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Stanley's Branch Line
Season 5, Episode 13
Air date January 31st, 2016
Written by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Directed by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Episode guide
Previous
Culdee and the Enthusiasts
Next
High Expectations

Plot

Thomas was making one of his regular runs on his branch line. Annie and Clarabel clattered behind as Thomas surged forward. "Woah Thomas! Why so fast?" asked Clarabel. "Come along, come along!" the blue tank engine persisted as he rushed along the line, "Toryeck's up ahead and we mustn't be late!" "Typical Thomas," chuckled Annie, "We're on time. You just worry too much." "Maybe but still. I've been in more trouble than it's worth lately." "Just keep your eye on the track and everything should be fine," replied Annie. "And no racing!" snapped Clarabel. Thomas chuckled. "I'll try!"

Meanwhile, Toby was rushing along the line with Henrietta. "Toby, I feel like the workmen are a bit uncomfortable with your speed," said the coach tartly. Toby chuckled. "If they were Henrietta, I'd think they'd say so. "But still, they could be thinking it..." "Whatever you say...!" Toby grinned. Up ahead of Toby was a set of points that were switched for Toby to pass. But the rookie signalman had misread his instructions. "Hmm... I think I did something wrong... What was it again?" He sipped his coffee and pulled a lever, switching the points ahead of Thomas, sending him down the wrong line. "Wait was that a good idea...? Meh, I'm gonna go and read a comic book." And the signalman leaned back in his chair, opening the book. "What am I doing on this track?" Thomas asked as he felt his wheels swerve onto the other line. "I don't know but I think it's bad news!" cried Clarabel, "This is wrong roading!" Annie gasped as she looked ahead of Thomas' bunker. "Oh no! Toby's coming!" "Again?" Thomas asked. "We're serious!" Annie cried out, "The points are set for him and not you!" Thomas' eyes popped open as his driver pulled the brake lever. "Oh nooo!" he shouted as he shut his eyes tightly. Toby was going slower than Thomas so he didn't notice Thomas at first, until he noticed a cloud of smoke coming towards him. "Is that Thomas?" asked Toby with worry. "He's supposed to be on the other line!" cried Henrietta, "Toby, I think the signalman goofed again!" "He did? Why is this not surprising?" His driver gasped as he looked out of one of Toby's windows. "Henrietta, you're right! Thomas is heading towards us!" "Well, you know what to do, driver! Brake!" Toby called. The driver applied the brakes and Toby stopped instantly. "Well, that was easy," said Henrietta. "Yes but we're not out of the woods yet..." Thomas tried hard to stop, but his speed was too fast and he rammed into the points. His wheels jumped off the rails and the coupling between Thomas and Annie snapped. "Oh no, helllp!" Thomas shouted as he tipped over onto his side. Luckily, his crew had jumped out in time but Thomas didn't have that luxury. He groaned as he felt a bit of water leaking from his tanks. "Bother..." "Are you alright, Thomas?" asked Toby worriedly. "No..." "What about the passengers?" asked Annie. "They need to get home!" added Clarabel. "Telephone to the rescue," replied Thomas' driver as he pointed to a telephone box. Then he immediately called for help.

Soon, Percy arrived with Rocky, and the Fat Controller. The little engine was horrified by the accident. "Bubbling boilers! Thomas, are you alright?!" "Not really..." sighed Thomas, "I think my boiler's leaking and something else feels broken... Probably my piston rods..." "We'll get you on the rails in no time, Thomas," reassured Rocky. "I don't want to be on the rails though." "Oh. Then lucky I brought this flatbed," said Percy. The Fat Controller clambered down from Rocky and scurried up to Thomas. "Thomas, how exactly did this happen?" he asked. "I'm not sure sir... The points just switched randomly... Then I almost crashed into Toby..." "Luckily it wasn't any worse," remarked Annie. "I see," said the Fat Controller grimly, "That this wasn't your fault, Thomas. But you'll have to go the Steamworks to be repaired." "Isn't that kind of obvious, sir?" "I just wanted to remind you." "Well, thank you very much...!" So the chains were wrapped around Thomas and Rocky lifted him onto Percy's flatbed. "Don't worry, Thomas. I'm sure someone will take your place," assured Rocky as Thomas was tied down. The tank engine sighed. "I know but who's a good question. I don't want someone like Diesel taking my coaches..." The Fat Controller nodded. "I'll find someone who's available. Good day, Thomas and Percy!" Percy whistled and rushed away with Thomas and Rocky. Toby blinked. "Um... do you have any way of getting back to Knapford?" The Fat Controller whirled around and frowned. "Oh, uh... well I could walk but... Um... Nope, I didn't think that one through..." Toby broke into a wide grin. "It's alright sir. I'll take you back!" "Thank you, Toby," replied his controller as he climbed into Henrietta. "Oh no..." muttered the coach. Toby rang his bell and puffed away.

