A Big Day for Thomas

Original UK title card

No. of season: 1
No. of epsiode: 5
No. of series: 5
Director: David Mitton
Producer: David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona
Writer: Reverend W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton
Narrator: George Carlin (US)
Original air date: 23 October 1984 (US)
1 May 1990 (JPN)
9 June 2000 (GER)
3 January 2002 (HUN)
Previous: Henry to the Rescue
Next: Trouble for Thomas

A Big Day for Thomas is the fifth episode of the first season of the series. Thomas gets the chance to pull his very own train with surprising results.


Thomas the Tank Engine's main job as station pilot is to collect the coaches that the engines need to pull their trains. Recently, Thomas has been grumbling about only getting to collect the coaches, wanting to pull passenger trains instead. The other engines laugh at Thomas, telling him that he is so impatient he would be bound to leave something behind. Thomas is determined to get a chance to prove them wrong.

That night, Thomas and Henry are alone in the shed as Henry is ill. The workmen try their hardest to make him better, but it is no use. Thomas feels sorry for Henry, who feels just as bad the next morning when he is due to take the early train. It is time for Thomas to get the coaches ready and he starts to hope he will be allowed to pull the train if Henry is not able to. He excitedly leaves to fetch the coaches.

Thomas quickly gets the coaches to the platform and is eager to run round in front. His driver doesn't let him, telling him he needs to be less impatient. Soon, all the passengers are aboard and the coaches are ready to leave and there is still no sign of Henry, much to Thomas' excitement. Sir Topham Hatt arrives to see what is going on, and is told about Henry. He tells the stationmaster to find another engine and, as Thomas is the only one available, he allows the tank engine to take the train.

Thomas, full of joy, and quickly moves to the front of the coaches despite his driver again warning Thomas not to be impatient but wait until everything is ready. No one knows what happened next... maybe Thomas was too impatient to wait, maybe the driver pulled the lever by mistake, or maybe the crew forgot to couple Thomas to the coaches. Regardless, Thomas leaves the station without the coaches and the passengers are very surprised and angry. The men in the signal box outside the station try to stop Thomas by shouting and waving, but Thomas thinks they are cheering.

Thomas sails along the line, thinking pulling coaches is easier than he was told. He keeps seeing people waving at him and assumes it is because he has never pulled a train before. Eventually, Thomas is stopped at a signal set to danger. Thomas is angry at being stopped when he was sailing through nicely and blows his whistle, alerting the signalman who asks what Thomas is doing on this part of the line. Thomas explains he is carrying a train, but the signalman asks him where the coaches are. Thomas is horrified when he realizes he has left his train behind. The signalman tells Thomas he better go back and get them and Thomas is very upset at his mistake and is ready to cry. The driver tells Thomas not to be upset and Thomas sadly heads back to the station.

At the station, all the passengers are complaining to Sir Topham Hatt about what happened, but when Thomas arrives and they see how upset and sorry he is, they forget to be cross and allow him to try again. This time, Thomas is properly coupled to the coaches and he gets the chance to really pull the train. However for a long time afterwards, the other engines laugh at Thomas for his mistake and say: "Look there's Thomas who wanted to pull a train, but forgot about the coaches!", much to his annoyance.



Fun FactsEdit


  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • While Thomas was shunting the coaches, a freight car with "NE" on the side can be seen in the siding.
  • This is the last episode of the following:
    • As Thomas backs onto the train, In Bob Saker version, his driver tells him "Let's not be impatient. We'll wait until everything is ready."
    • The signalbox at Knapford is called a "signal tower" in the US version.
    • The line "Afterwards, the other engines laughed at Thomas and said, in Keith Wickham version, Henry says, ''Look! There's Thomas who wanted to pull a train, but forgot about the coaches!'' and in George Carlin version, the narrator says, But Thomas had already learned not to make the same mistake again".
  • There are a few different between the original version:
    • Footage when Thomas says "People have never seen me pulling a train before" was different in the original.
    • Close-ups of Thomas' whistle are different shots.
  • This episode is one of writer Davey Moore's favorite Classic Series episodes alongside Rusty and the Boulder.
  • Recreated and additional scenes of this episode were produced in 1988 for the ladybird book, Come Out, Henry/A Big Day for Thomas/Thomas and the Conductor.


  • When the others tease Thomas, Edward appears to be amongst them. Isn't he supposed to be kind?
  • When Henry was being worked on, one of the workmen doesn't have his overalls completely painted on.
  • 2 clocks can be seen at Platform 1. The green clock reads 7:00; the red clock 12:00.
  • As Thomas was shunting the coaches for Henry's train, James puffs past with a passenger/goods train. Isn't Henry's train supposed to be the first train of the day?
  • When Thomas passes the signal box without his train, his eyes are wonky.
  • The man with the blue hat and coat and the boy with the blue sweater on the bridge were two of Thomas' passengers.
  • In a close-up of Thomas, his wheels are going at a different pace to the background.
  • At the end of the episode, Henry's train is missing a brake coach.
  • When the narrator says, "Thomas was so sad he nearly cried", Thomas still looks surprised.
  • When the others tease Thomas, Gordon was amongst them, but a few seconds earlier he was several hundred metres ahead.
  • In the close-up of Thomas puffing down the line, look at his coupling and you'll see a rope pulling him along.
  • When Thomas first shunts the coaches, the back buffers of the coach are at their normal height. A few scenes later however, the buffers were lowered to accommodate Thomas' buffers. But, in every scene after that, they're at their normal height again. James was also seen passing by with a train whilst Thomas was shunting the coaches, yet James was at Tidmouth Sheds when Thomas left from them in the previous shot.
  • James appears briefly, but he wasn't introduced until Thomas Saves the Day.
  • Thomas' eyes are wonky at the end of the episode when the other engines are teasing him.
  • The brake coach of Thomas' train is at the front when it should be at the back.


In Other LanguagesEdit

Language Name Meaning
Spanish Un gran día para Thomas / Thomas Expreso A Big Day for Thomas / Thomas Express
Hebrew הרכבת של תומס Thomas' Train
Japanese トーマスのしっぱい Thomas' Failure
Norwegian Toget til Thomas Thomas' Train
Brazilian Portuguese Uma Surpresa Para o Thomas / Um Grande Dia Para Thomas A Surprise For Thomas / A Great Day for Thomas
Welsh Trên Tomos Thomas the Train
Slovenian Tomažev Vlak Thomas' Train
French Le Train de Thomas Thomas' Train
Italian Il Trenino di Thomas Thomas' Train
Hungarian Thomas Vonata Thomas' Train
Dutch De Trein van Thomas Thomas' Train
Swedish Thomas tar tåget Thomas Takes the Train
Chinese 托马斯的火车 Thomas' Train
Korean 토마스와 실수 Thomas and Mistakes
Polish Pociąg Tomka Thomas' Train
Finnish Tuomas-Veturin Juna Thomas-the Tank Engine's Train
Romanian Trenul lui Thomas Train of Thomas
Slovak Thomasov vlak Thomas' Train
German Thomas' Zug Thomas' Train
Russian Поезд Томаса Thomas' Train
Czech Tomášův vlak Thomas' Train
Danish Da Thomas trak et tog When Thomas Pulled a Train
Serbian Tomasova voz Thomas' Train
Croatian Tomicina Vlak Thomas' Train
Thai โธมัสดีใจ Thomas is Delighted

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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