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"Bother those trucks and their tricks! I hope poor James isn't hurt."
— Thomas pushing the breakdown train to the scene of the accident

Thomas and the Breakdown Train, retitled Thomas Saves the Day in American releases, is the seventh episode of the first season.


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 is used to lift engines, coaches, or trucks that may derail.

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 cannot 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 derailed, 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 are 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 (and damaged) trucks, until they have all been removed.

Soon it is 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 is happier than ever. 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.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • The events of this episode were retold in The Adventure Begins.
  • This episode marks James' official introduction to the television series. Despite appearing in past episodes, he was never acknowledged in any way.
  • There are a few differences in the restored version of the episode:
    • When Thomas says "I'd like to teach those trucks a lesson", there is a pause before he moves his eyes.
    • An extended shot of the signalman shouting "James is off the line! The breakdown train, quickly!" is shown.
    • Different footage of Annie is used.
  • Stock footage from Edward, Gordon and Henry and edited stock footage from Thomas and the Trucks are used.
  • A rare picture shows an alternate take of Thomas returning James to the sheds, with both facing the opposite direction from in the actual scene.


  • A rare picture shows the breakdown train without any buffers.
  • When Thomas takes on water in the opening shot, his water cap is not open.
  • When Thomas and James return to Tidmouth Sheds, the puffing noise continues after they stop.
  • Thomas' eyes are slightly off-centre from each other throughout the majority of the episode.
  • The metal rod to make James' wheels spark is clearly visible. In the same shot, James' front wheels aren't moving.
  • During the scene when Thomas pushes the breakdown train under a bridge, the cranes are dirty, but before and after that scene, the cranes are clean.
  • James' goods train load changes throughout the episode.
  • In the close-up of Gordon, his driving wheels are going backwards.
  • When James gets back on the rails, it's daytime, but when Thomas couples up to him to get him back to the shed, the sky suddenly changes to sunset. It changes back to blue sky when Thomas and James get back to the sheds and there are some ruffles in the sky as well.
  • When James cries, "Help, help!" bushes and hills are next to him instead of the yard.
  • In the close-up of James' wheels when he is put back on the rails, the breakdown train beside him is missing.
  • When James is lifted back onto the track, he is not coupled up to his tender. But when Thomas goes up to it, James is coupled.
  • When Thomas and James leave to go back to Tidmouth Sheds, one of the breakdown cranes moves slightly backward and the truck on the breakdown train is missing an eye.
  • When Thomas says "Oh thank you sir," greenery appears behind him when it should be the sheds.
  • In the close-up of Thomas on his branch-line, Annie and Clarabel are gone and in the next scene, Annie and Clarabel are back, but Thomas is now gone.

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Thomas Resolve um Problema/Thomas Salva o Dia
Chinese 托马斯和吊车
Croatian Tomica i Vagoni Dizalice
Czech Tomáš a Pohotovostní Vlak
Danish Thomas og Hjælpetoget
Dutch Thomas en de Takelwagen
Finnish Tuomas-Veturi ja Korjausjuna
French Thomas et le Train en Panne
German Der Unfallzug
Hebrew תומס ורכבת החילוץ
Hungarian Thomas és a Segélyvonat
Italian L'Incidente
Japanese ジェームスのだっせん
Korean 토마스와 구조열차
Norwegian Thomas og Hjelpetoget
Polish Tomek i Wagon Ratunkowy
Romanian Thomas şi Trenul de Intervenţii
Russian Происшествие
Serbian Tomas i Vagon za Pokvarene Vozove
Slovak Thomas a Záchranársky Vlak
Slovenian Tomaž in Nesreča na Progi
Spanish Thomas, Héroe del Día/Thomas y el Tren Grúa
Swedish Thomas och Kranvagnen
Thai โธมัสช่วยกู้ภัย
Welsh Tomos a'r Trén Archub


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Name Released Discontinued Highlights Photo
Thomas & The Breakdown Train 2012 2014
  • Includes Thomas with breakdown train and truck


Name Published Publisher Highlights Photo
Percy Runs Away and Thomas and the Breakdown Train 1984 Ladybird Books
  • Ladybird book
Thomas and the Breakdown Train 1985 Octopus Books
  • Board book
James and the Rescue Train 1989 Heinemann
Thomas and the Breakdown Train 1990 Buzz Books
  • Buzz book
James the Red Engine 1991 Random House
  • Board book
James and the Trucks 1997 Egmont
Random House
Thomas 2003 Egmont
Thomas (Book & CD) 2007 Egmont
  • My Thomas Story Library book
  • The book was released with a CD narrated by Michael Angelis
Thomas to the Rescue 2009 Egmont
Thomas the Tank Engine Book Pack 2015 Egmont

Magazine stories

Home Media Releases

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DVD Boxsets


  • Thomas and Gordon and other stories


VHS/DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets












  • Thomas the Tank Engine 1




DVD Packs