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“No passengers means no polish!"
"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, the guard's daughter, has just finished polishing Skarloey. Although he thinks she's just fussing over him unnecessarily, she tells him that Rheneas is coming home. The news of Rheneas' return immediately changes his mind, asking Nancy to polish him again, so she sets to work once more. Duncan becomes envious and wants a polish too, but Nancy does not have time because she has to help the Refreshment Lady to serve refreshments to the passengers. Duncan is very cross and 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. This leads to Duncan sulking 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, so his driver decides to stop to build up steam. Duncan however does not try, accusing his driver of not caring enough about him. They finally start off again, but Duncan loses his patience and rudely stalls on the viaduct. He refuses to go on and stays put, so Skarloey is forced to arrive to pull him home. This leaves the passengers infuriated and telling everyone what a bad railway it is.

That evening, the Fat Controller scolds Duncan, 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.




  • Stock footage from A Bad Day for Sir Handel is used.
  • Nancy's rag is a piece of blu tack.
  • This episode marks Nancy's only speaking role to date, and the only time in the series that she is referred to by name.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • After Duncan takes away Skarloey's train, the brake van moves from the front of the train to the back.
  • When Duncan passes through Crovan's Gate, he has a different whistle sound.
  • In a picture of the Fat Controller scolding Duncan, the battery for Duncan's eye mechanism can be seen behind him.
  • When Skarloey dreams of Rheneas, they have Sir Handel and Duncan's whistle sounds.
  • Duncan has Duke's whistle sound when he passes Thomas and Percy.


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.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Invejoso
Chinese 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 Οι επιβάτες και στίλβωσης
Hungarian Duncan duzzog
Italian Niente Lucidatura per Duncan
Japanese ボディーをみがいて
Norwegian Pomp og prakt
Polish Pasażerowie i Polerowanie
Romanian Pasageri și Lustruiri
Russian Пассажиры и полировка
Slovak Cestujúci a Policajt
Slovenian Potniki in loščilo
Spanish Pasajeros y Lustres
Swedish Passagerare och Polering
Thai ดันแคนเกเรหนัก
Ukrainian Пасажири i начищання
Welsh Dim Teithiwr, Dim Polish

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  • Thomas and Stepney and other Stories


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