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“This is much more like it! No more railways! The buses have finally won!”

Free the Roads is the first episode of the twenty-third series.


Bulgy is annoyed at the engines always taking the passengers. He attempts to take some that are waiting for Percy to arrive, but they decline his offer to ride on him. Bulgy attempts to block off Percy at the level crossing while trying to express his "free the roads" policy but moves after Bertie tells him to. While fantasying about him and Bertie saving passengers from being taken by Percy by taking them instead, he accidentally knocks into some steel drums that have some tyres on them. One of the tyres rolls off the drums and onto a plank of wood that launches a bag of soil into a water tower.

Thomas fills up with water from the water tower Bulgy catapulted the bag of soil into and breaks down some time later while taking Annie and Clarabel. Bulgy is then asked by the Fat Controller to take Thomas' passengers instead. Some of the other engines also take on water from the same water tower and break down as well, leaving Bertie and Bulgy very busy.

Bulgy initially likes taking passengers, but he soon gets more than he bargained for; Bertie ends up breaking down due to an overload of passengers to take, leading them to ride in Bulgy and causing him to break down as well. When his passengers complain about this, Bulgy states his regrets in getting the soil in the water tower. Unfortunately, The Fat Controller hears this and chastises Bulgy for what he did and for causing confusion and delay. Bulgy is then left broken down while the passengers are picked up by the engines. He is then left further dismayed when he is taken back to the garage by Thomas, but is still sticking to his beliefs.





US and CAN

  • Joseph May as Thomas
  • Christopher Ragland as Percy and a Passenger
  • Teresa Gallagher as Annie, Clarabel, the Teacher and Albert's Wife
  • Keith Wickham as Bertie and Sir Topham Hatt
  • Colin McFarlane as Bulgy
  • Kerry Shale as Max
  • Rob Rackstraw as Monty, the Knapford Stationmaster and a Passenger


  • This episode marks the first of a few things:
  • Bulgy and Bertie in the fantasy sequence were portrayed as Batman and Robin from the 1960s TV series Batman. Theme music renditions were played throughout the episode.
  • This episode marks Bertie and Bulgy's only appearances and Butch's only non-cameo appearance in the twenty-third series.
  • On Nick Jr. in the US, this episode was paired with Heart of Gold, in Mexico, they are paired with Chucklesome Trucks, and in Japan, this episode is paired with Crowning Around.
  • Apart from laughing with Monty after saying "Out of the way Bulgy" Max dose not have any dialouge in this episode.
  • Bertie mentions the events of the twenty-first series episode, Unscheduled Stops.
  • This episode is named after a quote on Bulgy's original signboards.
  • According to Michael White, he had orignally written for George to appear in this episode. Unfortunately, his role was later replaced by Max and Monty for unknown reasons. If the change had not happened, this would have been George's first CGI appearance, his first appearance since The Great Discovery and first episode appearance since the tenth series episode, Big Strong Henry, and his first speaking role since the fifth series episode, Bye George!.


  • Max and Monty have their US voices in the UK dub.
  • Kerry Shale is not credited in either the US or UK end credits despite voicing Max.
  • Rob Rackstraw is not credited in the UK end credits for voicing Monty. However, Rasmus Hardiker is credited despite not voicing him.
  • Max and Monty have Sidney and Paxton's horn sounds, respectively.
  • When Bulgy arrives at Maithwaite, he clips through the signal box.
  • As Percy starts leaving Maithwaite, his last two coaches are not rendered properly as they are merged together.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Arabic الطرقات
Brazilian Portuguese Liberem as Estradas
Dutch Maak de Weg Vrij!
Estonian Teed Vabaks
Finnish Vapauta Tiet
German Straße frei für die Busse
Hebrew שחררו את הכבישים
Indonesian Tolong Beri Jalan
Italian Sono arrivati i Super Autobus
Japanese バルジーだいさくせん!
Korean 버스 대 기차
Latin American Spanish Liberen los Caminos
Latvian Atbrīvojiet Ceļus
Lithuanian Laisvi Keliai
Polish Więcej Dróg
Russian Свободные дороги
Spanish ¡Caminos Libres!
Turkish Yolları Kurtarın

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