Series 4

R Healy

Quote of the Series

"That would never suit His Grace!"
Various Episodes (Catchphrase)

A Bit About Series 4

Whilst Series 4 did return to the days of old in the TV series through using almost completely Railway Series material, it still took much heart from Series 3, and saw Allcroft and Mitton continue to rewrite stories from the books to fit their own wants and needs for the TV series.  However, by this point, this series was not to air on terrestrial television within the UK at least, instead going straight to video and being aired on Satellite channel, Cartoon Network, albeit, mixed in with random episodes from all four series...
The majority of the series was consumed with new characters, namely those of a much smaller proportion.  The Skarloey engines dominated most of Series 4's content with stories taken from a lot of the Reverand Awdry's four earlier books in which they appeared.  Even Rusty, the little Diesel, was used to introduce new Standard Gauge character "Stepney The Bluebell Engine" as opposed to a more familiar character such as Thomas or Percy, which would ultimately be the premise in more present series.
However, the fourth series did see some very good episodes with the older cast with particular episodes such as "Bullseyes" which saw Daisy making a one-off comeback, and use of classic stories such as "Henry and the Elephant" and "Paint Pots and Queens".

Characters Introduced In Series 4

Sir Handel/Falcon
Peter Sam/Stuart
Rusty - Diesel
Stepney The Bluebell Engine
The Diesel
George The Steamroller
Bulstrode The Barge
SCRuffey The Truck

Songs Of The Series

Let's Have a Race

Gone Fishing


Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

The Island Song

Really Useful Engine

That's What Friends Are For

Rules & Regulations


Michael Angelis (UK)
George Carlin (US)

Key Production Team

Angus Wright
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton
Mike O'Donnell & Junior Campbell

David Mitton

In 2013, we ran a poll on Series 4 to determine what the best episodes of the Series were as well as what else fans enjoyed about it.  Best characters, episodes, songs and aspects of production are included and broken down in our poll results blog!


Series 4 Episode Guide

The Rev. W. Awdry
(Unless Otherwise Stated)
Britt Allcroft & David Mitton

4.1 – Granpuff

Thomas tells the other engines the story of three little engines - Duke, Stuart and Falcon - who worked happily together on a small quarry line. Duke was old and proud, having been named after ‘His Grace’. He enjoyed telling the younger engines how to properly behave and frightened them with the story of Smudger, a ‘rough rider’ who went on to become a generator. But after years of service, the line was closed down and Duke was left alone in his shed when the younger two were bought by the Skarloey Railway. Over time, the shed was covered over by nature and Duke was seemingly forgotten.  Percy is disappointed by this conclusion - but Thomas promises a happy ending, which will have to wait until next time!

4.2 – Sleeping Beauty

Thomas concludes his story, telling of how the Fat Controller and some enthusiasts learnt about Duke and set out to find him. After days of searching, they almost gave up hope until one of them fell through the roof of the hidden shed. Duke was restored and brought to the Skarloey Railway where he was reunited with Stuart and Falcon, now Peter Sam and Sir Handel.

4.3 - Bulldog

Percy wants to show off his paint, but Thomas warns him that he may run into trouble and Duke will not be able to save him like he did on one occasion with Falcon. Falcon was sent along the ‘Mountain Road’ with Duke, but his rudeness and impatience caused him to derail, hanging dangerously over the edge of a cliff. Duke prevented him from falling, and after a dramatic operation to keep up steam, he finally managed to haul Falcon to safety.

4.4 – You Can’t Win

Thomas tells another story about the three little engines. Duke was in need of regular maintenance and Stuart teased him, saying that one day he would need to be rescued. When Duke broke down, Stuart and Falcon were called to the rescue. Stuart had to take Duke and the rest of the train on to the last station and Duke surprised him by putting all his strength into getting the train to the station on time. He was so energetic that the passengers thought it was Duke who was helping Stuart, rather then the other way round.

4.5 – A Bad Day For Sir Handel

Skarloey is still out of service and so Sir Handel and Peter Sam are drafted in. But Sir Handel is rude and complains dreadfully, especially when he is sent out to take a passenger train first. He insults the coaches and surprises Gordon with his egoistic attitude. But when Sir Handel arrives at the station intent on a rest, he is shocked to learn he must go to the quarry and collect some trucks. Rebelliously, Sir Handel derails himself but the Fat Controller is not impressed and he is sent to the shed to repent.

4.6 – Peter Sam & The Refreshment Lady

Peter Sam takes over whilst Sir Handel is in disgrace, and being quite the opposite, the coaches take an instant liking to him. However, Henry warns Peter Sam that if he is late, he will leave without him. This causes the little engine to worry when one evening, he is made to wait an hour for the passengers to return to his train. He is so eager to leave when they finally do arrive that he leaves the Refreshment Lady behind. She is furious, but when he tells her what Henry said and she explains that Henry can’t leave without him – it is a guaranteed connection.

