- “Peter Sam said again and again,
his new funnel will put ours to shame.
He went into the tunnel:
lost his old funnel.
Now his famous new funnel's a drain!”
- ―Sir Handel's song
Special Funnel is the eleventh episode of the fourth season.
It is wintertime on Sodor. Ever since his accident at the slate quarry, Peter Sam has been having trouble with his damaged funnel wobbling in the strong wind. He is also still awaiting his new funnel, which, in the manager's words, will be "something special". The other engines tease his talk about the new funnel.
The weather soon becomes bad, with heavy rain causing streams to rise and threatening to wash away the line. Rusty is kept busy taking workmen along the line, removing any branches and leaves that prevent the water from flowing. One day, the bridge by Rheneas Tunnel is washed away. Rusty and the workmen set to work mending the bridge, but it takes a long time. As days go by, the weather changes, becoming frosty and much colder.
A few days later, the bridge is mended and Peter Sam is chuffing down the line with the morning passenger train. As he puffs through Rheneas Tunnel, his driver spots an object hanging from the roof, but is unable to stop Peter Sam crashing into it. When Peter Sam exits the tunnel, he discovers that the object, revealed by the guard to be a large icicle, has knocked his funnel off, but the funnel cannot be found. They have to continue on until his fireman spots an old piece of drainpipe laying by the track and they attach it to him as a temporary funnel. When the other engines see Peter Sam with the drainpipe, they tease him relentlessly.
Peter Sam's new funnel eventually arrives, presented to him by the Fat Controller. The funnel has an unusual design and Peter Sam fears it has been damaged, but the Fat Controller assures him it really is "something special". The new funnel has special pipes that makes puffing much easier, giving Peter Sam much more strength when pulling trains. The other engines are impressed with how easy he makes work look and since then, they have never teased Peter Sam about his special funnel; instead, they wish they could have one like it.
- Sir Handel
- Peter Sam
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Rusty (does not speak)
- Duke (cameo)
- The Mid Sodor Railway Manager (mentioned)
- Skarloey Railway Engine Sheds
- Rheneas Tunnel
- Sodor Castle
- Hawin Doorey
- The Mountain Line
- Rheneas Bridge
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Gallant Old Engine.
- In the US, this episode aired before Rusty Helps Peter Sam and Four Little Engines, so American viewers would not know who Rusty and Rheneas are, or how Peter Sam's funnel got damaged.
- In the original version made in 1994, the music at the start is missing.
- Stock footage from the fourth season episode, Granpuff is used.
- This was the first episode that did not feature any standard gauge engines in any way.
- On early UK releases of Rock 'n' Roll and other Stories, the music at the beginning of the episode and the scene when Peter Sam had to use a pipe is omitted, most of Peter Sam's whistle sound is omitted and Sir Handel's song is heard later.
- Rheneas appears even though he was supposed to be at the works.
- In the close-up shots of Peter Sam's funnels, his face is a different size. This is because a larger model was used for close-ups.
- During the top shot of Peter Sam entering the tunnel, the steam goes off too late.
- When Peter Sam pulls into the sheds, the "wheeshing" sound is heard just before the steam.
- Peter Sam's funnel is completely knocked off, yet when he receives his new one, the base is still left behind.
- As Peter Sam passes Skarloey and Rheneas, a camera's shadow is seen.
- The narrator said that the drain pipe was wired to Peter Sam's boiler, but it was actually attached to his front with ropes.
- In the close-up of Sir Handel, his eyes are wonky.
- In a rare picture, the lining on Skarloey's tank is slightly bent.
- Rusty's driver was smiling when he brought the bad news about the washout.
- In the last shot, either Skarloey or Rheneas has Duke's whistle sound.
- Despite the line "Oh dear, someone squashed it!" being taken from the original book the new funnel presented in the series does not look flattened or squashed in any way.
- In a deleted scene, Peter Sam is wearing one of Sir Handel's face masks.
- In the Brazilian version, when Sir Handel is talking about Peter Sam at the end of the episode, he has The Fat Controller's voice.
In Other Languages