Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia

The fifth series of Thomas & Friends first aired on television in September 1998 in the UK and September 1999 on Storytime with Thomas in the US. It had twenty-six episodes narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and Alec Baldwin in the US.


With Series 5, the decision was made to write a full series of original, staff-written stories, without using the Railway Series' books as a source. One reason for this was producer Britt Allcroft's desire to create a theatrical Thomas the Tank Engine film and requested that director David Mitton show off his modelling skills. Series 5 also took on edgier and darker plot lines and included much more intense action and crashes.

Some inspiration for the episodes came from a former LMR manager named David Maidment. In 1997, Maidment met with Steven Wright about the possibility of supporting the Railway Children charity and while Wright told him the series' staff commonly received such requests, they would consider. During their meeting, Maidment relayed stories about his railway experiences working in South Wales and as the manager at Crewe station. Maidment received a call asking if he would allow some of his stories to be used as material – the stories from the Railway Series were frequently based on true events and Allcroft and Mitton preferred this. Maidment agreed and was also asked to review each story to make sure that the railway in the show operated realistically. As a result, Maidment received writing credit alongside Allcroft and Mitton. 10,000 British pounds were later donated to the Railway Children for his work.

The design for each new character would be chosen by David Eves and given to David Mitton for approval. For ease of filming, Series 5 would introduce larger-scale versions of the narrow gauge engines and from Series 6-12, these larger models were used almost exclusively. They were built to a larger scale than the gauge 1 engines and ran on O gauge track; they were close to 16mm scale, but slightly larger. The small scale models were still used in this series for the in between shots where they would interact with the gauge 1 scaled characters and sets until the latter could be scaled up. Originally, the character Bertram was intended as a tank engine, but the financial difficulty in building a new model made them repaint Duke's model with Smudger's face.


Screenshot UK title (top)
US title (bottom)
Original UK release date Episode number #
CrankyBugs91.png Cranky Bugs 14th September 1998 #01
A new crane called Cranky arrives at the docks and causes trouble for Thomas and Percy, but he eventually needs their help after a storm.
HorridLorry73.png Horrid Lorry 15th September 1998 #02
Three very Horrid Lorries arrive on Sodor and start taking over the engines' jobs. Eventually, the tables are turned and the lorries get their comeuppance.
ABetterViewforGordon64.png A Better View for Gordon 16th September 1998 #03
Gordon complains about the plainness of a new station and longs for a panoramic view, which he gets unexpectedly.
LadyHatt'sBirthdayParty93.png Lady Hatt's Birthday Party 17th September 1998 #04
On his way to his wife's birthday, the Fat Controller runs into a series of problems like his car getting a flat tire, Caroline being broken down, and falls from George into a muddy ditch, which ruins his suit.
JamesandtheTroublewithTrees59.png James and the Trouble with Trees 18th September 1998 #05
James' bragging prevents him from listening to Henry, Percy and Terence's warnings about trees that are too close to the line.
GordonAndTheGremlin94.png Gordon and the Gremlin 21st September 1998 #06
Gordon has problems with his fire and the others joke of gremlins. Later, a special visitor arrives and her dog runs away into Thomas' cab.
ByeGeorge!92.png Bye George! 22nd September 1998 #07
George the Steamroller causes a great deal of trouble for the engines.
Baa!55.png Baa! 23rd September 1998 #08
A "Best Dressed Station" contest is being held across Sodor. However, as Percy is helping decorate Maithwaite station, a hungry ram is found at the station and the decorations are ruined.
PutUponPercy67.png Put Upon Percy 24th September 1998 #09
Percy complains that he is overworked. While working at the Coal Mine, some trucks escape and they crash inside the mineshaft, which causes the mine to collapse.
TobyAndTheFlood44.png Toby and the Flood 25th September 1998 #10
Toby is sent to inspect a dam and discovers a few leaks in it. It eventually collapses and causes an unsafe bridge to break, causing him to drift towards a waterfall and it's up to Percy and Harold to save him from falling down a waterfall.
HauntedHenry27.png Haunted Henry 28th September 1998 #11
Henry refuses to believe in ghosts, until he and his crew encounter a series of spooky events during the night.
DoubleTeethingTroubles53.png Double Teething Troubles 29th September 1998 #12
Bill and Ben are worried when they hear that Derek, a malfunctioning diesel, is going to help them work in the clay pits. But it turns out that Derek is a friendly diesel.
StepneyGetsLost48.png Stepney Gets Lost 30th September 1998 #13
The Fat Controller invites Stepney to work with Toby and Mavis at the quarry. Stepney gets lost on the way home, eventually arriving at the Smelter's Yard with two diesels named 'Arry and Bert until the Fat Controller found him.
Toby'sDiscovery79.png Toby's Discovery 1st October 1998 #14
Toby takes the Hatts on an expedition, finding a castle and an old mine. The destinations are reopened, but Toby is spooked by Thomas' story about "The Old Warrior".
SomethingInTheAir56.png Something in the Air 2nd October 1998 #15
Henry is cross when Thomas delays him and refuses to listen to his warning about a line eroded by high tides, which he ended up plunging in the sea.
Thomas,PercyandOldSlowCoach73.png Thomas, Percy and Old Slow Coach 5th October 1998 #16
Thomas and Percy discover an old coach named Old Slow Coach in the scrapyard and want to save her.
ThomasandtheRumours58.png Thomas and the Rumours
Thomas and the Rumors
6th October 1998 #17
The engines discover that Harold has been hired to show a special visitor around the island and fear being replaced until Sir Topham Hatt told Thomas that it’s not true and that listening to rumors is bad after Gordon’s accident.
Oliver'sFind82.png Oliver's Find 7th October 1998 #18
Oliver is put on mail duty but ends up going down to an old branch line, due to a dozing signalman, forcing Sir Topham Hatt to search for Oliver and discovering an old abandoned house.
HappyEverAfter80.png Happy Ever After 8th October 1998 #19
Mrs. Kyndley asks Percy and his driver to make a "good luck package" for her daughter's wedding, which he succeeded in doing so.
SirTophamHatt'sHoliday63.png Sir Topham Hatt's Holiday 9th October 1998 #20
The Fat Controller and his family go on holiday, though things start to go wrong.
ASurpriseforPercy56.png A Surprise for Percy
A Big Surprise for Percy
12th October 1998 #21
Percy moans about his work in the coal mines and wants something exciting to happen. His wish comes true when a line of trucks breaks away from him on the hill and he must stop them before it’s too late.
MakeSomeoneHappy71.png Make Someone Happy 13th October 1998 #22
James sees Mrs. Kyndley, who is upset that her sister cannot come and visit. A "mystery tour" is arranged for her and James is chosen for it.
BusyGoingBackwards103.png Busy Going Backwards 14th October 1998 #23
Toad is feeling bored about going backwards all the time and confesses to Oliver that he wishes to go forwards for a change. On Gordon's Hill, the coupling snaps and Toad goes on a wild ride with the Troublesome Trucks through the main line; all the way through Wellsworth, Crosby, and all the way to a pond at the Old Stone Bridge, while narrowly avoiding the Big Engines.
DuncanGetsSpooked59.png Duncan Gets Spooked 15th October 1998 #24
Duncan teases Peter Sam after some trucks fall into a ravine, so Rusty tells Duncan a ghost story to make him eat his own words and the drivers of Peter Sam and Duncan plots to trick Duncan into thinking that the ghost is real, which they succeeded in doing so.
RustyandtheBoulder59.png Rusty and the Boulder 16th October 1998 #25
Rusty is suspicious of a strange boulder lodged in the mountains, which chases him, Skarloey, and Rheneas until it demolishes the nearby shed, which it narrowly avoided Percy.
Snow61.png Snow 19th October 1998 #26
Thomas is cross with the snow, so Rusty tells him about Skarloey's own experience in an avalanche.


