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Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger

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"Why do people always think it's me who's always grumbling? I mean, I've never grumbled in my life! Me? Grumbling? Don't think so!"
— Duncan

Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger is the eleventh episode of the eighteenth season.


One morning, Duncan speaks to Rheneas at Glennock. He tells Rheneas that he has a wobbly wheel which Victor says there is nothing wrong with and he complains about a stretch of track at Cros-ny-Cuirn. He then grumbles about one of his passengers who is extremely grumpy. Duncan is right to complain about this as one particular man who always catches Duncan's train is indeed very grumpy. The passenger complains when Duncan goes too fast, he complains when Duncan goes too slow, he complains that the carriages are too cramped, he complains about absolutely anything and everything.

A little later, Duncan is at Crovan's Gate watching the grumpy man complaining to the stationmaster when Peter Sam arrives. Duncan tells Peter Sam all about the grumpy passenger and says that he has nothing to complain about at all in reality. Peter Sam isn't so sure, but Duncan is determined to prove that he is capable of not having any complaints. Duncan goes to the depot and collects some extra coaches. Rusty tries to tell Duncan that Skarloey needs the coaches for his passengers, but Duncan doesn't listen and takes them away.

That evening, Duncan arrives at Crovan's Gate to pick up his regular passengers including the grumpy man. Duncan pulls away, just as Skarloey pulls in. He is not happy with Duncan for taking his coaches and neither do Skarloey's passengers.

Duncan, unaware of the trouble he's caused, speeds down the line. Up ahead, Duncan sees some workmen working by the line. He sees some danger flags, but doesn't want to slow down in fear of receiving complaints from the grumpy passenger. So Duncan doesn't slow down and speeds through the workmen who are left shaking their fists at Duncan. When Duncan pulls into the station, he is feeling pleased with himself. The passengers are pleased, too, but the grumpy man is still looking very grumpy.

The next morning, Duncan collects his passengers as usual, but the grumpy man is not there. Duncan realises that the man must be running late, so he ignores his guard's whistle and does not move. Sure enough, the grumpy man is soon running into the station after sleeping through his alarm clock. Then, Skarloey pulls up behind Duncan and is not happy about being delayed and neither are his passengers. Duncan is sure that the man won't be able to complain that morning, but as soon as Duncan pulls out of the station, the grumbling and moaning starts. This time, the man complains about the trains always being late and the uncomfortable seats. When Duncan comes across the workmen again, he ignores the warning flags once again because he doesn't want to slow down as he is running late.

When Duncan arrives at Crovan's Gate, the Thin Controller is waiting for him. Duncan knows what he's going to say and apologises. The Thin Controller appreciates Duncan's apology, but still wants an explanation for his actions. Duncan explains that he was trying to stop a grumpy man from complaining. Mr. Percival says he knows the grumpy old man well and he is always complaining about something. He tells Duncan to ignore the man and just do his job.

That evening, Duncan passes the workmen yet again. This time, he decides to slow right down. The workmen thank Duncan for his consideration, but the grumpy passengers starts moaning. This time, Duncan just ignores him and carries on.

When they arrive at Glennock, Rheneas is there. Rheneas thinks it is odd to see Duncan in such a good mood after a busy day. Duncan explains that he has learned a lesson and vows to be a different engine. Rheneas thinks Duncan is going to give up grumbling, but Duncan explains that he is going to ignore the miserable old man. Duncan rattles away, complaining about Rheneas thinking he's complaining all the time!


Some passengers also speak; they are voiced by Keith Wickham in both versions.



  • This episode marked the first of several things:
    • Duncan's first appearance since the twelfth season and his first appearance in full CGI.
    • The first appearance of Crovan's Gate and Glennock since the fourth season, of Woodland Way/Valley View since the seventh season, and of Sodor Castle since the eleventh season.
    • The first episode to explicitly mention Cros-ny-Cuirn.
    • The first episode directed by Don Spencer.
    • The first episode since the third season to have its American narration broadcast in New Zealand.
  • Tom Stourton joins the voice cast.
  • An arrangement of Duncan's original theme can be heard a number of times throughout the episode.
  • The Sodor Times newspaper that the grumpy passenger is reading has the exact same headlines on the front page as the one being read by one of Dowager Hatt's friends in Henry's Hero.
  • Going by production order, this is the twelfth episode of the eighteenth season.
  • When this episode aired in New Zealand, the US version was shown instead of the usual UK version for unknown reasons.
  • Some shots of Duncan and Rheneas at Glennock were reused in Duncan the Humbug but snow was rendered into the scene.
  • A signalman is one of Duncan's passengers.


  • At one point, James can be seen pulling Skarloey Railway Coaches.
  • The stationmaster at Glennock looks identical to the one at Crovan's Gate.
  • When Duncan is waiting for the grumpy passenger at Glennock, two of his coaches and the brakevan are out of the platform area.
  • When the Grumpy Passenger is complaining at Crovan's Gate, his lips do not match up to what he's saying.
  • When we see Duncan at Crovan's Gate for the first time, he gains two more coaches.
  • In the last scene of the episode, Duncan is seen pulling only two coaches instead of four.
  • When Duncan passes by the workmen repairing the line, his coaches aren't rendered properly.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ダンカンとふきげんなおきゃくさん Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger
Spanish Duncan y el pasajero Gruñón Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger
Russian Дункан и недовольный пассажир Duncan and the Disgruntled Passengers
Ukrainian Дункан і Сердитий Пасажир Duncan and the Angry Passenger
Dutch Duncan en de Narrige Passagier Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger
Hungarian Duncan és a mogorva utas Duncan and the Grumpy Passengers
Romanian Duncan şi Pasagerul Morocănos Duncan and the Grumpy Passengers
French Duncan et le Passager Grincheux Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger
Czech Duncan a mrzutý cestující Duncan and the Grumpy Passengers
Polish Damian i Marudny Pasażer Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger
Thai ดันแคนกับผู้โดยสารขี้บ่น Duncan's Evciting Passengers
Lithuanian Duncanas ir gaižus keleivių Duncan and the Grumpy Passengers
Norwegian Duncan og den gretne passasjeren Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger
Portuguese Duncan e o Passageiro Rabugento Duncan and the Bad Tempered Passenger

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