Series 5

R Healy

Quote of the Series

"Engines Don't Swim, Henry!  You were meant to deliver fish, not SWIM with them!"
Something In The Air

A Bit About Series 5

Series 5 was a major point of change within the Thomas TV series.  No longer were the stories to rely upon the works of the Rev Awdry who had died the year previous in 1997, but instead, to consist completely of material written by David Mitton and Britt Allcroft, who had successfully acquired the full copyright to Thomas.
This series was a rollercoaster of adventure, surprises and chills.  Allcroft and Mitton never made for a single dull moment to exist throughout this series, and kept everything fast paced and rather different to what the previous works of the Reverand Awdry had been.  By this point, George Carlin had left the US narration series like Ringo Starr before him to concentrate on his first love of stand-up comedy, and to fill his shoes was Hollywood star, Alec Baldwin.  However, from the outset, Alec provded to be much less enthusiastic and inconsistent with voices compared with Carlin.
Within series 5, new characters also began appearing.  Some were taken to viewers hearts such as Cranky the Crane as well as wicked Diesels, 'Arry and Bert.  Whilst others such as Derek/Paxman the Diesel, Bertrum and Tiger Moth, vanished as quickly as they had originally came!

Characters Introduced In Series 5

Bertrum The Old Warrior (Narrow Gauge)
Derek the Paxman
'Arry and Bert the Smelter Diesels
Cranky The Crane
Old Slowcoach
Thumper the Quarry Excavator
Butch The Breakdown Lorry
The Three Horrid Lorries
Tiger Moth The Bi-Plane
Old Bailey The Fogman

Songs Of The Series

Night Train

Accidents Will Happen

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining (Never Lose Hope)

It's Great To Be An Engine!

The Snow Song

Donald's Duck

Sir Topham Hatt

Come For The Ride

Harold The Helicopter

Percy's Seaside Trip


Michael Angelis (UK)
Alec Baldwin (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 5 to determine what the best episodes of the Series were as well as what else fans enjoyed about it.  Best characters, episodes, songs, story genres and aspects of production are included and broken down in our poll results blog!


Series 5 Episode Guide

Britt Allcroft & David Mitton
David Maidment
5.1 - Cranky Bugs

Thomas and Percy enjoy their work at Brendam Docks, until a new crane called Cranky arrives and becomes a nuisance for the two. He calls them “Useless Little Bugs” and gets them both into trouble with the Fat Controller. But one night, a great storm blows up, trapping Duck, Gordon, James and Henry at the Docks. The rough tides cause a tramp steamer to run aground into the shed they’re taking shelter in, causing it to ram into Cranky, knocking him over. The Fat Controller arrives and tells Cranky that Thomas and Percy will help him and then he can rescue the trapped engines. Cranky is grateful for their help and apologises for being rude—even though he’s no as cranky as he was then!

5.2 - Horrid Lorry

All the engines have too much work to do which makes them late. Cranky suggests that a lorry should do their work—and to Percy’s horror, three of them arrive! They are rude and horrid to all the engines, especially how they’re going to do Toby’s work seeing as he’s too unreliable. But it’s not long before they run into trouble. Lorry 2 falls off a steep road and into a gorge on Toby’s branch Line, Lorry 3 is overloaded with flour and breaks down and Lorry 1 reverses too far off the dock and falls into the sea. All three are brought to the Docks, where the engines laugh and called them “The Brother’s Grim”! They are immediately sent away and the engines make sure that they never return.

5.3 - A Better View For Gordon

Gordon hasn’t been feeling well and is brooding about how an important engine should be treated. His temper doesn’t improve when he is asked to make a test journey to Kirkronan, a new station that ends with nothing but a blank wall. Gordon grumbles that he should have a Panoramic View, but forgets about it when he breaks down. When he returns home, he is to bring the Fat Controller to the opening of Kirkronan Station. But as he approaches it, his brakes fail and he crashes through the blank wall. When he is mended for the stations second opening, he is delighted that, during his repairs, they have included a Panoramic view just for him.

5.4 - Lady Hatt’s Birthday Party

It’s the Fat Controller’s wife’s birthday and Sir Topham has brought himself a new suit, promising that he’ll be on time. But on his way to the Party, his car gets a flat tyre—he tries catching a ride in Caroline, hut she goes too fast and her engine overheats. Then he tries riding on George, but gets splattered with oil. To add to that, George veers out of control and into a ditch. The Fat Controller is thrown in the mud and is a complete mess. Thomas is close by, and so Sir Topham has no choice but to ride with him, as he’s standing in for Thomas’ ill fireman. He arrives at the station with time to spare, and turns up at Lady Hatt’s Party, tired but triumphant, even though he is told that it wasn’t fancy dress!

