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“It isn't wrong, but we just don't do it.”
―Gordon and Henry

Whistles and Sneezes is the twentieth episode of the first series. It is based on the stories Gordon's Whistle and Henry's Sneeze from the Railway Series book Henry the Green Engine.


Henry has recently returned from Crewe after his accident. Gordon is jealous that Henry now gets to pull the express and complains that he did not need a new shape and left them all of his work as well as their own. He also claims that Henry whistles too loudly at stations, saying "It isn't wrong, but we just don't do it." Henry is upset by this remark, but Percy tells him he is glad that he is back and likes his whistling.

Later, when Henry arrives at Wellsworth, Edward tells him that he was glad to hear his whistle, cheering Henry up. Suddenly, to the engines' confusion, the sound of a high-pitched, droning whistle can be heard in the distance. It turns out to be Gordon, whose whistle is jammed. He flies down the hill and through the station. Edward is surprised, while Henry tells him what Gordon had said about whistling.

Gordon speeds down the line, the awful noise from his whistle continuing even when he reaches the last station making everyone, even the Fat Controller, cover their ears. He leaves the express behind and is taken to some fitters who hammer his whistle valve back into place, which causes the noise to finally stop. That night, Gordon finds the sheds empty, to his relief. As the other engines arrive back, Henry softly says to no one in particular, "It isn't wrong, but we just don't do it," but says nothing about whistles.

The next day, Henry takes a passenger train feeling as well as ever and soon approaches a bridge where three boys are waiting. Henry whistles in greeting, but suddenly feels pain as the boys do not answer but instead throw stones on him and his train, breaking the coaches' windows.

While unhurt, the passengers are furious. They want to call the police, but are interrupted by Henry's driver who has a plan to get their own back. After getting everyone to promise to keep the plan a secret, the driver tells them. The plan is to have Henry sneeze and release the ashes that are built up in his smoke box. The passengers are excited and on the way back from the other end of the line, the driver makes sure everyone is ready and warns them to keep their windows shut until the train has passed the bridge because Henry is about to sneeze. Although the driver says that Henry is as excited as everyone else, Henry feels too stuffed up to answer.

Soon Henry approaches the bridge where the boys are waiting with more stones. Judging the moment, the driver has Henry sneeze at exactly the right time, covering the boys from head to toe in soot. Henry goes home satisfied, knowing that thanks to a whistle and a sneeze, he has taught both Gordon and the boys a lesson they will not soon forget.




  • Stock footage and a deleted scene from Coal are used.
  • In the restored version, the scenes of Percy coming back to the shed at night, Henry pulling the express, Henry arriving at Lower Tidmouth and the last scene had no fade effects. Also when Henry was approaching the bridge, the scene where he looks cross before sneezing at the boys was omitted.
  • When Gordon leaves Knapford, music can be heard in the US and international dubs but not in some versions of the UK one.
  • This is the only episode of the first series that is not re-narrated by Ringo Starr for Shining Time Station in the US, as well as the first series one episode narrated by George Carlin in said show. However, Ringo Starr's dub for this episode was released on The Early Years DVD in 2004, but it used the UK narration.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Lower Tidmouth in the television series (in this episode seemingly replacing Crosby from the original book).
  • The Rail Under Road Bridge and Signalbox replaces Crosby Road Bridge in the original book, while Crosby Road Bridge does not appear until the second series episode, Old Iron.
  • This episode and The Flying Kipper were the last two episodes to be repeated in a ten minute block on 9th September 1987; at this point, the series was broadcasted on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ending its runtime in Australia on 28th December. Two days later, Thomas' Christmas Party was aired individually in the UK on 30th December 1987.
  • This episode was never released on VHS and DVD in South Korea.


