Series 7

R Healy

Quote of the Series

"A Vegetable Bus? That's not a bad idea...!"
(or perhaps Brian Trueman when he thought up the episode!)
Bulgy Rides Again

A Bit About Series 7

Series 7 wrapped things up with a lot of Thomas' history.  It was to be the last series to be shot with 35mm film...it was to be the last series filmed in the original five minute format...it was to see the end of the classic Campbell and O'Donnell themes...the final batch of characters to be committed to ERTL diecast...and it was to be the final series directed by long-standing director, David Mitton.  However, it was the first to be under-taken by HIT Entertainment following their takeover of copyright owners - Gullane - in September 2002.
Once again, a new American narrator was requried following the departure of Alec Baldwin.  In the interm, Michael Angelis was used for the one video in the US, which for some critics, did not go down too well...and so, in stepped enthusiastic new American narrator - Michael Brandon, star of Dempsey and Makepeace, and more recently in British comedy/drama - Dead Man Weds.
The storylines were much more favourable this time around than what they had been previously, and this time, Mitton had not influenced storylining, instead allowing each writer to be allowed to take their own course with their writing, even helping to provide one last storyline devised with Jan Page for Toby's Windmill.
When broadcast on television as part of the half-hour block along with Series 8, the Campbell & O'Donnell themes composed were replaced by those of new composer, Robert Hartshorne, to fit in with the new episodes of Series 800.

Characters Introduced In Series 7

Emily the Beautiful Engine
Murdoch the Strong Engine
Fergus the Railway Traction Engine
Arthur the Large Tank Engine
Spencer the Express Engine

Songs Of The Series

Five New Engines in the Shed

The Red Balloon

There Once Was an Engine Who Ran Away

Troublesome Trucks


The Whistle Song


Michael Angelis (UK)
Michael Brandon (US)

Key Production Team

Peter Urie (Gullane)
Jocelyn Stevenson (HIT Entertainment)
Phil Fherle
Mike O'Donnell & Junior Campbell
Robert Hartshorne (USA Re-scoring)

David Mitton

In 2013, we ran a poll on Series 7 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 7 Episode Guide

Jan Page

7.1 – Three Cheers For Thomas / Hooray For Thomas (US)

Written by Jan Page

Thomas is kept busy taking children to the Annual Sports Day, but secretly wishes that he could take part and win a medal just like them. Later, he expresses his concern to Bertie, who challenges him to a race. Thomas accepts and nearly wins until he is flagged down at a level crossing by the Fat Controller, who tells him that the children’s medals have been left back in his office. With a newly found determination to help the children, Thomas speeds back to Knapford to collect the medals and instantly sets off again back to the sports field, just in time for the races to start. The sports day is a success and for his hard work, Thomas is rewarded with a medal of his own.

7.2 – Percy Gets It Right

Written by Paul Larson

Whilst traveling home one evening, Percy comes across a dip in the track on Toby’s branch. He rushes back to warn the others, but Gordon is in too much of a hurry to listen, so Percy decides to inform the Fat Controller. He finds the manager instructing Thomas to collect the farmer’s prized bull for market day, and yet again Percy is ignored. Later that evening, Thomas heads along Toby’s branch with the farmer’s bull, unaware of the danger ahead, which has become much worse due to a landslide. Thomas ploughs straight into the mud and becomes stuck. As night falls, Percy senses that something is wrong and goes out to find his friend. At long last, he finds Thomas and pulls him free of the mud. As day breaks, the engines are met by the Fat Controller, who promises to listen to Percy more often.

7.3 – Edward’s Brass Band

Written by Robyn Chateris

The famous Sodor brass band are due to give a concert and Edward is chosen to take them to their venue. But when a crane at the dockyard knocks him onto his side, Edward is forced to spend a rainy night at the fitter’s yard. The next morning, he is still not fit for duties and Bertie must take the band instead. But with flooding blocking the road, Bertie decides to take a short cut through a muddy field, only to get himself stuck. The band plays their instruments to signal for help and Edward rushes to the rescue, just in time to take them to the venue. The concert is a triumph, enjoyed by people and engines alike – especially Edward. 

