James Learns a Lesson

Original UK title card

No. of season: 1
No. of epsiode: 8
No. of series: 8
Director: David Mitton
Producer: David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona
Writer: Reverend W. Awdry (original)
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton (adapted)
Narrator: George Carlin (US)
Original air date: 30 October 1984 (US)
22 May 1990 (JAP)
2 March 1998 (GER)
4 January 2002 (HUN)
Previous: Thomas Saves the Day
Next: The Foolish Freight Cars

James Learns a Lesson is the eighth episode of the first season of the series. James has a series of misfortunes with top hats and coaches.


James is settling into his new life nicely; Sir Topham Hatt tells James that he is a mixed-traffic engine, so he can take coaches or freight cars easily but must learn from his mistakes. James, who had a nasty accident with freight cars on his first day, knows exactly what he means by that.

James' first job of the day is to double-head a train of coaches with Edward, who warns him that the coaches do not like being bumped. People have arrived on the platform to admire James, who quickly gets full of himself and lets off steam without warning causing a shower of water to fall on Sir Topham Hatt's brand new top hat. It was time for the train to leave and James tries to get out as fast as he can which angers Edward and the coaches. This causes trouble at the first station, when James causes two of the coaches to run beyond the platform forcing the train to reverse to let the passengers out. However, it seems that no one knows what happened with Sir Topham Hatt, much to James' relief.

Next James and Edward stop at the station on Thomas' new branch line, where the tank engine greets James before leaving. The train then passes the field where James had crashed. Finally, the journey ends and after unloading the passengers James and Edward head for home, with James still wondering what Sir Topham Hatt will have to say about his top hat.

The next morning, Sir Topham Hatt visits James in the shed and severely warns him that if anything else goes wrong, then James will be punished by being painted blue; James doesn't want that to happen. However, rather than calming down, James gets very angry and later bumps his coaches while bringing them to the station, grumbling that he shouldn't have to fetch them himself. To make matters worse, none of the passengers dare go near James, which makes him even crosser.

James pulls the coaches very roughly while trying to go as fast as Gordon; eventually, the coaches force James to stop. His driver explains that James' rough treatment has caused a leak in the coaches' pipes. The crew inspects the damage and the guard's only recommendation is to plug the leak with newspaper and a leather bootlace. However, none of the crew have a leather bootlace on them. They ask the passengers and the conductor finds a man with a leather bootlace, who initially refuses to give it up. The guard explains that without the bootlace, the train can't continue. The other passengers get very angry, both at the man and at the railway. Under pressure, the man finally hands over the bootlace and the damage is temporarily repaired allowing James to finish the journey. James proceeds on his way with the coaches, knowing that he is going to be in a lot of trouble with Sir Topham Hatt and decides never to bump coaches again.



Fun FactsEdit


  • This episode is based on the stories James and the Top-Hat and James and the Bootlace from the Railway Series book, James the Red Engine.
  • A flashback of stock footage from Thomas Saves the Day is used.
  • A train passing Edward and James, when they are in front of Sir Topham Hatt, has a freight car with "NE" painted on the side.
  • The 2 coaches at the end of James' train are Annie and Clarabel (in that order).
  • After the narrator says "James was still wondering what will Sir Topham Hatt would have to say about his new top hat," James uses his whistle sound, which is actually the same audio of Thomas whistling in Trouble for Thomas, when Sir Topham Hatt asks Thomas what he is doing, however, the 1st note of James' whistle is cut off slightly.


  • It is mentioned that the events of the previous episode happened on James' first day. However, James had appeared in every single episode leading up to the airing of the aforementioned episode. This is an artifact of the original story, in which James' accident was indeed his first appearance.
  • Clarabel is facing the wrong way when Thomas leaves the junction.
  • When James is getting his branch line coaches ready, the brake coach is in the middle of the train.
  • A member of James' crew is blond at the beginning, but when his crew wonder how to fix the leak all 3 have dark hair.
  • When the train passes James and Edward, a brake van is in the middle.
  • When James and Edward overrun the platform, they are at Dryaw, which is on Thomas' Branch Line.
  • When James and Edward pass by the field where James crashed, the narrator says that the fence was mended, but there never was a fence.
  • In the original version, when James bumps the coaches at Knapford on the second day, the bumping sound is out of sync.
  • James and Edward are seen coming down Gordon's Hill, however they are also seen travelling between Dryaw and Elsbridge, while Gordon's hill is between Wellsworth and Maron, and there are no lines connecting the 2 routes together.


