Bowled Out is the eighteenth episode of the fourth series. It is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine.


During the last few days of Stepney's visit to the North Western Railway, an engine shortage has occurred and the only engine available is a Class 40 diesel. The diesel soon arrives and immediately insults the engines, claiming them to be out of date compared to him.

The engines are furious, but cannot think of a plan for revenge. There is no need though, as the next day the wind blows an inspector's hat off and into the diesel's air-intake vent, causing him to break down just as he is about to take an express, much to his fury. As Duck and Stepney shunt the failed Class 40 into the shed, the inspector sees his hat jammed in the diesel's air-intake, but the Fat Controller is more concerned about the train being late.

Stepney, who has awaited for a long run on his last day, volunteers with Duck to pull the train. Pulling together, the two engines set off down the Main Line, passing Edward's station and struggling over Gordon's hill, then in record time reach Crovan's Gate where Gordon waits to take over.

Stepney leaves the next day and while the engines bid him a fond farewell, the diesel creeps sulkily away leaving only two things to remember him by; a bad smell and a battered bowler hat.



  • Tidmouth Sheds
  • Wellsworth
  • Gordon's Hill
  • Shunting Yards
  • Crovan's Gate Yards
  • Skarloey Engine Sheds
  • The Works
  • The Ruined Castle
  • Henry's Tunnel (deleted scene)
  • Bluebell Railway (mentioned)


  • Because this episode is the seventeenth episode of the fourth series in production order, it was broadcast before Train Stops Play, which is the eighteenth, thus throwing the continuity of Stepney's visit to the Fat Controller's railway off.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Sir Handel until the tenth series episode, Follow that Flour. It also marks the last appearance of Crovan's Gate until the eighteenth series (excluding stock footage appearances in the seventh series).
  • In a rare picture on the back cover of the 1995 Thomas and the Special Letter US VHS, Gordon is in Henry's place when the Fat Controller makes the announcement.
  • According to some VHS and the UK YouTube Channel descriptions, Class 40 was brought to Sodor to stand in for Daisy while she was ill, but Daisy is not seen nor mentioned.
  • This episode marks Class 40's only speaking role and also his last appearance to date.
  • Despite his appearance in the episode, Percy does not appear in the nameboard sequence at the end of the episode in the Japanese dub.
  • The scene of Class 40 passing the coaches is mirrored in US DVD advertisements and The 10 Years of Thomas version of Thomas' Anthem.
  • This would be the last episode until the sixth series episodes, Jack Jumps in and A Friend in Need with a story arc span over more than one episode.
  • The three berth garage model from TUGS appears at Tidmouth Sheds.


  • A few things for James in this episode:
    • The goods train next to James is being pushed by a crew member's hand, as a shadow is easily seen.
    • James has Smudger's whistle sound when he leaves Crovan's Gate.
  • A few things for Gordon in this episode:
    • His buffers are slightly crooked at different points in this episode.
    • He is missing his brake pipe.
    • In a rare still image, he has a crooked buffer.
    • His lead wheels are derailed at the turn table meeting.
  • The track that Percy is on is only there for one scene.
  • Stepney is missing his crew in the first shot.
  • In a close-up shot of Sir Topham Hatt talking to Stepney and Duck before taking the train, he is first seen standing on a crate, but in the next shot, he is standing on a plain block of wood.
  • In the shots of Gordon's Hill:
    • Red and blue wires can be seen in the middle coach and in the same shot, the track in front of Stepney and Duck appears to sink just before they roll over it.
    • Duck gains a lamp.
  • In the close-ups of Duck and Stepney during the scene where Class 40 breaks down, the scenery changes.
  • In the shots of Class 40:
    • After he grinds to a halt and the camera switches to Duck and Stepney and then back to him, he is slightly further away from the coaches.
    • When he arrives at Tidmouth Sheds, the braking sound is heard long before he actually stops.
    • When he arrives, the close-up of Donald and Douglas is taken from later in the episode, as James' position is inconsistent with the rest of the scene but consistent with the later scene.
    • When he breaks down, he has his air-intake covered, but when the inspector notices his hat, his air intake cover is off.
  • When the engines are whistling at Tidmouth Sheds, Percy's whistle sound is heard, but he is nowhere to be seen in this scene. The reason is because stock audio from the first series episode, Thomas' Christmas Party is used.
  • In the second shot, the camera lens can be seen at the top left hand corner.

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