - he scolds him for going off on his own. But Winston points
out that it wasn't entirely his fault as the Fat Controller did forget to apply his handbrake… Embarrassed, the Fat
Controller accepts his part of the blame, while Winston admits that he should have reminded him in the first place. He realises
now how vital Drivers are.
Work on the bumpy track is finally finished, and the engines are
pleased not to bump along anymore - unlike Winston. Winston doesn't mind the teasing now; he's happier to have the the Fat
Controller back in the driving seat again.
17.4 – Gordon Runs Dry
Written by Andrew Brenner
During a hot day, Thomas is asked by the Fat Controller to pull a passenger
train known as "The Local" on the Main Line. Gordon, who is waiting for his Express coaches at Knapford, looks down his nose
at Local Trains because they have to stop at every station - whereas the Express only stops at the important ones. And this,
he considers, is why the Express is the most important train on the Island. As soon as Percy brings his coaches, Gordon puffs
grandly away, leaving Thomas fuming.
Meanwhile, Paxton brings down a load of slate from the Blue Mountain
Quarry. Approaching a Junction, he has to stop very quickly when his signal is set against him suddenly to avoid a collision
with Gordon. In doing so, a large stone flies from one of Paxton's trucks and bashes against Gordon's boiler. Gordon suffers
no ill-effects, although Paxton suggests that he should be checked over for damage, just in case. Gordon hasn't time to stop,
and hurries away with the Express.
Gordon doesn't go far before he begins to feel thirsty. After topping
up by a nearby water tower he tries to make up for lost time - but it's not long before his boiler runs dry again. Time and
again he is forced to stop for water, but the passengers grumble at the delay.
Gordon tries to take his mind off water, such as naming the stations
along the Main Line…but passing a lake and then a stream doesn't help matters at all.
At Wellsworth, Gordon stops to allow passengers on and off. Henry arrives
and cheekily notes that Gordon is running very late. Gordon is determined to make up time now, and refuses to stop at the
next water tower he comes across. By the time he passes through Maron, Gordon
is struggling to keep going. But hurrying uses up what little water he has left, and he finally grinds to a halt, completely
out of steam.
A little while later, on his way with the Local, Thomas notices a trail
of water on the line. Then when he's flagged down by Gordon's Driver, the two engines realise what had happened - Gordon has
a leak in his boiler from where the stone had knocked into him.
Thomas kindly offers to take Gordon's passengers in Annie and Clarabel
while Paxton, passing by with another stone train, offers to push Gordon to the Steamworks to be repaired. Gordon doesn't
mind Thomas taking his passengers, but he feels too proud to be pushed by Paxton - and refuses to release his brakes. But
then realising that he won't be mended this way, Gordon gives in and allows Paxton to shunt him to the Works, complaining
all the way.
In no time, Gordon is mended and back at work. All the same, the
other engines tease him for letting his boiler run dry. Gordon is not amused, but is much more careful to take better care
of his boiler in future.
17.5 – Calm Down Caitlin
Written by Davey Moore
At the end of a busy day, Caitlin picks up the last of
her passengers at Ulfstead Castle to take back to the Mainland. But when she tries to leave, one of her tender brakes jam
suddenly. Caitlin and her passengers are left waiting and waiting while Caitlin's crew try to mend the problem. By the time
they're able to leave it's very late indeed - and at Vicarstown Bridge, Caitlin is met by the Fat Controller and a gang of
workmen. The bridge is closed for repairs, which mean that Caitlin will have to spend the night on Sodor. The passengers are
upset, but Caitlin is delighted. However, the Fat Controller tells Caitlin that
people are trying to sleep, so she should try to be as quiet as possible.
After dropping her passengers off at Kellsthorpe, Caitlin
hurries off excitedly to Tidmouth Sheds. By now, she is far too excited to remember what the Fat Controller told her…When
she arrives at Tidmouth Sheds, all the engines are fast asleep - until Caitlin arrives, blowing her whistle loudly, before
having a spin on the turntable. After explaining that she's spending the night on Sodor, Gordon grumpily reminds her to stay
quiet. But Caitlin is too excited to sleep and continues to chatter happily until Percy arrives. As soon as Thomas sleepily
explains about Caitlin, Percy offers her his shed berth for the night.
Caitlin is suddenly curious - and asks where Percy would
go. Thomas explains that Percy is taking the Mail Train, which gives Gordon an idea…he suggests to Caitlin that she
should take his mail run for the night, which Caitlin immediately agrees. At
first, Percy is reluctant to give up his job, but for the sake of the other engines, he agrees - only warning Caitlin to be
considerate as people are still trying to sleep. But Caitlin is still too excited to listen, and clatters noisily along with
the Post Train, disturbing people living by the line side…
In no time, Caitlin finishes her run and returns to the
sheds, chattering happily about how exciting the Mail Run had been. The other engines become annoyed again, until Henry finds
another way to get rid of Caitlin - by offering his early morning train, The Flying Kipper. As Percy had done, he tries to
warn her to be quiet and considerate…but doesn't get the chance to finish as Caitlin steams noisily away again. Fuelled
with total enthusiasm, Caitlin roars through Wellsworth and the Safari Park, disturbing all the animals there. And she whistles
a very loud "Good Morning" as the dawn rises over the horizon.
By the time Caitlin returns to Tidmouth Sheds, she his
extremely tired - much to Gordon and Henry's delight! Caitlin is about to get some sleep when the Fat Controller arrives.
He scolds Percy and Henry for being too noisy with their trains last night. The two engines admit that they didn't pull the
Main nor the Kipper, which leads to Caitlin owning up and apologising for not listening to his warning of being quiet. The
Fat Controller isn't cross anymore and thanks Caitlin for owning up - quickly adding that the Vicarstown Bridge has been mended
and she can prove herself Really Useful by taking her passengers home. Caitlin puffs quietly and calmly away to fetch them.
But she is so tired
after staying up all night that, while waiting at the Vicarstown Bridge, she immediately falls asleep! She doesn't sleep for
long when Conner steams past and wakes her up with a loud whistle! Caitlin puffs away, wondering if staying up late had been
such a good idea after all…
17.6 – Steamie Stafford
Written by Laura Beaumont & Paul Larson
On their way to the Shunting Yards, Thomas and Stafford pass by
some children at Wellsworth Station. The children cheer as Thomas puffs past, but they're puzzled when Stafford rolls silently
by. They admit that they find it strange that Stafford doesn't make any noise at all. Stafford is upset when he hears this.
At the Shunting Yards, Stafford waits to collect his trucks of
timber. He watches Thomas and Percy shunting close by and, listening intently, wishes he could make steam engine sounds too.
When Thomas and Percy learn why Stafford looks so miserable, they decide to teach him how to make "steamie" sounds just like
them. Stafford listens carefully to their puffing and chuffing, and imitates them as best he could before setting off to the
Docks with his timber.
Stafford practices his "puffing" and "chuffing" all along the
line, and is pleased to see everyone likes his new sounds. At the Docks, while his timber is unloaded, Stafford learns a new
sound as Henry pulls in and lets off steam loudly. So now Stafford learns how to "wheesh" as he heads back to the yard. On his way he passes Gordon, who whistles a friendly greeting. Stafford is intrigued
by his whistle, and decides to imitate that as well. He meets the children at Edward's Station again, and this time they're
impressed by Stafford's steam engine sounds, which pleases him no end.
