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The Missing Coach was an episode that was originally developed for the second series, but was cancelled halfway through filming. It was to be based on the stories "Hullo Twins!" and The Missing Coach from the Railway Series book The Twin Engines.


Work on the railway has become harder, so the Fat Controller orders a new goods engine from Scotland. However, two identical twin engines arrive instead. When the Fat Controller learns about this, he goes to meet the engines, named Donald and Douglas, and discovers they have lost their numbers. The Fat Controller has numbers painted on their tenders and has Duck show them around, but still plans to find out which engine should be sent back.

Sometimes, the Express has a special coach for passengers traveling on Thomas' branch line. Whoever takes away Gordon’s coaches must remember to collect Thomas' special one and leave it at the bay platform at Tidmouth for him to collect. Douglas offers to do this job for Duck one afternoon, but worries about being sent away and shunts the empty express coaches and the special one, still full of passengers, into the carriage siding. Shortly thereafter, Thomas arrives and panics when he finds that his coach is missing. The angry passengers emerge from the siding and complain to the Fat Controller.

The two engines switch tenders, hoping to trick the Fat Controller into thinking they had nothing to do with the incident. Once Donald is coupled up to Douglas' tender, he leaves with his goods train while Douglas stays behind with Donald’s tender. The Fat Controller and the passengers question Douglas, who pretends to be Donald and tells them his cover story. The Fat Controller appears to have fallen for it, but after the passengers have left, he swings around and excoriates Douglas.



Adaptation Notes


  • During an interview with Sodor Island Fansite shortly before his death, David Mitton said that the episode entered production in May 1985. It was halfway through filming when Britt Allcroft decided to have it cancelled, as she thought the plot would be too difficult for children to understand (most likely due to the twins switching tenders) and lacked action. Mitton also mentioned that he was in possession of all the footage filmed for the episode.
  • Three shots originally filmed for this episode were used in the episodes Saved from Scrap and Break Van.
  • At one point during production, the episode was called "Hullo Twins!"[1]
  • This episode would have been the first to feature engines switching tenders. However, because the episode was cancelled, the first episode to feature engines switching tenders was the tenth series episode, It's Good to be Gordon.
  • It is uncertain if Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell composed the music for this episode, as O'Donnell stated in an interview that he had no recollection of the episode whatsoever.
  • While the special coach was a Red Express one in the original Railway Series story, the episode used a third class Orange Branch Line Coach instead.
  • Despite this episode's cancellation, Thomas' special coach can be seen with the Green Express ones in Percy and the Signal and Duck Takes Charge.