At Knapford Station, the Fat Controller quickly got out of Toby's coach and ran into the station. Toby rang his bell and chuffed to the yards. The Fat Controller quickly got out a list of his engines ""Hmm... who would be best to work in Thomas' place..." He looked over a few names. "No... Definitely not... Is he even built for that...? Ah, here we are!" He looked to Stanley's name and grinned. "I've got it!" He ran out of the station to find Winston on a siding. "Winston, we must go to Great Waterton at once!" Winston yawned. "Okay, okay... Give me a second to wake up..." "We have no seconds, Winston," urged the Fat Controller as he climbed into his seat, "We must go!" He pressed the pedal and Winston raced away, nearly crashing into some coaches. "Woah sir, stop! I don't want to crash into something again!" he yelled as he raced out of the yard, flying by Toby and Henrietta. "Oh my..." muttered the tram engine.

At Great Waterton Sheds, Flora was talking to Stanley. "And then all the passengers loved my trip around the forest!" Flora smiled. Stanley chuckled. "Well, of course they would..." Just then, Winston raced up and nearly smashed into Stanley. "Oh sir... I thought we were past this point..." Winston groaned, "My lovely face shouldn't be smashed..." "Winston, now is not the time to complain about your face. Stanley, I have an urgent assignment for you." "By all means, sir," said Stanley. "Well, Thomas derailed... again... So we're going to have you in his place. No other engine fits the bill because of all our projects." "Well, that's your fault because of your need to buy three engines a year," muttered Winston. "I see, sir," said Stanley gravely, "How long shall I be away?" "No idea. I'm checking in with the Steamworks later today. But I know it'll be a while, because I saw a hole in his water tanks." "Oh my," said Stanley worriedly. "Is he going to be alright?" asked Flora. "Oh, it's nothing too serious. I hope. Point being I need Stanley to collect Annie and Clarabel as soon as possible." Stanley whistled. "Right away, sir! As soon as Winston gets out of the way." "...sir..." "Oh. right. Sorry, Winston." Winston reversed onto the other line and Stanley puffed away. "Good luck!" called Winston, "You'll probably need it."

Later, Stanley arrived at Knapford Yards, gawking at the sight of Annie and Clarabel already behind shunted for him. Alongside them stood Percy, who was grinning widely. "Hi Stanley! It's been a while since we've had you here!" Stanley smiled as he backed down onto them. "I know. I'm filling in for Thomas." "Be careful with his coaches!" replied Percy, "You know how Thomas can be a bit overprotective of them." Stanley chuckled. "I know. Bye Percy!" And Stanley puffed away with Annie and Clarabel.

