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“Just because they're old doesn't mean they're not useful!”

P.A. Problems is the sixth episode of the twenty-first series. It is also the 500th episode of the television series.


The Fat Controller bought a new TX-1000 public address system to replace the old ones at Knapford Station, and he sends Edward to take the old P.A. system to the scrapyard. There, Edward sees Reg, who is happily singing about scrap.

Back at the station, the engines and passengers struggle to hear the announcements after the new P.A. system begins malfunctioning, and they all end up very confused. Toby takes some Holidaymakers to the quarry, Thomas takes the quarry workers to the beach, and Percy takes a delivery of pigs to Lord Callan at Callan Castle. Eventually, the Fat Controller realises that his new P.A. system is defective and ironically destroys it after attempting to fix it.

After much confusion and delay, it is Reg who saves the day. Rather than destroying it, Reg had put the old P.A. system to good use by attaching it to himself and using it to play music. Reg happily hands it over, and the old P.A. system is returned to Knapford station. Everything goes back to normal, except for the workmen who cannot stand hearing Reg's singing, as one of them covered his ears with two rubbish can lids taped around his head.





US and CAN

  • Joseph May as Thomas
  • William Hope as Edward and Toby
  • Christopher Ragland as Percy
  • Jules de Jongh as Emily and the Children
  • Keith Wickham as Sir Topham Hatt, Lord Callan, the Grumpy Passenger, the Knapford Stationmaster and a Passenger
  • Tim Whitnall as Reg and a Quarry Worker
  • Teresa Gallagher as Some Passengers
  • Matt Wilkinson as the Bird Watcher and the Knapford Station Worker


  • Going by production order, this is the eleventh episode of the twenty-first series.
  • In an interview with Lee Pressman, he mentioned that the working title for the episode was Tannoy Trouble.[1]
    • He also mentioned that the outline for producers of this episode was that ‘The Fat Controller has instructed his workmen to fit a brand new Tannoy system at Knapford Station. The new speakers are rubbish and cause nothing but confusion and delay as engines are sent off to the wrong destinations and passengers rush about trying (and failing) to catch departing trains!’.
    • A Tannoy is a trademarked name for a public address system. This is presumably why the title was changed to P.A. Problems.
  • The US dub of the episode along with Hasty Hannah were released on the Nick Jr. US website paired with the song, Let's Go! as a sneak preview on 26th February 2018 prior to the series' network premiere on 12th March 2018.
  • This is the first time the Knapford station "announcement chime" is heard.
  • This episode marks Reg's only appearance in the twenty-first series.
  • This episode marks Lord Callan's last appearance, not counting his mentions in future episodes.
  • In the scrapyard, a bike, a blue car, and the bus stop sign from Samson Sent for Scrap can be seen. One of Theo's flywheels can also be seen.
  • The assistant's line "Have you tried turning it off and on again, sir?" is a reference to the catchphrase used in the British Sitcom The IT Crowd.
  • Clips of this episode, along with Edward, Gordon and Henry and The Fastest Red Engine on Sodor appeared in the Series 5 finale of Dave Gorman: Modern Life is Goodish. In the episode, Gorman points out that this episode teaches a very good moral about materialism. Gorman then refers to the Fat Controller as "one of them people who waits for the new Apple phones".
  • A shortened version of the episode, narrated by Joseph May as Thomas, can be found on the official YouTube channel and was also formerly on the Nick Jr. US website prior to Thomas & Friends being removed from Nick Jr. in early 2020.
  • The Fat Controller's use of a new electronic machine causing more trouble than help is similar to the plot of the sixth series episode The Fogman.
  • Going by chorological order, this is the final hundredth episode (at episode 500) of the series.


  • From this episode onwards, all green 7-plank trucks appear to have one red plank at the bottom of the truck.  
  • When Edward pulls into Knapford Station with the old P.A. system, his siderods slide on the tracks, then starts moving again once he stops on the platform.
  • Thomas is heading South instead of North towards Harwick whilst departing Knapford with the Quarry workers onboard.
  • When Edward arrives at Crock's Scrap Yard for the third time, the tracks are empty on the left side of the screen. But when Edward blows his whistle to get Reg's attention, a truck full of scrap suddenly appears and it is the same truck Samson pulled in Samson Sent for Scrap, due to the Fat Controller's car being clearly visible inside it. Then it disappears when the workman switches off the speakers.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Problemas Com o Auto Falante
Chinese Mandarin 广播灾难
Indonesian Masalah Pengumuman
Japanese こわれたスピーカー
Korean 이상한 안내 방송
Latin American Spanish Problemas de Sonido
Polish Problemy z Nagłośnieniem
Russian Чудо техники
Turkish Anons Sorunları
Vietnamese Vấn Đề Loa Phát Thanh

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