Air date: November 27th, 1984
At Knapford, there is no sign of the morning train, causing the passengers to become angry. The Fat Controller is told by the stationmaster that Henry is refusing to leave his shed, so he goes to find out what is going on. Gordon tells him that he, Henry and James will no longer fetch their own coaches or shunt in sidings. The Fat Controller is angry that the bigger engines are trying to tell him what they're willing to do and leaves for Wellsworth to enlist Edward as a station pilot to ensure that the day's trains run as normal, noting to himself that life at the yard hasn't been the same since Thomas left to run his branch line. Edward is happy to shunt the coaches and the rest of the day's trains run as usual.
Next day, the Fat Controller visits the yard to see how Edward is getting along. To his dismay, he sees Gordon puff by and wheesh loudly at Edward. Edward tells the Fat Controller that the big engines have been insulting and wheeshing steam at him. The Fat Controller assures Edward that tender engines do shunt, but decides that he must bring a new tank engine to the yard to permanently fix the problem.
Visiting the engine workshop, the Fat Controller is shown all kinds of engines. Soon he sees a smart green saddletank and knows this is the one he wants. The Fat Controller asks the engine if he is willing to work hard. The engine eagerly responds that he is. With that, the matter is settled. The Fat Controller names him Percy and takes him back to the yard.
The Fat Controller asks Edward to get Percy acquainted with the yard and the pair set off for work. Edward is very impressed by his hard work and loud wheeshing - something he learned in the workshop so as to be heard. The Fat Controller then decides to send for Thomas and calls all three engines to the yard for an announcement: He tells them that he has shut-up the big engines in the shed until they learn to behave and that, in Gordon, Henry and James' absence, the two tank engines and Edward will run the railway.
Edward and Thomas are put in charge of the main line, while Percy takes care of Thomas' branch line as well as looking after Annie and Clarabel. While there are fewer trains, the passengers don't mind as they understand that the three engines are doing their best to keep the railway running and that the big engines were in the middle of learning a lesson.
In the sheds, Gordon, James and Henry are left cold, lonely, and miserable. The three finally start to realise just how silly they have been.
Tropes featured in the episode:
- Achilles in His Tent: Gordon, Henry (who had previously done this in "The Sad Story of Henry"), and James did this by going on strike, but the Fat Controller didn't budge.
- Aesop Amnesia: Apparently, Henry hasn't learned that Achilles in His Tent doesn't work with the Fat Controller.
- The word "common tank engines" was used in the UK, but in the US, it says "little tank engines".
- In the UK, The Fat Controller tells the big engines that engines on his railway do as they are told. In the US, he says that no engine on his railway is too important for small jobs.
- The UK version has the engines telling Edward he has black wheels, but in the US, they tell him he has grey wheels.
- Bully Hunter: The three tender engines hiss rudely at Edward for interfering with their strike. When Percy arrives, he responds to this by wheeshing loudly at Henry, sending him back into the sheds startled.
- Heel Realization: The end of the episode shows Gordon, Henry, and James alone in the sheds realizing how silly they were for going on strike.
- Hypocrite: James saying that Edward has black wheels. Take a look at James' own wheels.
- Jerkass: Gordon, Henry and James, but Gordon takes it Up to Eleven by wheeshing Edward in front of the Fat Controller.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Gordon, Henry, and James were sent to the sheds for a few days for their protests about tender engines shunting as well as mistreating Edward while they were reluctantly sent back to work.
- Kick the Dog: The big engines (particularly Gordon) rudely hissed at Edward for interfering with their strike and said he had black wheels.
- Sixth Ranger: Percy. Even literally since he was given the number 6.
- Stealth Pun: The above entry of Hypocrite. James is literally calling the kettle black.
- Strike Episode
- Ungrateful Bastards: Edward gets coaches for the big engines, and they thank him by hissing him, and saying he has black wheels.
- Yes-Man: Percy when he first spoke to The Fat Controller.