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Troublesome Trucks, retitled Foolish Freight Cars in American releases, is the ninth episode of the first season. It aired in the US on the Shining Time Station episodes, "Show and Yell" and "The Mayor Runs for Re-Election".
Having damaged a coach and caused a lot of trouble recently, James has been confined to the shed for several days. James starts to cry thinking that no one will ever see his red coat again. The Fat Controller finally comes to speak to him and tells him that his recent actions have caused a lot of embarrassment for the railway. James sincerely apologises and the Fat Controller decides to allow him out to pull some trucks. James could not be happier to be let out and eagerly goes to work.
At the station, Thomas brings James his trucks and, after teasing him about bootlaces, runs off. James couples himself to the trucks, who tease him for his red paint. James just ignores them and sets off, however the trucks do not want to go and attempt to hold back. James does not allow them too and drags them out of the station. As the journey continues, the trucks try everything they can to get James to give up, but it is no use as James is determined to prove himself.
Finally the train gets to Gordon's Hill and James tries his hardest to run up it as fast as he can. Although it is initially hard, with a sudden jerk it gets easier and James makes it up the hill. However, James' driver stops him and points out that the end of the train became detached and ran down the hill. The trucks stop at the bottom of the hill, where the guard gets out to warn approaching engines.
James backs down the hill to pick up the trucks, where Edward has stopped due to the blockage. Edward offers help, but James is determined to do it himself and politely refuses. Pulling with every ounce of his strength, James finally makes it to the top of the hill and easily continues on to the station where Edward arrives with the Fat Controller.
James is very worried, knowing the Fat Controller may be angry again. This time however the Fat Controller is happy with James, having been aboard Edward's train and seeing everything. Since James made the most troublesome trucks on the line behave, the Fat Controller says that he deserves to keep his red coat.
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, James the Red Engine.
- Stock footage from Thomas and the Trucks is used. The aforementioned episode was even filmed at the same time as this one, as the siding arrangements are the same.
- In the restored version, an extended close-up shot of James at Maron is shown.
- The Italian title of this episode is "Frieght Train Troublemaker". In Japan, this episode is called "Cumbersome Wagons".
- There are some differences in the US and UK narrations. Some differences are:
- At the begining of the UK version, the narrator says "James had not seen the Fat Controller for several days. He was left alone for being naughty and was not even allowed out to push coaches or trucks in the yard". But in the US versions, the narrator says "James had not been out to push coaches or freight cars in the yard for several days. He was feeling miserable".
- In the UK version, James says "Oh dear. I shall have to stay in here for always and no one will see my red coat again all because I went so fast that I made a hole in one of my coaches that had to be mended with, of all things, a passenger's bootlace". But in the US versions, James says "Oh dear. I wonder how long I will have to stay in the shed. Will anyone see my red coat again? Why did I go so fast that I made a hole in one of my coaches that had to be mended with, of all things, a passenger's bootlace?".
- In the UK version, Sir Topham Hatt says "I see you are sorry James. I hope now you will be a better engine. You have given me a lot trouble. People are laughing at my railway and I don't like that at all." But in the US versions, Sir Topham Hatt says "I know you are sorry James and I know too that you want to be a useful engine. People are laughing at my railway and I don't like that at all".
- In the UK version, James says "I'm very sorry, sir. I will try hard to behave". But in the US versions, James says "I will try hard to do my best".
- After Sir Topham Hatt says "That's a good engine." he adds, "There's nothing like determination!" in the US narrations.
- In both Ringo Starr narrations, once Edward leaves at the end, Sir Topham Hatt tells James, "After that, you deserve to keep your coat!" In the George Carlin narration, he says "After that performance, you deserve to keep your coat!"ve to keep your coat!"
- Bootlaces were used to fix the leak in the brakepipe in James and the Coaches, but in the narrator refers to it as singular.
- When the Fat Controller first speaks to James, his head is turned away from him.
- James' tender is derailed while Thomas arranges his train.
- When Thomas says "Have you got some bootlaces ready?" there's blu-tak under his lantern and Knapford disappears.
- When James puffs out of the yard the truck at the front loses its face.
- When Thomas puffs away laughing, all the trucks are coupled to each other. But when James backs onto the trucks, one at the front is uncoupled.
- When the trucks get to the bottom of Gordon's Hill, a truck disappears.
- When James goes up Gordon's Hill the second time, a wire pulls him up.
- James' puffing noise is not in sync with his speed.
- When the narrator says the line, "Sometimes their axles would run hot", a crew member's shadow is seen at the end of the set.
- The Fat Controller said that he was in Edward's train and that he had seen everything, but Edward wasn't pulling a train when he stopped at Gordon's Hill, nor was he pulling a passenger train later at Maron.
- A brakevan should have been added to Thomas' train.