Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
Main Page

This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the DVD or the magazine story.

“We don't have a Christmas tree."
"You must have a Christmas tree! It wouldn't be the Christmas Holidays without one!”
―Rheneas and Toby

The Christmas Tree Express is the twentieth and final episode of the sixteenth series. It is also the final episode to be animated by Nitrogen Studios.


It is Christmas on the Island of Sodor. Thomas, Toby, and Rheneas are shunting in the Blue Mountain Quarry. Thomas says he is going to pick up a Christmas tree that the Logging Locos have brought from Misty Island. Rheneas says they do not have a tree and Toby comments that it would not be Christmas without one. Rheneas wants to go to Misty Island to find a tree for his friends, but Thomas is too busy, and Toby says that Misty Island is strange and scary. Thomas says this is nonsense, so Toby agrees to take Rheneas.

When they arrive at the Search and Rescue Centre, Toby and Rheneas meet the Logging Locos, who tell them that there will be plenty of trees on Misty Island. When Toby and Rheneas reach Misty Island, Toby says he wants to chuff slowly and carefully, but Rheneas tells him to go fast. Toby chuffs quickly to the Hollow Tree Tunnel. He does not want to chuff forward, but Rheneas tells him to chuff faster and faster. Toby decides that if he closes his eyes, it will not be as scary. He goes fast and they pass some Christmas trees. Rheneas tells Toby to stop, but Toby does not want to; he is too scared.

Next, Toby and Rheneas come up to the Shake Shake Bridge. Toby is scared and does not want to cross, so he closes his eyes and races over the Shake Shake Bridge. They race around Misty Island and pass more Christmas trees. Rheneas tells Toby to stop, but he does not; he is too scared. Then the mist comes down. Toby stops because he is scared. Rheneas tells Toby to go fast, but Toby cannot, as he is too frightened. Rheneas is worried that his friends will wake up and still not have a tree. Toby explains that he finds going fast scary and would prefer to go slowly. Rheneas agrees and, with the help of the Logging Locos, the engines go slowly and carefully and find a perfect tree. Toby realises that when he is not going fast, Misty Island is not scary after all, and he keeps his eyes open the entire time.

Rheneas and Toby return to the Blue Mountain Quarry. The engines there are all amazed and agree it is a wonderful Christmas surprise.





  • Ben Small as Thomas, Toby, Rheneas and Ferdinand
  • Keith Wickham as Skarloey and Dash
  • Matt Wilkinson as Rusty and Bash

US and CAN


  • Going by production order, this is the eighteenth episode of the sixteenth series.
  • An arrangement of James' theme by Robert Hartshorne plays throughout the episode.
  • In Australia, this episode was first available to view on the ABC iView online service on 22nd December before its television broadcast.
  • This is the only episode of several things:
    • The only sixteenth series episode to air in the US before its official UK broadcast.
    • The only episode where a narrow-gauge engine goes to Misty Island.
    • The only episode to feature Kim Eun-a as Rusty in South Korea.
    • The only episode where Rusty is female in South Korea.
  • In the UK, the first airing was held back until 25th December, to coincide with Christmas Day 2012.
  • Most British television listings give this episode an alternate title, The Christmas Express.
  • In the UK dub, "Christmas Holidays" is used, while in the US dub "Winter Holidays" is used. However, after this episode, starting with Santa's Little Engine, "Christmas Holidays" is used in both dubs.
  • This marks Rusty's first speaking role in an episode since the twelfth series episode, The Man in the Hills.
  • This was the last episode of several things:
    • The last episode of the series dubbed by Michael Angelis in the UK prior to his passing in May 2020, as well as the final episode dubbed by Michael Brandon in the US, Povl Dissing in Denmark and Vladimir Antonik in Russia and Ukraine.
    • The last episode animated by Nitrogen Studios, apart from stock footage from Hero of the Rails that was in the nineteenth series episode, Helping Hiro.
    • The last episode directed by Greg Tiernan.
    • The last episode produced by Nicole Stinn.
    • The last episode written by Sharon Miller and the last episode with her as head writer. However, she did stay on the show as voice director.
    • The last appearance of Bash, Dash and Misty Island.
    • The last episode to have two separate narrators for the UK and US until the twenty-second series episode, Number One Engine.
    • Ferdinand's last speaking role and his last appearance until the eighteenth series episode, Signals Crossed.
    • The last episode where the narrator has more dialogue than the characters.
    • The last episode produced in 2011.
    • The last episode produced during Apax Partners' ownership of HiT Entertainment before HiT was sold to Mattel in February 2012.
    • The last episode not to have Latvian, Lithuanian and Baltic Russian dubs.


In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Expresso da Árvore de Natal
French Un sapin pour la Carrière
Galician O Expreso da Árbore de Nadal
German Die Weihnachtsbaum-Suche
Hungarian A karácsonyfa Expressz
Indonesian Pohon Natal Cepat
Italian Non è Natale senza l'Albero di Natale
Japanese クリスマスツリーをさがせ
Korean 크리스마스 트리 특급열차
Latin American Spanish El Express Navideño
Norwegian Juletreekspressen
Polish Choinkowy Ekspres
Romanian Bradul Express
Russian Рождественская красавица
Spanish El Árbol de Navidad Expreso
Taiwanese Mandarin 圣诞树特快车

Home Media Releases