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“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 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 would 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.







  • 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, although he doesn't appear in this 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 sixteenth series episode to air in the US before its official UK broadcast.
  • 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 version, "Christmas Holidays" is used, while in the US version "Winter Holidays" is used. However, after this episode, starting with Santa's Little Engine, "Christmas Holidays" is used in both dubs.
  • This is the only episode where a narrow-gauge engine goes to Misty Island.
  • 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 final episode of the series narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK, Michael Brandon in the US, Povl Dissing in Denmark and Vladimir Antonik in Russia and Ukraine.
    • The last episode animated by Nitrogen Studios, despite stock footage from Hero of the Rails that was in Helping Hiro.
    • The last episode directed by Greg Tiernan.
    • The last episode produced by Nicole Stinn.
    • The last episode written by Sharon Miller to date, 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 eighteen series episode, Signals Crossed
    • The last episode where the narrator has more dialogue than the characters.
    • The last episode produced in 2011.


In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Expresso da Árvore de Natal
Chinese 圣诞树特快车
French Un sapin pour la Carrière
German Die Weihnachtsbaum-Suche
Hungarian A karácsonyfa Expressz
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
Norwegian Juletreekspressen
Polish Choinkowy Ekspres
Romanian Bradul Express
Russian Рождественская красавица
Spanish El Express Navideño
Thai รถด่วนต้นคริสต์มาส

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