Bradford the Brake Van is the fifth episode of the twentieth season.
One day, Thomas is having trouble with the troublesome trucks. When Samson arrives and sees him, he brags that his trucks aren't a problem. Leaving the yard, he leaves his brake van: Bradford. Bradford is ashamed of the trucks and offers to be Thomas' brake van. Thomas happily agrees.
Once in position, Bradford barks at the trucks to be quiet. As Thomas passes the other engines, they wish they had a brake van like Bradford but at the Blue Mountain Quarry, Bradford makes Thomas stop; the stones in his trucks are nine millimetres above the allowed height. Thomas is surprised that Bradford is enforcing such a minor rule, even more when Bradford demands him to unload some stone, making him very late.
At the docks, Whiff asks Thomas to borrow Bradford, Thomas agrees, happy to get away from him. Whiff soon runs into a problem with him; Bradford claims Whiff's trucks are too dirty. When Henry comes to pull the Flying Kipper, Bradford orders Henry to get a new lamp after seeing a tiny crack. Henry comes back very late, and all the engines complain about Bradford.
When Thomas collects his trucks later that day, the only brake van left is Bradford, but Thomas does not want to travel with him. He decides to sneak away, and when Bradford calls Thomas out, he pretends he could not hear him. Then there is trouble; Thomas' trucks are filled with too many stones, and without a brake van, the trucks push Thomas down Gordon's Hill and into the back of Percy's train, derailing his brakevan and rear truck. Sir Topham Hatt is cross and tells Thomas that safety comes first before being on time.
Thomas apologises to Bradford, but Bradford says that he is leaving. As Samson pulls him away, the engines all whistle for him, but Bradford orders to not whistle while stationary, but then makes an exception this time. After what the engines went through, they are quite happy that Bradford is leaving Sodor.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Owen (does not speak)
- Harvey (cameo)
- Winston (cameo)
- Rheneas (cameo)
- Sir Handel (cameo)
- Peter Sam (cameo)
- Cranky (cameo)
- Annie and Clarabel (mentioned)
- Knapford Yards
- Blue Mountain Quarry
- Brendam Docks
- Sodor Shipping Company
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Gordon's Hill
- Sodor Steamworks (mentioned)
- Whiff's Waste Dump (mentioned)
- The Washdown (mentioned)
- The Mainland (mentioned)
- This episode marks the first time vans have been seen with faces since the seventh season.
- A reference is made to Battery Sergeant Major Williams from "It Ain't Half Hot Mum".
- A rock is floating in one of the trucks when they are at the top of Gordon's Hill.
- When Samson leaves with Bradford at the end of the episode, Thomas' trucks are uncoupled.