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This article is about the first season episode. You may be looking for the eighth season episode, the VHS, the DVD, the Buzz Book, the 1987 magazine story, the 2005 magazine story, the 2009 magazine story, the 2015 magazine story, the board book or the live show.
"I'd like to teach those trucks/freight cars a lesson."

Thomas and the Breakdown Train, retitled Thomas Saves the Day in American releases, is the seventh episode of the first season. In the US, it aired on the Shining Time Station episodes, Pitching in and Helping Out in 1989, Wrong Track in 1991 and Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales episode, Wildlife in 1996.


Thomas now works in the goods yard at the station, pushing and pulling trucks into place. Every day he sees the Fat Controller, who kindly tells Thomas that, while he may not be as big or as fast as Gordon, he can still be a really useful engine. While shunting, Thomas notices a strange green coach and two cranes and his driver explains that this is the breakdown train and it is used to lift engines, coaches, or trucks that may come off the line.

One day, Thomas is pushing trucks when he hears an engine whistling and calling for help. The engine is James, who is the newest engine on Sodor, and he is being pushed by trucks causing him to go far faster than normal. To make matters worse, his brake blocks are on fire. As the trucks laugh, James disappears in the distance. Although he cannot do anything, Thomas is eager for the trucks to be taught a lesson.

Soon an alarm rings and the signalman tells Thomas that James has derailed, so the breakdown train is needed. Thomas is coupled to the breakdown train and heads to the scene of the accident as fast as he can.

Further down the line, James has crashed into a field and fallen on his side. His crew checks him for any damage and tells James that the fault lies in his wooden brakes which were unable to stop him. Thomas arrives with the breakdown train and removes the trucks that are still on the rails from the scene while the breakdown train recovers the trucks which had overturned. Thomas works harder than ever before, going backwards and forwards with the very sorry (and also damaged) trucks until they have all been removed.

Soon it is time to lift James back onto the rails. After having the chains attached to him, James is lifted by the cranes and is returned to his proper position. James is unable to move by himself, so Thomas helps him back to the shed as the sun sets. Waiting for them is the Fat Controller, who congratulates Thomas on all his hard work. He tells James that he is going to get a new coat of paint and some proper brakes fitted and then rewards a delighted Thomas with a branch line of his own.

Nowadays, Thomas was happier than ever. Not only does he have a branch line, but he also has two new coaches named Annie and Clarabel. He now gets to pull trains all day and often sees Edward and Henry. Gordon is always in a hurry, but still whistles greetings to Thomas who whistles back.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • The events of this episode were remade in CGI for the 2015 special, The Adventure Begins.
  • There are a few differences between the original and restored:
    • When Thomas says "I'd like to teach those trucks/freight cars a lesson," there is a pause before he moves his eyes.
    • An extended shot of the signalman shouting "James is off the line! The breakdown train, quickly!" is shown.
    • Different footage of Annie was used.
  • Stock footage from Edward, Gordon and Henry and Thomas and the Trucks is used.
  • A metal rod was placed in front of James' driving wheels to produce the sparking effect.
  • A rare picture shows an alternate take of Thomas returning James to the sheds, with both facing the opposite direction from in the actual scene.


  • A rare picture shows the breakdown train without any buffers.
  • When Thomas takes on water, his water cap is not open.
  • When Thomas and James return to Tidmouth Sheds, the puffing noise continues after they stop.
  • Thomas' eyes are slightly off-centre from each other throughout the majority of the episode.
  • The metal rod to make James' wheels spark is clearly visible.
  • During the scene when Thomas pushes the breakdown train under a bridge, the cranes are dirty, but before and after that scene, the cranes are clean.
  • James' goods train load changes throughout the episode.
  • In the close-up of Gordon, his driving wheels are going backwards.
  • When James gets back on the rails, it's daytime, but when Thomas couples up to him to get him back to the shed, the sky suddenly changes to sunset. It changes back to blue sky when Thomas and James get back to the sheds and there are some ruffles in the sky as well.
  • When James cries, "Help, help!" bushes and hills are next to him instead of the yard.
  • In the close-up of James' wheels when he is put back on the rails, the breakdown train beside him is missing.
  • In the restored version, during the close-up of Thomas when is puffing along his branch line, Annie and Clarabel are not behind him.
  • When James is lifted back onto the track, he is not coupled up to his tender. But when Thomas goes up to it, James is coupled.
  • When Thomas and James leave to go back to Tidmouth Sheds, one of the breakdown cranes move slightly backward and the truck on the breakdown train is missing an eye.
  • When Thomas says "Oh thank you sir," greenery appears behind him when it should be the sheds.
  • Throughout this episode, Thomas' eyes were very wonky.
  • In the close-up of Thomas on his branch-line, Annie and Clarabel are gone and in the next scene, Annie and Clarabel are back, but Thomas is now gone.


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Danish Thomas og hjælpetoget Thomas and the Help Train
Croatian Tomica i vagoni dizalice Thomas, Wagons and Cranes
Finnish Tuomas-Veturi ja korjausjuna Thomas The Tank Engine and The Breakdown Train
Hebrew תומס ורכבת החילוץ Thomas and the Rescue Train
German Der Unfallzug The Accident Train
Spanish Thomas, Héroe del Día / Thomas y el tren grúa Thomas, Hero of the Day / Thomas and the Train Crane
Norwegian Thomas og hjelpetoget Thomas and the Help Train
Italian L'incidente The Accident
Brazilian Portuguese Thomas Resolve um Problema / Thomas Salva o Dia Thomas Solves a Problem / Thomas Saves the Day
Japanese ジェームスのだっせん James' Derailment
Welsh Tomos a'r Trén Archub Thomas and Train Rescue
French Thomas et le train en panne Thomas and the Breakdown Train
Dutch Thomas en de Takelwagen Thomas and the Breakdown Truck
Hungarian Thomas és a segélyvonat Thomas and the Relief Train
Slovenian Tomaž in nesreča na progi Thomas and the Accident on the Track
Russian Происшествие Incident
Chinese 托马斯和吊车 Thomas and the Cranes
Korean 토마스와 구조열차 Thomas and the Rescue Train
Polish Tomek i Wagon Ratunkowy Thomas and the Rescue Wagons
Romanian Thomas şi Trenul de Intervenţii Thomas and the Train of Intervention
Slovak Thomas a záchranársky vlak Thomas and the Rescue Train
Swedish Thomas och Kranvagnen Thomas and the Crane Trolley
Czech Tomáš a pohotovostní vlak Thomas and the Emergency Train
Serbian Tomas i vagon za pokvarene vozove Thomas and the Wagon for Defective Trains
Thai โธมัสช่วยกู้ภัย Thomas Helped the Rescue

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


  • Thomas and Gordon and other stories


VHS/DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets












  • Thomas the Tank Engine 1




DVD Packs









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