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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. It is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Thomas the Tank Engine.


Thomas has recently been grumbling about only being used to collect the coaches for the other engines, wanting to pull passenger trains as well. The other engines laugh, telling him he is too impatient and 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 to no avail, Thomas feels sorry for Henry. The next morning when Henry is due to take the early train and Thomas is needed to get the coaches ready, 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 brings the coaches to the platform and is eager to run round in front. His driver does not let him, telling him to be patient. 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 orders 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 - either he is too impatient to wait, the driver has pulled a lever by mistake, or the crew have forgotten to couple him 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 wave and shout, 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 looks back and realises he has left his train behind, he is very upset at his mistake and is ready to cry. The driver tells Thomas not to be upset and he sadly reverses back to the station.

At the station, all the passengers are complaining to the Fat Controller about what happened, but when Thomas returns, they see how sorry he is 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. But sometime later, the other engines begin to laugh at Thomas and remind him of his mistake, much to his annoyance.




  • 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 favourite episodes, alongside the fifth series episode, Rusty and the Boulder and the seventeenth series CGI episode, 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 misaligned.
  • 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 shots 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 there is a rope pulling him along by the coupling.
  • 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," a window pane is missing on one of 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. Then in every scene after that, they are at their normal height again. Furthermore, 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 misaligned at the end of the episode when the other engines are teasing him.
  • When Thomas is switching tracks to buffer to his coaches, his eyes appear misaligned.
  • In the penultimate shot, as Thomas puffs backwards into Platform 4, he is heard chuffing before he moves.

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
Greek Το Τρένο του Τόμας
Hebrew הרכבת של תומס
Hungarian Thomas Vonata
Italian Il Trenino di Thomas
Japanese トーマスのしっぱい
Korean 객차를 운행하던 날 (DVD Acadamy) / 토마스의 실수 (재능TV)
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
Turkish Thomas'ın Treni
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





DVD Boxsets











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