Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
Main Page

“Engines don't swim, Henry. You were meant to deliver fish, not swim with them. You should know that by now.”
―The Fat Controller scolding Henry for taking the Coastal Run

Something in the Air is the fifteenth episode of the fifth series. It is loosely based on the magazine stories A Fishy Smell and Erosion. It aired back to back with Oliver's Find in an episode of Storytime with Thomas in the US.


Thomas is at the quayside and is about to take vans full of fish to Brendam Docks for Henry's train, The Flying Kipper. The fishermen, however, are using old equipment and Thomas is beginning to worry about being late when a loose crate of fish drops onto his boiler, spilling fish all over him. His driver and fireman find it very funny, but Thomas is less than impressed and sniffs at the odour.

Later, Thomas is travelling along Tidmouth Beach when he is further delayed by a man waving a red flag; the man informs him and his crew about some tracks that have been eroded from high tides and he has marked the spot. Thomas' driver decides to go inspect and they soon arrive at the unsafe area. The driver determines that the tracks are safe enough for a smaller engine like Thomas, but not a heavy engine like Henry. The guard erects a red lamp post by the damaged track as a warning spot to engines and states that he will tell the signalman at the docks to close the line.

It is already dark once Thomas arrives at Knapford Harbour, with Henry waiting for him. He is cross with Thomas for being late and smelly. Thomas attempts to warn Henry of the danger, but Henry scoffs off the warning and orders him to have his trucks hitched to the train. Finally, the Flying Kipper sets off.

Inside the yardmaster's office, the yardmaster tells Thomas' crew that Henry is taking the Coastal Run; this shocks the driver, as he has already stated about how dangerous it is to big engines. The yardmaster quickly phones the signalman to reroute Henry, but Henry is anxious to make up for lost time and passes the signal box. This ends up with the signalman unable to hear the warning and only does so when Henry is far away. Once Henry reaches the Coastal Track, his hopes for a fast run are dashed as heavy fog rolls in and neither he nor his driver can see the track ahead. The damaged track has soon been completely submerged and Henry derails and plunges into the sea with his train, coming to a stop offshore and spits out a mouthful of seawater.

The next day, when the tide is high enough, Henry and his fish are craned out of the water. He ends up in a barge full of fish with a seagull perched on his funnel, where the Fat Controller sternly tells him that engines are supposed to deliver fish, not swim with them, which he should know by now. Henry is towed back to the docks in the barge to be lifted back onto dry tracks. Cranky teases Henry that he will have some "fishy" tales to tell, much to his annoyance. Then some children laugh at Henry and call him a green whale, while others insist that he is a monster. Henry does not find the jokes funny and is very upset.

Finally, Henry is back on the rails and Thomas feels sorry for him and comes to take him away for a wash down. After being cleaned, Henry apologises to Thomas for being rude to him. Thomas accepts Henry's apology, then jokes with Henry about smelling something - fresh air.




  • In this episode, the set for Brendam Docks is modified to resemble its setup as Knapford Harbour from the fourth series episode, Fish.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of the Flying Kipper until the sixteenth series episode, Whiff's Wish, excluding two stock footage appearances in the seventh series.
  • An extract from this episode was put on the Planet Gullane website though was played at a faster speed.
  • This episode is referenced in Tale of the Brave after James crashes into a river while pulling the Flying Kipper, Henry says: "You were meant to deliver the fish, not throw them back in the water!" referencing the Fat Controller's line.
  • Big Mickey, Izzy Gomez, two schooners, the LT building and the steel company from TUGS appear in the episode. One of the schooners is seen with the wheelhouse of the shrimper named Jacqueline.
  • Bulstrode can be seen on the beach, albeit without his face mask.
  • Stephen Hatt makes a cameo as the boy who jokingly calls Henry a monster.
  • The barrel the children and workmen stand near is the "Best Quality Diesel Oil" barrel from the fourth series episode, Bowled Out.
  • Actual sardines were used for the fish that appear in the episode. This can be seen more clearly in a rare picture.
  • This episode marks the first time an engine is seen with something in their mouth. In this case, Henry spat out water. The face had a hole drilled in its mouth to achieve the spitting effect, while the model was modified to fit a pump system to force water out. This exact facemask is now owned by Twitter user. ThomasTankMerch.
  • This is one of the three episodes to feature Thomas' unused jolly face from the third series, the other being the fifth series episode, Snow and the second being, Rusty and the Boulder.
  • This marks the first appearance of Henry's ill face since the first series.
  • Clips from this episode were used in "The 100 Greatest Kids TV Shows" on Channel 4 in 2001 during the Thomas segment when it was listed as #26. The caption lists the show as having lasted from 1984 to 1992, referencing the show's original run on terrestrial network ITV.
  • This and Bye George! were the only fifth season episodes to not be released on VHS in New Zealand at all. Both episodes would instead appear on The Complete Series 5 DVD.
  • The title used in the Welsh dub is the same title used in the Welsh dub of the seventh series episode, Something Fishy.
  • This is the second time an engine falls into the sea and has to wait until the tide is high enough to be rescued, the first was the second series episode, Percy Takes the Plunge.
  • This is the first time an engine ignores another engine's advice and derails into water, the second is the twelfth series episode, Excellent Emily.
  • This episode aired in the US before Cranky Bugs, meaning that the American audience may not have known who Cranky was unless they had already seen said episode on the Cranky Bugs and Other Thomas Stories release.
  • This was the only episode to be featured on both the UK and Australian versions of the VHS, Rescues on the Railway(s).


