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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Buzz Book or the magazine story.

“Bust my buffers! No wonder they all laughed. I'm just like a woolly bear.”

Woolly Bear is the twenty-fifth episode of the second series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book Tramway Engines.


In summer, long hay grows beside the line and gangers cut it and rake it into heaps to dry in the sun. Percy then collects the hay in empty trucks and takes them to the station. There, Toby collects the trucks and takes them into the hills for farmers to feed their animals.

One day, Percy arrives at the station and starts to tease Thomas for thinking he was a ghost. Thomas retorts that Percy is a "green caterpillar with red stripes," which makes Percy angry. Thomas then reminds Percy that he has been late at the station every afternoon throughout the week. Percy tells Thomas that it is the hay that is making him late, but Thomas is not interested in Percy's excuses and Percy leaves.

Percy grumbles to himself during the afternoon that he is only ever late by a few minutes, but nevertheless, he and his driver decide to head to the station early after going to the harbour to drop off some trucks. At the harbour, however, there is trouble; a loose crate of treacle hanging over Percy drops and splatters all over him. The workmen at the harbour try to clean him up, but Percy has to leave and is still very sticky when he does.

Soon, Percy comes to the hill where the hay is laying, and by now it is very windy, which blows the hay up and onto the track. The line climbs here, so Percy's driver advises him to take a run at it. But Percy's wheels keep slipping on the hay and he must wait for the line to be cleared. While he does so, the wind blows some of the hay onto Percy and clings to his sticky boiler.

At the station, Thomas waits impatiently for a very late Percy. Suddenly, all the passengers start laughing when Percy arrives, as he is now completely covered with hay, apologizing for his late arrival. Thomas laughs, saying Percy has crawled out of the hay. Percy does not know what Thomas is talking about, but Thomas tells him that seeing him like a hairy caterpillar is worth being late.

Percy runs back to the shed, where his driver shows him what he looks like in a mirror. Now Percy knows why everyone was laughing at him, stating that he looks like a woolly bear. He asks to be cleaned before Toby arrives, not knowing that Thomas has already told Toby everything.

In the end, it does not matter; when Toby and Thomas arrive, Percy is still a long way from being cleaned, causing the two to make jokes about woolly bear caterpillars and other creatures that crawl about in hay. Percy does not find these jokes very funny at all.




  • Stock footage from Percy Runs Away and a deleted scene from Percy and Harold are used.
  • Thomas calls Percy "a green caterpillar with red stripes" in this story. The line derives from a criticism Wilbert Awdry made towards C. Reginald Dalby's illustrations in the Railway Series book, Percy the Small Engine.
  • For time reasons, this episode was cut out of the Nick Jr. broadcast of the Shining Time Station episode, Crackpot.
  • This episode marks the last with a few things:
    • The last appearances of The Naughty Boys.
    • Going by episode order, the last episode re-narrated by Ringo Starr for the US release, as well as the last known episode narrated by Simcha Barbiro in Israel.
    • The last episode where Thomas' iconic furious face has half hidden eyebrows just above his eye sockets. From the third series, his furious face would have visible angry eyebrows.
    • The last episode to have Percy's laughing face without teeth as well as the last appearance of his suspicious face. From the third series, his suspicious face would gain different eyebrows to resemble a furious face.
  • Ringo Starr's US dub of this episode has been broadcast on Shining Time Station but was never released on home video. However, the audio of his US narration appears on audio cassettes/CDs included with some releases of the Diesel's Devious Deed and Other Thomas the Tank Engine Stories picture book.
  • The JEI TV version of the Korean dub added subtitles to inform viewers what treacle is.
  • This episode was never released on VHS and DVD in South Korea.
  • This episode was paired alongside Steam Roller in an airing of Storytime with Thomas.


  • As Toby and Percy have their respective goods train scenes with Thomas at Tidmouth Yard, their trains have SR 25 Ton Brake Vans. When they puff through the valley, their brake vans are replaced by BR 20s and Toby's train gains an extra truck. As Percy passes past Suddery Castle, his brake van is an SR 25 again.
  • Percy's brake van disappears as he enters the harbour.
  • The studio lights can be seen reflected on Percy when the treacle lands on him. The treacle completely covers only one half of Percy's face, yet when the workmen are trying to clean him up, his face is covered in treacle stains on both sides.
  • The narrator says that Percy was cross, but he had his sad face on instead.
  • In the close-up of Percy's wheels slipping on the hay, a gear is seen behind one of them.
  • When Percy looks in the mirror, studio equipment is visible in the top-left corner. In the same shot, Percy's eyes are wonky.
  • The narrator said that Thomas was laughing when he saw Percy, but Thomas looks somewhat disgusted.
  • In the restored version, when Thomas and Toby back into the shed, Toby stops slightly outside of the shed, but in the next scene, he is further in. Thomas has also moved further in both versions.
  • Throughout the episode, Percy's left (viewers' right) cylinder is dangling and wobbling, except at Tidmouth.
  • When Percy says, "Ugly, indeed I'm..." a small gap can be seen between his face and eyes.
  • When Percy says, "Green caterpillar, indeed!" Thomas' eyes are wonky.
  • In the Norwegian re-dub, the first few seconds of the audio of Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree are played at the beginning. Then the audio cuts off and switches over to the music from Woolly Bear. The same thing happens in the Swedish re-dub presumably because the same dubbing track was used.
  • At Elsbridge, Thomas' headlamp is missing part of its bottom and is slightly facing a different direction. Also some of the figurines have sticky tac under their feet.
  • Towards the end of the episode, Toby's left eye (viewers' right) jitters a bit for about a second, and Thomas's face is slightly crooked.


Percy: [whistles as if he were a ghost] WHEEEEEEEESH!!!
Narrator: Percy gave a ghostly whistle.
Percy: Don't be frightened, Thomas. It's only me.
Thomas: Your ugly fizz is enough to frighten everyone. You're like...
Percy: Ugly, indeed! I'm....
Thomas: A green caterpillar with red stripes. You crawl like one, too.
Percy: I don't.
Thomas: Who's been late every afternoon this week?
Percy: It's the hay.
Thomas: I can't help that. Time's time, and the Fat Controller relies on me to keep it. I can't if you crawl in the hay until all hours.
Percy: Green caterpillar, indeed!

Percy: [arrives at the station, covered in hay] Sorry I'm late!
Thomas: Look what's crawled out of the hay.
Percy: What's wrong?
Thomas: Talk about hairy caterpillars. It's worth being late to have seen you.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O urso de óleo
Chinese Mandarin 毛毛虫
Czech Chlupatý jako Medvěd
Danish Percy som Ulden Bjørn
Dutch Pluizige Beer
Finnish Karvaturri
French L'ours poliu
German Der Wollbär
Greek Ενα αστείο τρενάκι
Hungarian A Szőrös Hernyó
Italian Il millepiedi verde
Japanese けむしになったパーシー
Korean 곰돌이가 된 퍼시
Latin American Spanish Thomas se divierte
Norwegian Ulne Bjørn
Polish Puchaty Miś
Romanian Omida
Russian Мохнатый медведь
Serbian Dlakava Gusenica
Slovenian Slamnato Strašilo
Swedish Fågelskrämman
Turkish Oyuncak Ayı
Ukrainian Волохата гусінь
Welsh Siani Flewog

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets



  • Percy's Ghostly Trick and Other Thomas Stories

DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets













DVD Packs




  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4