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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for The Railway Series book, the My First Thomas book, the Buzz Book, the Malaysian DVD, or the Philippine DVD.

“I'll do it! I'll do it! I've done it!”
―Skarloey successfully reaches Crovan's Gate

Four Little Engines is the fifth episode of the fourth series. It is based on the stories Skarloey Remembers and Old Faithful from the Railway Series book of the same name.


Edward is on his way to the Works to be mended when he meets a narrow gauge engine called Skarloey, who is resting in a shed. The two talk for a while until some workmen come to take Edward. He says goodbye to Skarloey and compliments his railway. Meanwhile, Sir Handel is having trouble; he is trying to be kind to some coaches he is pulling, but they refuse to trust him, and become awkward and rude. When he has to stop due to a flock of careless sheep straying on the tracks, the coaches angrily think that he deliberately bumped them, so they charge at Sir Handel and cause him to derail. No one is hurt, but Sir Handel sadly limps home. With no engine to take the passengers home, Skarloey volunteers and goes to fetch the coaches.

When Skarloey arrives at Crovan's Gate, he tells the coaches off for their bad behaviour and how they could have hurt their passengers. The coaches apologise and as soon as the guard blows his whistle, the journey begins. Skarloey stops at every station making good time until they get to a hill. His driver encourages him to take his time, while Skarloey thinks it will be easy when they go down, but it is not; his springs become weak from age and the rail joints jolt his wheels. But as soon as they come down the hill, one of his springs becomes completely broken, leaving him tilted to one side. His driver says a bus will be needed to take the passengers, but Skarloey refuses the idea, as he is determined to get them back to the last station.

Later, James is waiting impatiently at Crovan's Gate. Skarloey ends up making it on time, James collects the passengers and takes them home, remaining respectfully silent on Skarloey's triumph. Everyone is pleased with Skarloey and his persevered efforts, but he laments that he is in no state to pull trains anymore like young engines now. However, he is delighted when his driver tells him he will once he is mended and that he deserves it.




  • This episode actually takes place after A Bad Day for Sir Handel and Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady, despite being produced and subsequently aired before them.
  • This episode marks the last time that Sir Handel and Peter Sam's original names, Falcon and Stuart are mentioned.
  • The Thin Controller and The Owner's roles in the original story were replaced by Skarloey and Sir Handel's drivers in the episode.
  • This is the only episode of a few things:
    • The only episode in the entire series named after a Railway Series book, as opposed to one of its individual stories. It is also one of a handful of episodes adapted from two Railway Series stories.
    • The only episode between the first four series not released on home video in the UK during Wilbert Awdry's lifetime.
    • Terence and Farmer Finney's only appearances in the fourth series.
    • The only fourth series episode outside of the Duke the Lost Engine saga to get adapted for the Buzz Books.
  • James has Duck's whistle sound, but at five steps higher-pitched, for the rest of the series (excluding Bowled Out where he regains his original whistle sound) and some parts of the next.
  • This is the first episode in which:
  • This episode was not released on DVD in the US, but it was released on digital download in 2016.
  • The Korean title of this episode has the same name as Skarloey.


  • In the description of the episode on VHS and DVD releases, it says Sir Handel has trouble with some trucks when they were actually coaches.
  • When Edward passes Skarloey, some of his wheels are not moving.
  • Sir Handel has Rheneas/Stepney's original whistle sound.
  • When Thomas passes by during Skarloey and Edward's conversation, Thomas' whistle sound is cut off as he blows it, while his goods train's Brake Van changes from an SR 25 to a BR 20.
  • In the Crovan's Gate scene, either Thomas or Duck has James' whistle sound and Annie is facing the wrong way.
  • After Skarloey leaves Crovan's Gate, the coaches lose their faces.
  • When Skarloey says, "It'll be better downhill," the stripe on his tank is crooked.
  • Skarloey becomes crooked before the spring breaks.
  • In a rare still, there are four coaches behind Sir Handel instead of three when he is bumped off the rails.
  • In a rare still, red and black wires are seen underneath Sir Handel's cab.
  • The front coach on Skarloey's train is swapped with another, as the bufferbeam is lower when being coupled.
  • When the narrator says "The coaches stood at the platform," Duck and his goods train are not in the background.
  • When James was at Crovan's Gate with his train, it has no brake coach.


Edward: It's Skarloey. What's he doing here?
Skarloey: I've been sent here for a rest. I was put in this shed so that I could see everything and not be lonely, but I do miss Rheneas. He's going to be mended. I wish I could be mended too, and pull coaches again.
Workmen: We're going to take you to the works now, Edward. Come along.
Edward: Goodbye, Skarloey! Your railway is a lovely line!
Skarloey: Oh, it is! It is! You've cheered me up, Edward! Goodbye!

[after Sir Handel stops due to sheep on the tracks]

Coaches: He's bumped us! Let's get back at him/pay him out!
[they lurch into Sir Handel and push him off the rails, but nothing else happens; cut to the sheds later, Sir Handel sadly limps back to the sheds for a rest]
Sir Handel's Driver: No more work for you, today. How are we going to pull the visitors' train without an engine?
Skarloey: What about me, sir?
Sir Handel's Driver: Skarloey, can you do it?
Skarloey: I'll try.

Skarloey: I'm ashamed of you. You might have hurt your passengers.
Coaches: We're sorry, Skarloey.

[Skarloey and his train approach a hill, but the journey gets tricky]
Skarloey's Driver: Take your time.
Skarloey: It'll be better down hill.
[a spring inside him breaks, tilting him crooked on one side]
Skarloey: I feel all crooked!
Skarloey's Driver: [sighs] We'll need a bus now for our passengers.
Skarloey: [determined] No! I'll get them to the station or burst!

[last lines; after Skarloey perseveringly reaches Crovan's Gate, where James takes the passengers home]
Skarloey: Old engines can't pull trains like the young ones can.
Driver: They can if they're mended, old faithful; and that's what's going to happen to you. You deserve it!


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Chinese Mandarin 四小火车
Czech Čtyři Malé Mašinky
Danish Fire Små Lokomotiver
Dutch Vier Kleine Locomotiefjes
Finnish Neljä Pientä Veturia
German Vier kleine Lokomotiven
Greek Τα Άτακτα Βαγόνια
Hungarian Négy Kicsi Mozdony
Italian Quattro Piccole Locomotive
Japanese がんばりやのスカーロイ
Korean 스칼로이
Latin American Spanish Cuatro Locomotoras
Norwegian Fire Små Lokomotiv
Polish Cztery Małe Lokomotywy
Romanian Patru Locomtive Micuţe
Russian Четыре маленьких паровозика
Slovenian Štirje Lokomotivčki
Swedish Fyra Små Lokomotiv
Ukrainian Чотири Паровозики
Welsh Pedair Injan Fechan

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets



DVD Boxsets


  • Thomas and the Special Letter and other stories




DVD Boxsets








DVD Boxsets





  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4