In Other LanguagesEdit

Language Name Meaning
German James und die Personenwagen James and the Cars
Croatian Jurica i putnik Kola James and the Passenger Wagons
Finnish Jaska ja Matkustajavaunut James and the Passenger Coaches
Danish James og passagervogne James and the Passenger Coaches
Dutch James en de personenwagons James and the Passenger Coaches
Italian Sbagliando s'impara You Will Learn From Mistakes
Spanish James Aprende Una Lección / Thomas y los vagones James Learns a Lesson / James and the Wagons
Norwegian James og passasjervognene James and the Passenger Coaches
Brazilian Portuguese O Conserto The Fix
French James et les wagons James and the Wagons
Hebrew ג'יימס והקרונות James and the Wagons
Japanese ジェームスのあやまち James' Mistakes
Welsh James a'r Cerbydau James and the Vehicles
Slovenian Jakob in potniški vagoni James and the Coaches
Polish Kuba i Wagony James and the Wagons
Chinese 詹姆士和车厢 James and the Cars
Korean 제임스의 실수 James' Mistake
Hungarian James és a Vagonok James and the Wagons
Swedish James och Personvagnarna James and the Passenger Carriages
Romanian James şi Vagoanele James and the Wagons
Slovak James a vagóny James and the Wagons
Russian На ошибках учатся Learn from the Mistakes
Czech James a vagóny James and the Wagons
Serbian James i vagoni James and the Wagons
Thai เจมส์อารมณ์บูด James' Mood

Home Media ReleasesEdit


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James and the Coaches – British Narration

