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“No passengers means no polish!"
"(And) No polish means no passengers.”
―The Fat Controller and Duncan

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


Nancy, a guard's daughter, is polishing Skarloey while he is napping and dreaming of Rheneas and all the times they had shared together before he went away to be mended. Although he thinks she is just fussing over him unnecessarily, she tells him that Rheneas is coming home soon. The news of Rheneas' return immediately changes his mind, asking Nancy to polish him again (which she does). Duncan arrives and wants to be polished too, but Nancy does not have time because she has promised to help the Refreshment Lady to serve refreshments to the passengers. Envious, Duncan complains about Peter Sam getting a special funnel, Sir Handel getting special wheels and passengers getting refreshments while he does not even get polished, resulting in a sulky mood.

Later, Duncan's driver tells him that one of Skarloey's coaches has derailed and they are to go help. But Duncan keeps his sulky attitude about all the extra work. Duncan brings workmen to get the coach back on the rails and he has to take the passengers home. Duncan makes the journey back very difficult, complaining that he gets no rest. So his driver, worried that they'll keep the passengers waiting, decides to stop to build up steam. Duncan stubbornly refuses to try and blames his driver for not caring enough about him. They finally start off again. But Duncan still complained that he was overworked. Before they reach the last station, Duncan loses his temper and rudely stalls on the viaduct. He refuses to go on and stays put, so Skarloey is forced to arrive to pull him to the last station. This leaves the passengers infuriated and telling everyone what a bad railway it is.

That evening, the Fat Controller scolds Duncan for his bad intentions, telling him that "no passengers means no polish." Duncan retorts under his breath that "no polish means no passengers," making it clear that he still has a lot to learn.




  • Extended stock footage from A Bad Day for Sir Handel is used.
  • Nancy's rag is a piece of blu-tack.
  • This episode marks a few of things for Nancy:
    • Her only speaking role to date.
    • The only time in the television series that she is referred to by name.
    • Her only main appearance to date as she had cameos in the next few series.
  • When the passengers are complaining, one of them can be heard saying, "We're losing money!"
  • The Refreshment Lady has Mrs. Kyndley's first series body.
  • This marks the last time the "bad railway" trope was used until the eighteenth series episode, Duck and the Slip Coaches.
  • In the US and Canada this episode was released early on VHS before Special Funnel meaning the American and Canadian audience may not know about Peter Sam's new funnel.


  • When Skarloey dreams of Rheneas, he has Sir Handel's original whistle while Rheneas has Duncan's whistle.
  • Sound effects begin before Duncan is seen moving out of the shed.
  • In the close-up of Duncan complaining about not being polished at the beginning, his face moves. In the same shot, a hair or piece of wire can be seen behind Skarloey.
  • When Duncan passes through Crovan's Gate, he has Duke's original whistle.
  • After Duncan takes away Skarloey's train, the brake van moves from the front of the train to the back.
  • At the end of the episode, Rheneas can be seen next to Skarloey, despite being stated that he was away for reapirs.
  • In a picture of the Fat Controller scolding Duncan, the battery for Duncan's eye mechanism can be seen behind him.


Duncan: Aren't you gonna polish me too?
Nancy: Sorry. Not today. I'm going now. I'm helping the refreshment lady this afternoon. We must get the ice cream ready for the passengers. Never mind, Duncan.
Narrator: But Duncan did mind.
Duncan: It isn't fair! Peter Sam gets a special funnel, Sir Handel gets special wheels, passengers get ice cream, but I'm not even polished!

Driver: [after an emergency phone call] One of Skarloey's coaches has come off the rails. We'll have to take workmen there right away.
Duncan: All this extra work! It wears an engine out.
Driver: Rubbish! Come on!

The Fat Controller: No passengers means no polish.
Duncan: And no polish means no passengers.
Narrator: He still has a lot to learn, doesn't he?


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Invejoso
Chinese Mandarin 乘客和擦光油
Czech Cestující a leštěnka
Danish Passagerer og Polering
Dutch Passagiers en Poetsen
Finnish Matkustajat ja kiillotukset
German Auf Hochglanz für die Passagiere
Greek Ο Ντάνκαν Ζηλεύει
Hungarian Duncan duzzog
Italian Niente Lucidatura per Duncan
Japanese ボディーをみがいて
Korean 심통 대장, 덩컨
Latin American Spanish Pasajeros y Lustres
Norwegian Pomp og prakt
Polish Pasażerowie i Pucowanie (Original)
Pasażerowie i Polerowanie (Alternate)
Romanian Pasageri și Lustruiri
Russian Пассажиры и полировка
Slovenian Potniki in loščilo
Swedish Passagerare och Polering
Ukrainian Пасажири i начищання
Welsh Dim Teithiwr, Dim Polish

Home Media Releases


UK DVD Packs



  • Thomas and Stepney and other Stories


  • Thomas and Stepney




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









DVD Boxsets






  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4