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|This article is about the season. You may be looking for the digital download release.|
With Season 5, the decision was made to write a full series of original, staff-written stories, without using the Railway Series' books as a source. One reason for this was producer Britt Allcroft's desire to create a theatrical Thomas the Tank Engine movie, and requested that director David Mitton show off his modelling skills.
Some inspiration for the episodes came from a former LMR manager named David Maidment. In 1997, Maidment met with Steven Wright about the possibility of supporting the Railway Children charity, and while Wright told him the series' staff commonly received such requests, they would consider. During their meeting, Maidment relayed stories about his railway experiences working in South Wales and as the manager at Crewe station. Maidment received a call asking if he would allow some of his stories to be used as material – the stories from The Railway Series were frequently based on true events, and Allcroft and Mitton preferred this. Maidment agreed, and was also asked to review each story to make sure that the railway in the show operated realistically. As a result, Maidment received writing credit alongside Allcroft and Mitton. 10,000 pounds later was donated to the Railway Children for his work.
The design for each new character would be chosen by David Eves, and given to David Mitton for approval. For ease of filming, Season 5 would introduce larger-scale versions of the narrow gauge engines, and from Season 6-12 these larger models were used almost exclusively. Originally, the character Bertram was supposed to be a tank engine, but financial difficulty in building a new model made them repaint Duke's model with Smudger's face.
|Screenshot|| UK title (top)|
US title (bottom)
|Episode number #|
|"Cranky Bugs"||September 14th, 1998||#01|
|A new crane called Cranky arrives at the docks and causes trouble for Thomas and Percy. A storm traps the big engines and Duck in the dockyard shed. A tramp steamer runs aground into the quayside, knocking down the shed, and causing Cranky to fall over. In order to rescue the other engines, Cranky needs Thomas and Percy's help.|
|"Horrid Lorry"||September 15th, 1998||#02|
|Three very Horrid Lorries arrive on Sodor and start taking over the engines' jobs. Percy and Toby receive the worse at the end of the tether. But eventually, the tables are turned, as the lorries get their comeuppance in due course. The engines work even harder to ensure the lorries never return.|
|"A Better View for Gordon"||September 16th, 1998||#03|
|Gordon complains about the plainness of a new station, and longs for a panoramic view. But over time, he keeps breaking down, and in a way, gets the view he wants, just not the way he was expecting.|
|"Lady Hatt's Birthday Party"||September 17th, 1998||#04|
|On his way to his wife's birthday, the Fat Controller's car becomes stuck in a pothole. He hitches a lift in Caroline, who breaks down, and then George, who loses control and crashes into a muddy pond. Thomas, luckily, is nearby and the Fat Controller is forced to act as his "relief" fireman to reach the party in time.|
|"James and the Trouble with Trees"||September 18th, 1998||#05|
|A dirty Thomas is mad at James for boasting about his shiny new coat of paint. James' bragging prevents him from listening to Henry, Percy and Terence's warnings about trees that are too close to the line. Later, James encounters a tree on the line and Thomas comes to his rescue.|
|"Gordon and the Gremlin"||September 21st, 1998||#06|
|Gordon has problems with his fire and the others joke of gremlins. Although the turntable in the goods yard malfunctions, Gordon manages to get to Kirk Ronan before Thomas to pick up a special visitor. At Wellsworth, the passenger's dog runs away and, after confronting a bull, runs away again into Thomas' cab.|
|"Bye George!"||September 22nd, 1998||#07|
|George the Steamroller causes a great deal of trouble for the engines. He goes as far as bullying Percy, tarmacking asphalt over the tracks, causing Thomas to crash through a chicken coop, and causes Gordon to crash into one of Duck's trucks. The Fat Controller deals with him after.|
|"Baa!"||September 23rd, 1998||#08|
|Thomas, Percy and Toby talk about a competition for "The Best Dressed Station" that is being held across Sodor. But as Percy is helping decorate Maithwaite station, a hungry ram is found in the station as decorations are ruined. To everyone's amazement, the ram manages to find the real culprits.|
|"Put Upon Percy"||September 24th, 1998||#09|
