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“If only we had a lighthouse like the one at Arlesburgh. Harold could follow the light and find his way back."
"But the castle doesn't have a lighthouse."
"No, but it does have a big wheel that's as tall as a lighthouse and a whole lot of Christmas lights!”
―Nia and Percy

Nia's Bright Idea is the eleventh episode of the twenty-fourth series.


The day before the Earl's Christmas party, the Fat Controller travels to the Mainland onboard Thomas to deliver the North Western Railway's end-of-year report. He intends to travel back the next day on Spencer to deliver a surprise for the Christmas party.

The next morning, the engines wake up to find that it has snowed and that the Thin Controller has arrived to direct them on how to clear the tracks while doing their work. He sends Nia to Arlesburgh to collect a shipment of lights for the Earl. Once there, Nia asks Skiff if he will be coming to the party, but Skiff explains that he is needed to help Joe with the lighthouse should the weather get worse.

As all the engines help prepare for the party, the Thin Controller informs Thomas that snow has blocked Spencer from crossing the Vicarstown Bridge, so the Fat Controller and the Duke and Duchess will return onboard Harold. The Earl also tells Nia that she needs to pick up a surprise delivery from the animal park.

On her way back from the animal park, Nia can see Harold struggling in a storm. It is dark by the time Nia returns to the castle, and Harold still has not arrived. Remembering what she learned about lighthouses, Nia suggests covering the big wheel in Christmas lights, which successfully helps Harold see where the castle is.

The Fat Controller steps out of Harold dressed as Father Christmas and carrying a bag of gifts. The Earl reveals that the surprise from the animal park was a group of reindeer. Harold calls whoever came up with the idea of lighting up the wheel a hero, and Nia is glad to have been useful.





US and Canada

  • Joseph May as Thomas
  • Kerry Shale as Gordon, Harold and Mr. Percival
  • Rob Rackstraw as James and a Worker
  • Christopher Ragland as Percy
  • Jules de Jongh as Emily
  • Yvonne Grundy as Nia
  • Rachael Miller as Rebecca
  • Jamie Campbell Bower as Skiff
  • Keith Wickham as Sir Topham Hatt and an Arlesburgh Harbour Worker
  • Mike Grady as Sir Robert Norramby


  • Going by production order, this is the eighteenth episode of the twenty-fourth series. It and Cleo's First Snow were aired out of order in the UK to coincide with the holiday season.
  • This episode marks the last of a few things:
    • Emily (in production order), Stephen, Glynn, Millie, Mr. Percival, Lady Hatt and The Duke and Duchess of Boxford's last appearances to date, as well as the last time Spencer is acknowledged in any way.
    • The last episode where the Fat Controller dresses up as Santa Claus.
    • The last episode to have Nia as the lead and title character and her last appearance (in production order) in the original series.
  • The tune to the Christmas carol, Joy to the World can be heard when Harold spots the lights on the Ferris wheel.
  • This marks the first with a few things:
  • Throughout much of the episode, there are references to Thomas' distaste for his snowplough, established in the first series episode, Thomas, Terence and the Snow.
  • This episode was never aired in Germany and South Korea.
  • In the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Baltic Russian dubs, the UK dub can be heard in the background as a dubbing track was not used.


  • When Nia leaves Tidmouth Sheds, her front coupling rod is not rendered properly to connect her front driving wheel.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese A Ideia Brilhante da Nia
Dutch Nia's Slimme Idee
Estonian Nia Hea Mõte
Greek Η πανέξυπνη ιδέα της Νία
Hebrew הרעיון הגאוני של ניה
Italian L'idea Brillante di Nia
Japanese ニアのキラキラさくせん
Latin American Spanish La Brillante Idea de Nia
Latvian Nias Lieliskā Ideja
Lithuanian Nuostabi Nijos Idėja
Polish Nia i Dobry Pomysł
Russian Путь домой

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