Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
Main Page

This article is about the UK title for the episode. You may be looking for the magazine story.
For other uses, see Donald and Douglas (disambiguation).

“Ye're a muckle nuisance! It's ta leave ye behind I'd be wantin'."
"You can't. I'm essential."
"Och! Are ya? Ye're nothing but a screechin' and a wailin' when all's said and done. Spite Douggie, would ye? Take that!”
―Donald confronting the Spiteful Brake Van

Break Van, retitled Donald and Douglas in American releases, is the sixteenth episode of the second series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book The Twin Engines.


A set of black twin engines named Donald and Douglas have arrived from Scotland to work on the railway; however, the Fat Controller had only expected one engine. He gives the two engines numbers, Donald 9 and Douglas 10, but still intends to send one of the two engines back to Scotland.

A brake van in the yard takes a disliking to Douglas and causes trouble whenever he has to take him out, making his trains late and Douglas is worried. Donald, his twin, is angry at the brake van for treating his twin in such a cruel manner and bumps him violently, threatening him witt more to come if he misbehaves. The van starts behaving better afterwards. One day, however, Donald loses control while reversing onto some slippery rails and accidentally crashes tender-first into a signal box. The Fat Controller is quite disappointed and speaks severely to Donald, as he had intended to keep him and send Douglas back home. Now Donald will need to have his tender mended and James will have to do his work, which The Fat Controller knows he will not like.

The Fat Controller is proven right; James is very angry about the extra work and grumbles dreadfully. Douglas teases James and mentions his accident with the tar wagons, worsening his bad mood. He takes a train of trucks, including the Brake Van, who decides to make work difficult for James and has the trucks hold back, quickly tiring James out.

Meeting Douglas at Wellsworth, James asks for his assistance in climbing up Gordon's Hill and Douglas agrees. The two engines work as hard as they can, but James starts losing steam while half way up the hill. Because of this and the weight of the trucks holding back, Douglas accidentally crushes the van to pieces while pushing from behind. The Fat Controller arrives on Edward, who comes with the Breakdown Train to help clear the mess and is cross that Douglas has also caused trouble. Edward stands up for Douglas, having heard what happened and tells the Fat Controller of all the hard work Douglas did. Although the Fat Controller understands that Douglas was only trying to help, he does think that Douglas got carried away by destroying the brake van. The Fat Controller then turns and walks away, apparently making up his mind about something.




  • The episode's opening exposition is taken from the stories Hullo Twins! and The Missing Coach from the same book, while the first two shots are taken from the latter's cancelled episode.
  • The episode's title is a pun and portmanteau of the word "Break" and the UK term Brake Van.
  • This episode marks the first time a character suffers an injury to their face (the brake van is seen with a black eye after the crash).
  • This episode may have been filmed alongside Thomas Comes to Breakfast, as in the latter episode, Donald's tender can be seen sticking out of the signal box when Thomas pulls into Tidmouth Station and in the close-up shot of Percy at Ffarquhar Sheds.
  • The rag used to wipe down Douglas' tender is blu-tack.
  • A reference to the first series episode, Dirty Objects is made.
  • In the restored version:
    • There is an extended scene of Donald's wheels sliding and the string is tied at the end of Donald's tender pulling him.
    • Douglas has his nameplate when he goes up Gordon's Hill and smashes the Spiteful Brake Van. The nameplate was actually covered by a black bar in the original version. Douglas' nameplate can also be seen in the original version just before the shot of him next to the brake van.
  • Because this episode was originally broadcast alongside Better Late Than Never, when it was later released on its own, some versions (most notably on VHS and Cartoon Network) still had Christopher Awdry's episode listed in the end credits.
  • Donald's accident in this episode was mentioned in the twenty-first series episode, Emily in the Middle.
  • Better Late Than Never and this episode aired on 24th April 1989 with another gap in the middle of airings, this second gap coincided with May Day Bank Holiday and aired The Deputation/Thomas Comes to Breakfast on 8th May.
  • The JEI TV version of the Korean dub added subtitles to inform viewers what breake vans and tenders are.
  • This episode was never released on VHS and DVD in South Korea.


  • In the close-ups of Donald when he talks to the brake van, his lamp iron is missing and he is in Tidmouth station instead of the yard.
  • When Donald bumps the brake van, the bumping sound is late by a second.
  • Before Donald crashes into the signal box, the M in the Tidmouth Sign is missing, but in the next shot, the M is seen.
  • When Donald crashes into the signal box, the wall is completely destroyed, but when the Fat Controller arrives, the wall looks relatively undamaged.
  • After Donald crashes into the signal box, the alarm falls off, but in the next shot it's clearly visible.
  • When James leaves the yard, except for Douglas, the engines' eyes are very wonky, the salt van from James' train jolts, and his tender is tilted a bit.
  • Douglas' tender has its number painted on in the opening shot even though they get their numbers painted on later.
  • When James leaves the yard, his goods train changes rolling stock.
  • When James passes Suddery Castle, the brake van does not appear to have a face.
  • When Douglas crushes the brake van, his wheels are bluish-grey, most likely due to the fluid inside the model that generates the smoke effects.
  • The brake van turns brown when Douglas crushes him and he is smiling.
  • When the brake van's wreckage is being cleared away, Douglas' face is clean, but when Edward says "I heard him from my yard," his face is dirty and his nameplate is crooked and peeling.
  • When the Fat Controller says "I don't know," Douglas' face moves slightly.


View content

Trading Cards

Name Released Discontinued Highlights Image
Donald & Douglas 2002 Unknown

My Thomas Story Library

Name Published Publisher Highlights Photo
Donald and Douglas 2003 Egmont Publishing
  • My Thomas Story Library book

In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Os Gêmeos Escoceses
Chinese Mandarin 破烂的手车
Croatian Slomljeni teretnih vagona
Czech Spojovací Vagón
Danish Donald og Douglas
Dutch De Remwagen
Finnish Jarruvaunu
French Le Wagon-Frein
German Der Bremswagen
Greek Δίδυμοι μπελάδες
Hungarian A Fékezőkocsi
Italian Le Locomotive Gemelle
Japanese ふたごのきかんしゃ
Korean 쌍둥이 기관차
Latin American Spanish Donald y Douglas
Norwegian Den Trassige Godsvogna
Polish Bliźniacy (Original)
Wagon Służbowy (Alternate)
Romanian Vagonul cu Frână
Russian Вагончик с тормозом
Serbian Polomljeni Vagon
Slovenian Vagon z Zavoro
Swedish Den Trassiga Godsvagnen
Turkish Tamir Vagonu
Ukrainian Гальмівний вагон
Welsh Donald a Douglas

Home Media Releases

View content


DVD Boxsets


DVD Packs





DVD Boxsets

  • Complete Series 1-10
  • Classic Collection
  • Series One and Series Two Double Pack












DVD Packs





  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4