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"This is the best birthday picnic ever!"
"Thomas, this is your best idea yet!
— Dowager and Sir Topham Hatt

Thomas and the Birthday Picnic is the eighth (seventh in Australia) episode of the ninth season.


It is Dowager Hatt's birthday and the Fat Controller decides to take her out on a birthday picnic. Thomas, who is to take the Hatts out for the day, decides to go to Shen Valley. Thomas arrives at Knapford station with Annie and Clarabel and the staff load up the picnic hamper and the birthday cake aboard Clarabel. Dowager Hatt looks very serious, making Thomas feel nervous. However, Thomas is no longer nervous once Percy cheers him up.

Thomas sets off for Shen Valley, hopeful that Dowager Hatt will love it. However, at Shen Valley, the Hatts are not impressed. The fields have just been ploughed; now, they must go elsewhere. Thomas decides to go to the Scottish Castle, but they cannot picnic there as it is closed for maintenance. Thomas sets off again, this time going too fast, making the journey uncomfortable for the Hatts. The Fat Controller tells Thomas to stop and once he does, the Fat Controller demands to know where they are going. But Thomas does not know as he has run out of ideas. The Fat Controller decides to cancel the birthday picnic as lunch-time has passed and Dowager Hatt wants to go home. Thomas heads back to Knapford, hopeful to have a good idea before they get home, but to no avail. Once the Hatts leave the train, Thomas heads sadly back to Tidmouth Sheds.

All the other engines hear what happened, but Percy hopes that Dowager Hatt will enjoy her birthday cake. Thomas quickly realises that in all his sadness, he forgot to let the staff unload the cake from Clarabel. Now Dowager Hatt cannot even have her birthday tea. Thomas hopes that an idea will come to him. As does Percy, who tries to blow his whistle, but only to make a faint whistle due to stone dust clogging it. Gordon tells Percy to blow his whistle hard and gives a long low note. Emily prefers high toots and blows two high toots of her whistle. Henry is proud of his whistle being slow and strong. All of the whistling finally gives Thomas a brilliant idea.

Later, the Fat Controller receives a phone call from the Knapford stationmaster, informing him that Thomas and the engines have a special surprise. At Knapford station, the Hatts are delighted to see the decorations and the food all set up, including the birthday cake. Thomas blows his whistle and one by one, all of the Steam Team whistles to the tune of "Happy Birthday." Dowager Hatt is very happy with her birthday picnic surprise and the Fat Controller congratulates Thomas for such a splendid idea.




  • Stock footage from Thomas to the Rescue is used.
  • This is the first episode written by Sharon Miller.
  • This episode marks Dowager Hatt's first speaking role since her debut in Gordon and the Gremlin, as well as her first named appearance.
  • Two British Railways posters are visible at Knapford's office. One for the "Coronation Scot" and one for "Battle of Britain." These can also be found in Mighty Mac.
  • Going by production order, this is the seventh episode of the ninth season.


  • When Percy says "Don't worry!" he tilts to the right briefly.
  • When Thomas leaves Knapford Station in the second scene, he has Molly's whistle sound.
  • When Thomas passes a white bridge with green beam supporters, Thomas' weight pushes the track down slightly.


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Norwegian Thomas og landturen Thomas and the Picnic
German Der dicke Kontrolleur und das Geburtstagspicknick The Fat Controller and the Birthday Picnic
Japanese バースデーピクニック Birthday Picnic
Finnish Tuomas ja Syntymäpäiväretki Thomas and the Birthday Trip
Gaelic Cuirm Chnuic na Cailliach The Old Lady's Picnic
Dutch Thomas en de Verjaardagspicknick Thomas and the Birthday Picnic
Polish Tomek i Urodzinowy Piknik Thomas and the Birthday Picnic
Danish Thomas og Fødselsdagsudflugten Thomas and the Birthday Excursion
Russian Праздничный пикник Celebratory Picnic
Italian Thomas e il Picnic di Compleanno Thomas and the Birthday Picnic
Croatian Tomica i rođendanski piknik Thomas and the Birthday Picnic
Portuguese Thomas e o piquenique de aniversário Thomas and the Birthday Picnic
Spanish Thomas y el Picnic de Cumpleaños Thomas and the Birthday Picnic
Hungarian Thomas és a Születésnapi Piknik Thomas and the Birthday Picnic
Romanian Thomas și Picnicul Thomas and the Picnic
Czech Piknik k narozeninám Birthday Picnic
Slovak Piknik k narodeninám Picnic on Birthday
Chinese 托马斯和生日野餐 Thomas and the Birthday Picnic
Korean 토마스와 소풍 Thomas and Salty
Swedish Thomas och födelsedagspicknicken Thomas and the Birthday Picnic
Thai ปิกนิกวันเกิด Birthday Picnic
Serbian Tomasov rodjendanski izlet Thomas' Birthday Trip

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DVD Boxsets


  • The Magic Lamp