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Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia

Season 4

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This article is about the season. You may be looking for the digital download release.
"No engines ever felt prouder than those on the Fat Controller's Railway."
— The narrator, Paint Pots and Queens

The fourth season of the television series first premiered on VHS in 1994 and 1995. It premiered in the UK between October and November of 1995. It aired between 1995 and 1996 on Shining Time Station and Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales in the US. All twenty-six episodes were narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and George Carlin in the US.

Production

The fourth series saw the introduction of the smaller narrow gauge engines. For ease of filming, Season 5 would introduce larger-scale versions of the characters, and from Season 6-12, these larger models were used almost exclusively.

Half of the third season consisted of stories written by the show's staff, but only one original story, "Rusty to the Rescue" was written by Allcroft and Mitton for the fourth series. The episodes which used the Railway Series did take some liberties with the source material, in order to fill the runtime and make the stories more accessible. From the fifth season onward, all stories would be staff-written, without using the Awdrys' books as a source.

Stepney, a character based on a real-life engine and used to highlight the preservation movement in the books, was given an entirely different background when he was introduced. This decision carried on into later series, in which he was seen on either a fictionalised Bluebell Railway or as a member of The Fat Controller's railway.

Reception

This season received positive reviews for it's unique ideas from Railway Series books like Duke The Lost Engine, Stepney The Bluebell Engine, Four Little Engines, Toby, Trucks and Trouble, Troublesome Engines Gallant Old Engine, and The Little Old Engine, But Wilbert Awdry and some Railway Series fans gave Rusty to The Rescue some negative reviews for it's portrayal of Rusty rescuing Stepney from scrap whereas in reality, it was the representatives of the Bluebell Railway who saved him and not Rusty.

But Gallant Old Engine is praised for Rheneas's bravery and courage on how to get the passengers home.

Episodes

Screenshot UK title (top)
US title (bottom)
Original UK release date Season episode number # Series episode number # Source material
Granpuff16 "Granpuff" October 16th, 1995 #01 #79 Duke the Lost Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Thomas tells the story of Duke, a narrow gauge engine who worked with Stuart, Falcon, and briefly Smudger. All three are happy together. However, when their railway closes due to bankruptcy, the young engines are sold and the old engine is left abandoned in a shed. Duke falls to asleep and everything around him changes.
SleepingBeauty50 "Sleeping Beauty" October 17th, 1995 #02 #80 Duke the Lost Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Thomas continues his story of Duke. As many years passed, some rescuers begin an adventurous journey to find Duke and reunite him with his old friends Stuart and Falcon. The search grows harder and there is no sign of Duke, but the rescuers were just as determined to find him.
Bulldog38 "Bulldog" October 18th, 1995 #03 #81 Duke the Lost Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Falcon is sent to take the Mountain Road with Duke. However, he is impatient and does not pay attention to Duke's advice. He winds up dangling from a cliff. There are more problems, as Duke is out of water. Despite this, he clings on to Falcon like a Bulldog and manages to build up enough steam to save him.
YouCan'tWin54 "You Can't Win" October 19th, 1995 #04 #82 Duke the Lost Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Holidaymakers to the Island like riding in Duke's special train "The Picnic". One evening though Duke is too ill to manage on his own, so Falcon and Stuart assist him. Stuart teases Duke about this, but Duke gets his own back on Stuart by playing a trick on him and he proves that he still has a lot of life left in him.
FourLittleEngines56 "Four Little Engines" October 20th, 1995 #05 #83 Four Little Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry
On the Skarloey Railway, Sir Handel (formerly known as Falcon) is pushed off the rails by some angry coaches. Skarloey, an old narrow gauge engine, is the only engine available to pull Sir Handel's train. He itches for a good run, and is determined to get his passengers home, even when one of his front spring breaks.
ABadDayforSirHandel45 "A Bad Day for Sir Handel" October 23rd, 1995 #06 #84 Four Little Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry
Skarloey and Rheneas are tired old engines who work very hard on their own line. Sir Handel and Peter Sam (formerly known as Stuart) are brought in to help them. But Sir Handel is in a bad mood, he only makes matters worse by deliberately derailing himself to get out of work.
PeterSamandtheRefreshmentLady47 "Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady" October 24th, 1995 #07 #85 Four Little Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry
Sir Topham Hatt has sent Sir Handel to the shed in disgrace, so Peter Sam is now single-handedly running the railway and extremely excited about his new position. One day, Henry threatens to leave without his passengers. In a haste to meet his connection, Peter Sam's eagerness almost leaves the Refreshment Lady behind.
Trucks50 "Trucks!"
"Rusty Helps Peter Sam"
October 25th, 1995 #08 *86 The Little Old Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Gordon advises Sir Handel to get out of work by pretending to be ill. leaving Peter Sam and Rusty, a new diesel engine, to take over his work. However, some trucks mistake Peter Sam for Sir Handel and crash into him at the incline. 
HomeAtLast48 "Home at Last" October 26th, 1995 #09 #87 The Little Old Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Skarloey finally returns home after being repaired and meets Rusty. Peter Sam, still recovering, informs him of the newest arrival a careless and bad-tempered steam engine named Duncan. Soon, Skarloey is sent to Duncan's aid when he is stuck under a decrepit tunnel.
Rock'n'Roll37 "Rock 'n' Roll" October 27th, 1995 #10 #88 The Little Old Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Rusty and the workmen have repaired the railway line while Skarloey was away being mended. He is concerned about Duncan, who ignores his warning about a broken section of track. With a tip from James, Duncan is off on his own and he is soon "rocking n' rolling" along the rails. Rusty grudgingly comes to the rescue.
SpecialFunnel34 "Special Funnel" October 30th, 1995 #11 #89 Gallant Old Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Peter Sam's funnel is in bad condition from his accident. He has been promised a new funnel, but he starts to lose hope in it, especially when his funnel is knocked off by an icicle, and is temporarily replaced by a drainpipe. However, Peter Sam gives the other engines a run for their money once his new funnel arrives.
SteamRoller32 "Steam Roller" October 31st, 1995 #12 #90 Gallant Old Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Sir Handel wants to prove that his special set of wheels make him superior. Skarloey, attempting to bring him down to size, tells him of an anti-railway steamroller named George, whom Sir Handel vows to pay out. But George and Sir Handel are too evenly hot-headed.
PassengersandPolish45 "Passengers and Polish" November 1st, 1995 #13 #91 Gallant Old Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Duncan complains about not getting polished while the passengers and other engines get such luxuries. He gets so cross that he decides, "No polish means no passengers." His rudeness reaches its peak when he stops on the viaduct and refuses to move, angering the passengers.
GallantOldEngine4 "Gallant Old Engine" November 2nd, 1995 #14 #92 Gallant Old Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Skarloey wants to talk some sense into Duncan, so he tells him the story of how Rheneas saved the railway from closure. One miserable day in particular, Rheneas was travelling home with a full train, went through a steep hill and crude weather for the sake of his passengers, even after suffering a serious breakdown.
RustytotheRescue49 "Rusty to the Rescue" November 3rd, 1995 #15 #93 Britt Allcroft and David Mitton
