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“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 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 begins to worry about being late. Then, 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, he is travelling along the Coastal Run 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 places a red lamp pole 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 Brendam Docks, 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 does not listen and orders him to have his trucks hitched to the train. Finally, the Flying Kipper is away.

Inside the yardmaster's office, the yardmaster tells Thomas' crew that Henry is taking the Coastal Run; this shocks the driver, as he already told the yardmaster of the danger 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 before the signalman can receive the warning. 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.

By the next day, when the tide is high enough for Henry and his fish to be craned from the water. He ends up in a barge full of fish with a seagull perched on his funnel, where the Fat Controller tells him that engines are supposed to deliver fish, not swim with them, which he should know by now. Henry is brought back to the docks by the barge to be lifted back onto dry tracks. Cranky expects Henry will have some "fishy" tales to tell, before some children laugh at Henry and call him a green whale, while others insist that he is a monster. Henry is most upset.

Finally, Henry is back on the rails and Thomas feels sorry for him and comes to take him away for a washdown. 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.
  • The magazine story, A Fishy Smell may have served partial inspiration for this episode.
  • 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 stands 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 two episodes to feature Thomas' unused excited face from the third series, the other being the fifth series episode, Snow.
  • 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.
  • The title used in the Welsh version is the same title used in the Welsh Version of the seventh series episode Something Fishy.
  • Henry plunging into the sea is similar to Percy's accident in the Series 2 episode "Percy Takes the Plunge".


  • In the US version, Alec Baldwin accidentally uses the term "guard" when the man leaves a red oil lamp by the damaged track.
  • In the UK version 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.
  • After Henry reaches the fog, he loses two vans. In addition, one of the Salt Vans change colour from cream to white.
  • In the US version, 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.


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: Ha! You're the only danger on the rails, Thomas. Now, stop wasting time, and get your trucks 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.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Um Cheiro Estranho
Catalan Una Cose en L'aire
Chinese 空中的某些东西
Danish Noget i Luften
Dutch Frisse Lucht
Finnish Tuomas Kalassa
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
Norwegian Noe i Luften
Polish Coś w Powietrzu
Romanian Se Simte Ceva în Aer
Russian Чем-то пахнет
Serbian Čudan miris
Slovak Niečo Je Vo Vzduchu
Slovenian Nekaj Je v Zraku
Spanish Algo Huele Muy Mal
Swedish Det Ligger i Luften
Thai เฮนรี่ตกน้ำ
Welsh Drewdod

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