- “I'd happily pay for them to be quiet right now!”
- ―The Fat Controller
The Fat Controller is having a bad day; he is very unwell with a heavy cold and a thumping headache. Every time a train thunders past his Knapford Station office, he cannot help but groan in pain. The stationmaster insists that he should go home and rest, but the Fat Controller is adamant; the Mayor of Vicarstown is visiting tomorrow and everything must be ship-shape for his arrival.
At the end of the day, the Fat Controller goes to Tidmouth Sheds to check on his engines. As he arrives, he is greeted with loud arguing. The engines are quarrelling about who will have the prestigious job of collecting the Mayor. The stationmaster asks them to quiet down, but they cannot hear him over the sound of their own voices. The Fat Controller remarks that he would pay them to be quiet when he does not want them to be noisy at this moment. Thomas hears the Fat Controller and is going to blow his whistle to alert the other engines, but the Fat Controller is already walking back to the station.
The next day, it is Thomas who's chosen to collect the Mayor. When they arrive at Knapford, the Mayor gives a speech and explains that the bell in the Vicarstown church tower has a crack in it and it will require a lot of money to mend. Everyone's shocked; that church bell has been ringing for hundreds of years and can be heard from all over the island. Then, Thomas has an idea and suggests that they have a sponsored silence for the day. The Fat Controller, who is now feeling much better, says it is Thomas' best idea for a long time. The engines are not quite as sure, but could they really keep quiet for the whole day? The stationmaster says he will give some money for the engines to be quiet and soon lots of the railway workers say they will, too.
On the day of the sponsored silence, Sodor is very, very quiet indeed. As the engines travel across the island, they find it very hard not to chat, grumble or mutter, but fortunately they manage it.
When it is all over, the Fat Controller goes to inform the engines that they have managed to raise half of the money that is needed to save the bell. The engines cheer and whistle as loud as they can and this time, the Fat Controller does not mind at all.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Mayor of Vicarstown (speaks in speech bubble only)
- Thomas (does not speak)
- Edward (cameo)
- Henry (cameo)
- Toby (cameo)
- Annie (cameo)
- Cranky (cameo)
- Images are taken from the fourteenth season episode Jitters and Japes, the fifteenth season episode Percy's New Friends and the thirteenth season episode The Lion of Sodor. The latter images seem to have been edited to remove the cable holding the Lion of Sodor statue to the flatbed.