Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia

Thomas and the Breakdown Train

5,966pages on
this wiki
This article is about the first season episode. You may be looking for the eighth season episode, the DVD, the Buzz Book, the 1987 magazine story, or the other magazine story.
"Well, Thomas, I've heard all about it and I'm very pleased with you. You're a Really Useful Engine. James shall have some proper brakes and a new coat of paint and you shall have a branch line all to yourself."
"Oh, thank you, Sir!
— Sir Topham Hatt and Thomas
Thomas and the Breakdown Train/
Thomas Saves the Day

David Mitton


David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona


Reverend W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Ringo Starr (UK/US)
George Carlin (US)

Air date

October 30th,
1984 (UK)
April 14th,
1987 (AUS)
February 19th,
1989 (US)
May 15th,
1990 (JAP)
November 28th,
1991 (George
Carlin US
October 14th,
1996 (US)

Previous episode

Thomas and
the Trucks
Trouble for Thomas

Next episode

James and
the Coaches
James Learns
a Lesson

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


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 come off the line, 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 were 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 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 could not be happier. 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 2015 special, The Adventure Begins.
  • In the restored version, an extended shot of the signalman shouting "James is off the line! The breakdown train, quickly!" is shown. Also, when Thomas says "I'd like to teach those trucks/freight cars a lesson," there is a pause before he moves his eyes.
  • Stock footage from Edward, Gordon and Henry and Thomas and the Trucks is used.
  • A rare picture shows the breakdown train without buffers.
  • A metal rod was placed in front of James' driving wheels to produce the sparking effect.
  • This episode may have been filmed alongside Tenders and Turntables, as James can be seen by Thomas' trucks in the direction of Tidmouth Sheds in a behind the scenes photo.


  • The works unit coach was not coupled to the breakdown train.
  • When Thomas takes on water, his water cap isn't open.
  • In the close-up of James' wheels on fire, the small metal rod that used to create the sparks is visible.
  • Thin wires are used, along with the cranes, to lift James back on the rails.
  • One of the breakdown cranes is shunted into view as James and Thomas leave, but Thomas was the only engine working at the scene of the accident.
  • 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.
  • 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 from stone, empty truck, stone, then in the shot of burning brakes two empty trucks then stone, and then passing under the arch bridge to mostly stones and empty stock at the back.
  • In the close up of Gordon, his driving wheels are going backwards.
  • In the close-up of Thomas' driver, the shed is missing.
  • 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 putted back on the rails, the breakdown train beside him is missing.
  • In the close-up of Thomas when is puffing along his branch line, Annie and Clarabel are not behind him.


  • Hornby - Thomas and the Breakdown Train set
  • Buzz Books - Thomas and the Breakdown Train

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Croatian Tomica i vagoni dizalice Thomas, Wagons and Cranes
Finnish Thomas ja korjaus juna Thomas and the Repair Train
German Der Unfall The Accident
Spanish Thomas, Héroe del Día Thomas, Hero of the Day
Norwegian Thomas og hjelpetoget Thomas and the Help Train
Italian L'incidente The Accident
Brazilian Portuguese Thomas Resolve um Problema Thomas Solves a Problem
Japanese ジェームスのだっせん James' Derailment
Welsh Tomos a'r Trén Archub Thomas and Train Rescue



Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki