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“Why do people always think it's me who's always grumbling? I mean, I've never grumbled in my life! Me? Grumbling? Don't think so!”

Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger is the eleventh episode of the eighteenth series.


One morning, Duncan chats with Rheneas at Glennock. He tells Rheneas that he has a wobbly wheel which Victor says there is nothing wrong with and he complains about a stretch of track at Cros-ny-Cuirn. He then grumbles about one of his passengers who is extremely grumpy. While Duncan usually complains irrationally about little things, he is right to complain about this as one particular man who always goes on Duncan's train is indeed very grumpy. The passenger complains when Duncan goes too fast, he complains when Duncan goes too slow, he complains that the carriages are too cramped, he complains about absolutely anything and everything.

A little later, Duncan is at Crovan's Gate watching the grumpy man complaining to the stationmaster when Peter Sam arrives. Duncan tells Peter Sam all about the grumpy passenger and says that he has nothing to complain about at all in reality. Peter Sam is not so sure, but Duncan is determined to prove that he is capable of not having any complaints. Duncan goes to the depot and collects some extra coaches. Rusty tries to tell Duncan that Skarloey needs them for his passengers, but Duncan does not listen and takes them away.

That evening, Duncan arrives at Crovan's Gate to pick up his regular passengers including the grumpy man. Duncan pulls away, just as Skarloey pulls in. He is not happy with Duncan for taking his coaches and neither are Skarloey's passengers.

Duncan, unaware of the trouble he has caused, speeds down the line. Up ahead, Duncan sees some workmen working by the line. He sees them waving yellow flags, but does not want to slow down in fear of receiving complaints from the grumpy passenger. So Duncan does not slow down and speeds past the workmen who are left shouting at Duncan. When Duncan pulls into the station, he is feeling pleased with himself. The passengers are pleased, too, but the grumpy man's mood remains unchanged.

The next morning, Duncan collects his passengers as usual, but the grumpy man is not there. Duncan realises that the man must be running late, so he ignores his guard's whistle and does not move. Sure enough, the grumpy man is soon running into the station after sleeping through his alarm clock. Then, Skarloey pulls up behind Duncan and is not happy about being delayed and neither are his passengers. Duncan is sure that the man will not be able to complain that morning, but as soon as Duncan pulls out of the station, the grumbling and moaning starts. This time, the man complains about the trains always being late and the uncomfortable seats. When Duncan comes across the workmen again, he ignores the warning flags once again because he does not want to slow down as he is running late.

When Duncan arrives at Crovan's Gate, the Thin Controller is waiting for him. Duncan knows what he is going to say and apologises. The Thin Controller appreciates Duncan's apology, but still wants an explanation for his actions. Duncan explains that he was trying to stop the grumpy man from complaining. The Thin Controller says he knows the man well and he is always complaining about something. He tells Duncan to just ignore the man and do his job properly.

That evening, Duncan passes the workmen yet again. This time, he decides to slow right down. The workmen thank Duncan for his consideration, but the grumpy passenger starts moaning. This time, Duncan just ignores him and carries on.

When they arrive at Glennock, Rheneas is there. He thinks it's odd to see Duncan in such a good mood after a busy day. Duncan explains that he has learned a lesson and vows to be a different engine. Rheneas thinks Duncan is going to give up grumbling, but Duncan explains that he is going to ignore the miserable old man. Duncan rattles away, complaining about Rheneas thinking he is complaining all the time.


Some passengers also speak; they are voiced by Keith Wickham and Matt Wilkinson in both dubs.




US, CAN and NZ

  • Keith Wickham as Skarloey, Some Passengers and the Grumpy Passenger
  • Ben Small as Rheneas
  • Steven Kynman as Peter Sam
  • Tom Stourton as Duncan
  • Matt Wilkinson as Rusty, Some Passengers and Some Workmen
  • Kerry Shale as Mr. Percival


  • Going by production order, this is the twelfth episode of the eighteenth series.
  • This episode marks the first of several things for Duncan:
  • This episode also marks the first of several things:
    • The first appearance of Crovan's Gate and Glennock since the fourth series, Woodland Way/Valley View since the tenth series and Sodor Castle since the eleventh series; in addition, it marks their first appearances in full CGI.
    • The first episode to explicitly mention Cros-ny-Cuirn.
    • The first episode directed by Don Spencer.
  • Tom Stourton joins the voice cast.
  • A mountain goat and thistles can be seen in the opening shot of the episode. Thistles are the national symbol of Scotland and are common in Scotland as are mountain goats.
  • A reworked arrangement of Duncan's classic theme can be heard a number of times throughout the episode.
  • The Sodor Times newspaper that the grumpy passenger is reading has the exact same headlines on the front page as the one being read by one of Dowager Hatt's friends in the seventeenth series episode, Henry's Hero.
  • When this episode aired in New Zealand, the US dub was shown instead of the usual UK dub for unknown reasons.
  • In the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Baltic Russian and Vietnamese dubs, the UK dub can be heard in the background as a dubbing track was not used.


  • At one point, James can be seen pulling Narrow Gauge Coaches.
  • The stationmaster at Glennock looks identical to the one at Crovan's Gate.
  • When Duncan is waiting for the grumpy passenger at Glennock, two of his coaches and the brake van are out of the platform area.
  • When the Grumpy Passenger is complaining at Crovan's Gate, his lips do not match up to what he is saying.
  • When Duncan first appears at Crovan's Gate, he gains two more coaches.
  • When Duncan passes by the workmen repairing the line for the first time:
    • His coaches are not rendered properly.
    • He is going in the wrong direction.

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Duncan e o Passageiro Rabugento
Czech Duncan a mrzutý cestující
Dutch Duncan en de Narrige Passagier
French Duncan l'irréprochable
Hungarian Duncan és a mogorva utas
Japanese ダンカンとふきげんなおきゃくさん
Korean 던컨과 투덜이 손님
Lithuanian Duncanas ir gaižus keleivių
Norwegian Duncan og den gretne passasjeren
Polish Damian i Marudny Pasażer
Romanian Duncan şi călătorul morocănos
Russian Дункан и недовольный пассажир
Spanish Duncan y el Pasajero Gruñón
Ukrainian Дункан і Сердитий Пасажир

Home Media Releases



  • Signals Crossed (Direct-to-Home Video)
  • Season 18


  • Signals Crossed