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Thomas and the Emergency Cable

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"Seeing a rare bird is not an emergency!"
— Thomas' guard

Thomas and the Emergency Cable is the tenth episode of the eighteenth season.


One day, Annie and Clarabel are watching the passengers getting on and off the train at Knapford station. They see a woman with a very big hat, an old man being helped into the carriage and a man they have seen before. The man in question travels up and down the branch line all day, looking through binoculars.

When Thomas and his carriages arrive at Dryaw, the man gets off and starts looking through his binoculars. The coaches are confused by his actions and Thomas says he might be a station inspector, but the coaches are sure that is not right; the man spends a lot of time examining trees. Thomas jokes that the man may be a tree inspector.

Later on, Thomas arrives back at Dryaw to pick up the passengers. Unsurprisingly, the man with the binoculars is waiting. Thomas decides to ask the man what sort of inspector he is. The man explains that he is not an inspector but a bird watcher who is looking for a very rare bird.

As Thomas puffs on his way, he suddenly gets a shock when somebody on the train pulls the emergency cable inside Annie. Thinking there is an emergency, the guard applies the coaches' brakes. It is not long before Thomas grinds to a halt and the guard goes to see what the matter is. Inside Annie, the guard sees the bird watcher with his hand on the emergency cord. The man sheepishly explains that he thought he had heard the very rare bird and, in his state of excitement, pulled the emergency cord so he could get a look at it. The guard sternly informs the man that spotting a bird does not constitute an emergency on a railway. There is more trouble to come when Thomas tries to pull away. Annie has developed a wheel flat and one of her wheels will not turn at all. Annie has to be uncoupled and left behind while all of the passengers squeeze into Clarabel. Thomas is very cross about having to leave one of his beloved coaches behind and the passengers are very cross with the bird watcher, too.

When the train arrives at Knapford station, the Fat Controller is waiting and reminds the bird watcher what an emergency cable is really for. The bird watcher says he is very sorry and promises to never pull the emergency cable for such a trivial matter again.

That evening, Thomas takes Rocky and a flatbed to collect Annie. He then takes his damaged coach to the Sodor Steamworks. Unfortunately, Victor cannot find any coach wheels to fit Annie and says she will have to wait for a new delivery.

The next day, Thomas and Clarabel start to miss Annie terribly. Thomas feels very angry about having one of his coaches taken out of commission by a silly bird watcher and hopes that they never see him again. Unfortunately, Thomas does indeed see the man again. He is waiting at Dryaw station. Thomas stubbornly refuses to stop at the station. Then, as he is barely out of the station, someone pulls the emergency cord again. Then, the grumpy woman in the big hat complains that she wanted to get off at Dryaw. Thomas apologises and has to reverse back to the platform. The lady with the big hat gets off and the bird watcher climbs aboard.

When Thomas arrives back at Knapford, it's his turn to receive a reprimand from the Fat Controller. Thomas is told that he must stop at every station regardless of the mood he is in. The Fat Controller says that he is sure the bird watcher has learned his lesson about pulling the emergency cable without good reason. Thomas has now learned his lesson, too.

Eventually, Annie returns to work with Thomas and Clarabel and the three of them are happy once again. The bird watcher even finds his rare bird.


Some passengers also speak. They are voiced by Keith Wickham in both English narrations.




  • During the aerial shot of Dryaw, when the bird watcher is looking at the trees round the back, the track Thomas is on appears to be floating.
  • During the aerial shot of the entrance to Knapford Station, a duplicate of the bookstall seen behind tracks 3 and 4 has been placed the car park, making it impossible for a normal-sized car to enter one of the parking spaces. A luggage weight also overlaps part of the car park lines.
  • Several of the passengers are duplicated throughout this episode.
  • When the Guard puts on the brakes, Clarabel's wheels don't spark, yet Annie's do.
  • Thomas should not have raced past James when they were both heading down the same line at such a high speed. In addition, the points either change too quickly or are set against James.
  • When Annie is shown moving with her flat wheel, her other wheel on the other side of the axle is shown moving.
  • Some descriptions for this episode say that Clarabel is the one who gets the wheel flat when, in the episode, it was Annie.
  • When Clarabel says, "But you have to stop Thomas. You always stop at the station" Thomas is entering Dryaw. But in the next shot, nothing but trees and bushes are seen next to him.
  • When Thomas arrives back at Knapford, Edward and James whistle to him, but no steam emits from their whistles.
  • When the Bird Watcher gets off at Dryaw, luggage racks can be seen in Annie.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese トーマスときんきゅうじたい Thomas and the Emergency
Polish Tomek i Linka Alarmowa Thomas and the Alarm Cable
Spanish Thomas y el Cable de Emergencia Thomas and the Emergency Cable
Indonesian Thomas dan Kabel Darurat Thomas and The Emergency Cable
Dutch Thomas en de Noodrem Thomas and the Emergency Brake
Hungarian Thomas és a vészfék Thomas and the Emergency Brake
Portuguese Thomas e o Cabo de Emergência Thomas and the Emergency Cable
Turkish Thomas ve Acil Kabolsu Thomas and the Emergency Cable
Romanian Thomas şi Cablul de Urgenţă Thomas and the Emergency Cord
Russian Томас и стоп-кран Thomas and the Emergency Brake
French Le Signal d'alarme The Alarm Signal
Czech Tomáš a záchranná brzda Thomas and the Emergency Brake
Thai โธมัสกับสายเคเบิ้ลฉุกเฉิน Thomas and the Emergency Cable
Norwegian Thomas og nødbremsen Thomas and the Emergency Brake
Korean 토마스와 비상줄 Thomas and the Emergency Line

Home Media Releases




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