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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 Fat Controller's railway has become more difficult, 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.

Donald and Douglas realize their respective numbers 9 and 10 are the only way to tell them apart. At night, the twins put Gordon and Henry in their places after the two big engines tease them about their whistles.

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 coach 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.




  • 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). 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.
  • While the special coach was a Red Express one in the original Railway Series story, the cancelled TV series adaption had a third class Orange Branch Line one instead.
  • Thomas' special coach can otherwise be seen with the Express ones in Percy and the Signal and Duck Takes Charge.