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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the magazine story.
"We had spoken of backing signals. They need extra special care, you know. Would you like me to explain?"
"No thank you, James. I know all about signals!"
―James and Percy

Percy and the Signal is the seventh episode of the second season. It aired in the US on the Shining Time Station episode Stop the Press in 1991.


Percy works in the yard and although he works hard, he can also be very cheeky and often plays jokes. One day, Percy is feeling particularly cheeky, and startles Gordon by telling him his train is ready. Gordon immediately thinks he is running late, only for Percy to reveal a line of dirty trucks. Gordon is cross and tries to think of a way to get back at him.

Percy then goes to James, and tells him that the Fat Controller has sent a message for James to not leave the shed until he comes to see him. James is delighted, thinking the Fat Controller wants him to pull a special and refuses to leave when his driver and fireman try to take him out. As a result, the other engines have to do James' work as well as their own. Finally, an engine inspector arrives and tells James to move. James tells him about the message the Fat Controller sent. The inspector points out the Fat Controller could not have sent a message as he is away. James is furious and quickly leaves to find Percy, but Percy had decided to make himself scarce. When the Fat Controller returns, he tells both engines off for causing trouble.


Sometime later, Percy boasts to Gordon and James that the Fat Controller has sent him to take trucks to Thomas' junction, thinking he was chosen because he is a really useful engine. James, however, thinks it was probably just to keep him out of the way. The big engines then realise that they have a chance to give Percy a dose of his own medicine and claim they were talking about being careful with the signals at the junction, especially "backing signals." Percy, keen to show off, claims that he knows all about signals, but worries as he has never heard of a backing signal before.

Soon, Percy arrives at a signal set to danger. However, when its arm moves up instead of down, Percy, having never seen anything like it before, guesses that it is a backing signal, and begins reversing. Percy's driver is shocked and quickly stops him, but Percy insists that it is a backing signal, and tells him what Gordon and James had said. After the driver tells him the truth, Percy is eager to leave before he is seen, but before he can, Gordon goes past and sees that Percy fell for the trick. Percy quickly and quietly finishes his work.

That night in the sheds, Gordon and James talk about signals; while they think it is funny, Percy is less than impressed.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Percy the Small Engine.
  • In the restored version, in the scene when Sir Topham Hatt was cross with James and Percy, the close-up of Percy's sad is cut off.
  • Stock footage from Coal is used.
  • In a deleted scene, it is shown that Thomas also had to do James' work when Percy told him to stay in the shed.


  • When Percy creeps up on Gordon, the red coach's windows and roof is crooked.
  • Percy's left cylinder is hanging off throughout most of the episode.
  • When Gordon says "James and I were just speaking about signals at the junction!" to Percy, James' face is loose.
  • In the close-up of Percy's wheels when he reverses from the signal, a wire is visible.
  • When Percy goes under the pedestrian bridge at Elsbridge, the reflection of a studio member or camera is visible in the shiny part.
  • The signal which Percy stops at is not the sort that is meant to point upwards.
  • The wire used to change the signal is visible.
  • Because stock footage is used, the driver is in Henry's cab.
  • Gordon's eyes are wonky throughout the episode.
  • When Percy pulls away from Gordon at the beginning, the coal in his second truck is lifted, as is the roof on his brake van.
  • In the Japanese dub, when Gordon passes James, Ringo Starr's narration can faintly be heard in the background.
  • When Percy tells James to stay in the shed, steam can be heard, but no steam shoots out, but in the next scene, there's a lot of steam.
  • When James leaves the sheds, the track rocks back and forth.
  • Due to stock footage, in the close-up of Percy's driver, we are really seeing Henry's driver.


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Norwegian Percy og Signalet Percy and the Signal
Spanish Percy y la Señal Percy and the Signal
Welsh Pyrsi a'r Signal Percy and the Signal
Japanese パーシーとしんごう Percy and the Signal
German Percy und das Signal Percy and the Signal
Finnish Pekka ja Opastemerkki Percy and the Signal
Croatian Pero i Signal Percy and the Signal
French Pierre et le Signal Percy and the Signal
Dutch Percy en het sein Percy and the Signal
Portuguese Percy e o sinal Percy and the Signal
Italian Percy e il Segnale Percy and the Signal
Slovenian Poldi in signal Percy and the Signal
Russian Перси и симофор Percy and the Semaphore
Ukrainian Персі і сигнали Percy and the Signals
Danish Percy og Signalet Percy and the Signal
Chinese 培西和信号 Percy and the Signal
Korean 장난꾸러기 퍼시 Mischievous Percy
Romanian Percy şi Semnalul Percy and the Signals
Swedish Percy och Signalen Percy and the Signal
Hungarian Percy és a Tolatójelzés Percy and the Reversing Alarm
Slovak Percy a signál Percy and the Signals
Czech Percy a signal Percy and the Signal
Serbian Persi i znak Percy and the Sign
Polish Piotrek i Semafor Percy and the Semaphore
Thai เพอร์ซีชอบแกล้งคนอื่นเลยโดนบ้าง Percy Pretend Like Someone Else I Know

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