5.5 - James & The Trouble With Trees

Thomas is completely dirty after working at the mines and is jealous when James gets a new coat. But James isn’t happy when he is asked to collect a goods train. As he does so, the weather turns stormy; it causes an old tree to slide down a steep hill onto James’ track. James stops in time, but he can’t back away from it, as his train is too heavy. Then, Thomas arrives and helps him to safety, just as the tree falls, narrowly missing James. Later, James apologises and Thomas gets a new oat of paint as a reward, whilst James gets to pull the Express the following day.

5.6 - Gordon & The Gremlin

Gordon has some problems when he tries to prepare to collect a VIP for the Fat Controller. Percy says it could be gremlins, as he overheard the firelighter talking about them. The “gremlins” strike all over the place, from delays with cows to jamming turntables. When Thomas is to take The Fat Controller and his visitor to the docks, Gordon’s loud whistle startles the VIP’s dog, who hides inside Thomas’ cab for safety and for the rest of the journey. Thomas discovers a few surprises at the end of the day—the VIP’s visitor is called “Gremlin” and the Fat Controller’s visitor is actually his mother, who agrees that he is a Really Useful Engine.

5.7 - Bye George!

George the Steamroller has been ruder than ever lately and has caused great trouble for the engines. First he tarmacs part of Thomas’ line, whilst ripping up an old Branch Line near to it, which leaves poor Thomas to roll off the tracks and into a barn! Next George blocks Duck’s path when he tries to get into the yard, which means that one of his trucks is fowling the Main Line. Gordon, unaware of the danger, thunders by with the Express and runs into the stranded truck. In the end, the Fat Controller punishes George by taking away his roller and leaving his flywheel, his only moving part, to work the machinery at the sawmills. After a week of being cooped up, Thomas doubts that he’ll learn his lesson!

5.8 - Baa!

A competition for “Best Dressed Station” is being held across Sodor. Percy is delivering fruit and veg to decorate Mathwaite station, but has a run in with a hungry ram. Apparently this ram has caused trouble around the area. Mathwaite is soon beautifully decorated, but disaster strikes when the decorations become vandalised. The passengers discover the ram in the waiting room, and accuse it as the culprit—but discover that it’s really keeping some naughty boys from getting away. They boys confess that it was them who made the mess, and help to tidy it up. Thanks to the ram, Mathwaite wins first prize.

5.9 - Put Upon Percy

Percy is grumbling that he has too much work, hence the word “put upon”. After an extremely busy day, he returns to the shed tired and dirty. Next day, however, disaster strikes at the coalmines, and an avalanche erupts. Percy and his crew take shelter by a canvas barrier along the Cliffside, which saves them from being crushed by the rocks, but gets them buried all the same. After being dug out, Percy is rewarded with a new coat for his bravery. He doesn’t mind that being put upon him!

5.10 - Toby & The Flood

Heavy storms have been flooding the Island. Toby is sent to inspect the dam, and discovers a few leaks in it. On his way back to warn the village, he has to cross a dangerous old bridge, where Percy is waiting for him. Toby is halfway across, when the dam bursts, and the floodwaters carry Toby on his section of bridge downriver. Percy and Harold work together and manage to save Toby from going over a waterfall. When the floods are over, the villagers celebrate Toby’s bravery with a party.

5.11 - Haunted Henry

Henry is taking a goods train along an old line one foggy night, He and his driver see some ghostly happenings near an old station by a lake, which warns them about crossing the viaduct. They decide to head back, and next morning discover about the damaged viaduct, but have no idea who warned them. A few days later, they try taking their train along the old line again, but when the wraithlike sights start to happen again, the trucks panic and drag Henry further down the line, where they crash into a landslide and plunge into a ravine. Henry’s driver and fireman that their “ghost” is actually Old Bailey the Fogman, who have been warning about the viaduct. As a token of their appreciation, the Fat Controller re-opens the old station and Old Bailey is appointed as its Station Master.