James and the Coaches – British Narration

UK Narration

v - e - d Thomas and Friends episodes
Series 1 Thomas and Gordon · Edward and Gordon · The Sad Story of Henry · Edward, Gordon and Henry · Thomas' Train · Thomas and the Trucks · Thomas and the Breakdown Train · James and the Coaches · Troublesome Trucks · James and the Express · Thomas and the Guard · Thomas Goes Fishing · Thomas, Terence and the Snow · Thomas and Bertie · Tenders and Turntables · Trouble in the Shed · Percy Runs Away · Coal · The Flying Kipper · Whistles and Sneezes · Toby and the Stout Gentleman · Thomas in Trouble · Dirty Objects · Off the Rails · Down the Mine · Thomas' Christmas Party
Series 2 Thomas, Percy and the Coal · Cows · Bertie's Chase · Saved from Scrap · Old Iron · Thomas and Trevor · Percy and the Signal · Duck Takes Charge · Percy and Harold · The Runaway · Percy Takes the Plunge · Pop Goes the Diesel · Dirty Work · A Close Shave · Better Late Than Never · Break Van · The Deputation · Thomas Comes to Breakfast · Daisy · Percy's Predicament · The Diseasel · Wrong Road · Edward's Exploit · Ghost Train · Woolly Bear · Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree
Series 3 A Scarf for Percy · Percy's Promise · Time for Trouble · Gordon and the Famous Visitor · Donald's Duck · Thomas Gets Bumped · Thomas, Percy and the Dragon · Diesel Does It Again · Henry's Forest · The Trouble with Mud · No Joke for James · Thomas, Percy and the Post Train · Trust Thomas · Mavis · Toby's Tightrope · Edward, Trevor and the Really Useful Party · Buzz, Buzz · All at Sea · One Good Turn · Tender Engines · Escape · Oliver Owns Up · Bulgy · Heroes · Percy, James and the Fruitful Day · Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure
Series 4 Granpuff · Sleeping Beauty · Bulldog · You Can't Win · Four Little Engines · A Bad Day for Sir Handel · Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady · Trucks! · Home at Last · Rock 'n' Roll · Special Funnel · Steam Roller · Passengers and Polish · Gallant Old Engine · Rusty to the Rescue · Thomas and Stepney · Train Stops Play · Bowled Out · Henry and the Elephant · Toad Stands By · Bulls Eyes · Thomas and the Special Letter · Paint Pots and Queens · Fish · Special Attraction · Mind That Bike
Series 5 Cranky Bugs · Horrid Lorry · A Better View for Gordon · Lady Hatt's Birthday Party · James and the Trouble with Trees · Gordon and the Gremlin · Bye George! · Baa! · Put Upon Percy · Toby and the Flood · Haunted Henry · Double Teething Troubles · Stepney Gets Lost · Toby's Discovery · Something in the Air · Thomas, Percy and Old Slow Coach · Thomas and the Rumours · Oliver's Find · Happy Ever After · Sir Topham Hatt's Holiday · A Surprise for Percy · Make Someone Happy · Busy Going Backwards · Duncan Gets Spooked · Rusty and the Boulder · Snow
Series 6 Salty's Secret · Harvey to the Rescue · No Sleep for Cranky · A Bad Day for Harold the Helicopter · Elizabeth the Vintage Lorry · The Fogman · Jack Jumps In · A Friend in Need · It's Only Snow · Twin Trouble · The World's Strongest Engine · Scaredy Engines · Percy and the Haunted Mine · Middle Engine · James and the Red Balloon · Jack Frost · Gordon Takes a Tumble · Percy's Chocolate Crunch · Buffer Bother · Toby Had a Little Lamb · Thomas, Percy and the Squeak · Thomas the Jet Engine · Edward the Very Useful Engine · Dunkin' Duncan · Rusty Saves the Day · Faulty Whistles
Series 7 Emily's New Coaches · Percy Gets It Right · Bill, Ben and Fergus · The Old Bridge · Edward's Brass Band · What's the Matter with Henry? · James and the Queen of Sodor · The Refreshment Lady's Tea Shop · · The Spotless Record · Toby's Windmill · Bad Day at Castle Loch · Rheneas and the Roller Coaster · Salty's Stormy Tale · Snow Engine · Something Fishy · The Runaway Elephant · Peace and Quiet · Fergus Breaks the Rules · · Bulgy Rides Again · Harold and the Flying Horse · The Grand Opening · Best Dressed Engine · Gordon and Spencer · Not So Hasty Puddings · Trusty Rusty · Three Cheers for Thomas
Series 8 Thomas and the Tuba · Percy's New Whistle · Thomas to the Rescue · Henry and the Wishing Tree · James Gets a New Coat · Thomas Saves the Day · Percy's Big Mistake · Thomas, Emily and the Snowplough · Don't Tell Thomas · Emily's New Route · Thomas and the Firework Display · Gordon Takes Charge · Spic and Span · Edward the Great · Squeak, Rattle and Roll · Thomas and the Circus · Thomas Gets It Right · As Good as Gordon · Fish · Emily's Adventure · Halloween · You Can Do It, Toby! · James Goes Too Far · Chickens to School · Too Hot for Thomas · Percy and the Magic Carpet
Series 9 Percy and the Oil Painting · Thomas and the Rainbow · Molly's Special, Special · Thomas' Milkshake Muddle · Mighty Mac · Thomas and the Toy Shop · Respect for Gordon · Thomas and the Birthday Picnic · Tuneful Toots · Rheneas and the Dinosaur · Thomas and the New Engine · Toby Feels Left Out · Thomas Tries His Best · The Magic Lamp · Thomas and the Statue · Henry and the Flagpole · Emily Knows Best · Thomas' Day Off · Thomas' New Trucks Duncan and the Old Mine · Bold and Brave · Skarloey the Brave · Saving Edward · Thomas and the Golden Eagle · Keeping Up with James · Flour Power