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Recap / Thomas The Tank Engine S 1 E 7 Thomas And The Breakdown Train

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U.S. Title: Thomas Saves The Day

Air date: October 30th, 1984

Thomas now works in the goods yard at the station, pushing and pulling trucks into place. Every day he sees the Fat Controller, who kindly tells Thomas that, while he may not be as big or as fast as Gordon, he can still be a really useful engine. While shunting, Thomas notices a strange green coach and two cranes and his driver explains that this is the breakdown train and it's used to lift engines, coaches, or trucks that may come off the line.

One day, Thomas is pushing trucks when he hears an engine whistling and calling for help. The engine is James, who is the newest engine on Sodor, and he is being pushed by trucks causing him to go far faster than normal. To make matters worse, his brake blocks are on fire. As the trucks laugh, James disappears in the distance. Although he can't do anything, Thomas is eager for the trucks to be taught a lesson.


Soon an alarm rings and the signalman tells Thomas that James has come off the line, so the breakdown train is needed. Thomas is coupled to the breakdown train and heads to the scene of the accident as fast as he can.

Further down the line, James has crashed into a field and fallen on his side. His crew checks him for any damage and tells James that the fault lies in his wooden brakes which were unable to stop him. Thomas arrives with the breakdown train and removes the trucks that were still on the rails from the scene while the breakdown train recovers the trucks which had overturned. Thomas works harder than ever before, going backwards and forwards with the very sorry trucks until they have all been removed.

Soon it's time to lift James back onto the rails. After having the chains attached to him, James is lifted by the cranes and is returned to his proper position. James is unable to move by himself, so Thomas helps him back to the shed as the sun sets. Waiting for them is the Fat Controller, who congratulates Thomas on all his hard work. He tells James that he is going to get a new coat of paint and some proper brakes fitted and then rewards a delighted Thomas with a branch line of his own.


Nowadays, Thomas couldn't be happier. Not only does he have a branch line, but he also has two new coaches named Annie and Clarabel. He now gets to pull trains all day and often sees Edward and Henry. Gordon is always in a hurry, but still whistles greetings to Thomas who whistles back.

Tropes featured in the episode:

  • Bully Hunter: Thomas didn't take it well when the Troublesome Trucks pushed James, causing him to crash on the fields, and he made them whimper in fear once he was clearing the accident.
    Thomas: This'll teach you a lesson! This'll teach you a lesson! *biffs truck*
    Truck: Yes it will. Yes it will.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Breakdown Train. The driver shows it to Thomas and explains to him that it's designed to lift heavy objects. As James gets himself into an accident, Thomas uses the Breakdown Train to put James back on the rails.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Thomas gets a great one after helping James with the Breakdown Train. He has earned the approval of The Fat Controller, he was rewarded with a branchline along with two coaches Annie and Clarabel, and he has also gained the respect of the other engines, especially Gordon.
  • Incoming Ham: James' "Help, help!".
  • No Sympathy: Thomas showed this to the trucks who were groaning uncomfortably after the accident.
    Trucks: Oh dear, oh dear!
    Thomas: Serves you right! Serves you right!
  • So Proud of You: The Fat Controller praises Thomas for clearing the accident and rescuing James, and then rewards him his own branch line.


Example of: