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“My hat! You've sucked it through your air intake!"
"Bother your hat! The heavy train's due out.”
―The Inspector and the Fat Controller

Bowled Out is the eighteenth episode of the fourth series. It is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine.


During the last few days of Stepney's visit to the North Western Railway, an engine shortage has occurred and the only engine available is a diesel called Class 40. The green diesel soon arrives and immediately insults the engines, claiming them to be out of date compared to him.

The engines are furious, but cannot think of a plan for revenge. There is no need though, as the next day the wind blows an inspector's hat off and into the diesel's air-intake vent. This ends up causing him to break down just as he is about to take an express, much to his fury and to Stepney and Duck's amusement. As the two tank engines shunt the failed Class 40 into the shed, the inspector sees his hat jammed in the diesel's air-intake, but the Fat Controller is more concerned about the train being late.

Stepney, who has anticipated a long run on his last day, volunteers with Duck to pull the train. Pulling together, the two engines set off down the Main Line, passing Edward's station and struggling over Gordon's hill, then in record time reach Crovan's Gate where Gordon waits to take over from halfway.

Stepney leaves the next day and the engines bid him a fond farewell, hoping to see him again soon. Meanwhile, the diesel creeps sulkily away in disgrace, leaving only two things to remember him by; a bad smell and a battered bowler hat.




  • Because this episode is the seventeenth episode of the fourth series in production order, it was broadcast before Train Stops Play, which is the eighteenth, thus scuppering the continuity of Stepney's visit to the Fat Controller's railway.
  • This episode marks Class 40's first and only speaking role and leading role to date.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of the "Best Quality Diesel Oil" barrel.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Sir Handel until the tenth series episode, Follow that Flour. It also marks the last appearance of Crovan's Gate until the eighteenth series (excluding stock footage appearances in the seventh series).
  • In a rare picture on the back cover of the 1995 Thomas and the Special Letter US VHS, Gordon is in Henry's place when Sir Topham Hatt makes his announcement.
  • Despite his appearance in the episode, Percy does not appear in the nameboard sequence at the end of the episode in the Japanese dub.
  • The scene of Class 40 passing the coaches is mirrored in US DVD advertisements and in the 10 Years of Thomas version of Thomas' Anthem.
  • This would be the last episode until the sixth series episodes, Jack Jumps In and A Friend in Need, with a story arc span over more than one episode.
  • The three berth garage model from TUGS appears at Tidmouth Sheds.
  • In the Japanese dub, it is Thomas who tells Stepney to come visit again.
  • Starting from this episode until the seventh series, Bertie has his main second horn sound.


  • According to some VHS and the UK YouTube channel descriptions, Class 40 was brought to Sodor to stand in for Daisy while she was ill, but Daisy does not appear at all in the episode.
  • Two things for James in this episode:
    • The goods train next to him is being pushed by a crew member's hand, as a shadow is easily seen.
    • He has Smudger's whistle sound when he leaves Crovan's Gate.
  • A few things for Gordon in this episode:
    • His buffers are slightly crooked at different points in this episode.
    • He is missing his brake pipe.
    • In a rare still image, he has a crooked buffer.
    • His lead wheels are derailed at the turn table meeting.
    • He has Duck's whistle sound when he leaves the station, but his regular whistle sound can be heard when the other engines whistle in both scenes.
  • The track that Percy is on is only there for one scene.
  • Stepney is missing his crew in the first shot.
  • In a close-up shot of the Fat Controller talking to Stepney and Duck before taking the train, he is first seen standing on a crate, but in the next shot, he is standing on a plain block of wood.
  • In the shots of Gordon's Hill:
    • Red and blue wires can be seen in the middle coach and in the same shot, the track in front of Stepney and Duck appears to sink just before they roll over it.
    • Duck gains a lamp.
  • In the close-ups of Duck and Stepney during the scene where Class 40 breaks down, the scenery changes.
  • In the shots of Class 40:
    • After he grinds to a halt and the camera switches to Duck and Stepney and then back to him, he is slightly further away from the coaches.
    • When he arrives at Tidmouth Sheds, the braking sound is heard long before he actually stops.
    • When he arrives, the close-up of Donald and Douglas is taken from later in the episode, as James' position is inconsistent with the rest of the scene but consistent with the later scene.
    • When he breaks down, he has his air-intake covered, but when the inspector notices his hat, his air intake cover is off.
  • In the scene when the engines are whistling at Tidmouth Sheds after Class 40 insults them, Edward and Percy's whistle sounds are heard, but they are nowhere to be seen. The reason is because stock audio from the first series episode, Thomas' Christmas Party is used.
  • In the second shot, the camera lens can be seen at the top left hand corner.


Narrator: The Diesel surveyed the shed.
The Diesel/Class 40: Not bad. I've seen worse. At least you're all clean. It's not your fault, but your controller (Sir Topham Hatt in the US narration) should scrap you and get engines like me. A fill of oil, a touch on the starter, and I'm off. No bother, no waiting. They’ll have to fuss round you for hours before you're ready.
Narrator: The engines were furious!

Gordon: Disgraceful!
James: Disgusting!
Henry: Despicable!
Donald and Douglas: To say such things to us! It's to teach him a lesson we be wantin', now how do we do it?

Narrator: The Diesel was ready.

The Diesel/Class 40: Look at me, Duck and Stepney, now I'll show you something.

Narrator: He rolled proudly toward his coaches. Then, it happened. Shaking and spluttering, the diesel stopped.

Gordon: Serves him right for saying we're out of date.

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Chinese 强迫退场
Czech Osud klobouku
Danish Bowlerhatten
Finnish Voitto
German Ausgeschlagen
Greek ριφθεί έξω
Hungarian Kalap Kalamajka
Italian L'automotrice diesel
Japanese ディーゼルとぼうし
Norwegian Bowlerhatten
Polish Zepsuta Lokomotywa
Romanian Bowled
Russian Вышел из строя
Slovak Nadhod
Slovenian Kje je klobuk?
Spanish Diesel Tendrá que Aprender
Swedish Bowlerhatten
Thai ดีเซลจอมโว
Ukrainian Вивидений з ладу
Welsh Helynt Yr Het

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