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“My hat! You've sucked 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 Class 40 diesel. The big diesel soon arrives and immediately insults the engines, stating them to be out of date compared to him.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 causes him to suddenly 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. They 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 leaving only two things to remember him by; a rather nasty 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 is the second time where Henry, Gordon and James' lines, "Disgraceful," "Disgusting" and "Despicable" were said. The first time being Dirty Work.
  • According to some VHSes and the UK YouTube channel descriptions, Class 40 was brought to Sodor to stand in for Daisy while she was ill.
  • This episode marks Class 40's first and only speaking role and leading role and his last appearance.
  • 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 The Fat Controller 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.
  • Starting from this episode until the seventh series, Bertie has his main second horn sound.
  • The episode's title refers to the cricket term "bowl out," while also referencing the inspector's bowler hat. The cricket terminology is a callback to the events of the previous episode.
  • This episode was relased early on VHS in the UK before Rusty to the Rescue meaning the British audience may not know who Stepney is.


  • A few things for James in this episode:
    • He has Smudger's whistle sound when he leaves Crovan's Gate.
    • His eyes are misaligned often throughout this episode.
    • At the yard, his lamp irons are crooked and his funnel is cracked and sealed with black glue.
  • 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.
    • His lead wheels are derailed at the turn table meeting.
    • He has Duck's whistle sound when he leaves the station, but his regular first series 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, James, and Percy's whistle sounds are heard, but they are nowhere to be seen. The reason is because stock audio of the engines whistling 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.
  • Duck appears out of nowhere at the sheds when the narrator says, "The engines glared!"
  • In the first shot of Class 40, the brake coach is in the middle of the express and is facing backwards.
  • As Class 40 is getting ready, his eyes are misaligned and his face is coming loose.
  • When Stepney speaks to Gordon about Class 40, his left eye (viewers' right) moves on its own.


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 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 wanting, 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. [Class 40's engine backfires, sputters, and grinds to a halt] Shaking and spluttering, the diesel stopped.

Gordon: Hello! You're early! That's one in the headlamp for old diesel.
Stepney: James says he's sick as boiler sludge and sulking in the shed.
Gordon: Serves him right for saying we're out of date.

In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Nocauteado
Chinese Mandarin 强迫退场
Czech Osud klobouku
Danish Bowlerhatten
Dutch Hoedje wip
Finnish Voitto
German Ausgeschlagen
Greek Το Καπέλο του Επιθεωρητή
Hungarian Kalap Kalamajka
Italian L'automotrice diesel
Japanese ディーゼルとぼうし
Korean 디젤이 남기고 떠난 것
Latin American Spanish Diesel Tendrá que Aprender
Norwegian Bowlerhatten
Polish Diesel Dostaje Nauczkę (Original)
Zepsuta Lokomotywa (Alternate)
Romanian Bowled
Russian Вышел из строя
Slovenian Kje je klobuk?
Swedish Bowlerhatten
Ukrainian Вивидений з ладу
Welsh Helynt Yr Het

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets




  • Thomas and the Special Letter and Other Stories

DVD Packs


DVD Boxsets

  • Complete Series 1-10
  • Classic Collection
  • Series Three and Series Four Double Pack











DVD Boxsets



  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4