  • In the US dub, Alec Baldwin accidentally uses the term "guard" when the man leaves a red oil lamp by the damaged track.
  • When Thomas says, "I can't help it, it's the fish!" the steam appears forward, then is played backwards, then played forwards again, meaning that the film was cut, but edited.
  • When the Guard leaves the oil lamps. the red flag wraps around the pole, but when Thomas puffs away, the flag is attached to the side
  • After Henry reaches the fog, he loses two vans. In addition, one of the Salt Vans change colour from cream to white.
  • In every version except the UK dub, when Henry says, "I can't see!" the first horn sound is barely audible.
  • When Henry reaches the track marked for danger, the track closest to the rocks cuts off.
  • Before Henry falls into the sea, his brakes are applied, and his wheels stop moving. But when he runs into the sea, his wheels are moving again, despite the braking sound effects still being audible.
  • In an overhead shot of Henry being towed in the barge, a seagull is seen nestled in his funnel. When Thomas buffers up to Henry to take him to get washed, the seagull is still there.
  • When Thomas puffs away with Henry at the end of the episode, the puffing noise starts long before Thomas moves.
  • When Thomas stops in front of the man with the flag, studio equipment can be seen on the top right corner.
  • Right before Henry plunges into the sea, the shadow of a studio worker can be seen.
  • Thomas disappears when Henry departs from the Harbour.


Henry: Pah, you're late! And that smell is making me ill.
Thomas: (I can't help it,) it's the fish! And there's danger on the rails. That's why we're late.
Henry: Huh! You're the only danger on the rails, Thomas. Now, stop wasting time, and get your trucks/cars hitched to my train.

[Henry is out of the water just after the accident the night before]
The Fat Controller: Engines don't swim, Henry. You were meant to deliver fish, not swim with them. You should know that by now.
Henry: Yes, Sir. I'm sorry, Sir.

Henry: I'm sorry I was rude to you Thomas.
Thomas: Oh, that's alright. But can you smell something?
Henry: Wh-wh-wh-what?
Narrator: Asked Henry nervously.
Thomas: Fresh Air!
Henry: Oh Yes!
Narrator: Replied Henry, happily.


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Um Cheiro Estranho
Chinese Mandarin 空中的某些东西
Czech Něco visí ve vzduchu
Danish Noget i Luften
Dutch Frisse Lucht
French Quelque Chose Dans L'Air
Henry va Nager
German Henry geht baden
Greek Κάτι στον αέρα
Hungarian Valami Van a Levegőben
Italian Henry a Mollo
Japanese みどりのくじら
Korean 물에 빠진 헨리
Latin American Spanish Algo Huele Muy Mal
Norwegian Noe i Luften
Polish Coś w Powietrzu
Romanian Un Miros Ciudat
Russian Чем-то пахнет
Serbian Čudan miris
Slovenian Nekaj Je v Zraku
Swedish Det Ligger i Luften
Welsh Drewdod

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets