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“Never mind him, Peter Sam. He'd be frightened if he really saw a ghost.”
―Rusty explaining Duncan to Peter Sam

Duncan Gets Spooked is the twenty-fourth episode of the fifth series. It aired in an airing of Storytime with Thomas with Sleeping Beauty in the US.


Duncan, Peter Sam, Skarloey and Rusty are busy clearing their line of branches and debris. After Rusty helps Peter Sam to the water tower with his train, Peter Sam's trucks break away and roll onto a bridge where they derail and plummet into the ravine. 

Later that evening, the Fat Controller punishes Peter Sam by making him work in the yards until he can trust him again. Duncan chortles that Peter Sam's trucks will return to haunt him, so Rusty tells him of an engine who long ago, was crossing the same bridge over the ravine but derailed halfway across and fell into the swamp below. And ever since that night, his spirit has haunted the bridge. Duncan is dismissive, but Peter Sam's driver gets an idea. He and Duncan's crew plan to teach Duncan a lesson.

Duncan has to take coal trucks to the slate mines and bring ones filled with slate back. As part of the plan, his crew takes him over the bridge. Duncan comments that it does not seem haunted, but has Rusty's story on his mind. At the slate mine, Duncan tries to rush his crew to leave. His driver tells him that they have to wait until their trucks are collected and he could tell the plan is working as Duncan is nervous.

That night when Duncan is just about finished with his work, he is halfway across the bridge and then stops. He begins to see flickering lights that look like an engine in front of him, though it is actually just an engine formed by fireflies. Duncan's driver then secretly throws a large rock from the cab into the ravine below. Duncan, thinking it is the ghost of the engine, gets scared and quickly runs back to the safety of his shed.

Once back at his shed, Duncan closes his eyes tightly. His driver asks if he has been spooked, but Duncan claims he is asleep and initially refuses to open his eyes, but he does, only to realise that his driver was making sure that he was still there for him.




  • This is the first episode to use the new large scale models of the Skarloey Railway engines, although Duncan, Peter Sam and Rusty's small scale models were used in the shed scene. However, in the fourth series, larger partial models of the engines were made for use with the close-up scale human figures. 
  • This is the only episode of the classic series in the US dub where the Skarloey Railway is referred to as a "railroad," judging by the fact that it is an American term. However, this is the first episode where a railway in the Island of Sodor is referred to as a railroad, which is a rare type of goof in the series since the term railway was usually the more appropriate term for the show.
  • In the UK version, when the trucks fall into the ravine, the music is omitted.
  • The ghost engine in Rusty's story uses Skarloey's models. Skarloey's large scale model is used when the engine falls off the bridge and his small scale model is used when it falls into the ravine.
  • The shed that Rusty, Peter Sam and Duncan were at was really the shed from Rheneas Station from the previous series.
  • This is the only episode in the fifth series not to feature any standard gauge engines.
  • The only appearance of Rusty's Ghost Engine.
  • This episode marks Duncan's only speaking role in the fifth series. 
  • The engine formed by the fireflies looks exactly like Rheneas and Smudger.
  • This episode most likely takes place during the events of Rusty and the Boulder, as the quarry is seen in this episode. In the aforementioned episode, it is stated that the quarry is brand new and is also then closed in a short amount of time.
  • The barrel the workmen stands near is the "Best Quality Diesel Oil" barrel from the fourth series episode, Bowled Out.
  • This is the last episode written by David Maidment.