Stafford returns to the yard to have his battery recharged when
the Fat Controller arrives with his next job. Farmer McColl needs his help right away, and as soon as he is ready "Steamie
Stafford" sets off with some livestock wagons, still making his new steam engine sounds.
As he draws up to Farmer McColl's farm, Stafford shows off his sounds with a loud "WHOO WHOO!" This only frightens
his herd of lambs, who were grazing nearby. Farmer McColl is very cross - he asked for Stafford especially because he was
meant to be a quiet engine and wouldn't scare his sheep. Stafford feels ashamed
as the Farmer and his Dog head off to find their missing sheep, and decides that sometimes it's best to be a quiet electric
engine after all.
While he's thinking this, Stafford suddenly hears the lambs bleating
far off. But Farmer McColl has gone the wrong way, so Stafford quietly rolls away to find the Farmer and tells him where the
lambs are. This time, Stafford approaches the lambs as quietly as he can, and soon they are safely loaded in their trucks
where they're taken to their new field further on. Farmer McColl is very pleased for Stafford's help.
That evening, Stafford meets Thomas and Percy again on his way
home. The two tank engines are surprised that Stafford isn't "puffing, chuffing, wheeshing or whooing". Stafford proudly tells
them that he's not making those noises anymore: he's more than content being himself as he heads happily (and quietly) back
to his shed.
17.7 – Henry’s Hero
Written by Laura Beaumont & Paul Larson
After filling up on coal for the day, Henry and Hiro
collect a long train of stone from Ffarquhar Quarry, which they must deliver to the Docks. But along the way, Henry notices
dark smoke billowing from Hiro's funnel. Stopping at a signal, Hiro notices dark smoke from Henry's funnel too. Duck, passing
by with some empty coal trucks, notes that they must have taken on some bad coal that arrived; he's been sent to collect some
fresh coal to replace it. Henry feels that they should wait until the fresh coal
has arrived, but Hiro reminds him that they still have a job to do - they must try to be Really Useful, despite the bad coal.
All the same, Henry is worried that the bad coal might damage his workings, and decides to return to the sheds to wait for
the new coal to arrive.
Hiro is determined to carry on alone, but finds that
he cannot manage the heavy train by himself. He decides to leave half of the trucks in a siding and come back for the rest
later on. As Hiro carries on with half his load, he meets Gordon at Edward's
Station. Gordon complains of the smell from Hiro's dirty smoke, suggesting that he should have his firebox cleaned out. Hiro
hasn't got time, and carries on to finish his important delivery.
When he pulls into Brendam Docks, Hiro's firebox starts
to make a strange clanking sound, much to Thomas' amusement. Hiro hasn't got time to worry about that, and hurries back to
collect the rest of his trucks. But along the way, his smelly smoke and strange noises cause quite a to-do wherever he goes.
All the same, Hiro finishes his stone delivery in good time. Almost before he's
uncoupled from the trucks, the Fat Controller turns up with another job. Hiro is to collect some iron girders from the smelter's
yard, and will need Henry's help as they are very heavy. Hiro tries to tell the Fat Controller about Henry and the bad coal,
but hesitates when the Fat Controller informs him that the ship leaves at four o'clock and the delivery is urgent. So Hiro
promises to do his best and hurries away to find Henry. It's only when he's leaving that the Fat Controller notices Hiro's
At Tidmouth Sheds, Hiro tells Henry that he's managed
to deliver all the stone but now needs his help with his next job. Henry is amazed that Hiro was able to keep going even with
the bad coal. Hiro admits that it wasn't easy, but sometimes "you have to keep on puffing". Motivated, Henry agrees to help
out this time.
Soon, Henry and Hiro set off to the Docks with their
flatbeds of girders. Suddenly, Henry's firebox begins making clanking noises too, but Hiro urges Henry that they must carry
on or risk missing the ship. As the two engines pound up Gordon's Hill, Hiro makes a very strange noise - and stops altogether.
Hiro's firebox is completely blocked and he can't make steam. He feels disappointed…but Henry, still filled with confidence,
is determined to "keep on puffing". With a huge effort, he begins to slowly push Hiro and the heavy girders by himself.
Thanks to Henry, they
reach the Docks just in time. The dockworkers cheer for Henry, and the Fat Controller congratulates the two engines for their
hard work. Hiro admits they would never had made if it hadn't been for Henry, and Henry adds he wouldn't have carried on if
it hadn't been for Hiro. Soon, Henry and Hiro have their fireboxes cleaned out
and filed with fresh new coal. Henry is now confident that they can keep going even with bad coal…but Hiro laughs and
admits that it's much nicer to keep puffing with good, clean coal, too.
17.8 – Luke’s New Friend
by Davey Moore
One evening, after a busy day
at the Blue Mountain Quarry, Luke and Rheneas decide to have a friendly race to the stone crushing shed. But Rheneas has to
stop suddenly as something strays onto his line. Rusty and Sir Handel tell them that the animal is a young deer. This makes
Rheneas cross; animals don't belong in a quarry, so far as he's concerned. Luke teases him for being scared. That night, Luke is too excited to sleep for work the next day, and spends the night in a nearby tunnel.
Suddenly, he sees the deer again. Now everything is peaceful and quiet, the deer curiously approaches Luke…but is startled
by Owen's loud snoring. Luke is amazed by his meeting, and falls asleep not expecting to see the deer again.
But the next morning, when
Luke's Driver and Fireman arrive for work, they're all surprised to find the deer fast asleep in Luke's cab. Rheneas can hardly
believe it; he tells Luke again that the quarry is no place for a wild animal, but young Luke is sure that his new friend
would get used to it. Rheneas is not convinced… With the deer still in his cab, Luke tries to puff quietly around the
quarry. But every loud, sudden noise frightens the timid animal. A loud explosion finally has the deer scarping across the
quarry in fright, where it takes an unexpected ride on one of Owen's platforms. Owen agrees with Rheneas that the little deer
wouldn't fit in a loud quarry. Luke agrees and makes a decision…everyone should try to work more quietly.
Although the engines are willing
to help Luke as best they can, they find it very difficult trying to work quietly. In fact, it causes Peter Sam to forget
his bearings and bumps into Rusty. This causes a series of loud noises, which startles the deer even more. Merrick and Rheneas
tell Luke that they can't work quietly and be Really Useful at the same time; it's impossible with the young deer around.
Skarloey has the solution, and suggests that Luke could take a load of gravel up to Ulfstead Castle - at least there he could
still be Really Useful away from the quarry.
with the deer reunited in his cab, Luke sets off. He finds the grounds of Ulfstead Castle so peaceful and quiet. The young
deer is happiest to be away from the noisy quarry and, to Luke's surprise, leaps out of his cab and towards another deer close
by. Luke understands that Rheneas was right, and allows his new friend to bound away across the park. Although upset, he knows
that the deer would be much happier in the castle park. All the same, his friends
are happy to see him return to the Blue Mountain Quarry, with Skarloey adding that Luke could still visit his friend the next
time he takes gravel to the castle. Best of all, Luke is glad to be working noisily and busily at the quarry again!
