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For other uses, see Thomas in Trouble (disambiguation).
“Where's your cowcatcher?"
"But I don't catch cows, sir."
"Don't be funny.”
―The policeman and Thomas

Thomas in Trouble, retitled Thomas Breaks the Rules in American releases, is the twenty-second episode of the first series.


One day, Thomas is leaving the quarry at the end of his branch line with both trucks and Annie and Clarabel. The rails here run alongside the road, so Thomas is always careful at this point in his run and whistles to make sure no one gets hurt. Thomas sees a new policeman on his bike and having been friends with the previous policeman who had just retired, he whistles good morning to him. Unfortunately, the policeman is not in the mood to be friendly. He is red in the face and cross.

The policeman first complains about Thomas' whistling after stating he did not get any sleep the night before, and then claims to Thomas that he is breaking the law by having no fitted cowcatchers and sideplates. His driver protests to the police officer that they have never had an accident before, but the police officer claims that it makes things worse, and he brands Thomas a "regular law breaker" in his notebook. Thomas then continues sadly to the station.


In his dining room, the Fat Controller is having breakfast with his wife when he is phoned about Thomas' incident with the police. Rushing to the station, the Fat Controller is told what happened, and talks to the policeman who refuses to back down whilst staying loyal to his duties, stating that the law must be upheld. The Fat Controller concedes that Thomas will need to be fitted with cowcatchers and sideplates. Thomas is distraught by this, stating that he will be laughed at for looking like a tram. This comment causes the Fat Controller to be reminded of Toby, making him realise that a tram engine is needed on Sodor. Knowing Toby's line lost business to buses and lorries, the Fat Controller writes a letter to his controller asking if he can be sent to Sodor.

A few days later, Toby arrives, and is greeted by the Fat Controller, who notices that Toby has brought Henrietta with him and is more than happy to allow her to stay as well. Toby soon proves to have a talent for handling the trucks. Although Thomas is jealous at first, he quickly becomes good friends with Toby, especially when Toby uses his bell to frighten the policeman.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Toby the Tram Engine.
  • A portrait of Earnest, a Victorian-style steam engine depicted with a moustache can be seen in Topham Hall.
  • As the Fat Controller was listening to the phone, the fast-talk is simply the later quote from Ringo Starr's UK narration within the episode is sped up. This was later reused in Off the Rails, but with more quotes from this episode within.
  • Stock footage from Thomas' Train is used, though only in the original version. The restored version only uses a different footage, presumably alternative footage from said episode.
  • Footage of Thomas puffing away sadly was used for the intro of Storytime with Thomas, albeit Thomas' face was edited.
  • In both of Starr's narrations, when the Policeman shouts "Oi, you!" at Toby, it is said by a background voice. In Carlin's narration, the shout is changed to "Hey, you!" said by the narrator.
  • A deleted scene shows Toby pulling his train past Tidmouth Sheds.


  • In the first close-up of the policeman talking, the camera wobbles.
  • In the restored version, during the first close-up of Thomas, his wheels do not move for the first two seconds of the shot.
  • When the narrator says that the policeman was "red in the face and very cross," he appears to be more sad than cross.
  • As Thomas is seen stopping and talking to the policeman, the top right corner of his tank has a chip in it.
  • When Thomas' driver says "Rubbish! We've been along here hundreds of times and never had an accident," the brim of his cap is falling off and there is a hole in his head.
  • The words "Regular lawbreaker" were written long before the narrator says that the policeman wrote them in his notebook. They are blurred a bit in the original footage while the restored version is more clear.
  • When the Fat Controller talks to the policeman, the brim of his top hat has paint chips in it with a crack at the top.
  • Before Toby comes on screen before passing Thomas, the track in front of him wobbles.
  • When Thomas says "Everyone will laugh, sir," when he is at Elsbridge, a bush beside him moves a bit. 
  • In a picture of Thomas at Elsbridge and when Thomas first stops by the policeman, his eyes are wonky.
  • Clarabel is facing the wrong way when Thomas puffs away from the policeman.
  • In the Serbian version, Ringo Starr's narration can be heard in the background.
  • In the first shot of Elsbridge station, one of the stairs is crooked.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Thomas Desrespeita a Lei
Chinese 托马斯有麻烦了
Croatian Tomica u Nevolji
Czech Tomáš má Potíže
Danish Thomas i Knibe
Dutch Thomas in de Nesten
Finnish Tuomas-Veturi Vaikeuksissa
French Thomas a des Ennuis
German Thomas in Not
Hebrew תומס בצרות
Hungarian Thomas Bajba Kerül
Italian Thomas nei Guai
Japanese トーマスとけいさつかん
Korean 토마스와 토비의 만남
Norwegian Thomas i Trøbbel
Polish Kłopoty Tomka
Romanian Thomas are Necazuri
Russian Томас в беде
Serbian Tomas u Nevolji
Slovak Thomas má Problémy
Slovenian Tomaž se Znajde v Težavah
Spanish Thomas en Problema / Thomas Rompe las Reglas
Swedish Thomas i Trubbel
Thai โธมัสถูกตำรวจเรียกตรวจ
Ukrainian У Томаса неприємності
Welsh Tomos a'r Plismon Newydd

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