7.4 – James & The Queen of Sodor

Written by Paul Larson

James begins to boast about his role as an ‘important engine’, and strives to be the best – worthy only of ‘important’ tasks. Gordon looses patience and decides to get back at James. His chance arrives when the Fat Controller informs the engines that one of them must collect ‘The Queen of Sodor’ from the canal. Gordon fools James into accepting the task, and James arrives to find ‘The Queen’ is in fact a dirty old coal barge. Determined not to let Gordon out-smart him (as well as to stay clean), James confidently pushes the barge to the repair yard on a flat-truck, chanting ‘Shiny and clean, shiny and clean!’

After narrowly avoiding dirty obstacles, James completes the task and returns home to celebrate his victory, only to be sprayed with dirt and dust from Percy’s whistle moments later.   

7.5 - Toby’s Windmill / Toby and the Windmill (US)

Story by David Mitton and Jan Page

Teleplay by Jan Page

An ageing windmill is Toby’s favourite spot on the Island of Sodor, and he enjoys makes occasional visits. But one day, he is so distracted by the turning blades that he sends a truck of flour into the loading dock, spilling the precious cargo everywhere. This is only the start of the problems for the miller, as that night brings a dreadful thunderstorm that reduces the windmill to ash. Toby is determined to make up for his mistake and help is not far away. A short way down the line he comes across a large tree trunk blown over in the storm. This gives Toby an excellent idea, and within the space of a few weeks the timber from the tree is used to rebuild the windmill, twice as elegant as before, and the miller’s business is saved. 

7.6 – Bad Day at Castle Loch

Written by Jenny McDade

Donald and Douglas are excited to learn that Lord Callan’s castle is to re-open up in Misty Valley. They are given the task of taking a special goods train of supplies up to the castle, and before leaving, Donald tells Percy and Harvey about a supposed monster that lives in the loch. Douglas doesn’t believe it, and a quarrel starts. But the twins find they have much more to worry about when a fallen tree and a landslide leaves them stuck on the outskirts of the loch, only a few miles from the castle. That night, the twins are woken by a mysterious shadow moving across the loch through the mist, but in a moment of panic, it turns out only to be Harvey, on his way to rescue them. The damage is cleared, the train gets through and the re-opening is a big success.

7.7 - Snow Engine / Oliver The Snow Engine (US)

Written by Jenny McDade

Oliver believes that a Great Western Engine should ‘never have to shiver’ during the bitter winter weather. But despite Toad’s claim that snow is ‘magical’, as well as the speedy construction of a giant snowman in the mountain village square, Oliver is not convinced. His is not happy when given the task of taking supplies up to the village and just as he is approaching the station, icy points lead him onto the wrong siding, sending him crashing through the buffers and straight into the giant snowman. With no rescue available until the following morning, Oliver and Toad are forced to spend a cold night out surrounded by the snow. It is not until he is woken the following morning by the sounds of happy children’s laugher that he takes a better view to snow.

7.8 – Emily's New Coaches

Written by Jan Page

Thomas makes the acquaintance of a beautiful new tender engine called Emily, who has arrived on the island to assist (presumably) with mixed-traffic duties. The Fat Controller sends her away to learn her new route, and is instructed to take some coaches with her. With only Annie and Clarabel available, Emily sets off with them but is when nobody returns her friendly whistles, especially Thomas. It is not until Oliver informs her of her mistake that she realises what has happened, and rushes to apologies. Meanwhile, Thomas pulls a set of shining new coaches home from the docks; sulkily presuming they are replacements for Annie and Clarabel. Whilst this is going on, Emily comes across Oliver stranded on a crossing with Thomas approaching not far away. With all her strength, Emily pushes Oliver clear of the crossing just in time to prevent a nasty accident. The engines declare their newly founded friendship, and Emily is rewarded with the new coaches.