At Knapford Station, Gordon puffed into the platform. "As always, I'm sure little Thomas will be late because I'm always faster and I always have to wait..." Gordon groaned, not wanting to wait too long for Thomas. "Looking for someone?" asked a voice. The big engine looked over and gawked at the sight of the silver tank engine being there before him. "W-what?! How?! Where's Thomas?" "Thomas is out of commission right now, Gordon. I'm taking his place until he returns," Stanley replied. "B-b-but how'd you get here so fast?!" Gordon demanded. "I just wanted to make a good impression. I haven't worked on this line since Thomas found Great Waterton. Wanted to set the bar high, you know?" Stanley said proudly. Gordon's frown turned into a smile. "Hmm... I'm impressed." Annie and Clarabel gasped. The trains exchanged passengers and Gordon raced away. "Hmm, Stanley knows how to keep time better than Thomas... That's for sure.." said Gordon to himself. A horn blew, and Stanley looked over to find Paxton rolling up beside him. He was bewildered by the situation. "Did you just... impress Gordon?" he asked. Stanley smirked. "You could say that...!" Paxton broke into a wide grin. "Wow, Stanley! Impressing Gordon's a tough thing to do!" Stanley chuckled. "I've noticed. He has pretty high standards." "How'd you do it?" asked Paxton. "I just got here early. That's all." Just then, Stanley's guard blew her whistle and climbed into Clarabel. "Well, I have to go now, Paxton! Bye!" "Bye Stanley!" tooted Paxton.

Soon, Stanley was rushing along Thomas' Branch Line, making good time, and impressing the passengers. As he steamed along, a bus's horn caught Stanley's attention. He looked over to the road to find Bertie, looking a bit surprised. "Oh, you're not Thomas...! You're silver!" he chuckled. Stanley grinned. "I'm replacing Thomas after his accident." "Oh, that explains it. I've heard about that from Toby." Suddenly the bus got an idea. "Would you like to race? I'll need someone to keep me company while Thomas is away!" Secretly, Annie and Clarabel winced; they knew how competitive Thomas could get and didn't want to put up with more of it. Stanley, however, frowned deeply. "Oh, I'm sorry Bertie. I can't race. I have to take these passengers up to Ffarquhar." Bertie sighed sadly. "Alright then... See you later..." Stanley, not wanting to see Bertie upset, chuffed faster to outrun him, leaving the red bus in a cloud of dust. Annie and Clarabel were ecstatic. "Thomas never turns down Bertie's races!" Annie said excitedly. Stanley gulped. "Oh dear... Is this a bad thing? I didn't want to be rude. It's just I had a job to do..." Clarabel grinned. "No, it's wonderful! Our axles ache by the time those monkeys are done!" Stanley was a bit confused. "I see..." All throughout the day, Stanley made a good impression on all of the engines. He was polite, worked hard and everyone seemed to love him. It was if he was the new engine all over again.

That night, Percy and Toby discussed Stanley's impressive first impression. "His experience is quite staggering. I'm quite surprised, to be honest." Toby said. "Indeed. He might be better than Thomas...!" Percy chuckled. "Percy, I wouldn't say that. Thomas has his own qualities." Toby replied firmly. Percy was about to say something, but Annie and Clarabel interrupted him. "For once in our lives, we didn't have to race Bertie, so I'd say Stanley's somewhat of an improvement." said Annie. Clarabel murmured in agreement. "Quite right! Much more polite too! I mean, we love Thomas and all, but... um..." "We just feel Stanley is a very nice engine." finished Annie. Unknown to all four of them, Stanley was just coming home after taking a train of stone to the harbour, and felt a bit self-conscious. "Oh my..."

A few days later, Gordon was pushing Oliver inside the Steamworks after a collision with the other Oliver. "How did you even crash into him anyway, Oliver...?" Gordon asked. Oliver winced. "I'm not sure. He was waiting for George to cross the level crossing but then I came along and smashed into him." "Is he alright?" Gordon asked. "I think so. Just a few dents... could be a lot worse..." "Hello, down there!" Gordon and Oliver looked up and noticed Thomas dangling on the hoist, grinning cheekily at them. Gordon smirked, remembering. "Almost repaired, eh little Thomas?" "Right! Then I'll get Annie and Clarabel back. It has been too long, if you ask me," Thomas replied. Gordon grunted. "Not too sure about that. Stanley's doing such a good job he might just... replace you! He was actually on time when I got at the platform a few days ago instead of dawdling." Thomas was alarmed. Oliver just blinked. "Well that escalated quickly..." he muttered. "What utter rubbish! Stanley would never replace me! We're friends! You remember Great Waterton, 'little' Gordon." "Hey!" "If I may interject, can I get fixed now?" asked Oliver. Just then a Cuban whistle blew. Victor puffed up to the three, surprised. "Oh. Hello, my friends. Is this a party?" he asked. The engines blinked.