17.9 – The Switch
Written by Davey Moore
One day, when Luke makes a
delivery to Ulfstead Castle, he meets the Earl of Sodor and his private engine Millie for the first time. When Mille is asked
to show Luke where the stone must go, the two begin to talk about one another - Luke tells Millie about the hard work he has
to do at the Quarry, while Millie remarks that she has hard work too, helping the gangers and taking visitors around the castle.
Their conversation almost becomes an argument until Luke has an idea - the two of them could swap jobs for the day and see
how the other works. The Earl thinks it a great idea, and makes arrangements
with the Thin Controller to carry out the "Switch".
Millie arrives at the Blue
Mountain Quarry to start work, but Rheneas has doubts over the idea as Millie struggles with some trucks. Meanwhile, at Ulfstead Castle, Luke is to take some supplies to the Groundskeeper. Confident with the light
load he is given, Luke sets off to the Groundskeeper's Lodge. But he has difficulty finding it with all the greenery around
him; everything looks the same. And to his surprise, he realises he made the entire loop of the estate without finding the
lodge at all…!
Back at the Quarry, Millie
soon has the hang of shifting the heavy trucks, but stalls when she comes to a tunnel - she's used to wide open space, not
confined ones. Rheneas offers to help push her through, but Millie is determined to do it alone. She pucks up courage and
charges straight through, whistling with delight. Suddenly, she finds tunnels lots of fun!
At the Castle, Luke begins his next job, taking visitors on a tour of the castle grounds. When he comes across a deer
on the line, he blows his whistle loudly to move it aside. Luke thinks he did the right thing, but the passengers are disappointed…
As the day wears on, the two
engines come across more difficulties: Millie becomes agitated with the constant dust surrounding her…while Luke travels
too fast on his tour of the castle, leaving the passengers feeling giddy afterward! But
gradually, the two engines become accustomed to their different jobs - Mille doesn't mind getting dusty and realises how strong
she actually is, whereas Luke learns to take things more slowly to give his passengers a more comfortable ride.
work, Millie and Luke meet up again. While they both enjoyed the "switch", they also admit they'd be glad to return home.
And so Luke and Millie return to their own jobs, with grateful understanding for one another.
17.10 – Not Now, Charlie
Written by Davey Moore
Charlie loves telling jokes - some engines enjoy them,
others don't, while some can't help but smile anyway. Charlie becomes especially funny one day when he tells Thomas, Henry
and Percy a series of elephant jokes.
A few days later, while on his way to collect some trucks,
Charlie gets a shock when he comes across a real elephant wandering on the line. Realising it might be in danger, Charlie
tries to "shoo" it away by whistling loudly. But the elephant takes no notice, forcing Charlie to look for help. Charlie meets Thomas, then Percy and then Henry, and tries to warn them that an elephant is loose on the
line. The three engines don't believe him; they think it's another of Charlie's jokes and each in turn cry out "Not Now,
Charlie!" as they return to their jobs.
As he makes his way to the Docks, even Charlie begins
to doubt whether he saw the elephant or not. But when he approaches the Animal Park, everything becomes clear - Charlie sees
that a fallen tree has knocked down one of the walls of the Elephant Enclosure…
At the Docks, Charlie tries to warn everyone about the
elephant again - this news startles Cranky, but the engines all laugh. They still think that Charlie is only joking. Charlie
realises that he needs to find someone who will take him seriously, and so heads off to the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre. There he finds Harold the Helicopter, who believes what Charlie reports and takes
off into the air to find the missing elephant. The park keepers begin work mending the damaged wall as Charlie sets off with
the Zoo Keeper to search on the ground.
At last, Harold finds the elephant near Brendam Docks.
Charlie arrives with a special truck for the keepers to load the elephant into. With the elephant safety aboard, Charlie sets
off back to the Animal Park. On his way he passes through the Docks again. Thomas, Percy, Henry and even Cranky are amazed
when they realise that Charlie's story had been true. As the elephant is led
back into his mended enclosure, the Fat Controller praises Charlie for being a Really Useful Engine. Charlie learns that no
one would take him seriously if he told jokes all the time, and vows to never tell another joke again…unfortunately,
it doesn't last for very long…!
17.11 – The Lost Puff
by Davey Moore
Fat Controller warns the engines that a section beyond the Big
Station has buckled under the hot sun - until it can be replaced,
they must go carefully over the bumpy track.
Paxton is momentarily distracted by a workman trying to catch a duck
close by. The Fat Controller firmly reminds Paxton to keep his mind
on the job before sending him to deliver some trucks to the shunting
tries to focus on his work, but as he travels over the bumpy track,
he finds the bouncing about fun, and quickly forgets the Fat
Thomas arrives, Paxton encourages him to have a turn. Thomas finds it
fun, too - but he travels too fast around Knapford Bend and bumps
straight into Toby, who is taking on water at the water tower.
Thomas' cab and firefox are soaked through. Ashamed and worried,
Paxton hurries away to the yards.
on, while collecting more trucks, Paxton overhears Toby talking to
Stafford about his accident, and how Thomas has "lost his puff".
Thinking it to be a serious matter, Paxton becomes determined to put
things right by finding it…only trouble is he doesn't know what a
"puff" looks like!
a plume of smoke in the distance, Paxton heads towards it, believing
it to be the lost puff. But the steam is coming from Gordon, passing
by with the Express.
Paxton sees what he's sure is Thomas's "puff" high above
him. He climbs the steep hill towards Ulfstead Castle to get as close
to it as possible. But when he arrives, a very puzzled Stephen points
out that it's just a cloud!
feels very silly as he hurries away to continue the search. But then
he remembers someone who knows all about steam engines…immediately,
Paxton rushes over to the Steamworks, where he asks Victor if he has
any "spare puff".
is very puzzled too, until Toby pulls in and hears the whole story.
Toby laughs and explains to Paxton that "puff" is just
another word for "steam" - he assess the young diesel that
Thomas will be all right once his firebox has dried out.
enough, when Paxton arrives back at Knapford, he is delighted to see
Thomas in steam again. Paxton decides to try and pay more attention
in future…which is easier said than done.
17.12 – The Thomas Way
by Laura Beaumont & Paul Larson
rescuing some climbers from a high cliff, Harold's rotor blades
suddenly jam near Callan Castle. Unable to take off, the Fat
Controllers sends for Duck to bring Harold back to the Sodor Search
and Rescue Centre by rail. Harold points out that he would be too
tall and wide to fit within the loading gauge, but the Fat Controller
has thought of that – he has also assigned Thomas to be Duck's back
engine, and to mark sure they won't come across anywhere too narrow
for them to travel through.
is grateful for the engines' help, but he longs to be flying again.
Thomas suggests, in a bid to cheer him up, that they could show
Harold the sights of Sodor on the ground. But Duck reminds Thomas
are only two ways of doing things – The Great Western Way, and the
And the Great Western Way is to get Harold back to the Rescue Centre
directly and promptly to be repaired.
becomes annoyed with Duck when his suggestions of visiting the Animal
Park and the Suspension Bridge are quickly shot down. Duck points out
that none of those sights are along their line, and that have a job
to do anyway.
