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“My hat is ruined!"
"So is mine.”
―Lady Hatt and the Fat Controller dismayed at their hats

The Grand Opening is the twenty-first episode of the seventh series.


The engines are working on maintenance for a new station, and the Fat Controller announces that he will arrive on Harold with Lady Hatt for the grand opening. Skarloey turns up late for the announcement, after doing maintenance work on the new line, and the Fat Controller is cross and worried that he may be late for the grand opening of Rumblin Bridge station.

When they arrive at Dryaw Airfield, they find out that Harold is having engine trouble and is unable to go anywhere. Lady Hatt is upset, but the Fat Controller gets the idea to use the hot air balloon. It takes off, and they are on their way.

Skarloey is waiting for workmen to load some branches on his truck and gets impatient. The Fat Controller sees this and worries that Skarloey will be late again, and the other engines at the opening are concerned about Skarloey. Skarloey is finally on his way.

Meanwhile, the balloon's burner runs out of fuel and Lady Hatt panics, demanding to get out, but the Fat Controller knows that they cannot. Skarloey sees the balloon falling onto a tree next to him, and sees the Fat Controller. The Fat Controller and Lady Hatt's hats are ruined, but the Fat Controller is delighted to see Skarloey. The driver offers them a ride, and Skarloey safely takes them to the grand opening.

Although Rusty points out it does not change the fact that Skarloey was still late, Skarloey states that because he was late, the Fat Controller was right on time.




  • Going by production order, this is the twenty-fourth episode of the seventh series.
  • Stock footage from Something Fishy is used, as is a deleted scene from The Runaway Elephant.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Tiger Moth's Pilot.
  • In the UK dub, the Fat Controller is called by his real name "Sir Topham Hatt" when he says "Not now, dear" as the balloon begins to fall. As such, this is the only episode in the seventh series in which he is referred to by his real name in said version.
  • When this episode first aired in Japan in 2004, both the Japanese voice cast and as well as Michael Angelis' dub were heard in the same time accidentally during broadcast. In later Japanese broadcasts, this was fixed to only having Leo Morimoto doing the dub as well as the voice cast playing as the characters.
  • When this episode was broadcasted on Kabillion and the Roku Channel, it aired the original UK dub, whilst the other episodes aired with the US dub.
  • The Fat Controller's model with the damaged hat was also used in Peter Kay's The Official BBC Children in Need Medley.
  • In the US, the story first appeared in the Hooray for Thomas! and Other Thomas the Tank Engine Stories book before releasing on Home media.


  • When Skarloey puffs into the depot at the beginning, the puffing sound does not match the speed at which he is travelling.
  • When the Fat Controller says "The wind direction is perfect," his arm slowly slides downward.
  • When Skarloey approaches a level crossing, a man can be seen on the far left as a blue tractor passes over the crossing.
  • When Skarloey tells the workmen to hurry up, a camera stick can be seen on the right.
  • Skarloey's brake van is referred to as a box car.
  • The Skarloey Railway is incorrectly referred to as the Mountain Railway.
  • A steam platform is visible when Skarloey arrives at Rumblin Bridge.
  • In a close-up shot of Skarloey's driver, Skarloey has a gold ring around his front window. In non close-up shots, the frame is not there and the window also appears to be much smaller.
  • The small scale model used for the pilot does not match the large scale model. The small scale model has a repainted head from The Portly man, while the large scale model is just Tiger Moth's pilot.
  • In a rare picture, Thomas' eyes are missing.
  • In the shot of Skarloey puffing by the crossing with the tractor, a crew member is visible on the far left side of the screen behind the bush.
  • Due to the use of stock footage, when Sir Topham Hatt tells Skarloey “Really useful engines are never late,” he is not looking at Skarloey when he says it.


  • [Sir Topham and Lady Hatt are on their way to the grand opening, but find trouble with Harold]
  • Pilot: Engine trouble. Harold's not going anywhere today.
  • Lady Hatt: But I've been looking forward to the grand opening all week!
  • The Fat Controller: And I, my dear, will find a solution.
  • [he turns his attention to the red balloon]
  • Lady Hatt: Topham, you cannot be serious! Me, ride in this?!
  • The Fat Controller: The wind direction is perfect. We'll be there in no time.


  • Lady Hatt (as the balloon starts to fall): I want to get out!
  • The Fat Controller: Not now, dear.


  • Lady Hatt: My hat is ruined!
  • The Fat Controller: So is mine.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Chinese Mandarin 开幕
Danish Åbningsceremonien
Hungarian Az ünnepélyes megnyitó
Italian La Grande Inaugurazione
Japanese ききゅうとかいつうしき
Korean 사장님을 구한 스칼로이
Polish Uroczyste Otwarcie
Portuguese A Grande Inauguração
Romanian Marea Deschidere
Russian Торжественное открытие
Serbian Veliko otvaranje
Swedish Den stora invigningen
Turkish Büyük Açılış
Welsh Y Diwrnod Mawr

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