7.9 – Gordon and Spencer

Written by Lee Pressman

Gordon is certain that he will be chosen to collect the Duke and Duchess for their upcoming visit. But when he is diverted onto a siding to allow a sleek streamlined engine to speed by, he soon finds out he was wrong to presume so. Gordon later learns that the engine is Spencer, the Duke and Duchess’ own private engine. The Fat Controller informs the engines of a special party will be held at a station on the far side of the island in honour of the visitors and Gordon warns Spencer to take on plenty of water. But Spencer is too conceited to listen, and sure enough finds himself stranded on a hill having used up all his water in speedily showing off. Gordon comes to the rescue and reclaims his title of the Island’s fastest engine, whilst the others realise Spencer is not so admirable after all!

7.10 – What’s The Matter With Henry?

Written by George Tarry

Henry begins to feel unwell and when he is sent to the colliery with Thomas and Percy, he finds himself gradually loosing speed. The two younger engines tease him, and speed on ahead to the colliery. They decide to play a trick on poor Henry and leave him to take a very heavy goods train back to the yard. Henry arrives to find the two small engines have already left and that he must take the train alone. But no sooner has he left the yard, he grounds to a halt. His driver discovers that the water tank has been leaking and has completely dried up. Thankfully, Emily arrives and pulls Henry to the dockyard, where the Fat Controller is waiting to send him to the works and to scold Thomas and Percy. The next day, Emily is glad to see that Henry is feeling much better, though Henry doesn’t think so!

7.11 – Harold & The Flying Horse

Written by Robin Kingsland

Harold is on duty, looking out for anyone who may be in danger. But even though he is doing well, he is sad to be missing out on the vicar’s fete. Meanwhile, Percy learns that a horse named Pegasus is going to be giving rides to children at the fete and the Fat Controller explains the legend of the flying horse. Percy doesn’t believe the story, until the horse finds itself stuck in a ditch. Harold is instantly summoned to the rescue and lifts the horse out of the ditch with his harness, flying it quickly to the fete. Percy cannot believe his eyes as he sees the horse gliding over the rooftops. Harold feels much happier having been able to help out with the fete after all.

7.12 – Salty’s Stormy Tale

Written by Polly Churchill

Thomas and Percy are enjoying an afternoon at the dockyard, but Salty warns them that a storm is on the way. The two younger engines make a joke of it and mimic Salty’s accent, unaware that he overhears every word. Later, Salty is told that he must bring Fergus home because his driver doesn’t know the route. Salty is glad to leave and tells Emily about Thomas and Percy. Emily is shocked and scolds the two younger engines, who realise their faults and rush to apologize. Salty and Fergus, meanwhile, battle their way home through the heavy rainstorm. But just as they are passing the lighthouse, the electrical fuse blows out due to the weather, putting a steam-tramper in danger. Salty’s quick thinking fixes the problem by using Fergus’ flywheel to power the generator and safety is restored. Back at the docks, Salty receives a hero’s welcome and an apology from Thomas and Percy. 

7.13 – Bulgy Rides Again

Written by Brian Trueman

Passenger traffic is becoming heavier, and when Thomas and Emily are sent to be repaired, the Fat Controller arranges for Bulgy to bring back into service to help. He is restored to his former glory and returns to his field to sleep, but during the night the chickens that once used him as henhouse climb discreetly onboard. The next day, Bulgy begins his first day of service but when a roadblock causes him to brake suddenly, the chickens are woken in alarm and cause havoc. As a result of the chaotic day, Bulgy refuses to continue working with passengers until the offer is made to turn him into a Vegetable Bus instead. He begins a new life and is much happier with no chickens or passengers to worry about.

7.14 – Best Dressed Engine

Written by Polly Churchill

As part of the May Day celebrations on the island, the Fat Controller’s engines decide to take part in a competition for the ‘Best Dressed Engine’. Even Murdoch modestly takes part, but Gordon thinks it is silly, and refuses to participate. However, on the day of the competition, violent wind blows a banner stretched across the iron bridge onto Gordon’s smoke box, blinding him and causing all kinds of chaos. When he finally comes to a stop at Knapford where the competition is being held, he is shocked to be awarded with the title of ‘Best Dressed Engine’, the banner coiled about his front. Secretly, he feels very pleased with himself!