Thomas decides to play a trick on Duck. He tells him that they have
to collect the engineer from Knapford station to mend Harold. Unaware
that this isn't true, Duck leads Thomas and Harold to the Big
is very impressed when he sees Knapford from an engine's perspective.
But suddenly, Thomas realises that Harold is too tall to fit under
the station roof, and screams at Duck to stop - which they do so just
in time. But Harold is also too wide, blocking Gordon and the Express
from leaving the station.
Fat Controller is surprised to see Thomas, Duck and Harold at the
station. Duck tries to explain that they've come to pick up the
engineer - only for the Fat Controller to reveal that the engineer is
already waiting at the Rescue Centre…
with Thomas, Duck becomes more determined to stick to "The Great
Western Way". As they approach a tunnel, Thomas tries to warn
him that it isn't wide enough. Duck thinks its another trick and
takes no notice…but sees too late that Thomas was right when
Harold's blades become wedge against the tunnel walls.
in the tunnel, the engines are unable to continue their journey until
Workmen arrive to free Harold. The Fat Controller is very cross at
the damage Thomas and Duck have caused.
they manage to pull Harold free, the two engines make up and decide
to work together again. Duck wonders how they would reach the Rescue
Centre without going through anymore tunnels, until Thomas suggests
that they take "The Thomas Way".
Thomas takes over the front of the train along a route of his choice,
which is longer but doesn't have any tunnels. And with Duck keeping
an eye out, they finally reach the Search and Rescue Centre without
further trouble. Harold thanks them for their help as he's unloaded
their way home, Duck admits that there might be three
ways of doing things – the Great Western way, the Wrong way and the
Thomas way. Although he quickly adds that "the
Great Western Way is usually the best!"
17.13 – The Phantom Express
by Laura Beaumont & Paul Larson
foggy evening, Percy and James are preparing to take some trucks up
to Ulfstead Castle. Percy is excited as it would be his very first
mail delivery there. James decided to have some fun with Percy – he
warns him to be on the lookout for the "Phantom Express", a
ghost train who "rattles the rails", blaring his ghostly
whistle. Thomas tries to assure Percy that ghosts don't exist, but
Percy is still nervous as he heads off to the castle with the mail
Ulfstead Castle, Percy waits while his Driver unloads the mail sacks
– suddenly he hears a strange puffing noise from a dark tunnel.
Percy thinks it's the Phantom…but it turns out to be Stephen. When
he hears about the "Phantom Express", Stephen reassures
Percy that he's never seen any ghosts around the estate.
after, James arrives with coal for the castle fires. Percy and
Stephen tell James that they don't believe his "ghost"
exists at all. This makes James cross, and stubbornly tells them that
he "saw" the Phantom Express himself.
they hear an eerie noise close by. It's only an owl hooting, but
James cheekily remarks that it's the whistle of the Phantom Express.
Stephen isn't so sure now, but tells Percy that they should meet up
after they had finished their jobs just in case.
decides to have some more fun while he's waiting. He rolls into a
dark siding next to a stack of pipes. Unseen by Stephen, James
whistles loudly though the pipes, which make a loud, spooky sound.
Stephen is so startled that he reverses quickly back to the castle –
but he doesn't see that the drawbridge has been raised. Stephen's
Driver and Fireman jump clear as he falls off the bridge into the dry
Percy finishes his mail run and is looking for Stephen. Very quietly,
James creeps up behind Percy and starts moaning and groaning loudly.
Thinking it's the Phantom Express, Percy hurries back to the castle.
But he doesn't see the drawbridge either and he falls into the moat
alongside Stephen. Stephen dryly remarks that Percy has found the
decides he's had enough fun, and tries to find Percy and Stephen. But
as he puffs around the castle grounds, he realises that he's
completely alone – very soon, he starts to believe his own ghost
drawbridge is lowered to let James cross, hiding Percy and Stephen
from view. The two engines decide to whistle for help. James,
terrified, thinks it's the Phantom Express and rushes away from
meets the Fat Controller at the dairy. In a fluster, he tells them
that Percy and Stephen might have been caught by the Phantom Express.
The Fat Controller knows that there are no such things as ghosts, but
agrees to go to the castle to find out what's happened.
they arrive, the Fat Controller hears the "ghostly whistling"
and orders the drawbridge to be raised. Lo and behold, they find the
two missing engines still in the moat. Percy explains what happened,
forcing James to admit it had been his fault.
Rocky rescues Percy and Stephen, the Fat Controller punishes James by
giving him Percy's mail run for a whole month. Percy and Stephen
jokingly wish him luck, hoping he doesn't meet the "Phantom
17.14 – Percy's Lucky Day
by Davey Moore
is having a bad day. Whilst delivering the mail at Wellsworth
Station, he mistakes a passenger's green handkerchief for the Guard's
flag, and starts away before the mail sacks are properly unloaded.
One of the mail sacks split open and letters spill out across the
platform. Bill and Ben, passing by with a delivery of pumpkins, laugh
rudely at him.
on, trying to make up for lost time, Percy suddenly comes across some
spilt pumpkins in his path. Unable to stop he runs right over them,
not only winding up with sticky wheels but spilling more of his cargo
onto the track. He's later than ever while his crew try to clear the
and Hiro feel sorry for Percy, and kindly remark that he's just
having some bad luck. This makes Percy wonder if he has become a
the Fat Controller scolds Bill and Ben for carelessly dropping some
of their pumpkins on the Main Line. To ensure that it won't happen
again, he reminds the twins that next time one of them would act as
back engine, amidst their protests.
Percy finishes his mail run at Ulfstead Castle, he tells Stephen
about his unlucky day. Stephen points out that some engines would
carry a lucky charm if they were worried about bad luck. In fact, he
offers Percy his own charm, a horseshoe, to help turn his luck
around. Percy is delighted and suddenly feels much better. But as he
puffs away, he jolts roughly, causing the horseshoe to fall off his
morning, Percy happily does his day's work without any accidents. He
does such a good job that the Fat Controller entrusts him with
delivering an important package to the Duchess of Boxford, which he
does so without incident.
happily returns to the yard. But on the way, he sees Bill and Ben in
trouble – Ben has derailed near an embankment, and Bill isn't
strong enough to rescue him on his own. Percy offers to help,
confident that he would manage with his lucky horseshoe…until Bill
points out that it isn't there. Suddenly worried, Percy feels he
won't be able to help without making things worse.
when Ben slips closer to the edge, Percy decides to try and help
anyway, lucky charm or no. Using all his strength, he helps Bill pull
Ben back on the rails and to safety. The Fat Controller arrives on
board Winston in time to see everything, and congratulates Percy for
being a Really Useful Engine.
the Fat Controller to deal with Bill and Ben, Percy hurries back to
Ulfstead Castle. Sadly, he tells Stephen that he lost his lucky
charm…until Stephen explains that he dropped the horseshoe before
leaving the estate – he never had it in the first place all through
his "lucky day". Percy realises that he didn't need the
horseshoe to feel lucky, just positive thinking.
fact, Stephen admits that he doesn't believe in lucky charms at all –
he only made it up in the hope that it would make Percy feel better.
