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Recap / Thomas The Tank Engine S 4 E 1 Grandpuff

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Air date: April 16th, 1995 (US), October 16th, 1995 (UK)

Adapted from: Duke the Lost Engine, "Granpuff"

On a cold winter night, Thomas entertains the other engines with the story of the forgotten Mid-Sodor Railway.

Long ago, there were three engines who lived on their own railway. Their names were Duke, Stuart, and Falcon. Duke was the oldest of the three and had been named after the Duke of Sodor. Duke felt very proud of this and decided it was his responsibility to keep the younger engines in order. While other engines came and went, Duke outlasted all of them. Stuart and Falcon gave Duke the nickname "Granpuff" and were very fond of him, but did sometimes tire of hearing about "his Grace" and would occasionally tease him.

Duke warns Stuart and Falcon that if they do not behave they could end up like Smudger. Stuart and Falcon are curious about Smudger, so Duke tells them about him. Smudger was a show-off, who ran roughly and often derailed, spilling his loads. Duke tried to warn Smudger, but Smudger simply did not care and laughed at Duke. But he quickly stopped laughing when the manager told Smudger he was going to be useful one way or another. Smudger didn't laugh at that and from then on, the only running Smudger did was running as a generator behind the shed. He never went on the rails again.


Stuart and Falcon began behaving better and all three remained friends for years. However, this all ended when hard times came. The mines that the engines depended on for work closed and the railway soon followed. As a result, the engines were all put up for sale. Stuart and Falcon were bought together, but no one wanted to buy an old engine like Duke. Stuart and Falcon promise Granpuff they will find another railway for him to run on.

The story is continued in the next episode, "Sleeping Beauty."


Tropes featured in the episode:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Duke was often called "Grandpuff" by Stuart and Falcon.
  • And I Must Scream: Duke briefly talks about Smudger, a cocky narrow gauge engine who often derailed himself. As punishment for his wild behavior, he was converted into a generator and moved to a spot behind the sheds. It gets worse after you watch the second part and realize his fate is never mentioned. It's possible he's still sitting there under all that overgrowth, unable to call for help... It’s made the page image for the animated section of this trope.
  • Asshole Victim: Smudger's rude behavior is what leads to the manager of the Mid-Sodor Railway turning him into a generator.
  • Cliffhanger: When Thomas ends the story, Percy complains that it didn't have a happy ending. Thomas assures Percy that there will be one, but it'll have to wait until next time. Thomas keeps his promise by telling the rest of the story the very next episode.
  • Cool Old Guy: Duke. As mentioned by Thomas, Stuart, and Falcon, he worked hard on the Mid-Sodor Railway for a very long time, whereas other engines came and went.
  • Signature Sound Effect: The iconic crashing sound effect is heard when Stuart and Falcon bump their trucks into each other. This sound effect would be a fixture to the series up until Series 7.
  • Disneyfication: Just after Duke is shut in the shed, the television adaptation of the story omits the part where Duke wonders where his grace, the Duke of Sodor is and why he didn't come for him, which then explains that the old Duke had died in the war and the new Duke had never heard of the engine. This was done for the sake of directly mentioning death.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Smudger often came off the rails as a result of riding roughly.
  • Expy: Smudger replaced Stanley (no, not the engine introduced in The Great Discovery) from The Railway Series, having suffered the same fate as him.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Whenever Stuart and Falcon misbehaved in front of Duke, he would angrily tell them, "That would never suit his grace!"
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Duke had one with Peter Sam and Sir Handel (then-respectively-named Stuart and Falcon). When the Mid-Sodor Railway closes and Stuart and Falcon are bought but not Duke, Stuart promises Duke to find a nice railway for him so he can come to it and keep them in order.
  • Jerkass: Smudger was rude, careless, and a show-off.
  • King in the Mountain: Duke slept peacefully for many years, while the shed became burried.
  • Old Master: One of the reasons Duke stayed on the Mid-Sodor Railway the longest was because he was capable of getting his jobs done despite his age.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Duke gets Stuart and Falcon to behave after telling them about Smudger being turned into a generator.
  • Team Dad: Duke often served as a father figure to both Stuart and Falcon.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Thomas tells the engines the story of Duke.


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