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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the book or the magazine story.

“Look! It's Duncan the Musical Engine!”

Faulty Whistles is the twenty-sixth and final episode of the sixth series.


Duncan waits at a junction one morning for Peter Sam to deliver his goods to take to Strawberry Grove. He is also assigned the task to take the headmaster and the new organ.

Peter Sam has steamed overnight all the way to the morning to deliver Duncan his goods, but as he approaches the junction his whistle is knocked off by a branch. As a result, Peter Sam cannot run anywhere without a whistle as it would be unsafe. Duncan brags that an engine is not an engine without a whistle and lets off a big blast with his whistle, but the other engines ignore him. Duncan becomes cross while he sets off with his goods because he thinks the other engines are jealous of his whistle. On the way, he whistles at some sheep, but they are too busy eating to pay attention. Duncan becomes frustrated and thinks he needs to whistle louder and longer. He approaches a crossing where Elizabeth is carrying the Farmer's Prize Bull. As Duncan approaches the crossing, he whistles loud and long, startling the bull. Elizabeth scolds Duncan but to no avail as he finds it fun, not knowing that his whistle has become loose. When he sees Terence ploughing a field, he prepares to give him the same surprise, but he blows his whistle so hard, it simply flies off and lands out of sight.

With his whistle nowhere to be found, Duncan's driver tells him they are stuck and cannot continue on. However, with Duncan carrying the organ destined for Strawberry Grove School, Duncan's crew decide to have Headmaster Hastings play the organ in lieu of Duncan's whistle, which alerts every person at stops during the delivery, despite Duncan not thinking so. When Duncan reaches home, he is teased by Rusty for being a "musical engine" while Rheneas and Skarloey whistle along. Peter Sam, having been in the works for a new whistle, tells Duncan that he was brave to go on and make his deliveries without a whistle, which cheers Duncan up. The headmaster makes one last "toot" on the organ and all the other engines (but Duncan who grins) whistle back in reply.




  • This episode appears to be a loose adaptation of the Railway Series story, Mike's Whistle. Peter Sam and Duncan take the roles of Duck and Mike respectively. The actual story was later adapted in the twentieth series episode of the same name.
  • In the US version, when Duncan passes Elizabeth at the level crossing, the chuffing sound is different from the UK version.
  • The organ plays the song "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain" while Duncan puffs on the cliffside.
  • When Duncan delivered his trucks, music is played in only the UK version.
  • Headmaster Hastings is named after the episode's writer, Ross Hastings.
  • This episode is the first series finale in which Thomas does not appear, and the only one to have this trait until the twenty-third series finale, Diesel Glows Away. It is also the first series finale in which Percy does not appear.
  • This episode marks the last of a few things:
    • The last episode narrated by Alec Baldwin in the US due to him pursuing other projects, and Terje Strømdal in Norway and the final episode narrated by Vladimir Jurc in Slovenia until the thirteenth series.
    • The last episode to have Britt Allcroft as an executive producer.
    • The last episode to be produced solely by Gullane Entertainment.
    • The last episode Duncan has an American accent in the US dub.
    • Counting this as a loose adaptation of Mike's Whistle, the last episode based on a story from the Railway Series until Tit for Tat.
    • The last episode to feature music composed by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell and to be as part of the classic era in the US, as all episodes in Series 7 had all the episodes have music composed by Robert Hartshorne, being replaced with the Series 8 theme song, and being as part of the modern era for the US.
      • On a similar note, this is the last episode in the classic era in the US.
  • This episode marks a couple of things for Peter Sam:
  • A deleted scene shows where Duncan's whistle actually landed. It was cut from the final version for unknown reasons. It is featured in the music video for the Whistle Song.


  • When Elizabeth is carrying the bull, her eyes are wonky.
  • For the first shot of the camera "pulling" Duncan, at the bottom of the screen a wire is seen bouncing up and down.
  • The narrator says "The rest of the engines just ignored [Duncan]," but Peter Sam was the only one there.
  • In the close-up of Duncan's whistle flying off, his crew are not in his cab.
  • When Peter Sam crosses the bridge at the beginning of the episode, his cab is empty and his whistle is already missing.
  • In the beginning and the end of the episode, Peter Sam's has Duncan's whistle sound.
  • When Rheneas says "let's whistle along," Skarloey had Peter Sam's original whistle sound.
  • A steam platform is visible when Duncan comes to a stop after losing his whistle.
  • Terence’s model is out of scale compared to Duncan.


Peter Sam: [without his whistle] I can't run on the tracks without my whistle. It'd be too dangerous.
Duncan: An engine is not an engine without a whistle.

[after the whistle-less Duncan has returned with the headmaster, who is still playing his organ]
Rusty: Look! It's Duncan the musical engine!
Rheneas: Let's whistle along!

Peter Sam: You really did well to deliver your goods without a whistle.
Duncan: Did you think so?
Peter Sam: Absolutely, even though an engine's not an engine without a whistle... (whistles)
Headmaster: ...or an organ! (toots the organ)
(the other engines whistle back in reply, except for Duncan, who just smiles)

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Chinese Mandarin 坏掉的汽笛
Czech Porouchané Píšťaly
Danish Fløjteforviklinger
Dutch Fluitconcerten
Hungarian Síppal és Orgonával
Italian Fischi Fasulli
Japanese かわったきてき
Korean 특별한 기적 소리
Norwegian Duncans Nye Fløyte
Polish Zepsute Gwizdki
Romanian Fluiere Defecte
Russian Испорченные свистки
Serbian Pogrešan Zvižduk
Slovenian Brez Piščalke ne Gre
Swedish De Trasiga Vissloma
Welsh Colli Chwiban


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