When Rusty hears that an engine is needed to help run the Bluebell Railway, he suggests they search the same spot where Douglas found Oliver - the Other Railway. Only diesels go there now, so Rusty ventures out on his mission and meets a steam engine named Stepney, who is stranded in the scrapyard.
ThomasAndStepney64 "Thomas and Stepney" November 6th, 1995 #16 #94 Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Stepney is longing for good long run and is delighted to discover that he has been invited to visit the Fat Controller's railway. Thomas is jealous when the visiting engine is talked about more than he is. It does not help his anger when he is shunted on his own branch line for Stepney to pass with a special train that night.
TrainStopsPlay76 "Train Stops Play" November 8th, 1995 #17 #95 Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Stepney's driver and fireman watch a game of cricket match while waiting at a signal. As Stepney sets off again, he doesn't realize that the ball has landed in one of his trucks. Caroline, an elderly car, sets off with the players in pursuit of Stepney, the trucks and the cricket ball along the branch line.
BowledOut30 "Bowled Out" November 7th, 1995 #18 #96 Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Stepney's visit is coming to an end, and a new visitor, a rude and snobbish Diesel, arrives. The stuck-up diesel makes a fool of himself when he sucks an inspector's bowler hat through his air-intake vent just as he is about to take the Express. Duck and Stepney, who has longed for a long run, volunteer in taking the train.
HenryandtheElephant72 "Henry and the Elephant" November 9th, 1995 #19 #97 Troublesome Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry
The big engines cheer up when a circus comes to Sodor, but it isn't long until Gordon and Henry become cross again as James gets to pull the circus train away. Later that day, Henry and the workmen are called to investigate a blockage in a tunnel, where he unhappily comes across an elephant.
ToadStandsBy46 "Toad Stands By" November 10th, 1995 #20 #98 Oliver the Western Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Oliver is constantly ridiculed by the trucks for his turntable incident prompted by their ringleader, S.C. Ruffey. Toad advises Oliver on how to regain the trucks' respect. Oliver struggles to pull a goods train as S.C. Ruffey and the trucks hold him back, but Oliver is so determined that he accidentally pulls S.C. Ruffey apart.
BullsEyes44 "Bulls Eyes" November 13th, 1995 #21 #99 Branch Line Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry
Daisy teases Toby about his cowcatchers and side-plates. Toby tells her they are for stopping him from hurting animals if they stray on the line, but she claims that she would simply have to "toot" to scare them off. However, when she comes across a bull she realizes that it will need more than a command to move it away.
ThomasandtheSpecialLetter45 "Thomas and the Special Letter" November 14th, 1995 #22 #100 The Eight Famous Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry
After the Fat Controller reads a letter inviting the engines to visit the mainland, he tells them going that they must show the other engines their tasks. Thomas shows Oliver how to manage the coaches, but recalls the time he beat Bertie in a race and becomes very conceited, putting his big trip in jeopardy.
PaintPotsandQueens53 "Paint Pots and Queens"
"Thomas Meets the Queen"
November 15th, 1995 #23 #101 Gordon the Big Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
It is a proud day for the Fat Controller's railway as the Queen is coming to visit. Henry misses the chance of pulling the Royal train after a paint accident. Gordon and Thomas, having made up for their disgrace, are given a special opportunity.
Fish59 "Fish" November 16th, 1995 #24 #102 Really Useful Engines by Christopher Awdry
Extra vans are added to the Flying Kipper, and as a result, Henry needs a back engine to help him up Gordon's Hill. Duck offers to help, though Thomas warns him to take care reminding him of his own experience with fish. A badly attached tail lamp causes problems as Duck collides with the fishy train.
SpecialAttraction45 "Special Attraction" November 17th, 1995 #25 #103 Toby, Trucks and Trouble by Christopher Awdry
Toby is eager to be involved in the seaside festival, but is upset when he realizes there is not enough room for him. Meanwhile, Percy is called into the harbor to deal with Bulstrode, a highly disagreeable barge who never stops complaining. Bulstrode makes the trucks more troublesome than usual, though he pays dearly for it. 
MindthatBike63"Mind that Bike" November 20th, 1995 #26 #104 Really Useful Engines by Christopher Awdry
Tom Tipper, a postal-worker, is unhappy when his post van is replaced by a bicycle. Percy manages to help him out, but not in the way he intended, as he inadvertently flattens Tom's bike. In the end, Tom gets a smart new van.

Songs

Characters

Characters introduced

Trivia

  • This was the first season of several things:
  • This was also the last season of a few things:
  • This season contained the 100th episode of the television series.
  • Season 4 holds the most episodes to be released directly on Home Video before TV, with the exceptions of Rusty to the Rescue and Thomas and Stepney.
  • To date, this season introduced the most new characters.
  • Oddly, a significant amount of sound effects and music are missing in the US versions of most Season 4 episodes, a notable example being Rusty Helps Peter Sam, which misses almost all the music in the first half of the episode. The episode also excludes most of Peter Sam's whistles, and adds an unusual high pitched whistle when he cries for help after his accident.
  • This season is unique as the first fifteen episodes were focused primarily on the Skarloey Railway engines.
  • This season is also unique in the way (starting with Rusty to the Rescue and ending with Bowled Out) it forms a four part story arc primarily focused on Stepney the Bluebell Engine.
  • All Chinese narrations from this season credit George Carlin as the narrator and all Norwegian/Hindi narrations credit Michael Angelis, even though the episodes were re-dubbed.
  • In the Ukrainian narration, Michael Angelis' voice can be still heard in the background.

Behind the Scenes

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