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Toby, Trucks and Trouble

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"If I were you, I should leave the roads for what they were made for. You stay on the rails; you'll find them much more comfortable!"
— The Fat Controller to Toby

Toby, Trucks and Trouble is the thirty-second book of the Railway Series.


Dear Friends,
Trucks are silly things. They rattle, bang and chatter to each other so much that they can never hear what their engine says. Even if they did, they probably wouldn't take any notice. They pushed Mavis into a lorry, and that made extra work for Toby and Percy while she was being mended.

But on the other hand, perhaps they're not all bad - after all, they did teach Bulstrode a lesson. See what you think.
The Author


Mavis and the Lorry

Mavis is bringing trucks down from Anopha Quarry when she sees a lorry at the crossing, where vehicles often come across with dangerous speed and turns. The driver, who is new to Sodor and doesn't expect to see an engine, has his lorry turned over into a ditch when it collides with Mavis. Although the driver is unharmed but surprised, Mavis' cowcatcher is bent, and while she is being mended Toby is sent to work at the quarry, leaving Percy with extra work.

Toby's Seaside Holiday

Toby remiscises about his days working at a harbour in Yarmouth. One day, his crew told him they were allowed to go to a local village's seaside festival. After receiving brand-new paintwork, he set off to the village. After a night on a siding, Toby is told they don't have room for him, but the real reason is that they were afraid he would show everyone else up! However, Toby's daydream is interrupted when his crew returns. Toby leaves, noting the Fat Controller would have organised the whole event better.


Percy is told to go to Knapford Harbour to help with an emergency. There, the trucks ask him to unload their stone into Bulstrode, a cantankerous old barge to get away from his constant complaining. Unfortunately as Percy starts to push, a coupling breaks and some trucks run into Bulstrode, who nearly drowns, but luckily for him the tide is out. The trucks were sad of losing their friends, but happy because they won't have to deal with Bulstrode anymore. The workmen rescue some stone, Percy takes the broken trucks to the scrapyard, and Bulstrode is towed to a beach so children can play in him.

Toby Takes the Road

Terence takes care of the shunting for Percy while he was at the harbour, and brags about how he could "go anywhere and do anything". Then one day, Toby is going to the quarry one frosty morning. At the crossing, the earth has swelled over the rails, derailing Toby and creating two long ruts in the road nearby. With some quick thinking on the fireman's part Toby gets back on the rails, and his crew spread some of his ashes to prevent that incident from happening again. The Fat Controller soon finds out, but all he says is that Toby should stick to the railway. Toby happily agrees.




  • It is likely that this book is set parallel to the events of Thomas and the Twins, as Thomas does not appear at all in this book.
  • This was the first Railway Series book that didn't contain the word "engine" or "engines" in its title. Although Christopher Awdry is regretful of breaking from tradition, he has stated it created many new book-title opportunities.
  • This is the last Railway Series book to have a story televised until the twentieth season, where three stories from Small Railway Engines were adapted.
  • This book also marks Mavis' last speaking role in the Railway Series.


  • The lorry was said to have left the road and skidded into a ditch, but in the illustration it just tipped on its side.
  • In the second illustration of "Bulstrode", the trucks are missing their buffers.
  • When Toby comes off the rails, the sign reads Arlsburgh instead of Arlesburgh.


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