And Percy admits that it did.
17.15 – Bill or Ben?
by Andrew Brenner
delivering trucks along the Main Line, Bill and Ben are startled when
a huge Express Engine thunders past. Further on, they met Thomas, who
tells them that the new engine was Connor: his job is to ferry
visitors to and from Ulfstead Castle. He assures them that Connor is
really quite friendly, but Bill and Ben think otherwise. They believe
that all Big Engines are show-offs. And on their way home, they
decide to play a trick on Connor…
his next visit, Connor meets Bill for the first time near the
Vicarstown Bridge. Bill cheekily bets that he could beat Connor in a
race to Ulfstead Castle. Connor doesn't think it would be fair, but
agrees anyway to prove his point.
not long before Connor leaves Bill far behind…but when he arrives
at Ulfstead Castle, he's very surprised when he sees who he thinks is
Bill already waiting. But it's actually Ben, who urges Connor in
another race back to the bridge.
takes no chances on the return journey, going as fast as he possibly
could. Determined to beat "Bill", he overshoots a red
signal and nearly collides with Henry, pulling out on his line ahead.
Unluckily, the Fat Controller and Winston witness Conner's incident
close by. Just as the Fat Controller scolds Connor for his
recklessness…Bill and Ben turn up, surprising them both!
soon as he learns what had happened, the Fat Controller decides to
put an end to the twins' tricks for good. He sends Bill to the
Steamworks to be repainted blue, remembering to warn Victor not to
fall for any of their tricks. Now Bill and Ben are different colours,
everyone would know who is who. The twins aren't happy now that they
can't play tricks anymore. But soon, Ben has an idea of how they
could still have some fun…
day, at a time when Victor is away, Ben arrives at the Steamworks –
masquerading as Bill, he declares that he's arrived for his repaint.
Kevin is certain that they repainted him yesterday, but when "Bill"
threatens to tell the Fat Controller on him if he doesn't, Kevin
decides to quickly carry out his "orders".
Victor returns to the Steamworks, it's already too late – Bill and
Ben are the same colour again, this time both blue!
it is that Bill goes to find Connor and cajoles him into another
race. Connor, remembering that one of the twins is now blue, is
certain he would win the race this time. But he is completely unaware
that Ben has had a repaint too…!
17.16 – Too Many Fire Engines
by Andrew Brenner
is taking the Fat Controller and a group of Railway Inspectors around
the Island. Their last stop is the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre.
The Fat Controller proudly shows off Belle and Flynn's fire-fighting
facilities. The three Inspectors are impressed, but then question if
it seems necessary to have two
fire-fighting locomotives – the Fat Controller remains adamant that
it is, much to Flynn and Belle's relief.
then, Butch arrives with news of a shed fire near Wellsworth. Belle
and Flynn head off at once – but knowing that it's quicker to
Wellsworth by road, Flynn makes use of his road wheels.
as he nears Wellsworth, Flynn suddenly suffers from a flat tyre. All
he can do is watch helplessly as Belle arrives shortly after and puts
the fire out by herself. The Railway Inspectors all congratulate
Belle's performance, while Flynn is towed back to the rescue centre,
disappointed. Butch cheers Flynn up, encouraging him that he'll do
better next time.
few days later, Harold the Helicopter spots a forest fire near
Alresdale End. Flynn hurries away to the fire, this time taking the
rails to avoid another flat tyre. But once again, Belle reaches the
fire before him and puts it out just as Flynn arrives on scene.
Flynn's hopes shrink as he sadly returns to the Rescue Centre,
thinking that perhaps the Railway Inspectors were right…
days later, Ulfstead Castle is holding a Fireworks display, and
Thomas tells Flynn that the Fat Controller wants him to be on guard
there in case of fire. But Flynn is still feeling depressed; he feels
that Belle would do a better job than him. So that night, Belle is
sent to Ulfstead Castle to watch out for fire.
everyone is enjoying the fireworks, Flynn is left all alone in his
shed, sulking. Suddenly Butch arrives, informing Flynn that he's
needed urgently to put out a fire. Flynn is reluctant at first, he's
sure that Belle could handle it herself…until Butch points out that
the fire is at Brendam Docks, not Ulfstead Castle. Belle can't leave,
and Flynn is the only fire engine available. His confidence restored,
Flynn leaves at once.
arrives in time to help the Dock Workers put out the burning shed.
His job done, Flynn proudly heads home, relieved in the knowing that the Fat
need two fire engines after all.
17.17 – No Snow for Thomas
by Laura Beaumont & Paul Larson
a cold winter's day, and all the engines have been ordered to wear
their snowploughs for the forthcoming snowstorm. But Thomas doesn't
like his snowplough, which is heavy and uncomfortable for him. So he
decides to play a trick on his Driver – he tells him that the
snowplough wouldn't fit properly. The Driver decides to remove it and
leave it on a siding to collect later. But when Thomas returns to the
shed that evening, he pretends he can't find his snowplough.
the night it snows heavily, and in the morning all the engines set
off with their snowploughs at the ready – but as Thomas hasn't got
his, the Fat Controller orders him to stay in the shed until it can
be found. Meantime, Emily is ordered to clear Thomas's Branch Line
is delighted not to have his snowplough and enjoys staying in his
nice warm shed, while Emily puffs crossly back and forth along the
Branch Line, grumbling about the snow. When she comes across some
nearby children, she sees how much fun they're having in the snow –
building snowmen, sledging down the hill – and decides to have some
fun clearing the snowdrifts herself.
fact, she has so much fun that she finishes the job in no time. The
Fat Controller is very pleased, and lets her take Annie and Clarabel
out for the passenger run.
at the shed, Thomas eventually becomes bored, and longs to have
something to do. When he sees Emily coming to collect Annie and
Clarabel, and hears how much fun she had clearing the snow, he
suddenly feels left out. Determined to not be left alone any longer,
he decides to head out to the siding where his Driver left his
the search is a difficult one as everything looks the same in the
snow. As Thomas puffs along his Branch Line it starts to snow again.
The tracks become blocked and, inevitably, Thomas gets stuck. Cold
and lonely, it feels like ages before at last Emily comes across
Thomas with the Fat Controller on board.
is sorry for disobeying orders as he explains that he was trying to
find his snowplough – only for Emily to add that they found his
snowplough and were looking for Thomas to tell him.
soon as Thomas is rescued from the drift, his Driver fixes his
snowplough on once more. The Fat Controller is not happy about Thomas
"hiding" his snowplough, and orders him to clear the tracks
for Emily the day after. But Thomas promises to always wear his
snowplough every winter – and later on Emily takes him to where the
children are playing, just to show him how much fun snow can really
17.18 – Santa's Little Engine
by Andrew Brenner
Earl of Sodor, Sir Robert Norramby, is hosting the Ulfstead Christmas
Fair up at the castle. He asks his old friend, the Fat Controller, if
he could dress up as Father Christmas on the last day as a treat for
the children. The Fat Controller is delighted to…until the Earl
adds that he wants him to ride in an old-fashioned sleigh, hauled by
Fat Controller is suddenly worried, he doesn't know how to drive such
a sleigh and tries to find a way around it. He takes his Inspector
Car, Winston, to the Steamworks where Victor and Kevin try their best
to make him look as close to a sleigh as possible. The final result
isn't very convincing, much to Winston's great embarrassment, and the
Earl decides to go ahead with his original plan.
