Main page

This article is about 'the episode'. You may be looking for 'generic brakevans or the characters'.
"I heard tell aboot an engine and some tarr wagons."
"Shut up! It's not funny!
— Douglas and James

Break Van, retitled Donald and Douglas in American releases, is the sixteenth episode of the second season. It aired in the US on the Shining Time Station episode, Sweet and Sour in 1991.


Two black twin engines named Donald and Douglas have arrived from Scotland and arrived on the Island of Sodor to help out; however, the Fat Controller had only sent for one engine. While the twins mean well, their identical appearance causes confusion and the Fat Controller has numbers painted on them; Donald is 9 and Douglas is 10. However, the Fat Controller still intends to send one of the engines back home.

In the yard, a Spiteful Brake Van takes a dislike to Douglas and does his best to make things go wrong whenever Douglas takes it out. As a result, Douglas' trains are late causing him to get a bad reputation. Donald is angry at his twin's unfair treatment and bumps the brake van hard before threatening it. The Spiteful Brake Van starts behaving better after that.

Things start to go wrong, however, when Donald reverses onto some slippery rails and, while unable to stop, unintentionally crashes his tender into a signal box. The Fat Controller is very cross at Donald and informs him that he had decided to keep him and send Douglas back before this incident. Now Donald needs to have his tender mended and James will have to do his work, which the Fat Controller knows James will not like.


I am disappointed Donald. I did not expect such, um... clumsiness from you.

The Fat Controller is right and James is very grumpy about the extra work. Douglas jokes about James' incident with the tar wagons, making his bad mood worse. He takes a train of trucks which includes the Spiteful Brake Van, who decides to make life difficult for James and has the trucks hold back, quickly tiring James out.

Meeting Douglas at Wellsworth, James offers his assistance climbing up Gordon's Hill, who agrees. The two engines work as hard as they can to climb the hill, however James starts losing steam and Douglas accidentally destroys the Spiteful Brake Van while struggling. The Fat Controller arrives with Edward, who came to help clear the mess, and is angry that Douglas has also caused trouble. Edward stands up for Douglas, having heard what happened and tells the Fat Controller of all the hard work Douglas did. The Fat Controller feels that Douglas went too far, but understands Douglas had good intentions and was only trying to help. The Fat Controller is left unsure about what to do with Donald and Douglas, but that is another story.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, The Twin Engines.
  • A LEGO brick can be seen beside the tracks when James and Douglas leave the station.
  • The rag used to wipe down Douglas' tender is blu-tack.
  • A reference to the first season episode, Dirty Objects is made in this episode as well as a foreshadow to The Deputation.
  • When originally broadcasted, compiled with Better Late Than Never, the end credits mentioned Christopher Awdry's episode. Though later separate versions (most notably on VHS and Cartoon Network), still had the episode listed in the end credits.
  • In the Japanese version, James gains an extra line as he does Donald's work.


  • At the beginning, blu-tack is used to hold Donald's face.
  • In the widescreen version of the first clip, Douglas' number has been painted on.
  • When Donald says "It's to leave you behind I'd be wanting", the flatbed beside him has been replaced by a platform.
  • When Donald hits the signal box, the alarm bell and its walls are bumped. But when The Fat Controller arrives, the walls and the alarm bell are undamaged.
  • When Donald bumps the Spiteful Brakevan, the sound of him bumping him is late by a second.
  • The "M" is partly rubbed off on the sign on the signalbox that Donald crashes into.
  • When James leaves the yard, the van coupled to him tips.
  • When Donald approaches the spiteful brakevan, his lamp iron disappears.
  • When James leaves the yard, Gordon's eyes are wonky.
  • The spiteful brakevan turns brown after Douglas crushes him.
  • When Douglas crushes the brakevan, his wheels are bluish-grey. This is due to the fluid in the model that generates the smoke effects. An extended shot shown in a postcard shows that not only are his tender axleboxes in the same bluish-grey, but his driver's head is also backwards.
  • In a deleted photograph, Douglas' face is falling off when he is coupled behind the brakevan.
  • Douglas is smiling when he breaks the Spiteful Brakevan and when the Fat Controller speaks angrily to him.
  • When the Fat Controller says "I don't know..." Douglas' face mask moves.
  • When the Fat Controller says "I might have known it would be Douglas", Douglas' face is clean and his nameplate is fine, but when Edward says "I heard him from my yard", his face becomes dirty and his nameplate is crooked and crushed.
  • Douglas mistakenly has his nameplate during the last part of the episode (after Douglas starts helping James up the hill). In the shot where Douglas crushes the break van, the original version of this episode had the nameplate covered with a black censor bar with other shots zoomed in to keep it out-of-frame, however these were missing from the restored episode and the nameplate can be seen clearly.


  • My Thomas Story Library - Donald and Douglas (discontinued)

Home Media Releases