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"We had spoken of backing signals. They need extra special care, you know. Would you want me to explain?"
"No, thank you, James. I know all about signals!
— James and Percy
Percy and the Signal

David Mitton


David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona


Reverend W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Ringo Starr (UK)
George Carlin (US)

Air date

October 15th,
1986 (UK)
April 26th,
1988 (AUS)
May 21st,
1991 (JPN)
December 19th,
1991 (US)
April 6th,
1998 (GER)
January 17th,
2008 (HUN)

Previous episode

Thomas and Trevor/
A New Friend
for Thomas

Next episode

Duck Takes Charge

Percy and the Signal is the seventh episode of the second season. It aired in the US on the Shining Time Station episode, "Stop the Press!".


Percy works in the yard at the big station, collecting coaches and trucks that the bigger engines need for their trains. Although he works hard, he can also be very cheeky. First, he wakes Gordon up by telling him is train is ready. Gordon jumps, thinking he is running late, only for Percy to reveal a line of dirty trucks. Gordon is angry and tries to think of a way to pay Percy back.

Percy then goes to James and tells him that the Fat Controller has sent a message for James to not leave the shed. James is delighted, thinking the Fat Controller wants him to pull a special. As a result, he refuses to leave the shed when his driver and fireman try to take him out. The other engines are angry over having to do James' work as well as their own. Finally an engine inspector arrives and tells James to move. James refuses and tells him about the message the Fat Controller sent. The inspector points out the Fat Controller could not send a message as he is away. James is horrified and quickly leaves to find Percy, but Percy had decided to make himself scarce. When the Fat Controller gets back, he does speak to James as well as Percy, telling them both off for causing trouble.

A few days later, Percy is showing off to Gordon and James as the Fat Controller has asked him to take trucks to Thomas' junction. He is boasting that he was chosen as he is a really useful engine. James remarks that the Fat Controller probably wants Percy out of the way. Gordon and James then put form a plan and put it into action. They claim they were talking about being careful with the signals at the junction, especially "backing signals". Percy, keen to show off, claims that he knows all about signals and leaves, but worries as he has never seen or heard of a backing signal before. However, he decides not to dwell on it and collects his trucks before traveling to the junction.

Soon Percy arrives at a signal set to danger. However, when it moves to show the line is clear, the arm moves up instead of down. Percy, having never seen this kind of signal before, guesses that it is a backing signal and begins reversing. Percy's driver is shocked and quickly stops him, but Percy protests that it is a backing signal and tells his driver about what Gordon and James had said. The driver is amused and tells Percy the truth. Percy is eager to leave before he is seen, but it is too late. Gordon sails past having seen the whole incident. Embarrassed, Percy quickly and quietly finishes his work.

That night in the sheds, Gordon and James talk about nothing but signals. While they think it is funny, Percy is less than impressed.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Percy the Small Engine.
  • Stock footage from Coal is used.
  • In the restored version of this episode, when Sir Topham Hatt is cross with James and Percy, instead of showing both Percy and James, only James is shown.
  • A deleted scene shows that Thomas was going to do James' work
  • In the UK version, Starr says "When The Fat Controller came back, He did see James and Percy too. Both engines wished he hadn't". But in the US version, Carlin says "When Sir Topham Hatt came back he was cross with James and Percy for causing so much trouble".
  • In the UK version, Starr says "One morning, Percy was careless". But in the US version, Carlin says "But the very next day, Percy was still being cheeky".


  • Percy's left cylinder is hanging off throughout most of the episode.
  • When Gordon says "James and I had just been speaking about signals at the junction," part of James' face is coming away from his smokebox.
  • In the close-up of Percy's wheels when he reverses from the signal, a wire is visible.
  • When Percy goes under the pedestrian bridge at Elsbridge, the reflection of a studio member or camera is visible in the shiny part.
  • The signal which Percy stops at is not the sort that is meant to point upwards.
  • Gordon's eyes are wonky throughout the episode.
  • When Percy pulls away from Gordon, the coal in his second truck is lifted.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Norwegian Percy og Signalet Percy and the Signal
Spanish Percy y la Señal Percy and the Signal
Welsh Pyrsi a'r Signal Percy and the Signal
Japanese パーシーとしんごう Percy and the Signal
German Percy und das Signal Percy and the Signal
Finnish Pekka ja Opastemerkki Percy and the Emergency Signal
Croatian Pero i Signal Percy and the Signal
French Pierre et le Signal Percy and the Signal
Dutch Percy en het sein Percy and the Signal
Portuguese Percy e o sinal Percy and the Signal
Italian Percy e il Segnale Percy and the Signal
Slovenian Poldi in signal Percy and the Signal
Russian Перси и симофор Percy and the Semaphore
Ukrainian Персі і сигнали Percy and the Signals
Danish Percy og Signalet Percy and the Signal
Chinese 培西和信号 Percy and the Signal
Korean 장난 꾸러기퍼시 Naughty Percy
Romanian Percy şi Semnalul Percy and the Signals
Swedish Percy och Signalen Percy and the Signal
Hungarian Percy és a Tolatójelzés Percy and the Reversing Alarm
Slovak Percy a signál Percy and the Signals
Czech Percy a signal Percy and the Signal
Serbian Persi i znak Percy and the Sign
Polish Piotrek i Semafor Percy and the Semaphore
Thai เพอร์ซีชอบแกล้งคนอื่นเลยโดนบ้าง Percy Pretend Like Someone Else I Know

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