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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 that 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 all that 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. The hay is blown over the track and Percy. The line climbs here, so his driver advises him to take a run at it. But Percy's wheels keep slipping on the slippery hay and he must wait for the line to be cleared. While he does so, the wind blows some of the hay onto Percy, where it clings to his sticky boiler.

At the station, Thomas waits angrily for a very late Percy. Suddenly, all the passengers start laughing when Percy arrives as he is now completely covered with hay, making him quite a sight. 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 Percy 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 and asks to be cleaned before Toby arrives, not knowing that Thomas has already told Toby everything.

In the end, it does not matter as by the time 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 was used.
  • Going by episode order, this is the last episode re-narrated by Ringo Starr for the US release, and the last known episode narrated by Simcha Barbiro in Israel.
  • Ringo Starr's US narration of this episode has been broadcast on Shining Time Station, but was never released on home video, though the audio appears on audio cassettes/CDs included with some releases of the Diesel's Devious Deed and Other Thomas the Tank Engine Stories picture book.


  • 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's reflection can be seen on Percy when the treacle lands on him.
  • The narrator says "Percy was cross," but he had his sad face mask on.
  • In the close-up of Percy's wheels struggling in 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.
  • Percy looks surprised in the shot of him in the mirror. In the next shot, however, he is smiling.
  • 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 is also move further but in both versions.
  • In a rare still from the episode, Percy's eyes are wonky as he pulls his train.
  • Throughout the episode, Percy's left (viewer's right) cylinder is dangling and wobbling, except at Tidmouth.
  • When Percy says: "Green caterpillar, indeed!" Thomas' eyes are wonky.
  • In the re-dubbed Norwegian narration, 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 re-dubbed Swedish narration, presumably because the dubbing track is reused. 
  • At Elsbridge, Thomas' headlamp is missing part of its bottom and is slightly facing a different direction.


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
Chinese 毛毛虫
Czech Chlupatý jako Medvěd
Danish Percy som Ulden Bjørn
Dutch Pluizige Beer
Finnish Karvaturri
German Der Wollbär
Hungarian A Szőrös Hernyó
Italian Il Millepiedi Verde
Japanese けむしになったパーシー
Korean 곰돌이가 된 퍼시
Norwegian Ulne Bjørn
Polish Puchaty Miś
Portuguese O Urso de Óleo
Romanian Omida
Russian Мохнатый медведь
Serbian Dlakava Gusenica
Slovak Chlpatý ako Medved
Slovenian Slamnato Strašilo
Spanish Thomas se Diverte
Swedish Fågelskrämman
Thai เพอร์ซีมีขนยาวเต็มตัว
Ukrainian Волохата гусінь
Welsh Siani Flewog

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