next morning, Thomas collects the old sleigh from the Docks and heads
off to Ulfstead Castle. But frost has made the rails slippery, and
Thomas has a hard time climbing the steep hill up to the castle.
arrives safely and the Workmen unload the sleigh just as Millie pulls
up with the Fat Controller in Santa Claus guise. His heart sinks at
the sight of the sleigh and unwillingly clambers in as Sir Robert
orders the men to collect the reindeer.
comes trouble – as Thomas backs out of the way, the workmen realise
that part of the sleigh is in his path. Thomas tries to stop but
slips on the ice, and bumps into the sleigh. It slides down the hill
and settles onto the rails, with the Fat Controller still on board!
goes after it as the Fat Controller and the sleigh slide helplessly
down the hill, and along the track leading to the old mine. As Thomas
hurries to the rescue, low tree branches catch onto his smokebox and
as the Earl cautiously wonders about the Fat Controller, Stephen
arrives with news that the children are waiting for Santa Claus. Then
to everyone's delight and relief, they look to see Thomas puffing
back up the hill towing the sleigh behind with a very thankful "Santa
Claus", unhurt but indignant of his ordeal.
Earl laughs as he realises that the tree branches make Thomas look
like a reindeer. To finish it off, he sticks a large red cup onto
Thomas's nose – dubbing him "Thomas
the Red-Nosed Engine!"
And smiling broadly, Thomas gently hauls the Fat Controller towards
the fair to wish all the children a very Merry Christmas.
17.19 – The Missing Christmas Decorations
by Andrew Brenner
is looking forward to Christmas. All across Sodor, the stations and
sheds are brightly decorated. Only Diesel 10 isn't happy – the
Dieselworks have a few Christmas decorations but not, as discovered
by Norman, as grand as those at Tidmouth Sheds. Still up on his
hoist, Sidney tries to cheer up his friends by passing himself off as
so, Diesel 10 decides to "inherit" some new decorations for
their shed, and orders an unwilling Paxton to come along and help him
evening at Tidmouth sheds, the steam engines are appalled to find
that their Christmas Tree has gone. They assume that someone must has
stolen it, and someone had…
the Dieselworks, Diesel 10 finally succeeds in setting up their
"newly acquired" Christmas Tree before deciding that some
Christmas lights would be just the thing.
next evening, the steam engines arrive home to discover that someone
has now stolen their Christmas lights. None of them knows who it
the Diesels begin to get into the Christmas spirit. Diesel 10 even
cheekily hangs the lights on Sidney instead of the Christmas Tree.
He's decided to decorate that with garlands instead…and knows just
where he and Paxton can find some…
which point, Paxton puts his foot down. He doesn't want to steal
anymore decorations. And anyway, the Fat Controller has asked him to
collect a truck from the Shunting Yards.
the next day, when the yard is empty, Diesel 10 slips towards
Tidmouth Sheds alone to steal the garlands himself. He grabs hold of
it with his claw just as Percy comes out of his hiding place to find
the thief. Despite being caught, Diesel 10 decides to make a run for
it anyway, and thunders away with the garlands as Percy bravely gives
along the Main Line, Percy whistles the message to the other engines
he meets, and very soon the members of the Steam Team chase after
Diesel 10 all the way back to the Dieselworks. There, to their
outrage, they find their missing Christmas decorations.
10 complains that it's unfair that they should get better
decorations, but Thomas points out that the Fat Controller likes ALL
his engines, Steam and Diesel combined. As if to solidify this,
Paxton arrives with the truck from the Fat Controller – which is
full of brand new Christmas decorations just for the Dieselworks. At
this, Diesel 10 falls into abashed silence…
steam engines collect their own decorations – which are rather
battered and broken now – and head home. Only Percy stays at the
Dieselworks for a little longer with something on his mind. Curiously
he asks about Sidney, and is shocked to learn that he's been "hanging
about" on his hoist for over two years, waiting for his new
wheels. Sidney can't remember how long it must have been as he
assumes that the order must have been misplaced. So on his way home,
Percy goes to find the Fat Controller…
next evening, the steam engines at Tidmouth Sheds hear an unfamiliar
horn, and are amazed to find Sidney rolling happily towards them.
He's come to say "thank you" to Percy for giving him the
best Christmas present ever – his new wheels. Now he can finally be
a Really Useful Engine again.
and Emily think that the Diesels didn't deserve it after stealing
their decorations, but Percy reminds them all that Christmas is a
time for kindness and giving to others. Sidney agrees, as do the
other Diesels, who decide to offer their decorations to make up for
the ones they've ruined. They're content now with brightening up
their Dieselworks with Sidney, his new wheels…and a spare set of
17.20 – The Frozen Turntable
by Andrew Brenner
winter's evening, the engines discover that the turntable at Tidmouth
Sheds has frozen up, pointing to one engine berth only. After
discussing the matter, they all agree that Percy should be allowed
the single available berth as he would be out all night with the Mail
Train, while the rest find other sheds for themselves.
offers two spare sheds at the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre, but
Gordon turns it down - he's certain that he wouldn't get any sleep if
the emergency alarm suddenly goes off. So James and Emily go instead.
only has room for two engines at the Steamworks. Henry and Edward
accept. but Gordon objects again. Sleeping in the Workshops, he
feels, would make him worry about breaking down for him to get any
sleep at all. Victor reminds Gordon that he still needs to find a
shed for the night to protect him from the cold…but even his
suggestion of an empty shed at Whiff's Waste Dump doesn't persuade
the fussy engine.
and Gordon come across Norman, who offers them a spare shed at the
Dieselworks. Yet again, Gordon refuses as he doesn't like the smell
of their Diesel Fuel. So Thomas follows Norman to the Dieselworks,
leaving Gordon alone. Gordon tries hard to think of another shed that
would be suitable for him to stay in, but every time he draws blank.
the end, Gordon returns to Tidmouth Sheds in the hope that the
turntable might be working now. He is disappointed to find it still
frozen – and decides, rather selfishly, to take the only accessible
berth for himself…
is surprised and cross when he returns much later that night to find
Gordon occupying the empty berth. But as he is too tired to argue,
Percy heads for the empty shed at the Rubbish Dump, while Gordon
happily has Tidmouth sheds all to himself. It isn't quiet for long
when the workmen return to try and mend the turntable again.
long, Gordon's Driver and Fireman arrive early in the morning to get
him ready for the Express. As they begin stoking his fire, they hear
a great cheer outside as the Workmen manage to get the turntable
working. But their victory is short-lived – no sooner does the
turntable turn away from Gordon then it stops again. This time it is
completely iced-up, with Gordon trapped in the sheds!
Fat Controller is not happy when he hears what's happened, and
decides on a fast turnaround: while Percy pulls James's coaches,
James will pull Gordon's Express. Gordon has no choice but to wait in
the shed while the Fat Controller personally supervises the
long last, the turntable is mended properly, and Gordon steams
eagerly out of the shed…only to find that it is evening and the
other engines are returning home. The Fat Controller has decided that
as Gordon hasn't done anything really useful all day, he shall make
up for it tonight by pulling Percy's mail train. Gordon tries to
protest, but the Fat Controller points out that for tonight only "the
tables have turned!"