|Percy complains that he is overworked, though the others are unsympathetic. While working at the Coal Mine, some trucks escape from him and they crash inside the mine-shaft, which causes the entire mine to collapse. Percy and his crew try to escape, but are buried underneath coal. Luckily, they are saved by a canvas barrier.|
|"Toby and the Flood"||September 25th, 1998||#10|
|Heavy storms have been flooding the Island. Toby is sent to inspect the dam, and discovers a few leaks in it. It eventually collapses, causing disaster for a nearby village. He is forced to cross an unsafe bridge over the flooded river, but it breaks and he drifts off towards a waterfall. Harold and Percy are sent to rescue Toby.|
|"Haunted Henry"||September 28th, 1998||#11|
|Henry refuses to believe in ghosts, until he and his crew encounter a series of spooky events during the night. The trucks tease him, but later down the old line, they become spooked too. In their fright, the trucks surge forward and plunge into a ravine. Henry soon realizes that the "ghostly figure" is actually Old Bailey, a friendly fogman.|
|"Double Teething Troubles"||September 29th, 1998||#12|
|Bill and Ben are worried when they hear that Derek, a malfunctioning diesel, is going to help them work in the clay pits. The twins misunderstand him by thinking he has a toothache. Unfortunately, Derek's "teething troubles" cause more trouble than he is worth.|
|"Stepney Gets Lost"||September 30th, 1998||#13|
|The Fat Controller invites Stepney to work with Toby and Mavis at the quarry. He impresses everyone so much that the foreman asks Stepney's driver to take a night special. He agrees, forgetting to ask for the Fat Controller's permission. Stepney gets lost on the way home, eventually arriving at the Smelter's Yard.|
|"Toby's Discovery"||October 1st, 1998||#14|
|Toby takes the Hatts on an expedition, finding a castle and an old mine. The destinations are reopened, but Toby is spooked by Thomas' story about "The Old Warrior", who hunts engines at night.|
|"Something in the Air"||October 2nd, 1998||#15|
|Henry is cross when Thomas delays him, and refuses to listen to his warning about a line eroded by high tides. The signalman isn't warned in time, and Henry is sent right down it.|
|"Thomas, Percy and Old Slowcoach"||October 5th, 1998||#16|
|Thomas and Percy discover an old coach named Old Slow Coach in the scrapyard, and want to save her. Later, a workman's hut is set on fire, and the workmen have no place to sleep. Percy suggests using Old Slow Coach, and she is soon restored to her former glory.|
| "Thomas and the Rumours"|
"Thomas and the Rumors"
|October 6th, 1998||#17|
|Thomas sees a children's playground is closed, but that has to wait as the engines discover Harold has been hired to show a special visitor around the island. Determined to show how fast he is, Gordon accidentally runs into a tunnel under repair. It turns out the inspector was really there to find new sand for the children's playground.|
|"Oliver's Find"||October 7th, 1998||#18|
|Oliver is glum only shunting in the yard, and takes it on the trucks, causing an accident. He is put on mail duty instead. A signalman dozes off and they end up going down an old branch line.|
|"Happy Ever After"||October 8th, 1998||#19|
|Mrs. Kyndley asks Percy and his driver to make a "good luck package" for her daughter's wedding. They agree and slowly find the items as they go about their work.|
|"Sir Topham Hatt's Holiday"||October 9th, 1998||#20|
|The Fat Controller and his family go on holiday, though things start to go wrong. A low-flying bi-plane named Tiger Moth goes missing, so the Fat Controller and Harold search for it. He decides to go boating on a canal instead, though they become bogged down in mud.|
| "A Surprise for Percy"|
"A Big Surprise for Percy"
|October 12th, 1998||#21|
|Percy moans about his work in the mines and wants something exciting to happen. His wish comes true when a line of trucks breaks away from him on the hill, and the Fat Controller and Bertie chase them down.|
|"Make Someone Happy"||October 13th, 1998||#22|
|Thomas tells James to think of others and that he'll be much happier if he does. Later, James sees Mrs. Kyndley, who is upset her sister can't come and visitor. A "mystery tour" is arranged for her, and James is chosen for it.|
|"Busy Going Backwards"||October 14th, 1998||#23|
|Toad confesses to Oliver that he wishes to go forwards for a change, but the trucks are cross and promise to pay him out. On Gordon's Hill, the coupling snaps and Toad goes on a wild ride.|
|"Duncan Gets Spooked"||October 15th, 1998||#24|
|Duncan teases Peter Sam after some trucks fall into a ravine, so Rusty tells Duncan a ghost story to make him eat his own words. Duncan later has to cross the same ravine.|
|"Rusty and the Boulder"||October 16th, 1998||#25|
