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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the magazine story, the My First Thomas book, the UK VHS, the US VHS/DVD release or the Slovenian DVD.
“Hello Thomas. What are you doing here?"
"I'm pulling a train. Can't you see?"
"Where are your coaches then?"
"Why, bless me, if we haven't left them behind!”
―The signalman and Thomas

Thomas' Train, retitled A Big Day for Thomas in American releases, is the fifth episode of the first series.


Thomas the Tank Engine's main job as station pilot is to collect the coaches that the engines need to pull their trains. Recently, Thomas has been grumbling about only getting to collect the coaches, wanting to pull passenger trains instead. The other engines laugh at Thomas, telling him he is so impatient he would be bound to leave something behind. Thomas is determined to get a chance to prove them wrong.

That night, Thomas and Henry are alone in the shed as Henry is ill. The workmen try their hardest to make him better but fail when it is no use. Thomas feels sorry for Henry, who feels just as bad the next morning when he is due to take the early train. It is time for Thomas to get the coaches ready, so he starts to hope he will be allowed to pull the train if Henry is not able to. He excitedly leaves to fetch the coaches.

Thomas quickly gets the coaches to the platform and is eager to run round in front. His driver does not let him, telling him he needs to be less impatient. Soon, all the passengers are aboard and the coaches are ready to leave and there is still no sign of Henry, much to Thomas' excitement. The Fat Controller arrives to see what is going on and is told about Henry. He tells the stationmaster to find another engine and, as Thomas is the only one available, he allows the tank engine to take the train.

Thomas, full of joy, quickly moves to the front of the coaches despite his driver again warning Thomas not to be impatient, but wait until everything is ready. For some unknown reason - Thomas is too impatient to wait, the driver has pulled the lever by mistake, or the crew have forgotten to couple Thomas to the coaches - Thomas ends up leaving the station without the coaches and the passengers are very surprised and angry. The men in the signal box outside the station try to stop Thomas by shouting and waving, though Thomas thinks they are cheering.

Thomas sails along the line, thinking pulling coaches is easier than he was told. He keeps seeing people waving at him and assumes it is because he has never pulled a train before. Eventually, Thomas is stopped at a signal set to danger. Thomas is angry at being stopped when he was sailing through nicely and blows his whistle, alerting the signalman who asks what Thomas is doing on this part of the line. Thomas explains he is pulling a train, but the signalman asks him where the coaches are. Thomas is horrified when he realises he has left his train behind. The signalman tells Thomas he better go back and get them. Thomas is very upset at his mistake and is ready to cry. The driver tells Thomas not to be upset and Thomas sadly heads back to the station.

At the station, all the passengers are complaining to the Fat Controller about what happened, but when Thomas arrives and they see how upset and sorry he is, they forget to be cross and allow him to try again. This time, Thomas is properly coupled to the coaches and he gets the chance to really pull the train. However, for a long time afterwards, the other engines laugh at Thomas and embarrass him by reminding him of his mistake, much to his annoyance.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • The events of this episode were retold in The Adventure Begins.
  • In the restored version of the episode, the close-up shots of Thomas' whistle are different.
  • Davey Moore has cited this episode as being one of his favorite model series episodes, alongside Rusty and the Boulder and Luke's New Friend.
  • Recreated and additional scenes of this episode were produced in 1988 for the ladybird book The Sad Story of Henry/Thomas's Train/Thomas and the Guard.


  • When Henry is being worked on, one of the workmen does not have his overalls completely painted on.
  • When Thomas is shunting the passenger coaches, there already seems to be people inside them.
  • When Thomas passes the signal box without his train, his eyes are wonky.
  • The man with the red hat and blue coat and the boy with the blue sweater on the bridge were two of Thomas' passengers.
  • When Thomas says "If Henry is ill, perhaps I shall pull his train," he has his sad face on when his tone of voice suggests that he should be happy.
  • In two close-up of Thomas, his wheels are going at a different pace to the background.
  • At the end of the episode, Henry's train is missing a brake coach.
  • When the others tease Thomas, Gordon is among them, but a few seconds earlier, he was outside the station.
  • In the close-up of Thomas puffing down the line, look at his coupling, you will see a rope pulling him along.
  • In the whole scene of Thomas at Knapford at the beginning, blu-tack is visible underneath his face.
  • When the narrator says, "The porter banged the doors," camera equipment is visible on the coaches.
  • When Thomas first shunts the coaches, the back buffers of the coach are at their normal height. A few scenes later, however, the buffers are lowered to accommodate Thomas' buffers. But, in every scene after that, they are at their normal height again. In the same shot, a small light flickers on Thomas' smokebox.
  • James is seen passing by with a train whilst Thomas is shunting the coaches, yet James was at Tidmouth Sheds when Thomas left.
  • When Thomas runs round to the front of the coaches, a handle appears on the top of his lamp, but in the next shot it disappears.
  • Thomas' eyes are wonky at the end of the episode when the other engines are teasing him.
  • When Thomas is hauling the passenger coaches into the station, the brake coach is visible at the front of the train, yet brake coaches should be at the back of the train.
  • When Thomas is switching tracks to buffer to his coaches, his eyes appear wonky.
  • In the Penultimate shot, as Thomas puffs backwards into Platform 4, we hear him chuffing before he is moving.
  • In a rare picture of James and Henry at Knapford Station, there is no coal in each of their tenders and wires can been seen in them.

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Uma Surpresa Para o Thomas / Um Grande Dia para Thomas
Chinese 托马斯的火车
Croatian Tomicina Vlak
Czech Tomášův Vlak
Danish Da Thomas Trak et Tog
Dutch De Trein van Thomas
Finnish Tuomas-Veturin Juna
French Le Train de Thomas
German Thomas' Zug
Hebrew הרכבת של תומס
Hungarian Thomas Vonata
Italian Il Trenino di Thomas
Japanese トーマスのしっぱい
Korean 토마스의 실수
Norwegian Toget til Thomas
Polish Pociąg Tomka
Romanian Trenul lui Thomas
Russian Поезд Томаса
Serbian Tomasova Voz
Slovak Thomasov Vlak
Slovenian Tomažev Vlak
Spanish Un Gran Día para Thomas
Swedish Thomas Tar Tåget
Thai โธมัสดีใจ
Welsh Trên Tomos


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Name Published Publisher Highlights Photo
The Sad Story of Henry and Thomas's Train and Thomas and the Guard 1988 Ladybird Books
  • Ladybird book
  • Also features The Sad Story of Henry and Thomas and the Guard
Thomas and the Passenger Train 2009 Dean and Son

Magazine stories

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


  • Thomas and Gordon and other stories


VHS/DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets





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