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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 is 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 leave something behind. Thomas is determined to get a chance to prove them wrong.

One night, Thomas and Henry are alone in the shed. Henry is ill and the workmen try their hardest to make him better, but to no avail and Thomas feels sorry for him. The next morning when Henry is due to take the morning 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, 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 him not to be impatient. For some unknown reason - either Thomas is too impatient to wait, his 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 puffs 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 cross at being stopped when he was going so nicely and blows his whistle, alerting the signalman who asks Thomas what he is doing on this part of the line. Thomas replies he is pulling a train, but the signalman asks him where the coaches are. Thomas looks back and realises that he has left his train behind. He is very upset at his mistake and almost cries. His driver tells him not to be upset and they head back to the station to try again.

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 restart. This time, Thomas is properly coupled to the coaches and he really gets his chance to pull the train. But sometime later, the other engines begin to tease Thomas and remind him of his mistake, to his annoyance.



Adaptation Notes

  • Thomas is given dialogue when he grumbles to the other engines, unlike in the original story where it is simply told through narration.
  • The descriptor of Thomas speaking "crossly" and the line "you just wait" are omitted.
  • The line "he felt just as bad next morning" is added before the exposition about Henry pulling the first train.
  • The line "Thomas got more and more excited every minute" is cut down to simply "Thomas got more and more excited."
  • Sir Topham Hatt is referred to as a controller rather than a director.
  • Part of the narration referring to the Fat Controller coming out of his office is cut, due to it being represented visually in the episode.
  • The line "but Thomas was too excited to listen to a word he said" is cut down to simply "but Thomas was too excited to listen."
  • The line "perhaps Thomas was too impatient to wait until they were ready" is omitted.
  • The order of events when Thomas leaves the station is swapped: in the original story, he was waved at by the people on the platform before passing the first signal box; in the episode, Thomas passes the first signal box on his way out of the station, with the people waving to him later from the lineside.
  • The line "but he came to a signal" is changed to "then he came to a signal."
  • There is only one signalman at the signal box where Thomas is stopped.
  • The passengers in the episode are said to only be talking to the Fat Controller when Thomas returns to the station, while in the book they are also complaining to the stationmaster and the guard.


  • The events of this episode were recreated and retold in The Adventure Begins.
  • In the restored version of the episode, the close-up shot of Thomas' whistle is a deleted mirrored scene from this episode.
  • Davey Moore has cited this episode as one of his favourites, alongside the fifth series episode, Rusty and the Boulder, and the seventeenth series episode, Luke's New Friend.
  • A clip of this episode was shown during the review of the first UK Betamax video release on TV-AM.
  • This episode and Thomas and the Trucks were repeated one final time on 27th February 1989 before repeats of the second series started aired a week later.
  • Despite their appearances in the episode, Edward and James do not appear in the nameboard sequence at the end of the episode in the Japanese dub.
  • This is the first episode with a few things:
    • The first episode released by DVD Acadamy in South Korea.
    • The first episode to have three dubs in South Korea.
    • The first episode to have voice over English dub in South Korea.
    • The first on-screen appearance of Thomas' surprised/shocked face.
  • In the original Polish dub, Ringo Starr's dub can be heard in the background as a dubbing track was not used.
  • In the Korean dub of DVD Acadamy, George Carlin' dub can be heard in the background as a dubbing track was not used.
  • In the original Swedish dub, the episode title was not translated in Swedish.
  • This episode was also included on the two video compilations, Calling All Toddlers 1 and 2.


  • At the very start, the brake van from the goods train wobbles a bit.
  • In the shot of Henry 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.
  • Two of Thomas' passengers can be seen on the bridge after he leaves without his train.
  • When Thomas passes the signal box without his train, his eyes are misaligned.
  • Bridget and Stephen Hatt, the man with the red hat and blue coat and the Ffarquhar Policeman are smiling in the shot of them waving at Thomas, when they are supposed to be shouting.
  • In two close-up shots of Thomas his wheels are going at a different pace to the background, and a camera connector can briefly be seen.
  • 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 Thomas couples up to the train, the coach is touching his buffers, but in the panning shot of him pulling the train, there is a large gap in between him the first coach.
  • 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 wonky 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.
  • When the Fat Contoller says "Find another engine" he has several holes on his face.

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Uma Surpresa Para o Thomas
Um Grande Dia para Thomas
Chinese Mandarin 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 (JEI TV)
Latin American Spanish Un Gran Día Para Thomas
Norwegian Toget til Thomas
Polish Pociąg Tomka
Romanian Trenul lui Thomas
Romansh Il tren da Tumasch
Russian Поезд Томаса
Serbian Tomasova Voz
Slovak Thomasov Vlak
Slovenian Tomažev Vlak
Swedish Thomas Tar Tåget
Turkish Thomas'ın Büyük Günü
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

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  • Thomas and Gordon and other stories





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