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“You're a gallant little engine! When you're rested, we'll mend you, so you'll be ready for tomorrow.”
―Rheneas' driver congratulating him

Gallant Old Engine is the fourteenth episode of the fourth series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book of the same name.


Duncan has been grumbling about being "overworked," not being polished and mainly the passengers. Skarloey is dismayed by Duncan's stubbornness and poor attitude, especially in regards to the time he stopped on a viaduct in protest and bluntly tells him that he hopes Rheneas - who is due to return home soon - can talk some sense into him. When Duncan demands to know what Rheneas has to do with him, Skarloey points out that Rheneas single-handedly saved the Skarloey Railway.

At Peter Sam's insistence, Skarloey tells the two engines about the railway prior to when they arrived. It had been facing hard times and faced the threat of closure if the engines could not keep it running. Skarloey had been feeling sick, so Rheneas did his work for him, always reaching a station to rest no matter how tired he felt. Skarloey explains to an annoyed Duncan that Rheneas did this so as not to upset his passengers, as they get cross when a train stops where it should not. He then recalls a time that Rheneas stopped in the wrong place.

That day, the weather was bad and Rheneas was puffing home with a full train. The ride was very uncomfortable and there were even passengers in the guard's brake van. When they approached a steep hill, Rheneas' wheels kept slipping but he made it to the top. Unfortunately, he was heading back down when his valve gear on one side jammed and he was forced to stop in the middle of nowhere. Rheneas' crew fixed him up as best they could and urged him to get the passengers to the next station. Rheneas promised to do so and continued on. Despite feeling very sore and tired to continue, he kept going, knowing that the railway would close if he failed. After one last valiant effort, Rheneas finally reached the station. The passengers thanked him and promised to tell their friends about the railway. Rheneas' driver praised his "gallant little engine" and promised to fix him up ready for tomorrow.

Skarloey concludes his story by explaining that Rheneas was always "ready for tomorrow." A humbled Duncan, who now finally realised that passengers were more important then his selfish needs, admits he was wrong and thanks Skarloey for telling him about Rheneas. The next day, Edward brings Rheneas home and a big celebration is held from the Skarloey Engines and some of the standard gauge engines. Rheneas is delighted to be back, especially with Skarloey and says he feels he truly has come home.




  • This is the 100th episode to air in Japan.
  • On PBS Kids Sprout airings, this episode has stereo audio, while the US VHS and DVD releases have mono audio.
  • The events of the previous episode are mentioned.
  • This episode marks last with a few things:
  • This episode marks one of the few episodes in the television series' US dub that refers to the guard's van as a "caboose," its American term.
  • Despite their appearances in the episode, Percy, Sir Handel and Duke do not appear in the nameboard sequence at the end of the episode in the Japanese dub.
  • This episode's plot is similar to the second series episode, Edward's Exploit and Four Little Engines. The Italian title is the same as the former.
  • This episode was paired alongside Oliver Owns Up in an airing of Storytime with Thomas.
  • This episode marks several things for Rheneas:
    • His first and only leading role in the fourth series.
    • His first and only individual speaking role in the fourth series.
    • His last speaking role in both English dubs until the fifth series episode, Rusty and the Boulder.
    • His last leading role until the seventh series episode, The Old Bridge (shared with Skarloey). It also marks the last appearance of Sodor Castle until that same episode (not counting the stock footage appearances in Toby and the Flood and Make Someone Happy).
  • In the US and Canada this episode was released early on VHS before Special Funnel meaning the American and Canadian audiences may not about Peter Sam's new funnel.


  • Duncan has Peter Sam's whistle sound at the beginning of the episode.
  • Rheneas is wearing Smudger/Bertram's sad face when he passes Skarloey in the first part of the flashback.
  • Throughout all of the field scenes, a wire is visible under Rheneas and one of his coaches.
  • When Rheneas is on the causeway, he has Duke's alternate whistle sound (his whistle from Granpuff to Bulldog).
  • When Rheneas arrives at Skarloey Station, his eyes abruptly change position, indicating a film cut.
  • In most dubs, the engines start whistling long before the narrator says they do.
  • Gordon's buffer is crooked in one scene.
  • When the passengers begin thanking Rheneas, Jem Cole is standing alone. Then in the next scene, he is standing with the Refreshment Lady amongst others.
  • In a deleted scene of Rheneas, Skarloey and Duncan at the Sheds, Rheneas is wearing one of Sir Handel's face masks.
  • On the PBS Kids Sprout airing and the US digital download release, the Thomas theme song is heard in the left audio channel when Skarloey talks about how he and Rheneas had to keep the trains running.


  • Rheneas: [last line] You know, this helps a little engine to feel that at last, he has really come home!


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Pequeno forte trem
Chinese Mandarin 神勇老火车
Czech Statečná mašinka
Danish Den tapre lokomotiv
Dutch Een Keurige Locomotief
Finnish Urhea Vanha Veturi
German Tapfere alte Lok
Greek Μια Παλιά Μηχανή Σώζει το Σιδηρόδρομο
Hungarian A Lelkiismeretes Mozdony
Italian La locomotiva coraggiosa
Japanese ゆうかんなきかんしゃ
Korean 돌아온 레니아
Latin American Spanish Una Locomotora Muy Valiente
Norwegian Det tapre lokomotivet
Polish Dzielna Mała Lokomotywa (Original)
Stary Wielki Parowóz (Alternate)
Romanian Locomotiva Cea Veche Galantă
Russian Доблестный старый паровоз
Slovenian Junaška stara lokomotiva
Swedish Galant Gamla Lok
Ukrainian Доблесний старий паровоз
Welsh Hen Injan Ddewr

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets


  • Thomas and the Special Letter and other stories
  • Story and Song Collection




  • The Gallant Old Engine and Other Thomas Stories/Henry and the Elephant








DVD Boxsets






  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4