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"Whatever next! Those aren't coaches, they're cattle trucks!"
"Ooh! What a horrid engine!"
"It's not what I'm used to!
— Sir Handel insulting the coaches

A Bad Day for Sir Handel is the fifth episode of the fourth season. It first aired on Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales in 1996 in the US.


Skarloey and Rheneas enjoy working on the railway that weaves around the lakes and long mountain sides. Their coaches are filled with visitors and both engines are proud to run the line, no matter the weather. They will never let their passengers down, but they, however, are old and they tire themselves out easily. Their drivers understand this and they then tell them that there is more than enough work for them on the railway and the manager is sending two more engines to help run the line. Both Skarloey and Rheneas are pleased with the news and they promise that they will give them a big welcome.

The new engines, named Peter Sam and Sir Handel arrive on the Skarloey Railway. Sir Handel is initially nice but then becomes bad tempered and makes bad remarks about the sheds. Peter Sam is also nice, and thinks the sheds are nice. Sir Handel scoffs and insults Skarloey. Peter Sam hushes him and tells Skarloey that Sir Handel is upset about the sheds, despite being nice. Skarloey now feels sorry for Peter Sam. Sir Handel is informed by his driver that he is chosen to pull a passenger train to the top station. He initially refuses, but reluctantly does so grudgingly. When Sir Handel picks up his coaches he insults the coaches by calling them cattle trucks. The coaches are hurt, but Sir Handel then says that he is not used to it.

Sir Handel arrives at Crovan's Gate and meets Gordon who brings the passengers to Sir Handel's train. Sir Handel has heard of Gordon and tells him that he is into express coaches instead of the coaches he is pulling. Sir Handel observes Gordon's train, and, appearing that the coaches are new, wants to have a chat but gets on with the journey. Gordon is speechless at Sir Handel's knowledge of coaches and respect from him. When Sir Handel reaches the top station. he is very cross when he hopes for a rest, but discovers by his driver that he is expected at the quarry to collect trucks. He refuses to do so, and punctuates his point by deliberately derailing himself. Peter Sam arrives with workmen to put Sir Handel back on the rails. Sir Handel feels very foolish and Sir Topham Hatt is also on board and tells Sir Handel he will need to be spoken to when he comes home to the sheds. Peter Sam, with Sir Topham Hatt onboard, leaves the work train to put Sir Handel back onto the rails.

That evening, Sir Handel returns to the sheds to find Sir Topham Hatt waiting for him. Sir Topham Hatt scolds him for his behaviour and puts Sir Handel in the shed for several days as punishment.




  • This episode is based on the story Sir Handel from The Railway Series book, Four Little Engines.
  • Some TUGS models can be seen in this episode at Lakeside, notably Lakesider III, which is actually a modified O.J. model.
  • When broadcast on Miramax, the episode has no narration.
  • From this episode throughout the rest of the season, Gordon has Duck's whistle sound.
  • Two small rocks were placed between the two sets of track to derail Sir Handel.


  • When Sir Handel and Peter Sam first arrive Percy is passing with a train of trucks. However, when Sir Handel looks at Skarloey, Percy is reversing for some reason, and a tar wagon has joined his train.
  • When Sir Handel backs onto his coaches and stops, he can still be heard puffing for another four seconds.
  • When Sir Handel and Gordon greet each other, a door can be heard closing in the background.
  • From this episode on for the remainder of the fourth season, Gordon has Duck's whistle sound.
  • When Sir Handel goes off-camera on the mountain ledge, the steam platform blows steam too late.
  • When Sir Handel derails a small rod is sticking up from the tracks.
  • When the Fat Controller says "You're a very naughty engine", a fly crawls on the workbench beside Sir Handel.
  • Sir Handel has Rheneas' whistle sound and Rheneas has Sir Handel's whistle sound.
  • The coaches are cross before Sir Handel calls them "cattle trucks".
  • In a rare picture, a wire is visible beneath Sir Handel.


  • Skarloey and Rheneas's drivers: There's more than enough work for you both on this railway. The manager is sending 2 more engines to help us run the line.


  • Sir Handel: What a small shed! This won't do at all! We're much too smart for this old shack!
  • Peter Sam: I think it's nice.
  • Sir Handel: Huh! [to Skarloey] What's that rubbish?!
  • (Skarloey gives a rather insulted look)
  • Peter Sam: Shh! That's Skarloey! He's famous! (whispers to Skarloey) I'm sorry, Skarloey. Sir Handel's upset now, but he's quite nice really.
  • Narrator: Skarloey felt sorry for Peter Sam.
  • Fireman: Now, Sir Handel, I will get you ready for work.
  • Sir Handel: I'm tired! Let Peter Sam go! He'd love it!
  • Fireman: No. You're first.


  • Sir Handel: Whatever next?! Those aren't coaches. They're cattle trucks! (US: They're cattle cars!)
  • Coaches: WHOO! What a horrid engine!
  • Sir Handel: It's not what I'm used to.


  • Sir Handel: Hello. Who are you?
  • Gordon: I'm Gordon. Who are you?
  • Sir Handel: I'm Sir Handel. I've heard of you. You're an express engine! So am I, but I'm used to new coaches, not these cattle trucks. (US: cattle cars) Do you have new coaches? [observes Gordon's train] I see you do. We must have a chat. Sorry I can't stop. We must keep time, you know.
  • Narrator: Gordon was speechless!


  • (after Sir Handel reaches the top station)
  • Driver: We'll leave the coaches now and fetch some trucks (US: cars) from the quarry.
  • Sir Handel: Trucks! Trucks! I won't! So there! (US: Cars! Cars! I won't! So there!)
  • Narrator: Sir Handel was about to cause a great deal of trouble.
  • (he leaves the station and deliberately derails himself)
  • Sir Handel: Told you!


  • Sir Topham Hatt: (to Sir Handel, after an issue with his earlier actions) You're a very naughty engine! I hope I can trust you to behave when you next come out of this shed.


  • My Thomas Story Library - Sir Handel (discontinued)

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Um Dia Ruim para o Sir Handel
Chinese 汉德尔先生糟糕的一天
Czech Handelův Špatný Den
Danish En Dårlig Dag for Sir Handel
Dutch Een Slechte Dag voor Meneer Hendel
Finnish Sir Handel ja Kurja Päivä
German Ein Schlechter Tag für Sir Handel
Greek Μια κακή ημέρα για Πάλ
Hungarian Sir Handel Rossz Napja
Italian Una Giornata No per Sir Handel
Japanese わがままなきかんしゃ
Korean 핸델 경의 수난일
Norwegian En Dårlig Dag for Sir Handel
Polish Zły Dzień Pana Handla
Romanian Sir Handel Are O Zi Grea
Russian Плохой день для Сэра Хендэла
Slovak Zlý Deň pre Sira Handela
Slovenian Silvester ima Slab Dan
Spanish Un Mal Día para Sir Handel
Swedish En Dålig Dag för Sir Handel
Thai หัวรถจักรมีปัญหา
Ukrainian Поганий день Сера Хендела

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