7.15 – Bill, Ben & Fergus

Written by Brian Trueman

Fergus, a railway traction engine, is sent to the rock quarry to help Bill, Ben and Mavis with an important job. But the twins become increasingly annoyed with the newcomer’s bossy attitude (‘Do It Right from Morning till Night’). They soon lose patience and when sent to collect a rock-crusher from the dockyard, they plan to purposely ignore him from now on. When they arrive back at the quarry, Fergus warns the twins to take care with the rock crusher, but they ignore his every word. But the noise of the heavy rock crusher causes a landslide. Sensing danger, Fergus pushes the twins and the rock crusher out of harm’s way, moments before being buried under a pile of rock. The twins are stung by guilt and help to rescue Fergus. After, the three engines promise to ‘do it right’ together.

7.16 – Fergus Breaks The Rules / Thomas and the Search For Fergus (US)

Written by Jan Page

Fergus is the pride of the cement works and has worked there all his life. But when Diesel is sent to help out for the day, Fergus’ bossy attitude annoys him. Diesel plans to get back at Fergus and tries to send him away by lying to him; say that he is to go to the smelter’s yard by order of the Fat Controller. Fergus reluctantly goes to the scary smelter sheds, but is frightened away by Arry and Bert. As a result, he gets lost down an old branch line, and when Thomas finally finds him, he is worried that he will get into trouble for breaking the rules. The Fat Controller realises that the whole issue was Diesel’s doing and Fergus returns to the cement works. 

7.17 – Peace & Quiet

Written by Paul Larson

Goods traffic on the main line is becoming a problem, so the Fat Controller agrees to draft in a large ten-wheeled tender engine called Murdoch, who is built specially for heavy freight haulage. Thomas, Harvey and Salty give Murdoch a warm greeting, but he is not impressed with the amount of noise, preferring to work in quieter environments. He eventually snaps at Salty and Harvey that night in the shed, much to their surprise. The following day, Murdoch is taking a long goods train through the countryside, glad for some peace at last, but he soon changes his mind when he has to stop due to some noisy sheep on the line. When Toby finally arrives to ‘shoo’ them away, Murdoch realises how much he misses the noisy chatter of the sheds.

7.18 – The Spotless Record

Written by Paul Larson

A handsome burgundy tank engine called Arthur is drafted in to help with mixed traffic duties. Thomas and Percy soon discover that he has a ‘spotless record’, meaning that he has never had an accident or gotten into trouble. Nothing they do can persuade him to have fun, which provokes Thomas to play a trick on innocent Arthur. He persuades Arthur to take a train of fruit to market and warns him to discipline the trucks, knowing that they will give him a hard time. Arthur has trouble controlling the noisy trucks, which eventually drag him down a hill and straight into the back of Duck’s goods train at the crossing. Arthur is miserable, his spotless record no longer spotless. But Thomas is struck by guilt and owns up to his prank, in turn gaining himself a new friend. 

7.19 – Something Fishy

Written by Paul Larson

Arthur is still learning the ways of the railway and during his time on the island gains a liking for the seaside fishing village. When the Fat Controller opens the offer of a route to the village for fish traffic, none of the engines except Arthur show any interest, but he is too shy to step forward. In the end Thomas is selected to run it, much to both his and Arthur’s disappointment. Later, Thomas is grumpily pushing the fish vans to the dockyard when some faulty points send him on a crash-cause into a tide-pool. The trucks are unharmed, but the fish slowly begins to root in the sun. Arthur is summoned to the rescue and delivers the trucks to the dockyard just in time. Thomas happily hands over the job of looking after the fishing village route to Arthur, and it is gladly agreed upon. Arthur is now a much happier engine. 

7.20 – The Grand Opening

Written by James Mason

Skarloey has been going through a ‘bad-patch’ of lateness, much to the annoyance of the Fat Controller who warns him that he must not be late for the opening of a new scenic line on the narrow gauge railway. This makes him determined not to let the Fat Controller down. However, on the day of the opening, Harold feels unwell; meaning the Fat Controller and his wife must take a hot air balloon ride to get to the ceremony. They pass over Skarloey, who is impatiently helping some workmen to clear the line, panicking that he will be late again. The Fat Controller is also concerned, but disaster strikes when the hot air of the balloon runs out, leaving the balloon stuck in a tree. Skarloey is thankfully not far away, and gets the Fat Controller and his wife to the ceremony on his train.  And thanks to Skarloey being late, The Fat Controller is right on time! 