5.12 - Double Teething Troubles

Bill and Ben are overworked, so the Fat Controller decides to bring a new diesel to help them. Unfortunately, the new diesel, Derek, breaks down when he tries to climb a steep hill, and apagogically says it’s a cause of teething troubles. Percy misunderstands and confuses the twins that the new diesel has toothache! Luckily, Duck explains to Bill and Ben what it really means. Next day, Derek is mended and tries to help Bill and Ben take a heavy train of trucks away, but breaks down again. Bill and Ben finish the journey anyway and are congratulated by The Fat Controller. In the end, the twins feel sorry for Derek after he tried so hard to help them.

5.13 - Stepney Gets Lost

Stepney is sent to the quarry to help Mavis and Toby for a change. He stays there and is asked to take a goods train along a new branch line. Stepney forgets to let the Fat Controller know of what he is doing, and eagerly does the late-night job. But on his way home, he becomes lost in fog and goes along the wrong line. When the fog lifts, Stepney realises to his horror that he’s in the scrap yards! ‘Arry and Bert the scrap yard diesels arrive and are about to scrap him when the Fat Controller arrives to stop them, which was lucky that he was visiting the scrap yards that night! Stepney returns home a happier—and grateful—“Bluebell” engine.

5.14 - Toby’s Discovery

Whilst looking at their grandfather’s map, The Fat Controller’s grandchildren discover an old, disused part of the Island, where a castle is to be said there. So the Fat Controller travels in Toby along the old line to the Castle. On their way, they also discover an old abandoned mine. Sir Topham decides that both the Castle and the Mine would make fine attractions. But Toby is anxious, as he knows for sure that the mine is haunted—especially after he is told of the “Old Warrior” ghosts! That night, he is on guard of the important goods at the mine. Toby hears a wheezing sound close by and is sure that it’s a ghost; but after some detective work, they discover that it’s really a little old engine called Bertram. He is called the “Old Warrior” because he’s so brave. Bertram and Toby are firm friends and both take visitors to the Castle and Mine.

5.15 - Something In The Air

Thomas has an accident when a crate of fish lands on his boiler when he was picking up Henry’s trucks. As he speeds along the coastal line to the Docks, they discover that the line has been damaged by high tides, which can take Thomas’ weight but not big engines like Henry. When night falls, Thomas tries to explain to Henry about the danger, but Henry is too busy teasing him of his fishy smell! However, the Yard Manager fails to warn Henry also, when told of the news, and Henry slides off the tracks, where he is buffer deep in seawater! As soon as the tides are high enough, floating cranes lift Henry out of the water, where the big green engine is humiliated when he finishes his journey to the Docks in a barge full of smelly fish! After a wash down, Henry says sorry for teasing Thomas.

5.16 - Thomas, Percy & Old Slowcoach

Thomas and Percy discover an old coach in the scrap yard. She looks dirty but looks in perfect shape so they try to help her. Meanwhile, James runs into trouble when his fuel trucks catch fire. The fire fighters soon help him. But later that day there is another fire at the workman’s hut, close to where Thomas and Percy are taking on water. But the firemen discover they are out of water, when they had to put out James’ fire. Then Thomas says they could sue the water from their refilled tanks. Their plan works well, and the fire is soon put out. But the worker’s hut is destroyed. Percy comes up with the idea to use Old Slowcoach as their new home. So after being cleaned up, she happily enjoys her new life.

5.17 - Thomas & The Rumours

Thomas learns that a children’s playground has been closed and the children beg him to help them. But things get stranger when the engines discover Harold taking an Important Visitor around the Island instead of him using any of them—they jump to the conclusion that Harold wants to get rid of them. So Thomas can’t tell them his news about the playground. Next day, whilst watching Harold, Gordon goes on the wrong line and crashes in a tunnel under repair. Thomas is worried when the Fat Controller scolds the big engine and tells him about the rumours about Harold, The Fat Controller laughs and explains that the Visitor is trying to help find a solution help to the children’s playground—which was easier to find up in the air. The Visitor decides that the tunnel sand will be perfect for the children’s sandbox, and declares it was “Found by accident and Rumour!”

5.18 - Oliver's Find

Oliver is bored working the yards and longs for a nice long run. After causing an accident in the yard, he is sent to work the mail train for a while. But even that doesn’t go well when Harold is late delivering the mail. Soon they are on their way, but have to stop yet again at a signal. The signalman had fallen asleep waiting for them, and after waiting ages for the signal to change Oliver decides to keep going until they reach the signal box. But they are diverted to an old track and end up crashing at an old run down station. When Oliver hasn’t retuned next morning, The Fat Controller sends out a search party, where they eventually find Oliver. The Fat Controller then notices an old house near the station, and decides it’s the perfect place where people can have tea and crumpets there. Oliver feels Useful once again.

