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“It's Thomas the red-nosed engine!”
―Sir Robert Norramby

Santa's Little Engine is the eighteenth episode of the seventeenth series.


It is Christmas time on the Island of Sodor. Thomas is bringing visitors to Ulfstead Castle where they are greeted by a very happy Sir Robert Norramby who is looking forward to the Ulfstead Christmas Fair. Then, the Fat Controller arrives in Winston. The Earl asks the Fat Controller if he will play Santa Claus at the fair. The Fat Controller, having played Santa Claus before, is delighted to agree. The Earl then surprises the Fat Controller by saying that he is planning to get him a real sleigh to ride in. The Fat Controller is most apprehensive; he has never driven a sleigh before and asks if he can just arrive in Winston. The Earl dismisses this idea and assures the Fat Controller that there is nothing to worry about.

Despite the Earl's opinion on the matter, the Fat Controller takes Winston to the Sodor Steamworks to have him transformed into a sleigh anyway. With red metal panels stuck to his sides, Winston and the Fat Controller travel back to the castle. Winston feels very silly indeed.

Outside the castle, Winston meets up with Thomas, Annie and Clarabel who all think Winston looks very funny indeed. The Fat Controller fetches the Earl to show him his new "sleigh." The Earl just laughs when he sees Winston and says that his mind is made up on the matter. Winston is very relieved, but the Fat Controller is most worried.

On the last day of the fair, Thomas is sent to the docks to collect Santa's sleigh. Cranky lowers the sleigh onto Thomas' flatbed and warns him that there is a freeze coming to which Thomas promises to be careful. As he makes his way up the slope towards the castle, Thomas' wheels begin to slip on the icy rails. Eventually, Thomas gains a grip and manages to climb up to the castle.

Sir Robert Norramby is waiting for Thomas and the sleigh to arrive. The workmen unload the sleigh and place it beside the rails. It is nearly time for Santa Claus to meet the children. Suddenly, the Fat Controller, dressed as Santa, arrives on board Millie's coach. The Earl shows the Fat Controller the sleigh. The Fat Controller is not impressed and suggests that it might be safer if he merely walks in to greet the children. The Earl rejects this suggestion and helps the Fat Controller into his sleigh. The Earl then instructs Thomas to back out of the way. Thomas does this, but the workmen have left part of the sleigh across Thomas' tracks. The workmen shout out and Thomas tries to stop, but his wheels just slip on the icy rails. Thomas hits the sleigh and causes it to slide off down the slippery slope with the Fat Controller inside. To everyone's horror, the Fat Controller slides right down to the railway tracks on the slope and starts to slide down the line in the sleigh. Thomas chases after the out-of-control Santa Claus and the sleigh switches onto another overgrown line with Thomas still in hot pursuit.

Back up at the castle, Stephen comes out of the castle grounds to tell the Earl that the children are still eagerly awaiting Santa Claus. The Earl explains that the Fat Controller has slid down the slope in the sleigh. Suddenly, they hear a familiar whistle; it is Thomas pulling the sleigh with the Fat Controller inside. Thomas has caught some branches on his funnel while racing down the overgrown line, making him look like a reindeer.

Thomas and the Fat Controller soon pull up outside the castle where the Fat Controller is not very happy with the Earl for making him drive a sleigh. The Earl of Sodor jokes that it was lucky that Thomas was on hand to be the Fat Controller's reindeer. He then has an idea and pulls a large red nose out of his pocket and sticks it on Thomas' nose. Everyone laughs at "Thomas, the red-nosed reindeer." As Thomas slowly makes his way inside the castle with Santa Claus, the Fat Controller remarks that the real Santa Claus would be proud of them. The children cheer as Thomas and Santa Claus arrive inside the castle and the Fat Controller wishes them all a very Merry Christmas as it begins to snow.





US and CAN

  • Martin Sherman as Thomas
  • Bob Golding as Stephen
  • Matt Wilkinson as Winston
  • Teresa Gallagher as Annie, Clarabel and the Children
  • Glenn Wrage as Cranky
  • Kerry Shale as Sir Topham Hatt and a Workman
  • Mike Grady as Sir Robert Norramby


  • Going by production order, this is the twenty-sixth episode of the seventeenth series and the series finale of the seventeenth series.
  • The title of this episode is a reference to a character from The Simpsons named Santa's Little Helper.
  • This is the second episode to reference "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" by calling an engine a "red-nosed engine." The first time was with James in the third series episode, Buzz, Buzz.
  • This is the first episode since the seventh series episode, Not So Hasty Puddings that the term "Christmas" was used in the US dub without mentioning "Winter Holidays."
  • In the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Baltic Russian and one of the Vietnamese dubs, UK dub can be heard in the background as a dubbing track was not used.


  • At one point, the shading effect on Thomas' whistle is not rendered properly, so it appears white.
  • When Thomas is reversing to get out of the way, he is still coupled up to the flatbed that was carrying the sleigh, but when he goes after the Fat Controller, he is no longer coupled to it.
  • Thomas has also caught branches on his cab and on his dome, but when he pulls the Fat Controller back up the hill, they are gone.


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Thomas a locomotiva do Papai Noél
Czech Santova malá lokomotiva
Estonian Jõuluvana väike vedur
French Le traîneau du gros contrôleur
Galician A Locomotora de Santa Claus
German Thomas mit der roten Nase
Greek Το μικρό τρενάκι του Άη-Βασίλη
Hungarian A milkulás kis mozdonya
Japanese まっかなおはなのトーマス
Korean 루돌프, 토마스
Latin American Spanish La Pequeña Locomotora de Santa
Norwegian Nissens lille lokomotiv
Polish Parowóz Świętego Mikołaja
Romanian Locomotiva lui Moș Crăciun
Russian Маленький паровозик Санты
Spanish La Locomotora de Papá Noel
Ukrainian Черовононосий паровзик Санти

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


  • Santa's Little Engine


  • Santa's Little Engine (Direct-to-Home Video)
  • Season 17