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“Come to Uncle James!”
―James talking to the egg.

Thomas' Animal Ark is the eighteenth episode of the twenty-second series.

Plot

It is Christmas Eve on the Island of Sodor, and Thomas is busy taking a small freight train down the line while clearing the tracks with his snowplough when he approaches the Sodor Animal Park and finds Headkeeper Jack standing on the platform with one of the park's monkeys. When Thomas asks if everything is alright, Headkeeper Jack explains that the boiler for the animals' winter house has broken down, and without it, the animals that come from warm places like India and Africa won't be able to stay warm during the winter. After Thomas has a daydream about how they could keep the animals warm without the boiler, Headkeeper Jack explains that he sent Emily down to Brendam Docks to pick up the new boiler, but he's been waiting for hours. Seeing as he's on his way down to the docks with his freight, Thomas offers to check for Headkeeper Jack, and departs for the docks.

At the docks, Emily is with Carly, but the ship carrying the new boiler has not come into port yet. When Emily argues about its whereabouts, Carly explains that the snowstorm is to blame as many ships are not able to reach their destinations because of it and worries that the boiler won't arrive until after Christmas. Overhearing this as he pulled into the docks next to Emily, Thomas realizes this is an emergency, and not waiting for his train to be uncoupled, rushes out of the docks, past the Animal Park, and heads straight to Knapford to tell Sir Topham Hatt.

Startling Sir Topham Hatt as he was placing the Christmas star on the tree outside his office, Thomas is reprimanded for it, before explaining the situation about the Animal Park. Learning of the situation for the animals, Sir Topham ponders on where they could be sent to stay warm until the new boiler arrives, before taking Henry's suggestion to have the animals taken to the Steamworks to stay warm as his own, and assigns Thomas the duty of gathering any empty cars he can find and use them to transport the animals to the Steamworks. As Thomas departs to carry out his orders, Percy wishes that the animals could stay at Tidmouth Sheds with the engines as that would be the best Christmas gift he could ever have. Unknown to him or Henry, the Christmas star that Sir Topham was trying to put up glows as he made his wish.

Back at the Animal Park, Thomas loads up the giraffes, elephants, monkeys, zebras, ostriches, and camels, and with Headkeeper Jack riding in the cab with his driver and fireman, Thomas sets off for the Steamworks. However, he soon finds a tunnel leading to the Steamworks blocked by a heavy snowdrift that he can't punch through, and opts for an alternate plan he thought of.

As Thomas heads for his alternate destination, he passes Rebecca, warning her of the blocked tunnel, while she warns him of heavy snowdrifts ahead. Thomas soon finds himself speeding down the hill, only to see a large snowdrift ahead that he hits dead-on, bringing him to a stop, but none of the animals, nor Headkeeper Jack and Thomas' crew, are hurt, but Thomas is unable to push through due to the icy rails. Luckily, remembering when he was derailed while working on the Indian Railway, Thomas has the elephants use their strength to help push him through the snowdrift, allowing them to continue on their way.

That evening, the rest of the Steam Team are back at Tidmouth Sheds, with Percy still upset about the animals, until he hears Thomas' whistle, and is immediately overjoyed by what he sees backing into Thomas' berth: Thomas, with his train full of the animals from the Animal Park, much to James and Gordon's disbelief and shock. Though Thomas explains the animals will be warm with them thanks to their boilers, Gordon and James are still against the very thought, but Percy is happy his Christmas wish came true.

The next morning, which is Christmas, Sir Topham Hatt arrives at the sheds to wake up the Steam Team, wishing them a Merry Christmas, and that all the tracks are being cleared. When there's no response, Sir Topham creaks open the doors of Thomas' berth to look inside, and is stunned to see all the animals inside with the Steam Team. Thomas explains this was his backup plan when he couldn't reach the Steamworks, and all the engines were in agreement, though James still voices his discomfort with them, especially the ostrich resting on his front end. Sir Topham assures him that the new boiler arrived earlier that morning, so the animals can return home to the Animal Park soon, but then Percy notices something under James' smoke box that Headkeeper Jack notices as well: The ostrich laid an egg, and Headkeeper Jack explains that it will have to stay there until it hatches, much to James' disbelief. However, Sir Topham tells him to calm down, reminding him that it is Christmas, the season of goodwill to everyone, even animals, before another ostrich has some fun taking Sir Topham's top hat to wear itself, much to his discomfort and the Steam Team's amusement.

Characters

Locations

Cast

UK

US

  • Joseph May as Thomas
  • Kerry Shale as Henry, Gordon and Headkeeper Jack
  • Rob Rackstraw as James
  • Christopher Ragland as Percy
  • Jules de Jongh as Emily
  • Yvonne Grundy as Nia
  • Rachael Miller as Rebecca
  • Lucy Montgomery as Carly
  • Keith Wickham as Sir Topham Hatt

Trivia

  • A reference to the episode Trusty Trunky is made.
  • Throughout the episode, the tune to "Deck the Halls" can be heard at various points.
  • This is the only episode of the twenty-second series to feature an extra scene within the life lesson, being a sequence of an open Tidmouth Sheds' berth at night and James adoring the newly-hatched baby ostrich.
  • This is the last episode where James lacks his Series 23 details.
  • The episode title is a reference to the Biblical story of Noah's Ark.

Goofs

  • When Thomas rushes by Headkeeper Jack and says “Can’t stop,” the running board of the fourth car/truck in his train is missing.

Home Media Releases

UK/AUS



In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese A Arca Animal de Thomas
Chinese 托马斯的动物方舟
Czech Tomášova archa zvířat
Danish Thomas' dyre-ark
Dutch De Dierentrein
Finnish Tuomaksen eläinkuljetus
German Tiere in Not
Hungarian Thomas bárkája
Italian L'Arca Degli Animali di Thomas
Japanese トーマスとはこぶね
Norwegian Thomas' dyreark
Polish Zwierzęca Arka Tomka
Russian Случай в Рождество
Spanish El Arca de Animales de Thomas
Swedish Thomas djurark

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