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“Hooray for Duncan's mistake!”
The narrow gauge engines

The Runaway Elephant is the sixteenth episode of the seventh series.


A new park is being opened on the Narrow Gauge Railway, and Duncan is bossing the other engines about and telling them to do their work quicker. Skarloey complains to Rusty about him being bossy. But Rusty reassures him that it is better being safe then being fast.

When Duncan finishes his jobs, The Fat Controller asks him to take an elephant statue down to the park, but carelessly leaves without a brake van. As usual, Duncan is being impatient and boasts that he will get the job done first. He starts to speed up as a result, Duncan is unable to slow down and thus runs out of control, almost colliding with a tractor, and rockets past Rusty who shouts at him to slow down. Until he finally derails after hitting the buffers at the park, which catapults the elephant statue into the pond.

The Fat Controller ends up scolding Duncan for his carelessness and for not waiting for the brake van. Thankfully, Duncan is repaired in time for the opening, but is surprised to find the elephant still in the pond due to general favour of the elephant's position, and embarrassed to be lauded by the others for his fortunate mistake.




  • Going by production order, this is the twenty-third episode of the seventh series.
  • A pre-filmed deleted scene from The Grand Opening is used.
  • This is the fourth and final episode to use a rendition of the William Tell Overture (Finale) and the second time it was used in the seventh series. The first being Busy Going Backwards, the second being Thomas the Jet Engine and the third being Rheneas and the Roller Coaster. Like the aforementioned episodes, this was only in the UK and international dubs, and unlike the previous episodes, the music was only played briefly.
  • The events of this episode were later mentioned by Duncan in the eighteenth series episode, Emily Saves the World.
  • The small scale elephant statue prop is currently owned by Twitter user IsaacM6991.
  • This is the last episode of the Thomas & Friends model series where Duncan has his wincing facemask.


  • When Duncan arrives at the sidings to collect the statue, the trucks that were previously there when he was at the station have disappeared. Also, Duncan arrived from a dead end.
  • Just before Duncan arrives at the station to collect the statue, he can be seen standing completely still in the right corner on his line for a few seconds.
  • In one scene, Duncan's driver changes appearance.
  • When Duncan rushes past Rusty, the narrator says: '"Slow down!" whistled Rusty,' but Rusty is a diesel engine and diesels have horns. Also, the line behind Rusty leads to bushes.
  • When the narrator says that people waved and cars tooted, Elizabeth and the Fat Controller's Car's horn sounds are heard, but they are nowhere to be seen.


  • Skarloey: Duncan thinks he's fast. But he's just a bossy boiler.
  • Rusty: Better safe than fast.


  • Stationmaster: You must wait for the brake van. The statue is very heavy.
  • Duncan: Nonsense. I pushed heavy loads in plenty of times.
  • Driver: Let's go, Duncan, but we must be careful.


  • Rusty: Slow down!
  • Duncan: I CAN'T! (Duncan speeds past)


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Chinese Mandarin 逃走的大象
Czech Slon na útěku
Danish Den flyvende elefant
Hungarian Az elefánt
Italian Duncan e l'elefante
Japanese にげたぞう
Korean 코끼리 둥상
Polish Słoń Uciekinier
Romanian Elefantul Fugar
Russian Слон-беглец
Serbian Pobegli slon
Swedish Elefant på irrvägar
Turkish Kaçak Fil
Welsh Llyn Eliffant

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets




  • Thomas and the Really Brave Engines and Other Adventures

DVD Boxsets


  • The Complete Series 7

DVD Boxsets





DVD Boxsets