Soon, Thomas left the Steamworks, back for his branch line. "Silly Gordon... Stanley wouldn't replace me... Not ever!" Later, Thomas arrived at Knapford Station. He was surprised to find Percy talking to Neville and Stafford. "And then Stanley managed to pull the strong trucks all the way to the Docks! You should've seen the reaction on Cranky's face... ha, ha!" "Interesting." said Neville sincerely. Stafford just grunted. "I doubt Thomas could pull that much... I mean he's strong but... not that strong!" Percy grinned proudly. Neville couldn't help but notice Thomas' expression and frowned. "Uh, Percy-" "Then there was the time he shunted all those flatbeds... It was very fascinating to watch. Maybe he could beat you, Stafford!"Stafford just sighed. "...okay." Neville was still worried. "But Percy-" "It was amazing! He's the strongest tank engine I've ever-" "Percy!" "What?" Neville looked to find Thomas, but he wasn't there. "...huh?" "You wanted to tell me something, I assume," Percy asked impatiently. Neville gulped. "Oh, uh... Never mind, Percy. Carry on."

Thomas raced into Tidmouth, stopping by the Fat Controller, who was talking to Diesel, who was waiting in anticipation. "Diesel, I need you to-" "Excuse me, sir...?" The Fat Controller and Diesel turned to Thomas. Diesel scowled, angered by Thomas' interruption, while the controller was worried for his engine. "Thomas, why aren't you on your branch line? Surely, Annie and Clarabel want you back by now." Thomas scoffed. "I doubt it... They all fondle over Stanley now... I like Stanley, sir, but the other engines all accept him as better than I am. Even Percy!" "Oh dear..." Diesel smirked. "I never have that problem." The Fat Controller glared at him, then looked back at Thomas. "Well, what do you want done about this, Thomas?" "I think I should do Stanley's work. Maybe shunt in the yard or take passengers around Great Waterton. Things he does. Then maybe they'll miss me..." The Fat Controller thought for a moment. "Hmm... I'm assuming Stanley's going to stay on your branch line then... He will need someone to look after his work. Okay then. Thomas, your first job is to head to the Shunting Yards to shunt a train for Sam. The rest can be told via the yard manager." Thomas gulped, alarmed by the fact Sam was a very big engine, and could haul a lot of rolling stock."Um... yes sir!" Thomas reversed out of the station at once. The Fat controller turned back to Diesel. "Now Diesel-"

Soon, Thomas set to work in the yard. He worked hard, of course, but was much rougher than Stanley was. A truck groaned at the sight of him. "Oh no... Not this engine..." A tanker scoffed. "I think he's the guy who pulled a truck apart." "Wasn't that someone else?" Oliver puffed by. "Oh it's him!" The trucks all screamed, just as Thomas biffed into them. "Quiet! No screaming!" "But I like screaming..." Thomas rolled his eyes and started to shunt some container wagons. Finally, the tank engine was finished, as the shunter coupled the train of container wagons behind Sam, despite his face being as red as Bertie's. "I... did... it..."Sam was confused. "Thomas? Is that you back there?" The points were switched and Thomas rushed up beside Sam. "Yes... It's me... You expected someone else, I suppose... " Sam chuckled. "Kind of. What happened to Stanley?" "He has the branch line... I suppose I'm not strong enough to push these heavy containers though." Thomas sighed. "Well you pushed them to me, so that accounts for something." Sam said. "Maybe but everyone likes Stanley more than me. Heck, I like him. But he has Annie and Clarabel and I just have the yard..." "Stanley's got his advantages but you're still useful in your own way, and have your own work ethic that he doesn't have." Norman rushed up beside the two with some tankers for Murdoch. "Yeah, like goofing off! Heh, heh, heh..." Thomas was downcast as Norman rushed away. Sam didn't like seeing his friend upset. "Hey, cheer up! I'm sure things on your branch line are going terribly without you!" Sam whistled and started to puff away. Thomas smiled weakly, but wasn't too sure.

