- “Hello, slow coach!”
- ―Bertie to Thomas
Thomas Takes a Shortcut is a magazine story, illustrated using images from the CGI television series. It was republished later in the same year with slightly altered text and it was later published in the 2015 Thomas Annual.
One bright, sunny day, Bertie teases Thomas by calling him a "slowcoach". Despite Annie's protests, Thomas speeds all the way to Dryaw and arrives two minutes early, but still Bertie has gotten to the station first. Thomas is not happy and challenges Bertie to a race. The stationmaster blows his whistle and Thomas and Bertie speed off.
Soon, Thomas has to stop to let some sheep cross over his line and when Thomas reaches the level crossing, Bertie is there first. Thomas has to stop to let Bertie zoom through the crossing.
No matter how fast Thomas goes, Bertie keeps on winning the races. Thomas cannot understand it until Bertie admits that he has been re-routed which has made his bus route quicker. Thomas is surprised and even more cross. He is determined to find a way of beating Bertie even if it means finding a shortcut too.
The next day, the passengers at Dryaw board Thomas and speeds away. During his journey, Thomas spots a hidden track and switches to it, thinking it could be a shortcut. Instead, Thomas hits some old buffers and derails. Luckily, Bertie finds Thomas and takes his passengers. Harvey arrives and takes away Annie and Clarabel. The Fat Controller is very cross with Thomas who is very sorry and promises to stick to his branch line in future.
A few days later, Thomas is repaired and back on track. Just as Thomas promised, he now sticks to his branch line. Thomas and Bertie still like to race and sometimes, if Thomas reaches the crossing first, he even wins.
- Clarabel (does not speak)
- Farmer McColl (cameo)
- The Teacher (cameo)
- The Bird Watcher (cameo)
- Harvey (mentioned)
- Sir Topham Hatt (mentioned)