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James and the Trouble with Trees

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"If you can't push trucks properly, Henry, why not talk to a tree instead? You know how much you like the forest!"
— James taunting Henry
James and the Trouble with Trees

David Mitton


Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Britt Allcroft
David Mitton
David Maidment


Michael Angelis (UK)
Alec Baldwin (US)

Air date

September 18th,
1998 (UK)
November 27th,
1998 (AUS)
January 15th,
1999 (US)

Previous episode

Lady Hatt's
Birthday Party

Next episode

Gordon and
the Gremlin

James and the Trouble with Trees is the fifth episode of the fifth season.


Thomas had been working at the coaling plant all day and is disappointed when he cannot receive a wash-down due to a broken hosepipe, now afraid that the other engines will make fun of him. However, when Thomas returns to the shed, he finds James boasting. James believes he deserves a new coat of paint, as Sir Topham Hatt has told him that he is the pride of the line. Henry contradicts James by saying they are all pride of the line, but James does not listen.

The next morning, Henry has an accident while shunting and James insults him, saying he should go talk to trees instead. Henry tells James that Sir Topham Hatt is working on removing trees that are too close to the line. Later, James meets Thomas, Percy, and Terence while in the forest removing the trees. James thinks that trees are silly, so the others try to warn him, but the red engine just ignores them.

James then arrives at the station to collect the express, but Sir Topham Hatt re-assigns him to an important goods train. This puts James in a very bad mood. The trucks tease James about shunting and he sets off with the train. They soon reach a hill and begin to climb. An old tree by the side of the line was being blown by the wind. Rain had softened the soil and the tree slowly slides onto the tracks in front of James. He tries to reverse, but the train is too heavy. Luckily, Thomas comes to James' aid. At first, James is afraid Thomas would tease him, but he does not. Thomas helps James move out of the way before the tree falls over.

Back at the yard, James thanks Thomas. Edward comes in to tell them that Thomas will get a re-paint, while James will pull the express.




  • This episode was likely written to amend the third season episode Henry's Forest, which caused great anger on the Reverend W. Awdry's part.
  • The scene of the tree sliding down the embankment is similar to the scene in the film version of "The Railway Children", when the three children see trees sliding down a cutting, causing rocks to fall onto the rails.


  • After James leaves Brendam, his trucks lose their faces.
  • When James brakes to prevent hitting the tree, his front bogie is derailed.
  • James says he is to pull the express, but he couples up to red branch line coaches.
  • At the shunting yard, the two trucks to James' right move positions between the wide and close-up shots.
  • When Thomas and James start to back away from the tree, Thomas' driver's head looks up, possibly coming off its joints.
  • When James and Thomas back away from the tree, the tree is standing up again.
  • In the final shot of James, his face is not fitted properly as the gap between his face and eyes is exposed.
  • James has a different whistle sound when he leaves the forest, Kirk Ronan, and Brendam Docks.
  • Thomas is covered in coal dust at the beginning of the episode, but when James is warned about the trees and when Thomas rescues James, Thomas is clean. Then, when James apologizes to Thomas, he is covered in coal dust again.
  • In the first close-up of James looking shocked, the edge of the set can be seen.
  • When Thomas is being coupled up to James's brakevan, he is some centimeters away from it but when Thomas say "I'm ready!" his buffers are touching the brakevan's buffers.
  • In the scene of Thomas and Percy looking angry, Percy's face is crooked.
  • When Henry is shunting the trucks, he is coming from a dead end.
  • In the Japanese version, Henry has Gordon's voice during the scene at Tidmouth Sheds.


  • Thomas: Why James? I'm the one who needs a new coat, look at me!
  • James: I'd rather not. You're not a pleasant sight.
  • Percy: You wouldn't feel important if one of these trees fell on you. You'd feel hurt.
  • Truck: Your colour's nice, James; pity about your face though.


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Spanish James en Peligro James in Danger
Swedish Träd problem för James Tree Trouble for James
Norwegian James og trøbbel med trærne James and the Trouble with Trees
Danish James og hans møde med et træ James and his Meeting with a Tree
German James und die Geschichte mit dem Baum James and the Story of the Tree
Italian Temporale per James Time for James
Japanese ジェームスがあぶない James is Dangerous
Czech Jakub a potíže se stromy James and the Trouble with Trees
Slovenian Jakob in Težave z Drevesi James and Problems with the Trees
Russian Джеймс и проблемы с деревьями James and the Problems with the Trees



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