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“Whatever next! Those aren't coaches, they're cattle trucks/cars!"
"OOH!! What a horrid engine!"
"It's not what I'm used to!”
―Sir Handel insulting the coaches

A Bad Day for Sir Handel is the sixth episode of the fourth series. It is based on the story Sir Handel from The Railway Series book, Four Little Engines.


Skarloey and Rheneas enjoy working on the railway that weaves around the lakes and along mountainsides. Their coaches are filled with visitors and both engines are proud to run the line, no matter the weather. They will never let their passengers down, but they are old, however, and they tire themselves out easily. Their drivers understand this and they then tell them that there is more than enough work for the two of them on the railway and the manager is sending two more engines to help run the line. Both Skarloey and Rheneas are pleased with the news and they promise that they will give them a big welcome.

The new engines, named Peter Sam and Sir Handel soon arrive. Sir Handel is rude, complaining about the sheds and insulting Skarloey. Peter Sam is much friendlier, explaining to a sympathetic Skarloey that Sir Handel is really a nice engine but is just upset at the moment. Sir Handel's fireman comes to get Sir Handel ready to pull a passenger train to the top station. He initially refuses - stating that he is tired - and asks if Peter Sam can do it instead, but the fireman does not care, telling Sir Handel he will go first. When Sir Handel picks up his coaches, he insults them by calling them cattle trucks. The coaches are hurt, with Sir Handel simply saying that they are not the sort of coaches he's used to.

Sir Handel arrives at Crovan's Gate and meets Gordon who brings the passengers to Sir Handel's train. The two engines introduce themselves, and Sir Handel recognises Gordon as a fellow express engine. He goes on to say that he is used to smart coaches and praises Gordon's own but soon has to leave, with Gordon left speechless. When Sir Handel reaches the top station, he is very cross when he hopes for a rest but discovers by his driver that he is expected at the quarry to collect trucks. He refuses to do so and punctuates his point by deliberately derailing himself. Peter Sam arrives with workmen to put Sir Handel back on the rails. The Fat Controller - who is also on board - sternly tells Sir Handel he will speak to him later when he comes home to the sheds. He and Peter Sam leave the work train to put Sir Handel back onto the rails.

That evening, Sir Handel returns to the sheds to find the Fat Controller waiting for him. He scolds Sir Handel that he is a very naughty engine and shuts him up in the shed until he can be trusted to behave. 




  • Some TUGS models can be seen in this episode at Lakeside, notably Lakesider III, which is actually a modified O.J. model.
  • When broadcast on Miramax, the episode has no narration.
  • From this episode throughout the rest of the series, Gordon has Duck's whistle sound. However, his normal whistle sound can only be heard in certain episodes where other engines were whistling.
  • Two small rocks were placed between the two sets of the track to derail Sir Handel.
  • This was one of few Thomas episodes to be featured on the Captain Kangaroo spin-off series Mister Moose's Fun Time on Fox Family Channel.


  • Gordon is missing his brake pipe.
  • As Gordon approaches Crovan's Gate, he has Duck's whistle.
  • In the UK version, when Sir Handel backs onto his coaches and stops, he can still be heard puffing for another four seconds.
  • The red coach Sir Handel backs onto has a face, but when Sir Handel arrives at Crovan's Gate, the coach's face disappears.
  • When Sir Handel goes off-camera on the mountain ledge, the steam platform blows steam too late.
  • When the Fat Controller says "You're a very naughty engine!" a fly crawls on the workbench next to Sir Handel.
  • In a picture of Sir Handel at Skarloey, part of the lining on his saddletank is missing.


  • Skarloey and Rheneas's drivers: There's more than enough work for you both on this railway. The manager is sending 2 more engines to help us run the line.


  • Sir Handel: What a small shed! This won't do at all! We're much too smart for this old shack!
  • Peter Sam: I think it's nice.
  • Sir Handel: Huh! [to Skarloey] What's that rubbish?
  • (Skarloey gives a rather insulted look)
  • Peter Sam: Shh! That's Skarloey! He's famous! (whispers to Skarloey) I'm sorry, Skarloey. Sir Handel's upset now, but he's quite nice really.
  • Narrator: Skarloey felt sorry for Peter Sam.
  • Fireman: Now, Sir Handel, I will get you ready for work.
  • Sir Handel: I'm tired! Let Peter Sam go! He'd love it!
  • Fireman: No. You're first.


  • Sir Handel: Whatever next?! Those aren't coaches, they're cattle trucks!/cars!
  • Coaches: OOH!! What a horrid engine!
  • Sir Handel: It's not what I'm used to.


  • Sir Handel: Hello. Who are you?
  • Gordon: I'm Gordon. Who are you?
  • Sir Handel: I'm Sir Handel. I've heard of you. You're an express engine! So am I, but I'm used to new coaches, not these cattle trucks/cattle cars. Do you have new coaches? [observes Gordon's train] I see you do. We must have a chat. Sorry I can't stop. We must keep time, you know.
  • Narrator: Gordon was speechless!


  • (after Sir Handel reaches the top station)
  • Driver: We'll leave the coaches now and fetch some trucks/freight cars from the quarry.
  • Sir Handel: Trucks!/Cars! TRUCKS/CARS! I won't! So there!
  • Narrator: Sir Handel was about to cause a great deal of trouble.
  • (he leaves the station and deliberately derails himself)
  • Sir Handel: Told you!


  • The Fat Controller: (to Sir Handel) I shall talk to you later!
  • (Peter Sam, with The Fat Controller on board, leaves the breakdown train)
  • Sir Handel's Driver: Come on now, let's get you back on the rails.


  • The Fat Controller: (to Sir Handel, after having heard of his issues earlier in the day) You're a very naughty engine! I hope I can trust you to behave when you next come out of this shed.
  • Narrator: After hearing that, I'm sure Sir Handel will. Aren't you?


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Um Dia Ruim para o Sir Handel
Chinese 汉德尔先生糟糕的一天
Czech Handelův Špatný Den
Danish En Dårlig Dag for Sir Handel
Dutch Een Slechte Dag voor Meneer Hendel
Finnish Sir Handel ja Kurja Päivä
German Ein schlechter Tag für Sir Handel
Greek Μια κακή ημέρα για Πάλ
Hungarian Sir Handel Rossz Napja
Italian Una Giornata No per Sir Handel
Japanese わがままなきかんしゃ
Korean 핸델 경의 수난일
Norwegian En Dårlig Dag for Sir Handel
Polish Zły Dzień Pana Handla
Romanian Sir Handel Are O Zi Grea
Russian Плохой день для Сэра Хендэла
Slovak Zlý Deň pre Sira Handela
Slovenian Silvester ima Slab Dan
Spanish Un Mal Día para Sir Handel
Swedish En Dålig Dag för Sir Handel
Thai หัวรถจักรมีปัญหา
Ukrainian Поганий день Сера Хендела

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