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“I do not like engines popping through my walls!"
"I appreciate your feelings, but you must know that this engine and his crew have prevented a serious accident. It was a very close, um... shave.”
―The barber and the Fat Controller

A Close Shave, lengthened to A Close Shave for Duck in American releases, is the fourteenth episode of the second series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book Duck and the Diesel Engine.


After being framed by Diesel for telling lies about the big engines to the Troublesome Trucks, Duck sadly goes to Wellsworth and tells Edward about what has happened. Edward assures Duck that everything will be alright and suggests helping him with his goods train, which cheers Duck up.

The two engines work hard all afternoon to make the trucks behave while taking them up Gordon's Hill. Once at the top, Duck says goodbye to Edward and heads back to the station. As he coasts down the hill, enjoying the breeze, he suddenly hears a guard's whistle. He has been knocked out of his van, as Edward's trucks have broken away and are racing towards Duck at breakneck speed, intending to run him off the rails.

We've broken away! We've broken away!

Duck hurries down the main line, trying his hardest to outrun the trucks, but they gradually catch up to him on the viaduct and begin pushing him. Just as they are starting to regain control, Duck and his driver see James on the same track, pulling a passenger train out of Crosby Station. Duck puts all of his weight against the trucks, but is unable to stop. He shuts his eyes and prepares for the worst, but gets diverted onto a siding at the last second after being slowed down long enough for James and his coaches to clear the platform and points.

At the end of the siding is a small barbershop. As the barber is giving a man a shave, Duck is pushed by the trucks into the end of the siding, comes off the rails, and crashes right into the front of the shop, destroying the wall. Some trucks derail as well, but pay no attention to this, feeling rather pleased with themselves having successfully derailed Duck. As Duck stares nervously at the crowd in front of him, he tries to apologise, but the barber is furious with Duck for frightening his customers, and firmly covers his face with shaving foam.

While Thomas arrives to help clear the mess, the Fat Controller comes in to speak with the barber, who is still fuming. The Fat Controller explains that Duck and his crew helped to prevent a much larger accident with James, adding that it was a "very close shave." The barber quickly washes the lathering off of Duck's face and apologises for misjudging him.

After the trucks have been pulled away, Thomas pulls Duck out of the wrecked barbershop, and the Fat Controller tells him he will be returning to the yard once he is mended. Duck is worried, believing that the big engines still hate him. The Fat Controller, however, replies that he never believed Diesel and sent him back to the other railway; the other engines are now sorry and want Duck to come back.

A few days later, after being mended, Duck returns to the shed where the other engines welcome him back with happy whistles, as he proudly takes his place among them.




  • A large scale model of Duck is used for the scenes inside the barbershop. The face used for this was originally designed for Thomas' large scale model, although always off-camera.
  • This episode marks the only speaking roles of the Barber and his customer, and the Barber's last appearance.
  • The Lynton and Barnstaple van that was used in this episode is currently owned by Twitter user ThomasTankMerch.
  • A rare picture shows the barber and his customers looking at Duck before he crashes and the barber putting shaving foam on the customer's forehead by mistake, which may explain why it is there when the customer is shown after the crash.
  • In the original version, there are five shots of the barber lathering Duck's face. In the restored version, there are only four as shot three is cut out.
  • In the restored version, the scene in which the trucks pass through Wellsworth is sped up.
  • When Duck races into Crosby Yards, the stationmaster's house from Thomas Comes to Breakfast can be seen.
  • This is the first episode of the series where a diesel engine is mentioned but not physically seen.


  • When Duck arrives at Wellsworth, his whistle valves are missing.
  • The brake van at the back of Edward's train does not have a face at first, but it is shown to have one when the trucks race through the level crossing. The face disappears when the trucks run through the station.
  • As the trucks race through the level crossing, a string can be seen pulling them.
  • Both of Ringo Starr's dubs state that Duck shut his eyes when he was diverted into the siding, yet his eyes are wide open.
  • When the barber says, "No, I won't!" to Duck, he frowns, but when he says, "I'll teach you!" both he and his customers are smiling. Likewise, Duck appears to be smiling while being lathered.
  • In the German dub, when Duck passes through Edward's station, the line "But the trucks were catching up" is omitted.
  • When James pulls his coaches away from the next station, some roofs of the coaches are crooked.
  • When Thomas arrives to help with the cleanup, a second track appears next to the siding and his eyes are wonky as he pulls Duck out.
  • In the close-up shot of Duck when he is being pulled out of the barbershop, studio equipment can be seen in the top right-hand corner.
  • The barber only washes half of the lathering off of Duck's face, but after Duck is pulled out, his face is fully lathered again.
  • In the final scene, Duck's handrails are gold instead of silver.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Um Visitante Inesperado
Chinese Mandarin 一次擦肩而过
Croatian Za dlaku
Czech O Fous
Danish Duck hos barberen
Dutch Op een haartje na
Finnish Tarkka Rajaus
French D'une Cheveu
German Um Haaresbreite
Greek Ξύρισμα
Hungarian Hajszál Híján
Italian Scampato Pericolo
Japanese とこやにいったダック
Korean 다시 집으로 돌아간 덕
Latin American Spanish Una Afeitada al Ras para Duck
Norwegian Nære på
Polish Rehabilitacja (Original)
O Mały Włos (Alternate)
Romanian Pe Aproape Bărbierit
Romansh Ina rashura glischa per Duck
Russian Опасное бритье
Serbian Brijanje
Slovenian V brivnici
Swedish Nära på
Turkish Kıl Payı
Welsh Sôn am Helynt

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  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4