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Busy Going Backwards

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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Malaysian DVD.
"A pond's the only place for a toad, I suppose..."
— Oliver
Busy Going Backwards

David Mitton


Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Britt Allcroft
David Mitton
David Maidment


Michael Angelis (UK)
Alec Baldwin (US)

Air date

October 14th,
1998 (UK)
December 23rd
1998 (AUS)
February 10th,
1999 (US)

Previous episode

Make Someone

Next episode

Duncan Gets

Busy Going Backwards is the twenty-third episode of the fifth season.


One day, Toad was feeling sad. He could see engines and coaches moving forwards, unlike he who could only see things from behind. He decides to talk to Oliver about his problem. He tells him that he is always going backwards, he has forward thinking views and could be a leader. Gordon tells him that he can't be a leader if he doesn't have a train to follow him, which makes Toad even more sad. Oliver tells him he is a really useful brakevan, that he helps him brake and keeps trucks in order when he goes down hills. Toad says it would still be nice to go forwards for a change. The trucks overhear everything Toad says and are cross that he does not appreciate looking after them and promise to pay him back for his words.

So when Oliver takes a goods train up Gordon's Hill, the trucks break away and go careering down the line. The trucks knock the guard off his post and leave a helpless Toad in a state of shock. At first, Toad enjoys his journey traveling backwards, but his enjoyment soon ends, as he crashes through a crossing that was closed. Then, he finds out he's on the wrong track, and narrowly misses Gordon with the help of a nearby signalman. Then, he sees James coming down the line with a slow goods train. A shunter switches Toad off James' line just in time. The signalman calls ahead to the stationmaster at the next station. The stationmaster tells the signalman he'll divert Toad and the trucks into a siding. His plan works, but unfortunately, Toad is diverted back onto the main line after a points failure.

Meanwhile, Oliver was racing to Toad's aid. Toad speeds past Henry, and reaches a bridge under repairs. Luckily, the workmen had been warned about the runaway and divert Toad into a siding leading into a muddy pool.

That night, Toad speaks to Oliver, saying he is sorry if he caused him embarrassment. Oliver asks him what he thought of going forwards; Toad tells him it was a fun experience, but he will look forward to remaining backwards from now on. Toad now appreciates seeing everything from behind.




  • A rendition of "William Tell Overture" is heard throughout the runaway.
  • The picture of Duke from Bulldog can be seen in the signal box.


  • When Toad rolls to the bottom of Gordon's Hill, from his point of view, the edge of the scenery can be seen.
  • When Toad switches lines to avoid Gordon, the track ends in bushes.
  • In the distant shot of Toad being switched to the track with the buffers, seconds before the camera cuts, Toad and the front two trucks derail.
  • A string can be seen when Toad goes out of the siding.
  • The rails to the buffers are broken as Toad leaves the siding.
  • Before Toad switches to another track to avoid James, he is on the middle track. In the close up of Toad shutting his eyes, you can tell this is repeated as you can see Toad is on the right track, not the middle track.
  • After Toad avoids James, a works coach moves from in front of the points to behind the points.
  • When Toad swerves away from the buffers and back onto the main line, the mechanism pushing him and the trucks is seen.
  • Toad would not have been able to reach the buffers that he thought would stop him as the points weren't even connected to the rest of the track.
  • When Toad swerves at the siding, some studio equipment is seen.
  • When Oliver rushes under the Wellsworth footbridge, part of the fencing is bent.
  • The narrator says "they diverted him onto old sidings" when he should have said "they diverted him onto an old siding".
  • James is seen going through Wellsworth heading west when Oliver passes him, but later James is seen coming along the middle line heading east.
  •  James' trucks change several times during the episode.
  • When Toad falls into the pond, in the shot from his point of view, studio equipment can be seen in the top left corner.
  • Oliver's trucks keep changing throughout the duration of the episode.

In other languages

Language Name Meaning
Spanish En Reversa y no a la Inversa In Reverse and not the Opposite
Japanese うしろむきのトード Toad Backwards
Italian Indietro Tutta! Back All!
Polish Cała Wstecz The Entire Back



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