7.21 – The Old Bridge

Written by Paul Larson

Skarloey is bringing a goods train home when the supports on a wooden bridge break away beneath him, leaving him suspended dangerously over the edge, saved only by his trucks. He is quickly rescued and the bridge is repaired, but Skarloey is still shaken up by the experience. He refuses to go anywhere near the bridge, meaning that Rheneas must do Skarloey’s work as well as his own. One day, Rheneas is heading back across the bridge when he runs out of water and becomes stranded. Skarloey reluctantly comes to the rescue and after plucking up enough courage, crosses the bridge and pulls his friend to safety.

7.22 – Rheneas & The Roller Coaster

Written by James Mason

When given the task of taking some school children on a tour of the scenic line, Rheneas begins to worry that he will not be able to make the trip memorable enough. Rusty tries to give him confidence, but his driver only shows them (what Rheneas considers) to be the more boring parts. He longs to make the trip more excited, but his wish comes true when some workmen accidentally divert him down a dangerous part of the line, sending him on a ‘roller-coaster’ like ride down the mountain. Rheneas skillfully keeps control and brings the children back to the station safely in time for tea. The children have a wonderful time and Rheneas feels much better.

7.23 – The Refreshment Lady’s Tea Shop / The Refreshment Lady’s Stand (US)

Written by James Mason

During the hot summer, the Refreshment Lady’s station teashop is more popular than ever, so she decides to build a second shop somewhere else down the line. Peter Sam happily takes her to some of the more scenic parts of the railway, but they are all so beautiful that the Refreshment Lady can’t decide. That night, a storm has caused terrible damage, but surprisingly enough, brings with it a miracle. Rusty comes across an old railway coach which gives Peter Sam an excellent idea. Jem Cole refurbishes the coach and turns it into a traveling teashop, meaning that it go anywhere along the line. Peter Sam is happily given the task of pulling the ‘Tea Shop Special’.   

7.24 – Trusty Rusty

Written by James Mason

Rusty comes across a damaged stretch of line on a wooden viaduct. His driver sets up a warning post to block trains from using the bridge and they go on to warn the others, but Duncan refuses to listen and pulls away without taking on extra coal for the day. The Fat Controller meanwhile agrees that something must be done with the bridge and the engines must instead take a longer route. But when Duncan finds himself low on coal and learns that the only coal bunker remaining is on the other side of the bridge, he takes a risk and crossing it, only to become stranded with the wooden supports giving way below him. Rusty comes instantly to the rescue, pulling him away just in time as the entire bridge collapses. Duncan learns a grave lesson to put trust in Rusty from then on.

7.25 – The Runaway Elephant

Written by George Tarry

The narrow gauge engines are assisting with the construction of a new park. The job is nearing completion, the final touch being the statue of an elephant (hence the park’s name of ‘Elephant Park’). Duncan becomes conceited when given the task of delivering the elephant statue to the site, but impatience takes over him and he leaves without a brake van. In an attempt to show off, he begins to dangerously gather speed, but without a van he cannot slow down. After a dangerous joy ride, he arrives at the site and the impact of crashing into the buffers sends the elephant statue flying into the air, only to land in the perfect spot in the middle of the lake.

7.26 - Not So Hasty Puddings / Not So Hasty Cakes (US)

Written by Robyn Chateris

It is Christmas time on the island and snow is lying heavy on the ground. Everyone is in a festive spirit, but when the task of delivering a large shipment of Christmas puddings is given to Elizabeth, Thomas becomes jealous, thinking that he could do a better job. Elizabeth thinks he is being silly, but the slippery roads and the weight of her cargo cause her to get stuck in a snowdrift. Thomas and Terrence are immediately sent to the rescue and save both Elizabeth and the precious cargo from the snow. Thomas and Elizabeth decide to set aside their differences and work together.