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Down the Mine

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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Buzz Book, the Philippine DVD, the 1992 VHS, the 1985 UK VHS or the Indian DVD.
"Down a mine, is he? Ha, ha, ha! What a joke!"
— Gordon
DowntheMine5
Down the Mine
Director(s)

David Mitton

Producer(s)

Britt Allcroft
David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona

Writer(s)

Reverend W. Awdry
(original)
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton (adapted)

Narrator

Ringo Starr (UK/US)
George Carlin (US)

Air date

November 23rd, 1984 (UK)
May 21st, 1989 (US)

Previous episode

Off the Rails/
Gordon Takes a Dip

Next episode

Thomas' Christmas Party

Down the Mine is the twenty-fifth episode of the first season. In the US, it aired on the Shining Time Station episodes, Too Many Cooks and Wrong Track.

Plot

One day while Thomas is waiting at the junction, Gordon, who is in disgrace after causing trouble and falling into a ditch, pulls in with some trucks. As soon as Gordon stops, Thomas cracks a joke about ditch water. Before Gordon can respond, Thomas leaves with his coaches.

Annie and Clarabel are shocked at Thomas' behaviour, and scold him for it. Thomas is pleased with his clever joke though and runs off to go to the lead mine. The mine was used a long time ago by miners digging for lead who made tunnels under the ground. While the roofs of the tunnels are strong enough to hold up trucks, they cannot sustain the weight of engines. At the mine, there is a board displaying a clear warning that engines must not pass that point. Thomas considers the board to be silly and would often try to pass it, however his driver prevented him.

That morning however, Thomas had made a plan to get past the board. When Thomas' fireman leaves the cab to change the points, Thomas bumps the trucks fiercely and knocks his driver off the footplate allowing him to pass the board. As his driver calls after him, Thomas continues on over the unsafe rails which collapse and leave him teetering into a chasm.

Thomas realises how silly he is by passing the board. Then the Fat Controller arrives, having seen everything. After telling Thomas off for his naughtiness, he begins to think about how to get Thomas out of the mine. As a crane would be too heavy for the ground to support, the Fat Controller decides to call in Gordon to pull Thomas out. Thomas feels uneasy about this, feeling that he would rather not meet Gordon at the moment.

After being fitted with a winch on his front and being told about what happened, Gordon heads to the rescue unable to stop himself from laughing at the situation. Arriving at the mine, Gordon promises to get Thomas out as soon as possible. Strong cables are fastened between the two engines and after a lot of hard work and pulling, Gordon is able to finally get Thomas out of the mine.

Thomas apologises for his earlier cheekiness, but Gordon shrugs it off telling Thomas he actually thought his joke was funny. Now both engines are in disgrace, so Thomas and Gordon agree to form an alliance and help each other in future. With that, the two engines are coupled together and head back to the shed.

Characters

Locations

Trivia

  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Gordon the Big Engine.
  • This story is based on a real event that took place at Lindal-in-Furness in 1892. Though in this particular event, the collapsing mine hole was miles deep and all that was recovered of the engine was its tender.
  • According to a SiF interview with Steve Asquith, this story was the pilot episode of the series. The aired episode is a completely different version. Season one and pilot editor Michael Dixon stated in another SiF interview that the original pilot had simpler sets, fewer characters, and flatter lighting.
  • Stock footage from Thomas and the Guard and Thomas and Bertie is used.
  • In the shot of Thomas leaving Knapford, his model from the original pilot cut is used. The scenery in Knapford is slightly different in this shot as well.
  • The buffers of the truck Thomas bumps into are lowered specifically so that Thomas can hit them properly.
  • Some of the trucks at the mine have "N. E." written on them.
  • According to crew member Christopher Noulton, the Gordon model used in the pilot was rebuilt by him for the second season for use as a stand-by model. It was later cut up and used as scrap set dressing.
  • In Denmark, this episode is named "Down into the Mine". In Germany, Spain and France, the title is "In the Mine". In Italy, it is "The Sunken Locomotive". In Japan, this episode is called "Thomas Fell Into a Hole". In Finland this episode is called "Mines".
  • A CGI recreation of the scene where Thomas falls down the mine was made for Blue Mountain Mystery.
  • In the Welsh version, Thomas is not seen bumping into the trucks.

Goofs

  • When Thomas shunts Annie and Clarabel his eyes look wonky and Annie and Clarabel are missing their names.
  • The sign says: "Danger! Engines must not pass this board!" But when Thomas passes the board it says: "Danger! Engines must not pass this point!"
  • The hole is supposed to be the result of a mine tunnel roof collapsing under Thomas' weight.  However, the hole appears to have been already dug out for Thomas to drop into it.
  • When the Fat Controller says "Let me see," the man to the right is losing his cap's brim.
  • In the close-up of Thomas down the mine, after the Fat Controller suggests that Gordon could pull Thomas out, a hair is stuck on Thomas' side.
  • In the first scene of Gordon coming to Thomas' rescue, he is on the branch line.
  • When Gordon goes under the bridge something blue appears above it.
  • When Gordon and Thomas leave the mine, Thomas' wheels drag along the line for a few seconds before he blows his whistle.
  • Lower Tidmouth is not the junction on Thomas' Branch Line. In fact, it is not even on Thomas' branch line.
  • The sign is different at one point when Thomas is passing it in the Welsh version.
  • Thomas' siderods are in different positions after he is pulled out of the mine and when he and Gordon puff away.

Gallery

Episode

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