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The Missing Coach was an episode originally developed for the second series that 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.



Plot

Work on the Fat Controller's railway has become harder, so he 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 coach and leave it at the bay platform at Tidmouth for him to collect. Douglas offers to do this job for Duck one morning, but worries about being sent away and shunts the special coach, still full of passengers, into the carriage siding with the empty express coaches. Shortly afterwards, 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 decide to switch tenders in order to trick the Fat Controller into thinking they have nothing to do with the missing coach. 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 quickly tells them his cover story while pretending to be Donald. The Fat Controller appears to have fallen for it, but after the passengers have left, he swings around furiously and admonishes Douglas.

Characters

Locations

Trivia

  • During an interview with Sodor Island Fansite shortly before his death in 2008, David Mitton said that the episode entered production in 1985 and 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. 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!", taking the name of the first story from the original book rather than the second.[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.
  • One popular theory in regards to this episode was that a Green Express Coach was used as Thomas' special coach. However, two production slides discovered in August 2020 confirmed that an Orange Branch Line Coach was used instead.
  • Despite this episode's cancellation, Thomas' special coach can be seen with the Express in Percy and the Signal and Duck Takes Charge.

References



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