Break Van, retitled Donald and Douglas in American releases, is the sixteenth episode of the second series.


Two black twin engines from Scotland named Donald and Douglas have arrived on the Island of Sodor to help out; however, the Fat Controller had only sent for one engine. While the twins mean well, their identical appearance causes confusion and the Fat Controller has numbers painted on their tenders; Donald is 9 and Douglas is 10. However, the Fat Controller still intends to send one of the engines back home.

In the yard, a Spiteful Brake Van takes a dislike to Douglas and always causes things to go wrong whenever Douglas takes it out. As a result, Douglas' trains are late and he is subsequently blamed, making him worry. Donald is angry at his twin's unfair treatment and bumps the brake van violently, threatening that there will be more if it continues to misbehave. The Spiteful Brake Van starts behaving better afterwards.

One day, however, Donald reverses onto some slippery rails, but he is unable to stop and accidentally crashes into a signal box, tender first. The Fat Controller is furious with Donald for his clumsiness and tells him that he had decided to keep him and send Douglas back before this incident. Now Donald needs to have his tender mended and James will have to do his work, which the Fat Controller knows he will not like.

The Fat Controller is proven right: James is very angry about the extra work and grumbles dreadfully. Douglas mentions James' incident with the tar wagons, worsening his bad mood. He takes a train of trucks which includes the Spiteful Brake Van, who decides to make work difficult for James and has the trucks hold back, quickly tiring James out.

Meeting Douglas at Wellsworth, James asks for his assistance in climbing up Gordon's Hill and Douglas agrees. The two engines work as hard as they can, but halfway up the hill, James starts losing steam and Douglas accidentally crushes the Spiteful Brake Van while pushing from behind. The Fat Controller arrives on Edward, who comes with the Breakdown Train to help clear the mess and is cross that Douglas has also caused trouble. Edward stands up for Douglas, having heard what happened and tells the Fat Controller of all the hard work Douglas did. The Fat Controller feels that Douglas went too far, but admires his determination and understands that he was only trying to help. The Fat Controller now has to make up his mind about which engine to keep, but that is another story.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, The Twin Engines. The first exposition is taken from Hullo Twins, while the second one is from The Missing Coach, both from the same book. The first two shots are taken from the latter story's cancelled episode.
  • This episode marks the first time an engine, rolling stock or vehicle suffers physical injuries to their face, with the second being from the third series episode, Buzz, Buzz and the third being from the fifth series episode, Horrid Lorry.
  • Either a PECO or Märklin sleeper can be seen upside down beside the tracks when James and Douglas leave the station. More sleepers are seen beside Douglas in a deleted shot.
  • This episode was filmed at the same time as the second series episode, Thomas Comes to Breakfast, as in the latter episode, Donald's tender is seen merged into the signal box when Thomas pulls into Tidmouth Station and then behind Percy when he says, "Don't be so daft" to Thomas.
  • The rag used to wipe down Douglas' tender is blu-tack.
  • A reference to the first series episode, Dirty Objects and a foreshadow to the second series episode, The Deputation are made.
  • There are a few differences between the original and restored versions:
    • The scenes of Edward and Douglas is zoomed out, though part of Douglas' funnel is cropped in the first shot.
    • Douglas has his nameplate when he went up Gordon's Hill and smashed the Spiteful Brake Van.
  • When originally broadcast, compiled with the second series episode, Better Late Than Never, the end credits mentioned Christopher Awdry's episode, though later separate versions (most notably on VHS and Cartoon Network) still had the episode listed in the end credits.
  • In the Japanese version, James gains an extra line as he does Donald's work.
  • This episode's UK title is a pun on brake van, since the brake van breaks.
  • Events of this episode were referenced in the twenty-first series episode, Emily in the Middle.


  • At the beginning, sticky tack is used to hold Donald's face.
  • In the wide-screen version of the first clip, Douglas' number has been painted on.
  • The right front tyre on the Fat Controller's blue car is slightly above the ground.
  • Donald's confrontation with the brake van takes place in the yard, but in the close-ups of Donald, he is at the station.
  • Donald is smiling when he backs down on the slippery rails.
  • When Donald hits the signal box, the alarm bell and its walls are bumped, but when the Fat Controller arrives, the walls and the alarm bell are undamaged.
  • When Donald bumps the Spiteful Brake Van, the sound of him bumping him is late by a second.
  • The "M" is partly rubbed off on the sign on the signal box that Donald crashes into, making it look like it says "TID OUTH".
  • When James backs down next to Douglas, his eyes are wonky.
  • When James leaves the yard, the van coupled to him tips and Gordon's eyes are wonky.
  • When Donald approaches the Spiteful Brake Van, his lamp iron disappears.
  • The Spiteful Brake Van turns brown after Douglas crushes him.
  • When Douglas crushes the Spiteful Brake Van, his wheels are bluish-grey. This is due to the fluid in the model that generates the smoke effects. An extended shot shown in a postcard shows that not only are his tender axle-boxes in the same bluish-grey, but his driver's head is also backwards.
  • In a deleted photograph, Douglas' face is falling off when he is coupled behind the Spiteful Brake Van.
  • Douglas is smiling when he breaks the Spiteful Brake Van and when the Fat Controller speaks angrily to him.
  • When the Fat Controller says "I don't know..." Douglas' face mask moves.
  • When the Fat Controller says "I might have known it would be Douglas," Douglas' face is clean and his nameplate is fine, but when Edward says "I heard him from my yard," his face becomes dirty and his nameplate is crooked and crushed.
  • Douglas mistakenly has his nameplate during the last part of the episode after Douglas starts helping James up the hill. In the shot where Douglas crushes the Spiteful Brake Van, the original version of this episode had the nameplate covered with a black censor bar with other shots zoomed in to keep it out-of-frame. These were missing from the restored episode and the nameplate can be seen clearly.
  • When James passes Suddery Castle, the Spiteful Brake Van does not appear to have a face.


  • Donald: You're a muckle nuisance! It's to leave you behind, I be wantin'.
  • Brake Van: You can't. I'm essential.
  • Donald: Och! Are you? You're nothin' but a screechin' and a noise when all's said and done. Spite Dougie, would ya? TAKE THAT! [rams the brake van]
  • Brake Van: UK: "Oh! Oh! Oh!" / US: "OW! OOH!"
  • Donald: There's more comin', should ya misbehave.


  • [after Donald has crashed into a signal box]
  • The Fat Controller: I am disappointed, Donald. I didn't expect such clumsiness from you. I had decided to send Douglas back and keep you.
  • Donald: I'm sorry, Sir.
  • The Fat Controller: I should think so, too. You have upset my arrangements. Now, James will have to help with the goods work while you have your tender mended. James won't like that.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Os Gêmeos Escoceses
Chinese 破烂的手车
Croatian Slomljeni Teretnih Vagona
Czech Spojovací Vagón
Danish Donald og Douglas
Dutch De Remwagen
Finnish Jarruvaunu
German Der Bremswagen
Hungarian A Fékezőkocsi
Italian Le Locomotive Gemelle
Japanese ふたごのきかんしゃ
Korean 쌍둥이 기관차
Norwegian Den Trassige Godsvogna
Polish Wagon Służbowy
Romanian Vagonul cu Frână
Russian Вагончик с тормозом
Serbian Polomljeni Vagon
Slovak Spojovací Vagón
Slovenian Vagon z Zavoro
Spanish Donald y Douglas
Swedish Den Trassiga Godsvagnen
Thai หัวรถจักรฝาแฝดคู่ใหม่
Ukrainian Гальмівний вагон

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