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“This'll be the best Christmas ever!”

Long Lost Friend is the seventeenth episode of the eighteenth series.


It is nearly Christmas on the Island of Sodor and it is a very busy day at Brendam Docks. Cranky is busy unloading cargo when he comes across a very heavy load which turns out to be Gator. Salty is pleased to see Gator, but he knows that Percy will be even more excited to see his old friend. A load of rock salt has also been sent over on Gator's ship, but the delivery note has become wet and unreadable during transit. The dock manager thinks the salt is destined for the Blue Mountain Quarry and asks Gator to take it. Before he leaves, Gator asks Salty to let Percy know he is back if he sees him.

Gator meets Thomas at a junction. Thomas nonchalantly greets him until he realizes who he saw; he did not expect to see Gator again. Gator asks Thomas to tell Percy that he is back when he sees him. Thomas promises to do so. He knows that Percy will be very excited to see Gator again.

Thomas rushes into the shunting yard where Percy is busy shunting trucks. Thomas tells Percy that Gator is back. Percy is delighted and thinks it is sure to be the best Christmas ever. Percy asks where Gator is and Thomas says that he is currently making a delivery to the quarry. Percy decides that he will deliver himself to the quarry in order to see Gator.

Up at the Blue Mountain Quarry, Gator has made his delivery. Owen is very pleased to see Gator again. Gator asks Owen to let Percy know that he is back on Sodor. Owen promises to do so. Then, Gator's driver explains that there has been a mistake; the rock salt is not meant for the quarry. The driver assumes that the salt must be for the Sodor Steamworks. Gator heads off towards the Steamworks, just as Percy pulls in at the quarry. Owen tells Percy that Gator has just been and gone and he is heading for the Steamworks so Percy sets off after his old friend.

At the Steamworks, Gator's driver is told that the salt is not for them. A workman thinks the salt must be for the platforms at Knapford Station as they have a tendency to get very slippery in the winter. Gator heads off as Percy makes his way to the Steamworks. The two friends even pass by one another and do not even notice. Gator is beginning to think that Percy does not want to see him after all. At the Steamworks, Percy is told by Victor that Gator has been there and gone again. Percy starts to wonder why Gator has been to see everyone else apart from him. Maybe Gator has forgotten all about him.

At Knapford, Gator meets Thomas who tells him that Percy is looking for him. Gator finds this hard to believe; if Percy really wanted to see him, he would have found him by now. Just then, the Fat Controller walks up and demands to know why Gator has brought the rock salt to Knapford. Gator's driver shows the Fat Controller the unreadable delivery note. The Fat Controller checks this with his notes and tells Gator that the rock salt was meant for Brendam Docks all along. He tells Gator to take it back there as quickly as he can. Gator sets off. As Thomas pulls out of the station, he meets Percy who is very upset at the thought of being snubbed by his old friend. Thomas explains that Gator wants to see Percy as much as Percy wants to see him and tells Percy that Gator is heading back to the docks. Percy thinks Gator is leaving again and races off as fast as he can for the docks.

Percy speeds into the docks just in time to see the ship depart. He has missed Gator once again. Percy puffs forwards, shouting at the ship. Due to the fog, Percy cannot see the train of rock salt until it is too late. Percy collides with the train, sending bags of salt flying all over the docks. Then, Percy discovers Gator, covered in bags of rock salt, at the other end of the train. Percy is thrilled. Gator says that this time, he plans to stay on Sodor at least long enough to have the salt cleaned off of him. Salty rolls up and jokes that they cannot have two Saltys on Sodor causing all three engines to laugh. Percy will have a very happy Christmas now that he has been reunited with his old friend.





US and CAN

  • Martin Sherman as Thomas and Percy
  • Kerry Shale as Gordon and Sir Topham Hatt
  • Clive Mantle as Gator
  • Keith Wickham as Salty and Gator's Driver
  • David Bedella as Victor
  • Ben Small as Owen
  • Glenn Wrage as Cranky, Gator's Driver and a Steamworks Worker
  • William Hope as the Dock Manager


  • Going by production order, this is the nineteenth episode of the eighteenth series. Because of this, it is directly before Toad's Bright Idea instead of directly after.
  • A reference to Missing Gator is made by Cranky in this episode.
  • This is the first episode since the tenth series episode, It's Good to be Gordon that a driver has a full speaking role.
  • This episode marks the last of a few things:
    • The last to feature Ben Small as Owen.
    • Owen's last speaking role until the twenty-third series episode, Diesel Glows Away.
    • The last to feature Clive Mantle as part of the voice cast.
    • Gator's last appearance. This is ironic, considering that in the episode, Gator states that he is "here to stay."
  • 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.


  • Thomas has a different brake van when he arrives at the Shunting Yards.
  • In the first shot of the quarry, one of the buildings is not positioned properly as it is overlapping the track.
  • At the Blue Mountain Quarry, the narrow gauge engines are seen pulling standard gauge trucks.
  • When the dock manager tells Gator to go to the quarry to deliver the rock salt, he does not give the delivery note to his driver. However, when they are at the quarry, Gator's crew somehow has it.
  • In the US dub, Gator's driver's voice changes to his UK voice once when they visit the Steamworks.
  • Gator has three trucks of rock salt, but when Porter comes to move the trucks after Percy bumps into them, there are suddenly four trucks.

In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Amigo Perdido
Czech Dávno stracený kamarád
Dutch Oude Vrienden
French Des Retrouvailles Inespérées
Hungarian Rég nem látott bárat
Japanese きみはたいせつなともだち
Korean 돌아온 내 친구
Latin American Spanish El Amigo Perdido
Norwegian En etterlengta venn
Polish Dawny Przyjaciel
Romanian Un prieten plecat de mult
Russian Возвращение Гатора
Slovenian Davno izgubljeni prijatelj
Spanish Un Viejo Amigo

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


  • The Christmas Engines (Direct-to-Home Video)
  • Season 18

DVD Boxsets


  • The Christmas Express