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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the VHS, the DVD, the Buzz Book, the 1988 magazine story.
For other uses, see Double Trouble (disambiguation).

“Blue is the only proper colour for an engine."
"Oh, I don't know. I like my brown paint."
"I've always been green. I wouldn't want to be any other colour either."
"Well... well, anyway... blue is the only colour for a Really Useful Engine. Everyone knows that!”
―Toby, Percy and Thomas talking about their respective colours

Thomas, Percy and the Coal, retitled Double Trouble in American releases, is the first episode of the second series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book More About Thomas the Tank Engine.


One beautiful morning on Sodor, Thomas is puffing happily along his branchline with Annie and Clarabel when he arrives at Elsbridge Station. After Percy compliments Thomas on his paintwork, he brags to Percy and Toby about having the best paintwork on Sodor. When they tell him they like their own colours, Thomas says that blue is the only colour for a Really Useful Engine and puffs away.

Later that day, Thomas is resting by the coal hopper when Percy arrives to fill up some trucks. Thomas warns Percy of the trucks' antics and a set of unsafe buffers on the siding behind him. The trucks push Percy into the siding, causing a large pile of coal to fall on Thomas and cover his paintwork in coal dust. Percy is worried, but cannot help laughing as Thomas' blue paint is ruined. Thomas is furious and blames the incident on Percy. It takes so long to clean Thomas that Toby has to take Annie and Clarabel instead. Both coaches feel sorry for him. That night in the sheds, Thomas was grumpy with Percy. Toby thinks it quite funny, but Percy is cross at Thomas for thinking he ruined his paintwork on purpose, and the two engines argue for the rest of the night.

"Now Percy has learned his lesson too!"

The next day, Percy brings in some trucks from the junction. He feels thirsty, so he goes to the siding where the water tower is. However, the siding has unsafe buffers, and as Percy rolls into the siding, he finds that he can't stop and crashes through the buffers and lands in a pile of coal. Thomas has seen everything and laughs as he leaves. While Percy lays in the coal filthy and humiliated.

That night, after Percy is cleaned up, he and Thomas apologise to each other for what happened and promise to be more careful with coal next time.




  • This episode marks the first occurrences of several things:
    • The first episode adapted from a story written by Christopher Awdry.
    • The first appearance of a truck to use a face made of a resin cast.
    • The first episode filmed at Shepperton Studios.
    • The first episode to feature longer and Red Express Coaches, Cattle Trucks, LNER 12 Ton Vans and an SR 25 Ton Brake Van.
    • The first appearance of Tidmouth Station and Yard, Ffarquhar Sheds, the Ffarquhar Stationmaster's House, the Branch Line Bridge, the Branch Line Cutting, the Carriage Shed and Elsbridge Engine Sheds in the television series.
    • The first episode where Thomas' front and rear brake pipes become smaller and where the colour of the supports under his whistle change from blue to gold.
    • The first episode where Toby's bell has a new ring sound and pitch to it, which would carry on for the rest of the season and in the third series.
    • The first episode video edited by Kang Hyun-gi for JEI TV in South Korea.
    • The first appearances of Percy's cross, laughing and upset faces.
    • The first appearance of Thomas' laughing and horrified faces, along with a darker coloured second cheerful face.
    • The first appearance of Toby's laughing face.
    • The first episode to kick off a repeat series of fifteen episodes from the second series in 1991.
  • In the UK dub, when the coal pours down on Thomas, he shouts "Help, I'm choking!" This line was in the original story. But in the US dub, he instead shouts "Help!" twice. It was changed due to the "choking" concept being too much for young viewers. Despite this, all dubs have the line "'I'm not disgraceful!' choked Thomas," kept in the episode.
  • The ending is significantly different from the original story, in which Percy remains at odds with Thomas and does not make amends with him until the end of the book. This was changed because the story in question, "Drip Tank" was not adapted.
  • When the narrator says, "It took so long to clean Thomas, that he wasn't in time for his next train," a first series-style truck is seen.
  • In later versions of this episode, Christopher Awdry is not listed in the credits.
  • The beginning of the Latin American Spanish dub features a brief clip of Thomas passing the Watermill from the third series episode, Percy's Promise.
  • In the Nick Jr. US dub of the Shining Time Station episode "Win, Lose or Draw", the scene of Thomas being cleaned and Toby taking Annie and Clarabel was cut out.
  • This episode was filmed after Thomas Comes to Breakfast, as the hole in the Stationmaster's house can be seen in the shot of the narrator saying "Percy was worried, but he couldn't help laughing."
  • The line "It was time for Thomas to leave. He had seen everything," became a popular internet meme in 2016.
  • In both US dubs and the international dubs (excluding Ukraine), Thomas' whistle is absent, while Toby's bell ring is absent from Ringo Starr's US dub, the Welsh and Japanese dubs.
  • This was the first episode that Matthew Kelly introduced for the second series in a double bill with Cows on 24th September 1986. From there, he would introduce the entire second series until Woolly Bear and Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree on 17th December 1986.
  • This episode was never released on VHS and DVD in South Korea.


