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“My hat! You've sucked it through your air intake!"
"Bother your hat!”
―The Inspector and Sir Topham Hatt

Bowled Out is the eighteenth episode of the fourth season. In the US, it first aired in the Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales episode, For the Birds in 1996.


During the last few days of Stepney's visit to the North Western Railway, an engine shortage has occurred and the only engine available is a Class 40 diesel. When the diesel arrives and surveys the shed he insults the engines, claiming them to be out of date.

The engines are furious, but cannot think of a plan for revenge. There is no need though, as Class 40 sucks an inspector's bowler hat through his air-intake vent and breaks down just as he is about to take an express. Duck and Stepney who has longed for a long run, then volunteer in taking the train. Leaving the failed Class 40 in the shed, the two engines set off down the Main Line and in record time reach Crovan's Gate where Gordon waits to take over.

Stepney leaves the next day and while the engines bid him farewell, Class 40 creeps sulkily away saying goodbye to no one and leaving only two things to remember him by: a bad smell and a battered bowler hat.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine.
  • Going by production order, this is the seventeenth episode of the fourth season.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Sir Handel until the tenth season episode Follow that Flour. It also marks the last appearance of Crovan's Gate until the eighteenth season (excluding stock footage appearances in the seventh season).
  • In a rare picture on the back cover of the 1995 Thomas and the Special Letter US VHS, Gordon is in Henry's place when the Fat Controller makes the announcement.
  • According to some VHS descriptions, Class 40 was brought to Sodor to take over Daisy's work while she was ill.
  • This episode marks Class 40's only speaking role and also his last appearance to date.
  • Despite his appearance in the episode, Percy does not appear in the nameboard sequence at the end of the episode in the Japanese dub.
  • The scene of Class 40 passing the coaches is mirrored in US DVD advertisements and The 10 Years of Thomas version of Thomas' Anthem.


  • A few things for James in this episode:
    • The goods train next to James is being pushed by a crew member, as a shadow is easily seen.
    • James has Smudger's whistle sound when he leaves Crovan's Gate.
  • A few things for Gordon in this episode:
    • His buffers are slightly crooked at different points in this episode.
    • He is missing his brake pipe.
    • In a rare still image, he has a crooked buffer.
  • The track that Percy is on is only there for one scene.
  • Stepney is missing his crew in the first shot.
  • In the shots of Gordon's Hill:
    • A red and blue wire can be seen in the middle coach and in the same shot, the track in front of Stepney and Duck appears to sink just before they roll over it.
    • Duck gains a lamp.
  • In the close-ups of Duck and Stepney during the scene where Class 40 breaks down, the scenery changes.
  • In the shots of Class 40:
    • After he grinds to a halt and the camera switches to Duck and Stepney and then back to him, he is slightly further away from the coaches.
    • When he arrives at Tidmouth Sheds, the braking sound is heard long before he actually stops.
    • When he arrives, the close-up of Donald and Douglas is taken from later in the episode, as James' position is inconsistent with the rest of the scene but consistent with the later scene.
    • When he breaks down, he has his air-intake covered, but when the inspector notices his hat, his air intake cover is off.
  • When the engines are whistling at Tidmouth Sheds, Percy's whistle sound is heard, but he is nowhere to be seen in this scene. The reason is because stock audio from Thomas' Christmas Party is used.
  • In the second shot, the camera lens can be seen at the top left hand corner.

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