17.21 – No More Mr Nice Engine
by Laura Beaumont & Paul Larson
brings some trucks of cheese, bread, butter and milk to the Shunting
Yards for Hiro to pick up later. Diesel is also there, as usual
shunting the other trucks too roughly. Despite Edward's warning to be
more careful, Diesel bumps his trucks so hard that some of the milk
churns rattle loose, unnoticed by the workmen.
arrives some time later to collect his trucks, wishing them all "good
morning". Diesel tells Hiro to stop being a "Mr. Nice
Engine" all the time. Troublesome Trucks, in his view, deserve a
good hard bump to teach them manners. But kind-hearted Hiro knows
that that is not the way.
prove his point, as he heads to Knapford Station, Hiro remains kind
and patient despite the trucks' efforts to cause trouble for him,
rattling and bumping for most of the journey.
the Big Station, the Fat Controller happily looks on as the supplies
for the station cafeteria are unloaded from Hiro's train. But when
they came to the trucks of milk churns, they spill out onto the
platform, and all over the Fat Controller's trousers! Hiro is most
that day, Hiro meets Diesel again at the Docks, and tells him what
had happened. Diesel knows it was his own fault that the milk had
been spilt, but blames it on the Troublesome Trucks anyway – and
again tries to convince Hiro he should have shown the trucks who was
boss by biffing them. But Hiro still believes that being polite and
kind is the best way to deal with Troublesome Trucks.
makes Diesel is cross, he thinks that his
way is better and decides to show Hiro how troublesome trucks could
be…so instead of adding a brake van behind Hiro's next train, he
pretends to be Hiro's Back Engine and the Shunters coupled him up.
unaware, Hiro puffs away with his next load of cream and milk,
pulling Diesel along with all the trucks.
they reach Gordon's Hill, Diesel puts his brakes on to help the
trucks hold Hiro back. Hiro has a hard time climbing the hill, and
when he finally reaches the top Diesel urges the trucks to push hard
to make Hiro go too fast down the other side. They thunder through
Edward's Station and past a very surprised Thomas, who is collecting
the "Master of the Railway", Hiro quickly has the trucks
under control and strives harder than ever to remain polite and kind.
But Diesel, determined to prove his point, begins to continually bump
the trucks hard – and they in turn bump into Hiro they near the Big
last, Hiro's patience runs out. He declares "No
More Mr. Nice Engine!"
and gives his trucks a tremendous bump to make them behave. Taken by
surprise, Diesel bumps the last truck so hard that three barrels of
cream fly out and land on the ground near the Fat Controller and
Edward. Cream spills everywhere, once again soaking the Fat
tries to slip away, but Thomas comes up behind to stop him escaping.
Hiro finally realises what Diesel was up to – as Edward mentions
the incident with the milk – and the troublesome engine is forced
to apologise. The Fat Controller agrees that it's high time that
Diesel learnt how to handle Troublesome Trucks properly – and
decides that the best engine to teach him would be Hiro.
17.22 – Away From The Sea
by Andrew Brenner
starts developing engine trouble one day, coughing and spluttering
more than usual. Cranky suggests that he should go to the Dieselworks
to find out what's wrong, but Salty is apprehensive – he fears if
it's something serious, he'll be sent back to the quarry (when he
first arrived on Sodor in Season 6), and might never return to the Docks again.
So he tries to carry on as normal.
few days later, a new engine arrives at Brendam Docks. His name is
Porter, a small tank engine with three domes. He explains to Salty
that that's where his sand boxes are; the steam dome in the middle
keeps the sand dry, ready for pouring if the rails become slippery.
Salty is impressed, but wonders what Porter is doing at the Docks…
Fat Controller soon explains that Porter has arrived to help out. He
has become aware of Salty's engine problems and wants him to go to
the Dieselworks to be repaired while Porter does his work for him.
Salty has no choice but to obey orders - but deep down he worries
that Porter would do his job better than he could, and he might not
be needed at the Docks anymore.
Salty is away, Porter sets to work at the Docks. Eager to learn, he
constantly asks Cranky where things should be kept. While this annoys
Cranky, he soon becomes fond of the chirpy new arrival.
the Dieselworks, Salty shares his concerns with Den and Dart, and
they sympathise for him. They don't think it's right that a Dockside
Diesel should work in a quarry, but they also know that they can't
rush his repairs.
no time, however, Salty's engine is mended and running well once
again. But in his haste to return to the Docks, Salty accidentally
bumps into some fuel trucks and is covered in thick oil. Den and Dart
offer him a wash-down, but Salty declines and quickly leaves, still
covered in oil.
the way, his wheels slip time and again as the oil drips under his
wheels. But Salty uses his own sandboxes to sand the rails and
maintain his grip. At last, he sees the Docks in view and sings
merrily all the way home.
as Salty hurries onto the quayside, his sandboxes run dry and his
oily wheels cause him to slide helplessly along the track. He runs
straight into a shipment of party decorations, but keeps on sliding!
Luckily, Porter is on hand to act as a "stop block" on the
other end, and slows down Salty to avoid an accident.
in confetti and feeling foolish, Salty thanks Porter for helping. But
he's ashamed when the Fat Controller scolds him for causing confusion
and delay, and sadly accepts that he'll be sent away back to the
Fat Controller is surprised – he knows that Salty has been rather
silly today, but he'd sooner send him to have a wash than to the
quarry. He has already decided that Salty and Porter should work
together as they are both still Really Useful.
is delighted, and he and Porter become fast friends – working and
singing happily side by side at the Docks.
17.23 – Thomas's Shortcut
by Andrew Brenner
and Bertie became good friends ever since their "great race",
but sometimes they race purely out of fun – seeing which of them
can get to the level crossing first as they deliver passengers by
road or rail. But recently, Bertie has been winning far more races
than usual, which annoys Thomas.
Bertie lets Thomas in on his secret: the reason is that he has been
rerouted, so his new "shortcut" takes him to the level
night at the shed, Thomas grumbles about how unfair it is that Bertie
should be rerouted. Percy curiously suggests that, if he wants to win
more races against Bertie, perhaps he should try taking a shortcut
too. Thomas seems keen on the idea…
the next morning, Annie and Clarabel are certain that there aren't
any "shortcuts" along Thomas's Branch Line. Thomas feels
sure that there must be one somewhere as they set off together.
first set of points Thomas finds have already been set and hurries
along it…only to find that it's a loop siding, which takes him back
onto the Branch Line! Despite Annie and Clarabel's warnings, Thomas
ventures off at the next junction, which lead him instead to a Goods
Yard, forcing Thomas to back up to the main Branch Line.
Thomas sees an old track leading through the woods, and is sure this
time he's found a "shortcut". With Annie and Clarabel (and
their passengers) still protesting, he puffs down the old line.