5.19 - Happy Ever After

Percy and his driver have been asked by Mrs Kyndley to put together a good luck package for her daughter’s wedding—which must have Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue. Percy soon finds Something New at the docks—a set of shiny buffers. And they also borrow the truck carrying it, which also makes Something Borrowed. As Percy drops off trucks at Tidmouth Halt, they see Old Slowcoach, and decide she is the Something Old; and along the way the meet a decorated Thomas, who is the Something Blue. At the wedding, they bride and groom are presented the Good Luck package. The Bride thanks Percy for his help by planting him a big kiss!

5.20 - Sir Topham Hatt's Holiday

The Fat Controller, Lady Hatt and their grandchildren are going on a holiday around Sodor. But things don’t go according to plan. Lady Hatt insults Annie and Clarabel for looking shabby, a rude bi-plane called Tiger Moth flies too low and crashes, and to top that off, they run aground whilst on a boat ride along the river. In the end, Percy helps them and takes them to Tidmouth Halt. Thomas is there, with his tow coaches looking clean and smart. But no one dares tell Lady Hatt that they’re actually the coaches she insulted earlier!

5.21 - A Surprise For Percy / A Big Surprise For Percy (US)

Percy is bored working at the coalmines, with only the troublesome trucks for company, and wishes for excitement. Bertie the bus tells him that surprises only come when one is not expecting them. Percy discovers that when, whilst hauling the up a steep hill, his trucks break away. After a frantic chase, Percy and Bertie manage to stop the trucks in time. Percy agrees that “a Really Useful Engine should never be surprised by surprise!”

5.22 - Make Someone Happy

James is complaining about the goods work he has to do. Thomas tells him to think of someone else aside from himself. Later that day, James sees Mrs Kyndley terribly upset, as her sister can’t come for a visit. So the Fat Controller decides to give her a treat to cheer her up—first she flies over Sodor in Harold the Helicopter, then a very cheerful James takes her on her favourite seaside route to Tidmouth Bay, where her special day ends with a carnival. James feels much better and spends the rest of the night enjoying the Fair.

5.23 - Busy Going Backwards

Toad the Brake van is tired of going backwards all the time and wants a change of direction. The trucks decide to grant his wish, for when Oliver pulls them to the top of Gordon’s Hill, the trucks break away and Toad finds himself going forwards! But he realises that it isn’t all that fun as he hoped it would be—after smashing through a level crossing gate, narrowly missing Gordon, James and Henry and ending his journey in a muddy pond, he decides that going backwards might not be so bad after all!

5.24 - Duncan Gets Spooked

One day, Peter Sam’s trucks break away after his driver hasn’t secured them properly. They derail at the old iron bridge and fall into the swampy ravine below. Duncan s delighted when Peter Sam is scolded that night; but Rusty decides to scare him. He tells Duncan a ghost story about an engine who falls off the bridge one night and is forever doomed to never reach the other side. Peter Sam and Duncan’s driver decide to play a trick on Duncan, to make him believe that the ghost is real. They succeed and Duncan is left, in the end, completely and utterly spooked!

5.25 - Snow

Thomas grumbles about the snowy weather Sodor’s having, so Rusty tells him a story about what happened to Skarloey one winter. The little engine was making his way to the Slate Mines, but has to pass through a ravine, where, above them, are the mines and a dangerously large heap of snow. At the Mines, a long line of full trucks are being winched down the incline. But something goes wrong and they break away, where they crash through some buffers, and into the ravine. They disturb they heap of snow, causing an avalanche to fall on Skarloey below. When workmen arrive to help dig him out, the heat from Skarloey’s boiler had packed the snow around them to make a sort of igloo. Once free, the men find the driver and fireman completely unharmed—just drinking cocoa as if nothing had happened!

5.26 - Rusty & The Boulder

A new quarry is being built in the mountains for the Narrow gauge Engines —but no one except Rusty has noticed that a large and mysterious boulder is standing on top of the mountain.  Rusty is un-nerved by it's presence and believes that it doesn't want them in the Quarry.
As work progresses and gets heavier, a new machine called Thumper is brought in to help.  As a result of his thumping, the boulder is shaken loose, and chases Rusty, Skarloey and Rheneas down the line.  Boulder’s journey ends when he narrowly misses Percy and completely demolishes a nearby shed. The Fat Controller sighs and realises they should have left this part of the Island undisturbed. So they move Boulder to a hill close to the Yards when it can do no more harm.