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No Steam Without Coal

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"Hey! Watch out, Bill... or is it Ben?"
"Watch out, Ben... err... Bill... well, whoever you are!
— Porter and Salty

No Steam Without Coal is the fourteenth episode of the eighteenth season.


At Brendam Docks, Bill is collecting some equipment for the clay pits while Ben has to wait for his trucks to be filled with coal. Bill says that he will be back at the clay pits first which Ben does not like. Ben races after his twin without waiting for the coal to be loaded.

With only a train of empty trucks, Ben makes it back to the clay pits first. Marion realises that Ben has not got the coal. She tells Ben that they all need coal to work, but Ben points out that Timothy is the odd-one-out as he is an oil-burning engine and does not need coal at all. Ben tells Marion that he is sure the hopper is still pretty full, but Marion is still concerned. Ben promises to go back for the coal...eventually. Timothy rolls up and tells the twins that Marion is right and that they should try not to waste any coal. Bill and Ben are not listening to Timothy; they are too busy bickering about who has the loudest whistle.

Later, Bill and Ben are still competing with each other and are still burning through their coal. Bill tries to prove that he is stronger by pulling loads of heavy trucks, while Ben proves that he is still the fastest. Unfortunately, Ben nearly collides with Timothy who tells him to stop messing around and go and fetch more coal. Bill and Ben call Timothy boring before reversing away.

A little while later, Bill makes Timothy jump while he is being refilled with oil. Timothy is not impressed and says that the twins could have caused an accident. Bill and Ben think Timothy is no fun and the odd-one-out. Timothy usually likes being different, but sometimes Bill and Ben's teasing takes its toll on poor Timothy.

Soon, it is time for Bill and Ben to be refilled with coal. Unfortunately, only a couple of lumps fall out of the hopper. Bill blames Ben for not collecting the coal earlier on and for messing about. Ben is not happy with his twin's accusations. Bill and Ben decide to steam away from each other, but after only a couple of turns of their wheels, Bill and Ben shudder to a stop. They have completely run out of coal. Marion is not happy; there is no steam without coal, after all. Bill and Ben ask Timothy to go to the docks to collect more coal for them. Eventually, Timothy agrees.

Timothy soon arrives at Brendam Docks with trucks of china clay from the pits and couples up to truckloads of coal. Timothy then takes the coal back to the clay pits and the hopper is soon refilled. Bill and Ben argue about who is going to fill up with coal first, but Marion declares that she is going first, since Bill and Ben cannot move anyway. She then prompts the twins to thank (and apologise to) Timothy. Bill and Ben agree that oil-burning locomotives have their uses - especially when they have run out of coal.


Bill and Ben's crews also sigh when the hopper runs out of coal. They are voiced by Keith Wickham in both narrations.



  • Going by production order, this is the seventeenth episode of the eighteenth season.


  • When Salty is shunting the coal trucks behind Timothy, Timothy is seen whistling, but his whistle is not heard, and only Salty's horn is heard. A similar occurrence happened when Ben nearly ran into Timothy when he was exiting the tunnel; Timothy whistled, but no steam emitted from his whistle. Also, in the same scene, his whistle appears to be transparent.
  • When Bill and Ben first arrive at the clay pits, it is impossible for Marion to leave her siding, as Bill is on the points.
  • When Timothy is about to come out of the tunnel his lamp is not on.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese せきたんかないビルとベン Bill and Ben Have No Coal
Mexican Spanish Sin carbón, no hay vapor Without coal, there is no steam
Dutch Zonder Kolen, Geen Stoom Without Coal, No Steam
Hungarian Nincs gőz szén nélkül No Steam Without Carbon
Romanian Niciun Pufăit Fără Cărbuni No Puffing Without Coal
Russian Нет пара без угля There is No Steam Without Coal
French Aucune Vapeur Sans Charbon No Steam Without Coal
Czech Není páry bez uhlí There is No Party Without Coal
Polish Nie ma Pary bez Węgla There is no Couple Coal
Thai ไม่เอาถ่าน Good-for-Nothing
Norwegian Ingen damp uten kull No Steam Without Coal
Brazilian Portuguese Não há vapor sem carvão There is no Steam without Coal

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