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- “Your colour's nice, James, pity about your face though.”
- ―Troublesome Trucks teasing James
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 washdown due to a broken hosepipe and is now afraid that the other engines will make fun of his dirty paintwork. However, when Thomas returns to the sheds, he finds James boasting. James believes he deserves a new coat of paint, as the Fat Controller 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 ignores him and mocks Thomas when he says he needs a new coat of paint.
The next morning, while Henry shunts some trucks, they unintentionally run into a few solid boxes causing the first two to derail. James insults him, saying he should go talk to trees instead if he cannot push trucks carefully. Henry tells James that the Fat Controller was working on removing trees that were 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. He thinks the Fat Controller wants him to pull the express, so he sets off for the station at Kirk Ronan.
James then arrives at the station to collect the express, but it turns out that Fat Controller needs him to fetch an important goods train. James tells him that he's been repainted and asks him if Thomas and Percy can do it instead, but the Fat Controller doesn't care, saying that really useful engines don't argue. This puts James in a very bad mood. At the docks, the weather has changed significantly, and 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, blocking James' line. Immediately James comes to a stop. He tries to reverse, but the train is too heavy. Luckily, Thomas comes to James' rescue. 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 repaint, while James will finally pull the express.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Gordon (cameo)
- Jeremiah Jobling (cameo)
- Farmer Finney (cameo)
- This episode is inspired by an event that occurred during David Maidment's time as stationmaster of Aberbeeg (1964-1965): During a storm, a tree slid down a bank and stood upright in the middle of the track between Ebbw Vale and Aberbeeg.
- The scene of the tree sliding down the embankment is similar to the scene in the 1970 British film adaptation of E. Nesbit's classic children's novel, The Railway Children, when the three children watch trees sliding down a cutting, causing rocks to fall onto the rails.
- In the US version, when the troublesome trucks derail, the crash sounds are completely different.
- After James leaves Brendam, his trucks lose their faces.
- When James' driver applies his brakes to prevent hitting the tree, James' pony truck is derailed. Also in the same scene his leading boogie is derailed as well
- James says he is to pull the express, but he couples up to 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 apologises 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' brake van, he is some centimetres away from it, but when Thomas says "I'm ready!" his buffers are touching the brake van'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.
- When Thomas pulls James away, James' brake pipe is crooked.
- Edward's whistle is at a slightly lower pitch than it usually is.
- In the second and third close-ups of James looking shocked, a white light is seen in the top-left corner and James is on the other side of the set as the tree can be seen behind him.
- From James' point-of-view when he stops in front of the tree, the camera was obviously wet, as a white smudge mark can be seen across the tree trunk.
- In the first close-up of James looking shocked, his face is dry but in the next close-up of him looking shocked, his face is wet.
- When James is being repainted, one of the painters' heads is on backwards.
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