  • In the beginning of the episode, Gordon's bufferbeam is dented, and his right buffer is slightly crooked.
  • After Gordon criticises Henry, Henry's face is not put on properly.
  • When Gordon goes down the hill, his wheels are moving a slower pace, and studio equipment can be seen reflecting off his coaches.
  • The narrator says the everyone covered their ears when Gordon arrives, but none of them are covering their ears until the close up of the Fat Controller.
  • In the close-up of Gordon's whistle:
    • The shed beside him is gone.
    • There is a stain on Gordon's boiler.
    • Studio equipment is visible at the top of the screen.
  • The tracks sink just before Gordon stops at Knapford.
  • When Gordon arrives at Knaford, his eyes are wonky, they jitter multiple time, they do not move at the same time at least twice, his face moves slightly, and for a split second, his pupils disappear.
  • In the shot of the Fat Controller telling Gordon to depart right away, there are three holes around his chin. Also, his right arm is chipped.
  • Because stock footage is used, Henry is in his old shape in a close-up of himself before reaching the bridge, his coaches are not seen, and the red stripe on his cylinder is peeling away.
  • In the close-up of Henry, his coaches disappear.
  • When Henry approaches Wellsworth, his eyes jitter before he stops.
  • At Tidmouth Sheds, some of the tracks are off-centred.
  • When Henry is seen puffing towards the bridge the first time, the branch of a tree on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen can be seen shaking. This is supposed to give the illusion that the boys are throwing stones, but two shots later, it is obvious to see how this effect was simulated, as the branch is seen hanging over the line where Henry could run into it at just the right moment.
  • In the scene when the coaches complained about the boys throwing rocks at their windows, there is a chip on the lining of Henry's tender.
  • As Henry leaves the bridge to head to the next station, the boys have disappeared from the bridge.
  • In the wide shot of Henry puffing towards the bridge the second time, he is not moving for the first couple of seconds, and when he finally moves, the telephone pole near him shakes.
  • When Henry leaves the bridge, he has a different whistle, which is actually Thomas' but some steps lower pitched.
  • In the scene of Henry departing Lower Tidmouth, the sounds of him chugging are slightly delayed (they play after Henry starts moving).
  • In the original version, when Henry sneezes, a bush near the bridge changes shape. The restored version shows Henry with his wincing face as he is passing by before he sneezes with the bush in the same position, indicating a take of Henry passing underneath the bridge with his cross face was filmed after the shot of him passing with his wincing face.
  • When Henry sneezed at the boys, two of the boys are already covered in ashes before getting blown by steam.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Crime Não Compensa
Chinese Mandarin 鸣笛和打喷嚏
Croatian Zviždanje i Kihanje
Czech Hvízdání a Kýchání
Danish Med et Fløjt og et Nys
Dutch Fluiten en Niezen
Finnish Vislauksuia ja Aivastuksia
French Sifflements et Éternuements
German Pfeifen und Niesen
Greek Οι Μικροί Σκανταλιάρηδες
Hebrew שריקות והתעטשויות
Hungarian Füttyszó és Tüsszentés
Italian Fischi e Starnuti
Japanese きてきとクシャミ
Korean 기적 소리와 재채기
Latin American Spanish Silbatos y Estornudos
Norwegian Fløyter og Nys
Polish Gwizdanie i Kichanie
Romanian Fluierături şi Strănuturi
Romansh Tschivlar e starnidar
Russian Свистуны и чихуны
Serbian Zviždanje i Kijanje
Slovak Pískanie a Kýchanie
Slovenian Piskanje in Kihanje
Swedish Vissla och Nys
Ukrainian Свист і чхання
Welsh Gollwng Stêm

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets



  • Daisy and Other Thomas Stories
  • Best of Gordon
  • The Early Years (UK dub)

DVD Boxsets


  • Coal and other stories
  • The Complete Series 1

DVD Boxsets

  • Complete Series 1-10
  • Classic Collection
  • Series One and Series Two Double Pack










  • The Flying Kipper



  • Thomas the Tank Engine 2





DVD Packs




  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4