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- “Don't be cross, Thomas. Should I tell you my secret?"
"I've been re-routed. Now I take a shortcut. So my route is much quicker!”
- ―Bertie and Thomas
Thomas' Shortcut is the twenty-fifth episode of the seventeenth season.
Thomas is puffing along his branch line, when Bertie pulls up alongside him and teases him by calling him "Slow Coach." Thomas then gets cross and decides to go faster. Thomas arrives at Dryaw Station two minutes early. Bertie tells him that he would have been late unless he had hurried him. Thomas disagrees, as he always gets his passengers to the station on time, yet Bertie seems to always be beating Thomas to the level crossing, so the two engines decide to race again. Sometimes when they race, Bertie is quicker, especially when Thomas has to stop for sheep on the line and sometimes Thomas is quicker, especially when Bertie has to stop for road maintenance.
Thomas gets closer and closer to the level crossing, thinking he is going to win, when suddenly, the gates open and Bertie zooms through. Later, the two friends are at Dryaw Station, when Bertie reveals that he has been re-routed, so now he takes a shortcut, which is why he is always winning the races. That night at Tidmouth Sheds, Thomas tells Percy about Bertie being re-routed and Percy tells him that maybe he should take a shortcut too and Thomas thinks that is a great idea. The next day, Thomas sets off on his branch line, looking for a shortcut, when he comes to a junction, where the points have already been switched. Thomas puffs onto the track, only to find himself coming back out onto his branch line.
Thomas comes to another junction, where he once again puffs onto the track there. However, this time he ends up in an old goods yard. The passengers are cross, but Thomas keeps looking. Soon, he comes up to yet another junction, with a track leading right into the woods. Thomas thinks that this must be a shortcut and once again, he puffs onto the track there. Meanwhile, Bertie is waiting impatiently at the level crossing and decides to take off. Thomas continues puffing along the overgrown track, which is leading him to a destination, when suddenly, Thomas crashes straight through some buffers, where he finds himself dangling over the road. The passengers are very disappointed, as now they will be late.
Just then, Bertie pulls up right by him and offers to take Thomas' passengers for him. The passengers agree and they all board Bertie, who then sets off immediately. It is sundown when Harvey arrives to lift Thomas back onto the rails. The Fat Controller arrives as well, who confronts Thomas for making his passengers late. Thomas promises to stick to his branch line from now on. A few days later, Thomas is back and Annie and Clarabel are delighted to see him. Bertie races away and calls him "Slow Coach" again. Thomas and Bertie still like to have races and sometimes Thomas even wins.
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Harvey (does not speak)
- Henry (cameo)
- Gordon (cameo)
- James (cameo)
- Emily (cameo)
- Paxton (cameo)
- Stafford (cameo)
- Farmer McColl (cameo)
- The Bird Watcher (cameo)
- The Teacher (cameo)
- The Schoolchildren (cameo)
- Dowager Hatt's Friends (cameo)
- The Welsh Bird Watcher (cameo)
- The Lady with the Big Hat (cameo)
- The Blond-haired Boy (cameo)
- The Great Railway Show Judge (cameo)
- The Female Puppet Show Entertainer (cameo)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Dryaw Goods Yard
- Crowe's Farm Crossing
- Rail Under Road Bridge and Signalbox
- Ben Small as Thomas
- Keith Wickham as Edward, Percy, Bertie and Sir Topham Hatt
- Teresa Gallagher as Annie and Clarabel
- Martin Sherman as Thomas and Percy
- William Hope as Edward
- Teresa Gallagher as Annie and Clarabel
- Keith Wickham as Bertie
- Kerry Shale as Sir Topham Hatt
- In the scene of Thomas arriving at Dryaw Station, the scene is zoomed out further on the right side and the left side is shorter in the DVD and in the TV version or Seventeenth season digital download, the scene is zoomed shorter on the right side and the left side is further.
- Going by production order, this is the eleventh episode of the seventeenth season.
- This episode marks the first time that Crowe's Farm Crossing appears since the second season episode, Ghost Train.
- This is the third time Thomas and Bertie are seen racing, the first being Thomas and Bertie and the second being Three Cheers for Thomas.
- Digiguide lists this episode as Episode 3 of "Thomas & Friends: Thrills and Spills."
- This episode marks the fourth time Bertie takes Thomas' passengers, the first was from Thomas, Terence and the Snow, the second was from Bertie's Chase, and the third was from Thomas Gets Bumped.
- This also marks the first time it occurs in the CGI Series.
- Some passengers can be seen on a platform at a station and then later be seen on Thomas' train. This happens several times throughout the episode.
- During the shot of Clarabel in the old goods yard, a woman can be seen angrily pointing at her watch inside Clarabel. In the next shot the same woman can be seen sitting further up the train by the Bird Watcher.
- Each time Thomas chooses another track, the points are set against him.
- When Bertie finds Thomas derailed, he is on the wrong side of the road.
- At the start and end of the episode, Thomas is running under North American directional rules.
- When the passengers get off after Thomas derails, Thomas' driver is different.
- Thomas calls Clarabel "Carabel" at the end of the episode.
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