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"The third one has to be brave, Thomas! The third one has to make the troll go away!"
"What are you talking about, Percy?!"
"In the story, the third goat is the one who makes the troll go away! And you're the third!
— Percy and Thomas

Three Steam Engines Gruff is the twenty-second episode of the twentieth season.


It is autumn on Sodor and Thomas meets Toby along his branch line, who says the trees look very spooky. Thomas is along the line further and notices a broken fence. He sees Trevor and tells him about it, and Trevor says he will tell Farmer McColl.

That night, Thomas tells the other engines about the fence, of which they all wonder what broke it in the first place. Percy is nervous as he sets out to pull the mail train. He is making his deliveries and comes across a bridge on the branch line, and all of a sudden, hears a moaning sound. Frightened he runs back to the Sheds to tell the others. He runs in so fast, that he rockets right into Henry, who rolls further into his berth. Gordon is not amused nor interested. Percy, however, is very apprehensive toward the sound he heard.

The next morning, Percy tells Toby and Thomas about it. Thomas assures him there is probably nothing to worry about. Toby, on the other hand, is baffled and scared by this, and is not looking forward to crossing the bridge on the way to the Quarry.

Later, Thomas is nearing the bridge and decelerates, puzzling Annie and Clarabel. Thomas tells them what he is up to, but suddenly, hears the moaning sound Percy told him about, hollers, and dashes away.

Thomas, Percy and Toby meet up at Ffarquhar, and discuss the sound they heard, and make an assumption. Percy, remembering the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, thinks it is a troll. Toby, agreeing, reminds the others about how the littlest goat survived by going across the bridge first and telling the troll to eat his bigger brothers. The engines are all very scared and do not want to be consumed by the "troll."

Toby claims first, and Percy second, leaving Thomas to go third. At the bridge, Toby, Henrietta and Percy hurridly cross, leaving Thomas on the other side. Slowly proceeding across, Thomas, Annie and Clarabel hear the noise and listen more carefully, and realise it is a cow. Toby and Percy are surprised too, and they fetch Jem Cole, Farmer McColl and Trevor to rescue the cow, who was the escapee from the broken fence. Thomas takes her back to Famer McColl's farm.

That night, Thomas, Percy and Toby tell the other engines about their adventure. Edward, Henry, Gordon and James laugh, but Toby and Percy are agitated and say it is not that funny. Thomas, not having any hard feelings, says it was a little "a-moosing."




  • This episode is based around the fairy tale of The Three Billy Goats Gruff; the story is also mentioned in the episode by Percy and Toby.
  • This episode marks Trevor's first speaking role since the ninth season episode, Henry and the Flagpole.
  • This episode plot about being afraid about cows is similar to Cows.


  • When Percy bumps into Henry at Tidmouth Sheds, Henry is sent backwards. But when Gordon is speaking to Percy, Henry has moved to where he was previously, with no puffing sounds to indicate he moved back.
  • The bridge on the Watermill has two lines, but in this episode there is only one.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese おそろしいようかい A Terrible Experience
Spanish Tres trenes asustados Three Scared Trains
Polish Bajka o trzech Koziołkach The tale of three Poles
Romanian Trei Locomotive Arţăgoase Three Peevish Locomotives
Turkish Üç Huysuz Buharlı Lokomotif Three Cranky Steam Locomotives
Czech Oček statečný parní lokomotiva Three Brave Steam Locomotives
Portuguese As três locomotivas assustadas The Three Frightened Locomotives
Russian Три храбрых паровозика Three Brave Locomotives
Hebrew שלושה קטרים וטרול Three Locomotives and a Troll

Home Media Releases


US DVD Boxsets


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