Screenshot Title Composers Original release date
NightTrain1.png Night Train Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
2nd February 1999 (US; VHS)
See how the night sky glows,
See the light from the night train...
TrustThomas47.png Accidents Will Happen Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
10th August 1999 (US; VHS)
Thrills and spills on the railway, it's a life of happiness
But sometimes impatience can lead to carelessness...
Heroes24.png Every Cloud has a Silver Lining Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
1st October 1999 (UK; VHS)
Life is full of surprises, full of ups and downs
And so to have a silver lining, first there must be cloud...
ThomasandStepney76.png It's Great to be an Engine Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
1st October 1999 (UK; VHS)
Oh yes, it's great to be an engine and go steaming along
Puff puff puffing along, peep peep peeping along...
ThomasandPercy'sChristmasAdventure9.png The Snow Song Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
1st October 1999 (UK; VHS)
You wake to the silence, the bright afterglow
Now there's a surprise, for what do you know...
Donald'sDuck(song).png Donald's Duck Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
1st July 1999 (JPN; VHS)
I found a quacker in my tender.
She was very, very tame...
TroubleintheShed7.png Sir Topham Hatt Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
1st July 1999 (JPN; VHS)
His name is Sir Topham Hatt some people say he's - Stout!!
Rather rotrund, really quite round, but he doesn't see it like that...
OldIron40.png Come for the Ride Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
8th March 1999 (UK; VHS)
All your friends on the railway would like you all to see
Just how much fun rocking on the railway can be...
TobyAndTheFlood76.png Harold the Helicopter Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
8th March 1999 (UK; VHS)
Who do you call when the chips are down
When your back is against the wall...
Percy'sSeasideTrip3.jpg Percy's Seaside Trip Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
8th March 1999 (UK; VHS)
The sun is shining, it's a lovely day
It won't be long before we're on our way...


Cover Title Composers Original release date
MagicalAdventureFrontCover.png Magical Adventure Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
17th July 1998 (Japan; PC and Win)
Players get to drive as Thomas, Gordon or Percy and they can play a few minigames, as well as watching a few episodes from the series.