Meanwhile, at Ffarquhar Sheds... "Shouldn't Thomas be here by now? From what I've heard from Norman, he's already repaired," said Stanley worriedly. "Oh he's probably just going on test runs. Nothing to worry about, Stanley," replied Percy. But Stanley wasn't too sure. "I think I'll go to the yard with some stone... Just to see how he is..." he said to himself. He whistled and puffed away. The engines looked to each other.

Later, Thomas was getting a drink at the water tower; he had worked himself too hard, but he wanted to show the other engines his positive qualities. "I must keep going... I must..." he sighed as the water stopped flowing into his tanks. "Thomas, what are you doing here?" asked Stanley as he puffed beside him. Thomas sighed sadly. "Hello Stanley... I guess the branch line's going swell with you in my place, right?" "Well, erm... sort of, but-" "Huh!" Stanley looked at Thomas, suddenly realizing what was going on. "Thomas, I don't want to replace you." "Oh I know, but it seems Percy, Toby, Annie and Clarabel do..." Unknown to the two of them, Terence trundled up with a cart of apples and was overhearing the conversation. He paused, surprised at the topic. "I see... I admit I heard them praising me in the sheds one night... It... kind of puts a lot of pressure on me, to be honest." Stanley said. Thomas was surprised; he didn't think Stanley ever felt pressure. "What do you mean?" "Knowing other engines think I'm perfect. Well, not perfect but... you get what I mean. Besides I'm nowhere as popular as you, Thomas." Thomas was even more confused than before. "Huh?" "I always see crowds of children huddling around you; they love you, while they turn away from me. I don't mind necessarily, as I'm not one to want to drag myself into the spotlight, but still, you have your fans, Thomas." Thomas sighed. "Maybe but seeing Percy turn on me like that was quite... troubling, especially at Tidmouth when he boasted how amazing you were and how I'm not like you." "Well you shouldn't be like me. Everyone being the same would be boring," replied Stanley kindly, "You may be cheeky but that keeps things interesting." The blue tank engine smiled weakly. "I suppose so... I just wish they'd apologize... I mean, feeling unwanted isn't very pleasant..." "I know..." Stanley sighed. "And I don't know how much longer I can shunt these trucks for bigger engines," Thomas continued, "How do you do it?" "Simply how I was built I guess," Stanley said, "I do miss Great Waterton though. Flora's a good friend and the scenery's lovely." "I miss my branch line too..." Thomas replied. Terence frowned; he didn't expect this to happen. "Oh dear... I better tell the others... I think it's best they know about this." He trundled away, while Thomas and Stanley kept talking.

Later that night, at Ffarquhar Sheds, Henrietta was worried about Thomas. "Don't you think Stanley had a point about Thomas supposed to being back by now?" "I'll admit, that's a bit troubling, but I'm sure he's just shunting, or pulling the mail train," said Toby. "He'd tell me if he was pulling the mail," argued Percy, "Maybe he's just resting? Victor does make the Steamworks very comfortable." Just then, Terence trundled up with a lamp attached to him, frowning. "Well, uh... I might have the answer." Percy, Toby, and the coaches looked towards Terence. "What are you talking about?" Toby inquired. "Oh, um, I mean... I know why Thomas is still away, and why Stanley's still here." "Well, what is it?" asked Percy. Terence winced. "Um... I'm not sure if you'll like it but... I overheard Stanley and Thomas talking at the yard." The engines were surprised; they didn't expect this. "Thomas knows about all the praise you gave to Stanley, and for him... erm..." Percy and Toby looked worriedly to each other. "Oh no..." Henrietta was vexed. "Oh, I figured as such! Toby, why didn't you console Thomas about this?" "I didn't know," protested Toby, "I haven't even known where he was for most of the past few days! Though I suppose I do now..." Annie frowned. "What do we do? We need to apologize to him!" "I suppose I could go and find him... but..." "Please do, Terence," Percy cried, "We need to get Thomas back. Stanley's great and everything but... Thomas is Thomas, and you can't replace him." Terence formed a half-smile. "Heh... I'll do my best." Terence started to turn around and drove away, leaving a guilty set of engines and coaches behind.