Bertie is waiting for Thomas to pass through the level crossing, and
becomes concerned when he takes too long. He is forced to carry on
when his own passengers start grumbling at the delay.
continues through the woods, positive that he'll beat Bertie yet. But
suddenly he comes to the end of the line – crashing through a set
of buffers in the undergrowth, Thomas slips down an embankment not
far from the road. Moments later Bertie turns up, surprised to find
Thomas off the rails. Even so, he kindly offers to take his
passengers to their destinations, but it is much later until Harvey
arrives to rescue Thomas, Annie and Clarabel.
Fat Controller is very cross, but Thomas has learnt his lesson. He's
had enough with "shortcuts" and promises to stick to his
usual route from now on…and quickly sees that he doesn't even need
a "shortcut" to win a race against Bertie now and again!
17.24 – The Smelly Kipper
by Andrew Brenner
at night, James tells scary ghost stories to the other engines, which
frighten Percy: it makes him nervous whenever he's out all night with
the Mail Train. James thinks Percy is just a frightened little
engine. So Henry challenges James to pull his train, The Flying
Kipper, to prove he's not afraid of the dark. James gladly accepts,
and heads to the Docks that very night.
is arranging the trucks for The Flying Kipper as James arrives. But
very quickly, James discovers something he is afraid of…the strong
smell of fish! James hurriedly changes his mind and heads back to
Tidmouth Sheds to wake up Henry.
very sleepy Henry is sure
that James said he would pull the Kipper, but James tricks Henry into
thinking that he must have dreamt their conversation, and that he's
needed at the Docks right away.
does his best, but every delivery of fish is late that night, and it
is daylight when he finally returns home. The Fat Controller demands
why Henry had been so late, and Henry admits that he overslept
because of his "dream". But Thomas and Gordon quickly add
that it wasn't a dream, they both heard James talking to Henry last
doesn't feel very clever then as he admits that he didn't want to
pull the "Smelly Kipper". The Fat Controller is not
impressed, and decides that, smelly or not, James would pull the
Flying Kipper that night to make up for his broken promise to Henry.
evening, James grudgingly returns to the Docks where Cranky is
unloading the crates of fish. The trucks begin teasing James as he
backs onto them. James becomes cross and forgets to watch where he's
going. His tender bumps straight into the next load of crates Cranky
is unloading, and they split open all over James! The trucks scream
with laughter, and even Porter can't help but smile. "You're
supposed to take the fish in the trucks!"
he remarks to James.
mess is quickly cleared up, but the smell of fish is stronger than
ever as James hurries to make up for lost time. In the morning, the
other engines notice a fishy smell...and find that it's coming from
James! Gordon adds jokingly that James has brought a "present"
for the Fat Controller – there is still a mislaid fish on James'
bufferbeam, much to his disgust!
his embarrassment, James cheers up a little when the Fat Controller
arrives and congratulates him on a splendid run with The Flying
Kipper, in spite of his "little accident", and sends him to
the washdown to be cleaned as a reward. James hopes he would never
have to see another fish for a long time afterwards!
17.25 – Gone Fishing
by Andrew Brenner
loading trucks of machinery at Brendam Docks, Harvey meets Porter for
the first time. Porter is immediately impressed at seeing a crane
engine, and notes that Harvey must be "doubly useful" as
either one or the other.
then, Bill and Ben turn up and jokingly ask Harvey if he's "going
fishing" with his hook. Harvey is used to the twins' teasing,
but he becomes annoyed when they call Porter "bumpy boiler".
Porter doesn't mind, he's proud of his three domes and tells Harvey
it's just "water
off a duck's back"
– meaning that he doesn't let silly teasing get the better of him.
Harvey is intrigued by this expression as the engines resume work.
while later, Harvey finishes loading the flatbeds, but the Dock
Manager is concerned. Edward, who had been scheduled to take the
train to Vicarstown, has been delayed and needs to find another
engine. Harvey offers Bill and Ben…until the twins "suddenly"
remember that they're needed back at the Clay Pits. So Porter
suggests that Harvey ought to take the trucks, noting that he is an
engine as well as a crane.
isn't sure at first, he's used to loading
trains not pulling them. Bill and Ben joke that he wouldn't need to
pull them – "you
could pick them up with your hook and carry them, like fish!"
But remembering Porter's clever idiom, Harvey agrees to try. So he is
coupled up to the flatbeds and puffs proudly away.
makes steady progress until he reaches Gordon's Hill. The train
becomes much heavier and difficult for him to puff up the steep
slope, until a passing Thomas whistles encouragement. At last, Harvey
reaches the top of the hill and begins running down the other side,
pushed by the heavy train behind. Harvey finds it much easier as he
begins speeding up, but then comes to a sharp bend in the track.
to slow down in time, Harvey's trucks jump the rails and lay
spreadeagled across the Main Line. Harvey is unhurt but very
embarrassed. He is only too glad that Bill and Ben had not seen his
accident as he's sure they would only tease him again. It's then that
he remembers their cheeky remark about "carrying the trucks"…and
realises that he's not just an engine, but a crane, too!
that, Harvey sets to work lifting the undamaged trucks one by one
back back on the rails. This done, he resumes his journey,
remembering to pull harder going uphill and braking carefully
downhill, and manages to finish his delivery with no more trouble at
returns to the Docks where the Fat Controller and the Dock Manager
congratulate him on being a Really Useful Engine. But Harvey adds
that at times it's handy to be a Really Useful Crane,
17.26 – The Afternoon Tea Express
by Laura Beaumont & Paul Larson
is pleased when the Earl gives him the weekly task of collecting
cream, tea and jam from the Docks for the Afternoon Tea at the
castle. Spencer reminds Stephen that he would be too slow for the job
– and that, despite his old nickname of "The Rocket",
he's no faster than a horse and cart!
is determined to try just the same. On his first delivery, he heads
back to the castle with what he dubs "The Afternoon Tea
Express". But try as he might he can't go as fast as he would
like, and even holds up Gordon with the Express. Gordon is in no mood
to be delayed, and so he buffers up and gives Stephen a very fast
ride indeed, pushing him along with the Express, only slowing down
for Stephen to change tracks at the Castle junction.
is annoyed by Gordon's impatience, but realises that he arrives at
the castle early, much to the surprise of the Earl and Spencer.
so, once a week, whenever he collects the "Afternoon Tea
Express", Stephen would ask one of the other engines to give him
a friendly "push" to ensure he would always run on time.
Very soon, visitors start to call him "The Rocket" once
there comes a week when Stephen can find no available engines to give
him a push. The only engine he comes across is Spencer, who teases
him for running late. But Stephen tricks Spencer into giving him a
push, remarking off-handedly that he probably wouldn't be fast enough
to get him back to Ulfstead Castle. Infuriated, Spencer is determined
to give him the run of his life!
pushes Stephen faster than he has ever gone before – but when they
reach the castle, Stephen is still going too fast to stop in time. He
hits the buffers of the station siding, and the barrels of jam are
thrown onto the platform, covering the Fat Controller, Lady Hatt and
the Earl. Ashamed, Stephen tells the truth of why he was always on
time, and decides that he shouldn't try to be "The Rocket"
he does find a way to make up for the spilt jam. He offers to give
the visitors a ride to the Docks to collect more jam and they could
have their afternoon tea as well as a train ride. The Earl thinks
this a wonderful idea…and Stephen ensures to give everyone a nice,