  • Underneath the bridge Thomas crosses at the beginning, there is some black plastic.
  • In the scene where Thomas meets Percy and Toby at Elsbridge, his dome appears to be severely bent.
  • When the narrator says that Thomas is resting in a siding, Thomas' eyes are wonky.
  • In Ringo Starr's US dub featured in the Thomas Breaks the Rules VHS and the Japanese dub, the coal chute sound effects are absent.
  • In Ringo Starr's dubs, Thomas saying "Those buffers don't look very safe to me" is cut earlier than it should be, so the "me" is cut off slightly.
  • Just before Thomas gets covered in coal, Percy is smiling when he is pushed through the buffers by the trucks and the noise of Percy hitting the buffers does not play at the exact time he hits them.
  • In the panning shot of Thomas being cleaned, a shadow can be seen moving at the back of the shed behind Thomas, possibly that of a crew member. Thomas' eyes are also looking in different directions and his face is tilted.
  • When Thomas was being cleaned, his eyes are wonky.
  • When Toby backs up to Annie and Clarabel, his face is slightly loose and blu-tak is sticking out from the side of his face. In addition to that, Clarabel is facing the opposite direction when Toby pulls them away.
  • In the restored version, almost all of the footage is framed higher than on the original print. This issue makes studio equipment visible in the top corner when Toby pulls Annie and Clarabel and at the top of the screen during a close-up of the buffers and the water tower.
  • Percy's eyes are wonky when he says that he has always been green.
  • When Toby takes Annie and Clarabel away, Clarabel's roof is not attached properly.
  • When Thomas and Percy are resting in the shed at the end, their eyes are wonky and Percy's eyebrow is peeling away.
  • When Thomas is being covered in coal, the side shots show him clean but the close-ups on his face show him very dirty.
  • When Percy arrives with his trucks at Tidmouth, a red express coach is amongst the trucks to the left of the screen, but after that, there are only trucks in that siding. There is also a wall at the side of Tidmouth Station that is not seen in other episodes.
  • In a close-up of Thomas covered in coal at the coal hopper, the hopper shakes.
  • Blu-tack can be seen holding up the buffers before Percy crashes into it.


  • Percy: Hello, Thomas. You look splendid.
  • Thomas: Yes, indeed. Blue is the only proper colour for an engine.
  • Toby: Oh, I don't know. I like my brown paint.
  • Percy: I've always been green. I wouldn't wanna be any other colour, either.
  • Thomas: Well, well, anyway, blue is the only colour for a really useful engine. Everyone knows that!

[he huffs away]

  • Narrator: Percy said no more. He just grinned at Toby.


  • Thomas: [watches the hopper load coal into Percy's trucks] Careful. Watch out with those silly trucks/cars.
  • Trucks: Go on! Go on! Go on!
  • Thomas: And by the way, those buffers don't look very safe to me.

[Percy accidentally hits said buffers; the last load of coal pours down on Thomas]

  • Thomas: UK dub: Help! I'm choking! / US dub: Help! Help! Get me out!
  • Narrator: Percy was worried, but he couldn't help laughing! Thomas' smart blue paint was covered in coal dust, from smoke-box to bunker!
  • Percy: Ha-ha! You don't look really useful now, Thomas. You look really disgraceful.
  • Thomas: I'm not disgraceful. You did that on purpose! Get me out!


  • Annie: (to Clarabel) Poor Thomas.


  • Percy: (arguing with Thomas) Fancy, a really useful blue engine like Thomas, becoming a disgrace to the Fat Controller's railway/Sir Topham Hatt's railway!


  • Narrator: It was time for Thomas to leave. He had seen everything.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Albanian Tomasi, Persi dhe qymyri
Brazilian Portuguese Confusão em Dose Dupla
Chinese Mandarin 托马斯培西和煤
Croatian Tomica, Pero i Ugljen
Czech Tomáš, Percy a Uhlí
Danish Thomas, Percy og Kullene
Dutch Thomas, Percy en de Kolen
Finnish Tuomas-Veturi, Pekka ja Hiilet
French Thomas, Pierre et le Charbon
German Chaos im Kohlenstaub
Greek Ο Τόμας, ο Τζέρι και το Κάρβουνο
Hungarian Thomas, Percy és a Szén
Italian Nera Come il Carbone
Japanese トーマスとパーシーとせきたん
Korean 석탄 속에 빠진 토마스와 퍼시
Latin American Spanish Doble Problema
Norwegian Thomas, Percy og Kullet
Polish Tomek, Piotrek i Węgiel
Romanian Thomas, Percy și Cărbunele
Romansh Tumasch, Parcival ed il charvun
Russian Черный, как вороново крыло
Serbian Tomas, Persi i Ugalj
Slovenian Tomaž, Poldi in Premog
Swedish Thomas, Percy och Kollen
Turkish Thomas, Percy ve Kömür
Ukrainian Томас, Персі та вугілля
Welsh Tomos, Pyrsi a'r Glo

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets



  • Thomas Breaks the Rules and Other Stories (Ringo Starr's dub)
  • Thomas Comes to Breakfast and Other Thomas Adventures (George Carlin's dub)



  • Thomas, Percy and the Coal and Other Stories
  • Truck Loads of Fun
  • The Complete Series 2


DVD Boxsets







DVD Boxsets








DVD Packs




  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4