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Thomas and the Special Letter

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"Dear Thomas and all the engines, please, can I meet you? My friends say they would like to meet you, too. You can come to my house for tea, but my mummy says there aren't any railway tracks to my house. Can you come to the station instead? Thank you very much!"
— The letter
Thomas and the Special Letter

David Mitton


Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Reverend W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Michael Angelis (UK)
George Carlin (US)

Air date

August 15th,
1995 (UK)
October 23rd,
1995 (US)
May 21st,
1996 (AUS)
October 21st,

Previous episode

Bulls Eyes

Next episode

Paint Pots and
Thomas Meets
the Queen

Thomas and the Special Letter is the twenty-second episode of the fourth season. It aired in the US on the Shining Time Station episode One of the Family in 1995 and Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales in 1996.


After taking his last train of the day, Thomas meets up with Percy and Toby and it turns out that all three engines have been asked to report to the big station after the day's work is done. Thomas thinks something is happening, and is surprised to see BoCo, Mavis, Donald, Douglas, Bill, Ben and Oliver all travel past also heading for the station. Thomas, Percy and Toby and now very curious and follow the others.

Arriving at the station, the Fat Controller silences the excited engines and tells them he recently received a letter from a five-year old girl. She writes that she and her friends would like to meet Thomas and his friends and invites him to their local station. The Fat Controller tells the engines that a lot of children would like to meet them so they will give them the chance and are going to travel to 'the big city far away'. While the other engines are gone, BoCo, Mavis, Donald, Douglas, Bill, Ben and Oliver will all be running the line. 

Oliver is due to take charge of Thomas's branch line, and Thomas shows him what to do using some coaches (as Annie and Clarabel will be going with Thomas to the city). Thomas is getting more and more excited and boasts about his race with Bertie however then makes a huge mistake when he tries to show off but crashes through some buffers, rolls down a hill and smashes through a wall. No-one is hurt, but Thomas's front is damaged from the impact.

The Fat Controller is called, and sends some workmen to repair Thomas but warns that if they don't get finished in time they'll have to go to the city without him. Thomas is very sad, worried that he's going to miss out on the trip.

The next day at 8:00am, the engines are ready to leave (with Percy and Toby travelling on trucks) but there is no sign of Thomas. The Fat Controller agrees to wait one more minute for Thomas before they must leave. Thankfully Thomas arrives just in time, and the fleet of engines leave for their trip to the city.

Arriving at the city safely, the engines are lined up in a wonderful shed where many children come to meet them. Thomas tells Percy how glad he is that the little girl wrote to the Fat Controller, noting "isn't it wonderful what happiness a letter can bring".





  • Douglas is seen when the narrator says Donald spoke.
  • In Toby's third close-up, his face is loose.
  • Annie is facing backwards during the close-up of Thomas' driver.
  • When Thomas and Percy first leave Elsbridge, Toby isn't in his siding, but Henrietta is still there.
  • Thomas remembers stopping "an inch from the buffers" after his race with Bertie. Though he may be exaggerating for effect, there are no buffers seen in Thomas and Bertie when Thomas stops at Ffarquhar.
  • As Henry leaves Elsbridge, one of his bogie wheels is loose.
  • In the Big City shed, Percy's cab roof is lifted slightly.
  • In the scene of the engines waiting for Thomas, James has a different whistle sound.
  • Donald, Duck and Gordon have the same whistle sound and Douglas has a different whistle sound.
  • During the panning shot of the engines when Sir Topham Hatt reads the little girl's letter, James and Gordon's eyes are wonky.
  • When Thomas starts talking to Oliver, some of the steam from his funnel disappears, indicating a film cut.
  • In the American narration, the British term truck is used.
  • Mavis has a different horn sound.
  • In the close-ups of the Fat Controller giving the announcement, Duck's funnel looks different.
  • When the engines pass through the station toward the beginning, Oliver has Bill or Ben's whistle sound.
  • When James leaves Elsbridge, his eyes are wonky.
  • In the close-up of Thomas at Tidmouth Sheds, Percy's right lamp iron is bent.
  • In the shot of Thomas going down the embankment, he is seen going through the fence again, only it is already broken in that shot.
  • Edward and Duck are not included in the character gallery at the end of the Japanese version.
  • BoCo has Daisy's horn sound from the previous episode.
  • Henry's lamp is to the side of his lamp iron.


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
German Ein ganz spezieller Brief A Very Special Letter
Norwegian Thomas og det spesielle brevet Thomas and the Special Letter
Spanish Thomas y una carta muy especial Thomas and a Very Special Letter
Japanese トーマスととくべつなてがみ Thomas and the Special Letter
Finnish Tuomas ja tärkeä kirje Thomas and an Important Letter
Dutch Thomas en de speciale brief Thomas and the Special Letter
Danish Thomas og Brevet Thomas and the Letter
Hungarian Thomas és a Különleges Levél Thomas and the Special Letter



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