4.7 – Four Little Engines

Skarloey and Rheneas work a lovely little narrow gauged line and recently two new engines, Peter Sam and Sir Handel (Stuart and Falcon) were drafted in to help them. But when Rheneas is sent away from repairs, Skarloey feels downhearted. Meanwhile, Sir Handel is derailed by the coaches, meaning that another engine is needed to take the passengers home. Skarloey offers to stand in and bravely struggles on, even when one of his springs breaks and he is forced to limp. He bravely completes the journey is rewarded with an overhaul.

4.8 – Trucks! / Rusty Helps Peter Sam (US)

Harold meets Rusty, a new narrow-gauged diesel engine, whilst back at the yard Sir Handel takes advice from Gordon to pretend he is ill so that he won’t have to do so much work. This tactic works and Peter Sam agrees to do Sir Handel’s work as well as his own. Peter Sam takes Sir Handel’s trucks to the quarry and on to the incline railway. But the loaded trucks coming down think that he is Sir Handel, and brake away from their cable, crashing into Peter Sam and causing serious damage. Rusty helps to clear the mess and Sir Handel is caught out.

4.9 – Home At Last

Skarloey returns from being repaired, and he is delighted to be met by Rusty. But Skarloey is less pleased when he learns from Peter Sam about a new arrival called Duncan, who ‘rocks and rolls’ along the line causing many accidents. Skarloey is interested to meet this character and his chance comes when he is summoned to help push Duncan out of a crumbling tunnel (caused by his rough riding). The Fat Controller warns Duncan that he will face the consequences of his actions if he continues the way he does.

4.10 – Rock ’n Roll

Skarloey notices how smooth the rails are and becomes good friends with Rusty, who is responsible for the new highly maintained state of the line. However there is still one bad bit of line left to be repaired. Rusty warns Duncan about this, but Duncan is not willing to listen to a diesel engine, which hurts Rusty badly. Later, Duncan is bringing a passenger train home and is determined to prove Rusty wrong. He ‘rocks and rolls’ but comes clear off the line at the bad part of the line Rusty warned him about. When Rusty comes to his rescue, the two engines decide to become friends.

4.11 – Special Funnel

Peter Sam’s funnel feels dangerously wobbly after his accident but there are no replacements. Winter arrives and after a ‘wash-out’, Rusty and the breakdown crew set to work repairing a bridge over the river. By the time it is completed the weather still has not changed and when passing through a tunnel, Peter Sam’s funnel is knocked off by a hanging icicle. The others joke about it and Peter Sam is forced to use a drainpipe to control his smoke until the Fat Controller finally brings him a smart and newly designed funnel. He feels special and the others wish they had a special funnel just like his.

4.12 – Steamroller

Sir Handel is given a set of tyres, which makes him highly conceited. The engines plan to set him straight and their chance comes with the arrival of a steamroller called George. The two meet at a level crossing where George accuses Sir Handel of trying to imitate him with his ‘steamroller’ wheels. The two engines meet a second time at a point where the road and railway run parallel. An argument is sparked and George ‘accidentally’ knocks over two of Sir Handel’s trucks. George leaves a few days later and Sir Handel thinks that it was his doing - until he overhears some boys saying that he was nearly beaten by the steamroller.

4.13 – Passengers & Polish

Nancy, the Guard’s daughter, is cleaning Skarloey and tells him that Rheneas will be coming home very soon. But Duncan gets cross when Nancy has to leave to help the Refreshment Lady prepare ices for the passengers, meaning that he won’t get a rub-down. As the day goes by, he becomes even more upset and cross until one of Skarloey’s coaches derails and he is sent to bring the passengers home. He feels so overworked that he stops dead in the middle of a viaduct, meaning that Skarloey must pull him home. The passengers complain and Duncan is sent to sheds to think about his actions.

4.14 – Gallant Old Engine

Duncan is still grumbling about the passengers, something that Skarloey takes as a great insult. He explains that without passengers, the railway would close down and takes the engines back to a time when it was just he and Rheneas. The railway the threatened with closure until Rheneas pulled a passenger train gallantly home even when one of his valve gears jammed. This heroic act saved the railway and proved that they could keep the trains going whatever the conditions. Back in the present, Rheneas arrives home to cheers and whistles from engines big and small.

4.15 – Rusty To The Rescue

Written by Britt Allcroft & David Mitton

Rusty’s driver suggests that an engine is bought to tend to a beautiful part of the railway known as the ‘Bluebell Railway’ (because of the flowers that grow there). Rusty seeks advice from Douglas, remembering how he once saved Oliver from scrap. But Douglas warns him that the only place to find an engine would be on the ‘Other Railway’. Rusty is given permission to go and arrives on the other railway by nightfall where he sneaks past a line of diesels. At last, he finds an engine called Stepney and together they escape, returning to the Fat Controller’s railway where Stepney is restored and put into service on the Bluebell Railway.

4.16 – Thomas & Stepney

Stepney enjoys his new life working on the Bluebell Railway, but the route is short and he never gets an opportunity to stretch his wheels. So it is arranged for him to spend some time on the Fat Controller’s railway. The engines greet him warmly and he is set to work with Duck, but Thomas begins to show signs of jealousy. The situation is not helped when later that night he is ‘shunted’ to allow Stepney to pass with a special. But when Stepney approaches Thomas with praise, he soon forgets to be jealous.