Characters Introduced


  • This was the first series of several things:
    • The first series where Bulgy, Sir Handel, Duke, Smudger, Class 40, S.C. Ruffey, and Bulstrode do not appear since their debuts.
    • The first series not to have any episodes based on the Railway Series stories by Wilbert and Christopher Awdry.
    • The first series with an episode where some railway on Sodor is referred to as a railroad, its American term; this occurs in Duncan Gets Spooked.
    • The first series to introduce original characters with no connection to the Railway Series.
    • Alec Baldwin's first series as narrator.
    • The first series not to air on Shining Time Station due to the show ending around 1996. Episodes from the fifth series were instead aired on FOX Family's Storytime with Thomas.
    • The first series to use a Proteus 2000 to compose the music.
    • The first series not dubbed in Ukrainian.
    • The first series to air in Canada.
    • The first series dubbed by The Maidstone Studios.
    • The first series narrated by Kim Il for EBS in South Korea.
    • The first series aired in Korean by EBS, Tooniverse and Daekyo Kids TV in South Korea.
    • The first series in which the phrase, "confusion and delay" is said.
    • The first series in which Elsbridge and Knapford do not appear.
    • The first series to feature Thomas' unused panicked and excited faces from the third series.
    • The first series to feature Gordon's unused astonished face from the second series.
    • The first series to feature Bertie's unused surprised face from the second series.
    • The first series to feature George's unused panicked and sad faces from the fourth series.
    • The first series where Peter Sam does not speak.
    • The first series where food items are transported in open wagons.
    • The first series to refer Sudrian locations by their actual names instead of nicknames such as "the big station" or "the harbour".
    • The first series dubbed at "Studio Hamburg Synchron" in Germany. It was also the first series featuring Henning Stegelmann as the translator and dialogue director of the German dub.
  • According to an interview with David Mitton before his death in 2008, this series was supposed to be a showcase for Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
  • This series features more songs than any other, at a total of ten.
  • This was also the final series of several things:
    • The last series made by The Britt Allcroft Company.
    • Britt Allcroft's final series as writer and producer.
    • David Mitton's final series as producer.
    • Angus Wright's last series as executive producer.
    • The last series to premiere in the UK on Cartoon Network.
    • The last series filmed completely in 4:3 full screen.
    • The last series to be released on VHS in New Zealand, albeit incomplete.
    • The last series shown in Germany and Latin America until the eighth series.
    • The last series produced, dubbed and VHS/DVD released by DVD Acadamy in South Korea.
    • The last series to have a railway consultant until the seventeenth series.
    • The last series where Thomas' shocked face had a bucktooth.
    • The last series to feature a modified version of James' happy face where is bottom jaw is slightly more pointed.
    • The last series in the main show where Thomas and Percy's original wincing face masks are used on-screen. A new one would later be made for Thomas in the seventh series, and a new one would be made for Percy in the eighth series.
    • The last series to use the sound effects in Dolby Surround Sound for diesel engines, though the sound system is still used for steam engines, road vehicles, rolling stock and people.
    • The last series where the supports under Thomas' whistle become gold.
    • The last series to have all its episodes released on VHS in the UK and Australia.
    • John L. Wright's last series as editor.
    • The last series where Thomas and Percy's original smiling face masks were used on-screen.
    • The last series until the seventeenth series where Annie and Clarabel speak in more than one episode.
    • The last series released in the 1990s.
    • The last series released in the 20th century.
    • The last series to use the nameboards in the UK. However, the nameboards would last up to the seventh series for the US and Japan.
    • The last series when Thomas' chuckling face appeared with less teeth.
    • The last series narrated by Manfred Steffen in Germany.
  • This was also the only series of several things:
    • David Maidment's only series as railway consultant and writer.
    • The only series where Donald appears without Douglas.
    • The only series where Diesel does not appear since his introduction in the second series, possibly due to his model being recycled for 'Arry or Bert.
    • The only series without an appearance of Knapford Station. It seemed to be replaced by Kirk Ronan Station in this series.
    • The only series recorded in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, hence the absence of certain sound effects and music in either the UK or US version of several episodes. They were combined in the UK and Korean dubs for the two Korean DVDs, The Story That Enlightens and Friends Love Story.
    • The only series to feature Thomas' unused excited face mask from the third series.
    • The only series to feature Skarloey's unused furious face mask from the fourth series.
    • The only series that was not released completely on VHS in New Zealand (the only two episodes that were not released on VHS in the country were Bye George! and Something in the Air). This was likely because the fifth series videos were released alongside several compilation titles.
  • Michael Angelis was not credited in the opening titles for the UK narration. However, he is credited as narrator in the Hindi narration, even though it was re-dubbed, and Alec Baldwin was credited in the opening titles for the US narration.
  • Starting with this series up to the twelfth series, the brake sound effect from the 1964 war film, The Train, would be used when an engine puts on the brakes.
  • This series was filmed in the same room that TUGS was filmed in.
  • The Japanese video game Magical Adventure utilised specially shot footage from this series.
  • Out of all the Skarloey Railway engines introduced in the previous series, Duke and Sir Handel were the only ones not to make a physical appearance in this series.