|Rusty is suspicious of a strange boulder lodged in the mountains. A new machine called Thumper comes to work and causes chaos when he dislodges the boulder and it lets loose on the railway.|
|"Snow"||October 19th, 1998||#26|
|Thomas is cross with the snow, so Rusty tells him about Skarloey's own experience. His crew had stopped on the line to have some cocoa, but some slate trucks run through the buffers and into the ravine, causing an avalanche,|
- It's Great to be an Engine
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Accidents Will Happen
- Night Train
- The Snow Song
- Harold the Helicopter
- Donald's Duck
- Percy's Seaside Trip
- Every Cloud has a Silver Lining
- Come for the Ride
- Bill and Ben
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Lady Hatt
- Stephen Hatt
- Bridget Hatt
- Mrs. Kyndley
- The Firelighter
- The Little Boys
- Jem Cole (not named)
- Farmer Trotter (not named)
- Peter Sam (does not speak)
- Henrietta (does not speak)
- Donald (cameo)
- Trevor (cameo)
- Jeremiah Jobling (cameo)
- The Vicar of Wellsworth (cameo)
- Refreshment Lady (cameo)
- Nancy (cameo)
- Farmer Finney (cameo)
- The Storyteller (cameo)
- The Butler (cameo)
- The Crovan's Gate Policeman (cameo)
- The Tailor (cameo)
- Duke (portrait cameo)
- S.C. Ruffey (possible cameo)
- Bulstrode (faceless; cameo)
- Douglas (music video cameo)
- Diesel (music video cameo)
- Sir Handel (music video cameo)
- Tom Tipper (music video cameo)
- The Barber (music video cameo)
- The Ffarquhar Stationmaster and his Family (music video cameo)
- The Quarry-master (music video cameo)
- The Injured Sailor (music video cameo)
- Old Slow Coach
- The Horrid Lorries
- Old Bailey
- The Special Visitor
- Mrs. Kyndley's Daughter
- Tiger Moth's Pilot
- Derek (not named)
- 'Arry (not named)
- Dowager Hatt (not named)
- The Lighthouse Keeper (not named)
- Bert (does not speak)
- Bertram (does not speak)
- Rusty's Ghost Engine (does not speak)
- Thumper (does not speak)
- Tiger Moth (does not speak)
- Butch (faceless; does not speak)
- Harry Topper (mentioned)
- This was the first season of several things:
- The first season not to have any episodes based on The Railway Series stories by Wilbert and Christopher Awdry.
- The first season to introduce non-Awdry characters.
- Alec Baldwin's first season as narrator.
- The first season not to air on Shining Time Station due to the show ending, instead Storytime with Thomas took over, but only it lasted two years before the series went on hiatus in 2001 after Storytime with Thomas ended.
- The first season to use a Proteus 2000 to compose the music.
- The first season not dubbed in Finnish or Ukrainian.
- The first season to air in Canada.
- The first season that Douglas does not appear since his debut in the second season. Although, he does appear in a music video from this season.
- According to an interview with David Mitton before his death in 2008, this season was supposed to be a showcase of Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
- Production of this season began in 1997 after Wilbert Awdry died, but ended sometime in either the end of 1997 or 1998, in which it's unknown when production of the season ended.
- This was also the final season of several things:
- Britt Allcroft's final season as writer and producer.
- Angus Wright's last season as executive producer.
- The last season shown on Cartoon Network UK, besides syndicated episodes that would still be shown on the channel until 2001.
- The last season to use the original music in Germany. (Also, the final season of the classic series to air in Germany).
- The last season filmed completely in 4:3 full screen, but only in the UK.
- The last season of the Classic Series dubbed and shown in Spain.
- The last season to be released completely on VHS in Australia.
- The last season to have a railway consultant until the seventeenth season.
- This was also the only season of several things:
- The only season not to have Knapford Station as a destination.
- The only season to have Kirk Ronan as a destination.
- The only season that Diesel does not appear in since his debut in the second season, though he does appear in a music video from this season.
- David Maidment's only season as railway consultant and writer.
- The only season where Donald appears, but without Douglas.
- The only season where Donald appears, but doesn't speak.
- Michael Angelis was not credited in the opening titles for the UK narration. However, he is credited as narrator in the Hindi narration, even though it was redubbed.
- Starting with this season up to Season 12, the brake sound effect from the 1964 film, The Train would be used when an engine puts on the brakes.
- Thomas and the Rumours and Duncan Gets Spooked were the only episodes seen on VHS before broadcasting to television in the United Kingdom.
Behind the Scenes