The next morning, at Knapford Sheds, Thomas yawned as he opened his eyes. "Morning... Time to shunt more heavy goods trains... Yay..." "Uh, excuse me... Thomas?" Thomas looked over to find Terence sitting next to him, grinning sheepishly. "Terence? What are you doing here?" Thomas asked, puzzled, "Shouldn't you be ploughing or at a farm or something?" "Oh, I'm not needed right now. As for why I'm here... I came here because the others want to apologize for making you feel unwanted," Terence said sincerely, "They want you back." Thomas wasn't sure, but then remembered that Terence was very trustworthy, and not easy to manipulate. "Oh... But... what about Stanley?" "It's alright Thomas. I don't mind," said a voice. Terence and Thomas were surprised to find Stanley backing alongside him, grinning. "You have a right to your branch line, Thomas," he continued, "I think the others will want you back. Especially Bertie...!" Thomas chuckled. "Right Stanley... Thank you." Stanley cocked an eyebrow. "For what?" "Well, I never had a vendetta against you during all of this, but you've proven you're not the selfish engine I thought you were when you first arrived. You're smart, kind and really understands what a different engine needs," Thomas said. Stanley chuckled. "And you too Terence." "Just doing my part," the tractor replied. He whistled and set off for the shed. Sam grinned and whistled as Thomas puffed by him.

At Ffarquhar Station, Percy, with Annie and Clarabel, and Toby with Henrietta, were waiting at the platform. "Are you sure he's coming?" Annie asked. "We don't want to stand here all day," Clarabel muttered. "Of course. Terence's driver phoned my driver," replied Percy firmly, "He's coming. I know it." Just as Toby was about to speak up, Thomas blew his whistle. "Here he comes!" exclaimed Henrietta. She was right, as Thomas puffed around the corner and screeched to a halt in front of Percy. He was surprised. "What's all this?" "Thomas, we meant it when we said we missed you," said Annie. "Quite right. We got too caught up in something new to appreciate the old," agreed Clarabel. Thomas laughed. "I'm not old!" "Yes you are," sneered Percy. Then Thomas got serious. "But really everyone, I do appreciate this. Perhaps I might've overreacted, but it's always nice to know your friends still care about you." "Heh, I think we've all felt that way," Toby smiled. Thomas grinned.

The next morning, Thomas puffed into Ffarquhar with Annie and Clarabel. He was curious to overhearing Bertie complaining to himself. "Oh, I'm sure Stanley's still here... Bother... I do miss Thomas... He was much more fun." "I'm right here, Bertie," Thomas chuckled. Bertie looked up and laughed. "Oh, about time! My tyres are raring to race! You up for it?" "Am I? Of course!" "Oh no..." Annie said in mock horror. "Here we go again!" Clarabel cried as Thomas and Bertie raced out of the station together.

Characters

  • Thomas
  • Edward
  • Gordon
  • Percy
  • Toby
  • Neville
  • Stanley
  • Charlie
  • Porter
  • Samson
  • Diesel
  • Mavis
  • Salty
  • Stafford
  • Winston
  • Victor
  • Annie and Clarabel
  • Henrietta
  • Rocky
  • Bertie
  • Cranky
  • Kevin
  • The Fat Controller
  • Murdoch (does not speak)
  • Emily (cameo)
  • Rosie (cameo)
  • Hank (cameo)
  • Scruff (cameo)
  • Daisy (cameo)
  • The Works Diesel (cameo)
  • Sidney (cameo)
  • Duke (cameo)
  • Toad (cameo)
  • Victoria (cameo)
  • Jacob (cameo)
  • George (mentioned)

Locations

  • Knapford
  • Sodor Steamworks
  • Great Waterton
  • Great Waterton Sheds
  • Knapford Yards
  • Ffarquhar Quarry
  • Elsbridge
  • Maithwaite
  • Ffarquhar Sheds
  • Crovan's Gate
  • Tidmouth
  • McColl Farm
  • Ffaquhar
  • Toryeck (mentioned)
  • Brendam Docks (mentioned)

Trivia

  • References to the special The Great Discovery and the twelfth season episode Thomas Puts the Brakes On are used.