4.17 - Train Stops Play

Thomas, Toby and Percy are surprised to hear that Stepney misses taking trucks. Percy offers to let him take some of his and it is gladly arranged. Later, Stepney is passing a cricket field where a game is going on and has to stop at a signal nearby. But a frantic chase aboard Caroline the Car commences when the ball is accidentally batted into one of his trucks. Caroline gets worn out, but is glad of a rest when Stepney takes her and the cricketers back to the field in time to finish the game.

4.18 – Bowled Out

Stepney’s visit is nearing an end, but the arrival of an unwanted guest puts the engines in a bad mood. The snobbish diesel conceitedly shows off in preparation for the Express upon a bowler hat is sucked into his air-intake, grounding him to halt. However, the Express must still get through, so Stepney and Duck step forward and combine their strength to get the train to Gordon in style. Stepney leaves the next day to a chorus of cheers and whiles, whilst the diesel slips shamefully away unnoticed.

4.19 – Thomas & The Special Letter

Thomas, Percy and Toby are suspicious when all of the engines are called to the sheds one evening. When everyone is gathered, The Fat Controller announces that a little girl in the big city has written a letter asking the Fat Controller’s engines to pay a visit. The engines selected to go are excited, but must teach the others how to look after the yard whilst they are away. Thomas throws the schedule out of proportion when he crashes through a wall in an attempt to show off to Oliver, but arrives from the works just in time to allow the cavalcade to move off. Naturally, the visit is a success.

4.20 – Henry & The Elephant

Henry and James have an argument and Henry says that James looks silly enough to be a clown. Ironically, the Topham Circus has come to the island and the engines soon forget to be cross. When the circus leaves some time later, Henry is sent with some workmen to clear a blocked tunnel. But when the workmen rush out in fright, Henry is forced to bravely go in after them to investigate, only to be pushed back out again by an elephant that has escaped from the circus. That night, James and Gordon make a joke of it, when Thomas congratulates Henry for his bravery, Henry feels much better.

4.21 – Bullseyes

Daisy pities Toby for having cowcatchers and side-plates, convinced that he is scared of meeting an animal on the line. Her way is to simply ‘toot’ and look them in the eye. Her chance to prove her theory comes when a bull called Champion strays onto the line. But after much ‘tooting’ and leering, Daisy finds that she cannot make the animal budge. Toby comes to the rescue and ‘shoos’ Champion to safety. Daisy is much less conceited after that.

4.22 – Paint Pots & Queens / Thomas Meets The Queen (US)

Gordon and Thomas head home after Thomas’ accident down the mine, and learn upon their arrival that the Queen will be paying a visit in due course. The engines debate as to who will pull the royal train, but Henry is convinced that he is the favoured candidate. But when Henry’s smoke causes a painter to drip a can of white paint onto his boiler, the Fat Controller soon changes his mind. Gordon and Thomas make up for their behavior in preparation for the Queen’s arrival and Gordon ends up pulling the Royal Train.

4.23 – Toad Stands By

After his accident with the turntable well, Oliver becomes the butt of all the troublesome truck’s jokes. They even make up a song about him, lead by their leader SC Ruffey. Toad is distressed by the lack of respect that trucks have for engines and makes a plan to help Oliver set the trucks straight by tackling SC Ruffey. The plan is put into action, and with sandy rails and brute strength, Oliver pulls SC Ruffey apart - which not only silences the other trucks, but teaches them not to disrespect an engine again.

4.24 – Fish

Written by Christopher Awdry

A special order of fish is brought into the harbour, and so old and rickety vans are coupled to the end of the Flying Kipper. Thomas warns Duck that fish can be a bother (going by his own experience). Later that night, Duck bankers for Henry up Gordon’s Hill, but the tail lamp on the end of the train falls off. Duck gets confused, no longer able to see the train, which causes Henry to slow down. Blindly, Duck speeds up in an attempt to find the train again and crashes into the rear van, sending a fish everywhere. He now knows exactly what Thomas means.

4.25 – Special Attraction

Written by Christopher Awdry

Toby is called take part in the seaside parade as a ‘special attraction, but is sad to find that he is no longer needed when he finally arrives. Meanwhile Percy is summoned to the harbour to sort out a problem, arriving to find the trucks arguing with an arrogant barge called Bulstrode. Percy sorts out the cargo before there are any further delays, but the trucks get back at Bulstrode when they are accidentally pushed them through the buffers, landing in his haul. Later, Toby and Percy decide that they are both special attractions whilst Bulstrode is towed away to begin a new life as a children’s climbing frame.

4.26 – Mind That Bike

Written by Christopher Awdry

Tom Tipper is a friendly postman who helps Percy and Thomas with the mail delivery. They bring the mailbags to him and he delivers the letters and parcels in his smart little van. But one day, Tom arrives with a bicycle, explaining that the Postmaster has ordered him to drop the van due to finances. Percy is saddened, but the situation is made much worse when Tom props the bike against his train by mistake. Percy starts without realising, causing the bicycle to fall under the wheels. Everything seems hopeless, until Tom returns the next day with his van, explaining that the accident brought it back into service.