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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

October 23rd,
1991 (UK)
November 25th,
1992 (Australia)
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.

Toby puffs away to the Works, 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 driver 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 Norway this episode is named "Now There'll Be Trouble". The Italian title is "Air of Trouble". In the Netherlands it is called "Difficulties". In Japan this episode is called "James was Not Praised". It is called "A Bother and a Half" in Welsh. The Spanish title is "James in Trouble".


  • In the first shot, Edward's eyes are wonky and in the following shot, Gordon's 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" smoke is coming out of Toby's funnel.
  • When Toby's driver 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.



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