  • When Skarloey passes by in the first scene, a red wire is visible underneath him.
  • In the UK narration, the narrator says that Rusty whistled goodbye, but Rusty is a diesel, and therefore does not have a whistle. The US version leaves this out.
  • In the US and in various international versions, when Rusty leaves Peter Sam at the water tower, he makes puffing noises despite being a diesel.
  • When the trucks/freight cars break away, the coupling snap sound effect is not heard in the UK version.
  • Duncan's face moves when he makes a ghost sound. This also happens to the other engines in this scene.
  • Because both scales of models were used, Rusty's face changes size in the shed scene.
  • When the fireflies form the engine, the end of the tracks is visible in the distance.
  • In the shot of Peter Sam's driver speaking to Duncan's crew about the trick, a workman next to Peter Sam is missing his legs. This is more clearly shown in a rare picture.
  • When Peter Sam's driver speaks to Duncan's crew about the trick, his eyes are wonky.
  • In a rare photograph, Peter Sam is smiling instead of looking sad, and he has his old funnel. This is because Peter Sam's old funnel was never removed. His square funnel was merely a funnel placed over the old one.
  • When the Ghost Engine goes onto the bridge, he is white, but when he falls into the ravine, he is red. This is because Skarloey's model is used for the Ghost Engine.
  • Due to a film cut, when Duncan's face fades from shut-eyed to looking sad, his cab moves slightly.


Trucks: Let's break away! 
Narrator: Their loads were heavy, and the couplings old. One snapped.
(a coupling snaps, punctuated with a "boing" sound effect; the trucks break away from Peter Sam) 
Truck: Faster! Faster! 
(Peter Sam arrives at the Old Iron Bridge to the scene of the trucks' accident)
Peter Sam's driver: This was our fault. We didn't secure them properly. We have to get help to pull them out. The Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt will be very annoyed.
Narrator: (cut to the sheds later that evening) And he was. 
The Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt: UK: You will shunt trucks in the yards until I can trust you again. / US: You will work in the yards until I can trust you again.
Duncan[to Peter Sam] Fancy not securing your trucks/freight cars on a hill. They'll come back to spook you and your special funnel. Who-hoo-hoo!
Rusty: And who's to say you're not afraid of ghosts?!
Duncan: Ghosts? Things that go bump in the night? Rubbish!
Rusty: Well, I'll tell you a story that'll make your funnel quiver.
[cut to the Old Iron Bridge one night]
Rusty: A long time ago, a little engine was returning home. It was a misty moonlit night. As the engine crossed the Old Iron Bridge, he suddenly lost control, and plunged over the side, into the swamps below.
[the engine falls into the ravine]
Rusty: He was never found again, but many a workman will tell you that when the moon is full, they have seen the little engine trying to get home. But he never reaches the other side.
[cut back to the present]
Rusty: So, what do you think of that, Duncan?
Duncan: Pah! Nonsense! / US: Rubbish!
Rusty: Never mind him, Peter Sam. He'd be frightened if he really saw a ghost.
Peter Sam's Driver: Let's play a trick on Duncan.
Duncan: Haunted bridge. Pah!/Rubbish!  It's as tame as a pet rabbit!
Duncan: If we don't go now, Skarloey will take my favourite/favorite place in the sheds.
Driver: UK: We can't go back until we've collected all the trucks. / US: We have to collect our cars first.
(Duncan gives a nervous look)
Duncan: It's the ghost! Take me back! Take me back, please!
(Duncan reverses and reaches the safety of his shed, and closes his eyes tightly)
Driver: Spooked, are you, Duncan?
Duncan: No! I'm asleep!
(Duncan initially refuses to open his eyes, but does, realising that his driver was making sure he was alright)

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Chinese 受惊吓的邓肯
Czech Duncan se bojí
Danish Duncan får sig en forskrækkelse
Dutch Een spook voor Duncan
French Dominque et le Fantôme
German Duncan sieht Gespenster
Hungarian Duncan és a Kísértet
Italian Scherzetto per Duncan
Japanese まんげつのよるのできごと
Korean 유령과 덩컨
Norwegian Duncan Blir Skremt
Polish Przestraszony Damian
Romanian Duncan se Sperie
Russian Дункан и приведение
Slovak Duncana to vystrašilo
Slovenian Franclja Prestrasijo
Spanish El Susto De Duncan
Swedish Det spökar for Duncan
Thai ดันแคนกลัวผีเหมือนกัน

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