- “Oh dear, not another blue engine!”
Thomas and the Twins is the thirty-third book of the Railway Series.
Bill and Ben keep asking if they can be in a book again. Well, in Cornwall during 1988, I met Bill and Ben's twins and talked to the driver of one of them at Par. He set me thinking, and this is the result: if our china clay twins enjoy being in a book again, they should thank him not me. I hope you will enjoy the stories too.
The Fat Controller has to make a weight limit on one of the bridges on Thomas' Branch Line. Thomas exceeds it, so he is sent to Edward's Branch Line. Edward decides to try to cheer him up by taking him to meet Bill and Ben, but they only make him cross. Meanwhile, a farmer is taking some dairy to market when his lorry breaks down. He is calling for help when Thomas crashes into the back of the lorry, getting covered in broken eggs. Even though his crew tries to clean them off, they are cooked by the heat from Thomas' boiler and stick fast. When Thomas finally arrives at Brendam, Bill and Ben tease him even more.
What a Picture!
After Edward threatens the twins that he will not bring some enthusiasts to see them if they continue teasing Thomas, they start behaving again. On the big day, a ship runs aground and Ben goes to try and pull it into deeper waters before the tide goes out. The enthusiasts go to watch, except for a man who continuously takes pictures of Bill. He sets up his camera for the best one yet when Ben's driver comes along asking for help and Bill's driver turns a tap, creating a huge cloud of steam. After helping Ben, Bill and his driver discover the photo lying discarded on the ground, for only Bill's funnel is showing.
Trevor Helps Out
Trevor is feeling unwell with some boiler trouble, but is able to see a fallen tree in a field. Meanwhile, Edward, who is passing by, finds the rails bumpy, and decides to tell the breakdown gang. He forgets, and is returning from Brendam when his last few trucks derail. Edward does not realise this, but Trevor hears the guard's whistle and cries out to Edward. As a reward for preventing a potential accident, the Fat Controller arranges for Trevor to be repaired.
Down the Drain
Near the China Clay Workings is a dip in the land which is often flooded with water from the nearby sea. One wet day, Ben is taking some trucks to Brendam when the strong wind blows a wave into the cab, dousing his fire. His fireman gets Thomas for help, and he pulls Ben away from the water. When Bill is able to return from the quarry a few days later, he and Ben decide never to tease Thomas again as it would show their ingratitude after he helped them.
- Bill and Ben
- The Fat Controller
- The Vicar of Wellsworth
- Percy (does not speak)
- Toby (does not speak)
- Daisy (does not speak)
- The Enthusiasts (do not speak)
- The Dairy Farmer (does not speak)
- James (cameo)
- Jem Cole (cameo)
- Gordon (mentioned)
- Donald and Douglas (mentioned)
- Annie and Clarabel (mentioned)
- Alfred and Judy (mentioned in foreword)
- Ffarquhar Sheds
- Wellsworth Vicarage Orchard
- Suddery Junction
- Sodor China Clay Company
- The "Drain"
- This book marks the final appearances of Bill, Ben, Trevor, and the Vicar of Wellsworth in the Railway Series.
- A reference to Main Line Engines is made.
- This book is most likely the inspiration for the plot of Tale of the Brave, which also begins with Thomas working with the twins while his branch line is closed for bridgework.
- Scrambled Eggs takes place in 1987, What a Picture! and Trevor Helps Out take place in 1988, and Down the Drain takes place in 1989.
- What a Picture! and Down the Drain are based on real events from Bill Rogers, a retired driver of Alfred and Judy.
- Bill and Ben are much bigger than they were in Main Line Engines and than their basis'.
- When Thomas approaches the lorry the sky is dark, but after he collides with the lorry, the sky is light.
- In "Trevor Helps Out", Edward's last six trucks were said to have been derailed, but in the illustrations only three are. In fact, there were only six trucks in total.
- The 2013 reprint does not have "C. Awdry" printed on the spine, unlike reprints of other Railway Series books from the same year.