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Thomas and the Breakdown Train, retitled Thomas Saves the Day in American releases, is the seventh episode of the first season. In the US, it aired on the Shining Time Station episodes, Pitching in and Helping Out in 1989, Wrong Track in 1991 and Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales episode, Wildlife in 1996.
Thomas now works in the goods yard at the station, pushing and pulling trucks into place. Every day he sees the Fat Controller, who kindly tells Thomas that, while he may not be as big or as fast as Gordon, he can still be a really useful engine. While shunting, Thomas notices a strange green coach and two cranes and his driver explains that this is the breakdown train and it is used to lift engines, coaches, or trucks that may come off the line.
One day, Thomas is pushing trucks when he hears an engine whistling and calling for help. The engine is James, who is the newest engine on Sodor, and he is being pushed by trucks causing him to go far faster than normal. To make matters worse, his brake blocks are on fire. As the trucks laugh, James disappears in the distance. Although he cannot do anything, Thomas is eager for the trucks to be taught a lesson.
Soon an alarm rings and the signalman tells Thomas that James has derailed, so the breakdown train is needed. Thomas is coupled to the breakdown train and heads to the scene of the accident as fast as he can.
Further down the line, James has crashed into a field and fallen on his side. His crew checks him for any damage and tells James that the fault lies in his wooden brakes which were unable to stop him. Thomas arrives with the breakdown train and removes the trucks that are still on the rails from the scene while the breakdown train recovers the trucks which had overturned. Thomas works harder than ever before, going backwards and forwards with the very sorry (and also damaged) trucks until they have all been removed.
Soon it is time to lift James back onto the rails. After having the chains attached to him, James is lifted by the cranes and is returned to his proper position. James is unable to move by himself, so Thomas helps him back to the shed as the sun sets. Waiting for them is the Fat Controller, who congratulates Thomas on all his hard work. He tells James that he is going to get a new coat of paint and some proper brakes fitted and then rewards a delighted Thomas with a branch line of his own.
Nowadays, Thomas was happier than ever. Not only does he have a branch line, but he also has two new coaches named Annie and Clarabel. He now gets to pull trains all day and often sees Edward and Henry. Gordon is always in a hurry, but still whistles greetings to Thomas who whistles back.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Edward (do not speak)
- Henry (does not speak)
- Annie and Clarabel (do not speak)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Shunting Yards
- The Cow Field
- The Bus Yard
- Gordon's Hill (deleted scene)
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Thomas the Tank Engine.
- The events of this episode were remade in CGI for the 2015 special, The Adventure Begins.
- There are a few differences between the original and restored:
- When Thomas says "I'd like to teach those trucks/freight cars a lesson," there is a pause before he moves his eyes.
- An extended shot of the signalman shouting "James is off the line! The breakdown train, quickly!" is shown.
- Different footage of Annie was used.
- Stock footage from Edward, Gordon and Henry is used, as alternative footage from the said episode.
- A metal rod was placed in front of James' driving wheels to produce the sparking effect.
- A rare picture shows the breakdown train without any buffers.
- The works unit coach was not taken with the breakdown train.
- When Thomas takes on water, his water cap is not open.
- When Thomas and James return to Tidmouth Sheds, the puffing noise continues after they had stopped.
- Thomas' eyes are slightly off centre from each other throughout the majority of the episode.
- During the scene when Thomas pushes the breakdown train under a bridge, the cranes are dirty, but before and after that scene, the cranes are clean.
- James' goods train load changes throughout the episode from stone, empty truck, stone, then in the shot of burning brakes two empty trucks then stone, and then passing under the arch bridge to mostly stones and empty stock at the back.
- In the close up of Gordon, his driving wheels are going backwards.
- When James gets back on the rails, its morning, but when Thomas couples him to get him back to the shed, the sky suddenly changes to sunset.
- When James cries, "Help, help!" bushes and hills are next to him instead of the yard.
- In the close-up of James' wheels when he is put back on the rails, the breakdown train beside him is missing.
- In the restored version, during the close-up of Thomas when is puffing along his branch line, Annie and Clarabel are not behind him.
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