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For other uses, see Toby (disambiguation).

“Electric indeed! Electric indeed!”

Toby and the Stout Gentleman, retitled Toby the Tram Engine in American releases, is the twenty-first episode of the first series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book Toby the Tram Engine.


A steam tram engine named Toby lives and works on his own little railway. He has cowcatchers and sideplates to help prevent accidents, making him look quite unlike a steam engine. He has his own coach called Henrietta, who always rides along with him. Sadly, they have both seen better days as the amounts of passengers and trucks they take have been reducing due to the increase of roads. The passengers would rather travel by car or bus, while companies send their cargo by lorry.

One day, a stout gentleman, who is actually the Fat Controller, his wife, and their two grandchildren visit the railway while on holiday. The two children note that Toby looks unusual for an engine, and the Fat Controller tells them that he is a tram engine. After the granddaughter accidentally offends Toby by asking if he is electric, the children want a ride and beg their grandfather, who agrees. The whole family takes a ride in Henrietta, who is very happy to have passengers again. Toby, on the other hand, is still fuming about being called electric.

Afterwards, the Fat Controller speaks to Toby, thanking him for a lovely journey. Toby notes to himself that the Fat Controller is one who knows how to speak to engines. The family returns every day for two weeks, sometimes riding in Henrietta, or inside empty trucks. On their last day, they ride with Toby's crew in his cab. Everyone is sorry when the family has to leave, and they promise to come back someday.

"Wake up, Toby, and listen to this! It's a letter from the stout gentleman!"

As time passes, Toby finds himself carrying even fewer passengers and goods. Soon the inevitable happens and Toby's controller decides to shut the line down, much to Toby's grief. Later that day, a lot of people come for the chance at a last ride on Toby's line. Although they treat the occasion like a celebration, Toby and his driver know it is anything but. Afterwards, the passengers bid Toby a sad goodbye before he returns to his shed, then falls asleep feeling lonely and unwanted.

The next morning, Toby is woken by his driver and fireman, who have just received some very good news; an important letter from the stout gentleman.




  • This marks the first appearance of several things:
    • The first appearance of Toby, Henrietta, Bridget Hatt and Lady Hatt in the television series.
    • The first appearance of Arlesdale End, Arlesdale Castle, Lake and Mountains Line in the television series.
    • The first episode where a line was closing down, in this case, it was Toby's Old Tramway.
    • The first episode where an engine had escaped from scrap, in this case, Toby was brought to the North Western Railway by the Fat Controller, although it was officially seen on the next episode, and the escape from scrap was not shown on-screen until the second series episode, Saved from Scrap.
  • In the Welsh dub, a few bits of footage were removed, such as Toby leaving the station on his last day and when Toby goes to his shed.
  • In a deleted scene and some behind the scenes footage, there is a turntable in front of Toby's shed. However, the turntable was not seen in the episode itself.
  • This is the only episode of three things:
  • When George Carlin's dub aired on Shining Time Station, the first shot was cut out.
  • The last day of Toby's line being in service and the last scene both take place during Thomas in Trouble.
  • This episode and Thomas in Trouble were the last two episodes to air in four pairings on 20th August 1990.
  • This episode was never released on VHS and DVD in South Korea.


  • In the restored version, the footage sometimes overlaps and studio equipment is visible in the top left corner at the beginning of the episode.
  • The water at the lake is made of aluminum foil, which makes the water completely still and does not move at all. The same occurs in episodes and music videos that used footage from this same location.
  • A small piece of blu-tak can be seen on the Fat Controller's shoes when Toby first meets him at Lower Arlesburgh.
  • When the Fat Controller says, "Stop!" he has five holes in his face and hat.
  • In the first to third close-ups of the Fat Controller, a camera tripod is seen on the left corner of the screen.
  • When Bridget says "Is it electric?" and "But trams are electric, aren't they?" there is red marking on her left (viewers' right) palm.
  • In the first and last close-up of Stephen and Bridget Hatt and the two close-ups of Bridget Hatt, a light stand is seen.
  • In the US dub, after Toby complains about being called electric, it is said that he "was proud of being a steam train," but Toby is a steam tram pulling a train.
  • When the passengers say "We are sorry your line is closing down," Toby's cowcatcher is slanted.
  • In the shot where Toby said "Nobody wants me," part of the studio wall can seen behind the sky painting.


Grandchildren: Come on, Grandfather! Do look at this engine.
The Fat Controller: That's a tram engine, Stephen.
Bridget: Is it electric?
Toby: [furiously] WHOOSH!!
Stephen: Shh! Shh! You've offended him.
Bridget: But trams are electric, aren't they?
The Fat Controller: They are mostly, but this is a steam tram.
Stephen and Bridget: May we go in it, Grandfather? Please?
The Fat Controller: [to the guard] STOP!
[he and his family board Henrietta; Toby sets off]
Henrietta: Hip-Hip-Hooray!
Narrator: But Toby didn't sing.
Toby: Electric, indeed. Electric, indeed!
Narrator: UK: He was very hurt. / US: He was proud of being a steam tram.

[last lines in the UK version]
Toby's driver: Wake up, Toby, and listen to this! It's a letter from the stout gentleman!
Narrator: Toby listened and… but I mustn't tell you any more, or I shall spoil the next story.

[last line in the US version]
Toby's driver: Wake up, Toby! The mail has just arrived, and there's a letter for us from the stout gentleman. Maybe it's good news!


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Albanian Tobi dhe zotëria i shëndoshë
Brazilian Portuguese Toby o Bondinho
Chinese Mandarin 托比和胖绅士
Croatian Bruno i Krupni Gospodin
Czech Toby a Tlustý Pán
Danish Toby og den Fine Herre
Dutch Toby en de Dikke Meneer
Finnish Topi ja Tanakka Herrasmies
French Toby et le Gros Monsieur
German Toby und der elegante Herr
Hebrew טובי ואדון גדול גוף
Hungarian Toby és a Zömök Úriember
Italian Una Strana Locomotiva
Japanese トビーとハットきょう
Korean 토비와 노신사의 만남
Latin American Spanish Toby el Tranvía
Norwegian Toby og den Fyldige Herren
Polish Tobik i Gruby Dżentelmen
Romanian Toby şi Domnul Cel Solid
Romansh Tobias il tram a vapur
Russian Тоби и толстый джентльмен
Serbian Tobi i Obvožne Gospodin
Slovak Toby a Tučný Prednosta
Slovenian Tobi in Debelušni Gospod
Swedish Toby och den Fyllige Herren
Ukrainian Тобі і огрядний джентльмен
Welsh Tobi a'r Dyn Tew

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets



  • Tenders and Turntables and Other Stories (Ringo Starr's dub)
  • A Big Day for Thomas (George Carlin's dub)
  • The Early Years (UK dub)

DVD Packs


DVD Boxsets












  • The Flying Kipper (DVD)




DVD Packs





  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4