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One day, Thomas wakes up feeling ill. Workmen are unable to make him feel better, so the Fat Controller has Edward bring Thomas to the works for a while. He then asks Duck to take over Thomas' duties on the branch line. Duck is delighted to be given such a responsibility.
Duck is already friends with Percy, and quickly befriends Toby, Bertie, and Terence, who tells Duck to take extra special care with Annie and Clarabel. Duck is very gentle with them, and both coaches are left very impressed with the Great Western engine and remark on what a pleasure it is to go out with him. When Thomas returns from the works, the two coaches tell him how well Duck had managed on the line. Thomas does not feel jealous, as he is just happy to be back home.
Although he does feel better, Thomas is not in complete working order. His handbrake has been left very stiff, meaning it can feel like his brakes are hard-on when they are not. Because of this, Thomas begins to overrun the station platform, which embarrasses him. Eventually, Thomas' crew learns to compensate for the handbrake, and they stop in just the right place.
Thomas' fireman falls ill one day, and a relief man takes his place. Thomas arrives at the junction, and the new fireman couples him to Annie and Clarabel, then joins the driver and stationmaster on the platform while they wait for Henry to deliver his passengers. However, the relief fireman has forgotten about the stiff handbrake. Soon, Henry starts to approach with the passengers but as Thomas' brakes are not completely on, his wheels start to move, and Thomas cannot stop or whistle a warning without his crew. Before anyone realizes what has happened, Thomas has left everyone stranded on the platform.
Annie and Clarabel scream for Thomas to stop, but he has plenty of steam and keeps going. Soon, an alarm goes out about the runaway train. An engine inspector boards Harold the helicopter, and flies to a station where Thomas is due to pass by and makes a plan.
When Thomas reaches the station, he is very tired and is moving far slower than normal. The inspector then makes it to the platform. And when Thomas passes, the inspector scrambles aboard the cab and puts Thomas' brakes on, finally bringing the tank engine to a stop. Both Thomas and the inspector are very relieved and thank Harold, who tells them it was no problem.
The inspector tells Thomas that they must make sure this never happens again. Thomas, exhausted, could not agree more.
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Engine Inspector
- Edward (does not speak)
- Henry (does not speak)
- Percy (does not speak)
- Toby (does not speak)
- Duck (does not speak)
- James (stock footage cameo)
- Farmer Finney (cameo)
- Bertie (mentioned)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Tidmouth Goods Station
- Ffarquhar Sheds
- The Watermill
- The Branch Line Bridge
- Sodor Shipping Company
- The Works (mentioned)
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book More About Thomas the Tank Engine.
- Stock footage from Thomas and Bertie, Old Iron and Percy and Harold, and deleted scenes from the said episode and Thomas, Percy and the Coal are also used.
- George Carlin's narration of this episode was never featured on an episode of Shining Time Station. It first appeared on Thomas and His Friends Get Along and Other Thomas Adventures.
- Two different still photos from the episode were used for the front cover of the 1991 and 1992 releases of Better Late Than Never and Other Stories.
- When the Narrator says "and suddenly he felt his wheels begin to move" the sound of Thomas' brake was in Season 1 pitch. Usually it's supposed to be in the season 2 pitch sound of his brake.
- When the Fat Controller speaks to Duck, the right buffer of the Breakdown Train is broken.
- The brakevan behind Duck appears to be derailed when Thomas passes.
- Duck's face is crooked when he stops next to Terence.
- When Duck leaves Terence, his eyes jitter for a few seconds.
- Annie is facing the wrong way when Duck passes Tidmouth Sheds.
- When Thomas returns to the sheds, Percy's eyes are wonky.
- In a close-up of Thomas when he returns home from the works, his face is crooked.
- The ill fireman's arm starts very low down on his body.
- This episode was filmed around the same time as Old Iron. Because of that, the inside of Thomas's cab is actually James's cab during the scene showing the ill fireman.
- Many of the small scale railway staff figures have paint chips.
- Henry's eyes are wonky.
- When Harold lands at the station, studio equipment is reflected on his blades.
- Thomas enters the station when the inspector is on the platform, but comes into the station again a few seconds later.
- In a close-up of Thomas' wheels, a red wire can be seen near his middle wheel.
- Thomas' eyes are wonky for most of the episode.
- When the narrator says "The inspector had made a plan," the letters RIP can be seen written on the inside of Harold's door in the top left hand corner.
- The stock footage from "Percy and Harold" is not cut properly because Percy can briefly be seen going around the curve as Harold flies through the valley.
- When Thomas' wheels begin to move, some of the wheels' paintwork is chipped at the edges.
In Other Languages
|Italian||Una corsa sfrenata||A Wild Ride|
|German||Der Ausreißer||The Runaway|
|Norwegian||Tog på avveie||Runaway Train|
|French||Le fugitif||The Fugitive|
|Welsh||Help gan Harold||Help from Harold|
|Spanish||Thomas en Dificultades||Thomas in Difficulties|
|Danish||Det Løbske Tog||The Runaway Train|
|Chinese||失控||Out of Control|
|Russian||Без тормозов||Without Brakes|
|Hungarian||Az Elszabadult Mozdony||The Runaway Train|
|Slovenian||Pobegli vlak||Runaway Train|
|Korean||고삐 풀린 토마스||Unbridled Thomas|
|Swedish||Tåg på flykt||Trains on the Run|
|Dutch||Op Hol Geslagen||On Hol Beaten|
|Serbian||Odbjegla lokomotiva||Runaway Locomotive|
|Thai||โธมัสเบรกเสีย||Thomas Breaking Wastes|
Home Media Releases
|Season 1||Season 2||Season 3|
|#00||The Missing Coach||#01||Thomas, Percy and the Coal||#02||Cows|
|#03||Bertie's Chase||#04||Saved from Scrap||#05||Old Iron|
|#06||Thomas and Trevor||#07||Percy and the Signal||#08||Duck Takes Charge|
|#09||Percy and Harold||#10||The Runaway||#11||Percy Takes the Plunge|
|#12||Pop Goes the Diesel||#13||Dirty Work||#14||A Close Shave|
|#15||Better Late Than Never||#16||Break Van||#17||The Deputation|
|#18||Thomas Comes to Breakfast||#19||Daisy||#20||Percy's Predicament|
|#21||The Diseasel||#22||Wrong Road||#23||Edward's Exploit|
|#24||Ghost Train||#25||Woolly Bear||#26||Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree|