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“Thomas the Tank Engine has worked his Branch Line for many years.”
―The introduction to Thomas's Branch Line

Branch Line Engines is the sixteenth book of The Railway Series.

Foreword

Dear Friends,
We never have a dull moment on our Branch Line. Thomas was silly and got into trouble, so a Diesel Rail-car called Daisy came. She caused trouble, but has now promised to be good, so the Fat Controller has kindly given her another chance.

Meanwhile Toby chased a bull, Percy got into a predicament and...

But you must read the stories for yourselves.
The Author

Stories

Thomas Comes to Breakfast

When Thomas' driver jokes that Thomas can manage stopping without him, Thomas misunderstands him and boasts to Percy and Toby that he does not need a driver. Next morning, after a careless cleaner fiddles with his controls, Thomas successfully moves by himself, but cannot stop and runs into the stationmaster's house as he and his family sit down for breakfast. The stationmaster shuts off steam and his wife blames Thomas for ruining their breakfast. Donald and Douglas pull him out and Thomas, with his funnel and front badly damaged, is sent to the Works.

Daisy

Thomas' temporary replacement, a snobby diesel rail-car named Daisy, arrives, and Percy and Toby show her around. She refuses to sleep in the engine shed, but finds the carriage shed good, except for some "rubbish" (Henrietta, Annie and Clarabel). Percy and Toby are tired after staying up late to comfort the coaches, while Daisy is bright and cheerful. She prepares for the first train when she realises a milk van is about to be coupled to her and refuses to pull it, saying it goes against "fitter's orders". The crew suspect she is lying, but the passengers cannot be kept waiting, so the van is taken away. Daisy, satisfied, sets off vowing to do whatever she wants.

Bulls Eyes

Daisy makes fun of Toby's cowcatchers and sideplates, saying he is scared of getting hurt. Toby objects but Daisy claims that animals will move anyway if you just "toot and look them in the eye." Later, Daisy is asked to shoo a bull called Champion to his owner, but he is too busy eating grass to notice. As facing the bull frightens her, Daisy gives up and goes back to the yard, and Toby "shoos" Champion for her. That evening, Daisy sees some boys enjoying some sweets called "bull's-eyes" and gets huffy.

Percy's Predicament

Daisy has neglected to take the milk again and Percy's in a bad mood. Toby decides to take the van for him so as to let Percy take his trucks from the quarry. Percy speaks rudely to the trucks, and they plan their revenge. As they slow down at a sign to "pin down" brakes, the trucks surge forward and push Percy down the line and into a train of stone trucks. That evening, the Fat Controller scolds Percy for being careless, and then Daisy for being lazy but gives her a second chance for her work after Percy's accident. Thomas comes home the next day, Percy is sent to the works, and Toby teaches Daisy the finer points of branch line life.

Characters

Thomas Comes to Breakfast

Daisy

  • Percy
  • Toby
  • Daisy
  • Annie and Clarabel
  • Sir Charles Topham Hatt II
  • Henrietta (not seen)
  • Daisy's Fitter (not seen)
  • Thomas (mentioned)

Bulls Eyes

Percy's Predicament

  • Percy
  • Toby
  • Daisy
  • Troublesome Trucks
  • Sir Charles Topham Hatt II
  • Thomas (does not speak)
  • Henrietta (cameo)
  • Annie and Clarabel (mentioned)

Locations

Thomas Comes to Breakfast

Daisy

Bulls Eyes

  • Ffarquhar

Percy's Predicament

Trivia

  • In the first and second illustration of Bulls Eyes, the British Railways Cycling Lion crest is visible on Daisy's side.
  • The Rev. W. Awdry arranged Thomas' accident in order to fix the distinct dip at the front of Thomas' running plate.
  • A nameplate is seen on Donald's front, above his face. This is the only instance that Donald has ever appeared as such.
  • Loraine Marshall recreated the illustrations of Thomas Comes to Breakfast for a Thomas' YouTube World Tour segment.
  • Early editions, such as the 1968 reprint, incorrectly state that the book was first published in 1965 instead of 1961.
  • The events of this book took place in 1960.
  • This book was published on the same day that Colin McFarlane was born.
  • In Percy's Predicament, Percy travels along the Quarry Tramroad, the line on which Thomas had gotten in legal trouble for operating along without cowcatchers and sideplates. The reason Percy did not end up in similar trouble is because the policeman who persecuted Thomas had since been reassigned, and the law cited had long been "outdated".
  • After the book was published, Wilbert Awdry got a letter from an ex-railwayman claiming that the crash in Percy's Predicament could not happen, so he sent the man a picture on the inspiration. The story was based on an incident on page 53 of Model Railway News from 1958, which happened at Swanley Junction on the 13th of April 1876, to London, Chatham & Dover Railway's 123, Phyllis.

Goofs

  • In Thomas Comes to Breakfast:
    • In the first illustration, neither Thomas, Percy or Toby have lamps.
    • Toby is missing his number 7 in the second illustration.
    • Donald has no "Light Engine" lamp/code and is still painted black, but in the previous book, it was said he and Douglas were going to be repainted blue.
  • In Daisy:
    • Percy has no "Light Engine" Lamp/Code in the first illustration.
    • In the second illustration, Percy and Daisy respectively have the "Perishable" and "Mineral Goods" Lamps/Codes instead of "Light Engine".
    • In the Fourth and Sixth illustrations, Percy has the "Express" Lamps/Code instead of "Light Engine" and his right one is red instead of white.
    • Daisy is missing her British Railways crest.
    • When the milk van is placed behind Daisy, she gains a second face on her rear cab and her back built-in lamp/code is "Mineral Goods" instead of "Branch Line/Ordinary Passenger".
  • In the respective sixth and seventh/final illustration of Bulls Eyes, Toby and Daisy have the "Branch Line/Ordinary Passenger and "Mineral Goods" Lamp and Code instead of "Light Engine".
  • In the fifth illustration of Percy's Predicament, Percy's lamp is missing.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Chinese 支线小火车
Japanese 機関車トーマスのしっぱい
Korean 지선에서 일하는 기관차들