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Time for Trouble

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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Buzz Book.
"Coo! The express is late and it's got two engines! I think James couldn't pull it on his own, so Toby had to help him!"
— The boy
Time for Trouble

David Mitton


Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Reverend W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Michael Angelis (UK)
George Carlin (US)

Air date

March 17th,
1992 (UK)
February 17th,
1993 (AUS)
December 26th,
1991 (US)

Previous episode

Percy's Promise

Next episode

Gordon and the
Famous Visitor

Time for Trouble is the third episode of the third season. It first aired on Shining Time Station in the episode Jingle, Jingle, Jingle in 1991.


Gordon is exhausted and James is given his work while he has a rest. James becomes more boastful than ever and brags about his importance to Toby, who is in need of repairs, and after being told that he can't take Henrietta, Percy promises to look after her until he returns.

Toby puffs away to the Works and eventually starts to feel thirsty, but when he takes on water at Lower Tidmouth he is told to clear the path for James. Toby struggles to the next station to stock up, but runs out of water. Toby's fireman hitches a ride in Henrietta back to Lower Tidmouth, and tells a furious James of the problem.

James huffily pushes Toby to the station, where several children joke that Toby was needed to help James with the Express, prompting the red engine to disappear in a cloud of steam.




  • This episode is based on the story Double Header from The Railway Series book, The Eight Famous Engines.
  • In some UK releases, the narration is out of sync.
  • In a rare picture, when Percy comes to Toby's rescue, he is on the line next to Toby and coming from the same direction rather than the opposite.
  • In a rare still, Toby is seen going under the bridge instead of over it.
  • In a deleted scene, James' face is crooked. In the same picture, Toby's face is loose.
  • In a deleted scene, James' tender is missing.
  • In a deleted scene, Gordon is crossing the viaduct in the opposite direction.


  • In the first shot, Edward's eyes are wonky and in the following shot, Gordon's eyes are wonky too. When James says "I'm going to be late" his eyes are wonky too.
  • Toby starts to move before James does, even though he has no steam.
  • James takes Toby to Knapford, not the Works.
  • No explanation is given as to how Percy had the time to reach Vicarstown and approach Toby from the other direction in the time it took Toby to get to the point between Lower Tidmouth and Cronk.
  • Percy's whistle is now one tone lower. Throughout the rest of the season his whistle sound changes several times.
  • Why would Thomas need a brakevan if he had Clarabel?
  • In the restored version, when the narrator says "James had to work very hard" while passing a field of flowers, smoke is coming out of Toby's funnel.
  • When Toby's fireman says "Please, take me back to the station. It's an emergency", the faded marks of where a smile had been are visible behind his frown.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ほめられなかったジェームス James was Not Praised
Norwegian Nå blir det trøbbel Now There'll Be Trouble
Spanish James en Problemas James in Trouble
Welsh Helynt a Hanner A Bother and a Half
Italian Aria di guai Air of Trouble
Dutch Difficulties



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