- “I hope you two know how silly you've been. Go on, apologise to each other. It's a new year and new start for you both!”
- ―Sir Topham Hatt
Confused Coaches is the eighteenth and final episode of the twenty-first series.
It is the twenty-ninth of December and Spencer meets Gordon whilst taking the Duke and Duchess of Boxford to their summer house, to which Gordon reacts that it is winter. Spencer says it is and calls Gordon a slow coach. Gordon starts racing Spencer down the track, but soon Gordon stops at the station with his express with Spencer teasing him, calling him a “regular” engine, much to Gordon’s displeasure.
The very next morning, Gordon and Spencer are at Knapford while the Duke and Duchess speak to the Fat Controller about a New Year’s Eve party at Callan Castle the next day, to which Spencer will take them and boasts that it is the kind of job only a private engine gets to do. Gordon replies by saying that if he were that special, he would be at platform 1, which Gordon always departs from. Spencer questions his importance by pointing out that Thomas is number 1 and Gordon is only number 4, to which Gordon points out that Spencer does not even have a number.
The next morning, Spencer takes his pullman coaches to be cleaned at Knapford. He looks at platforms 1 and 2 then sneakily moves to platform 1. Gordon soon arrives and rudely orders Spencer to move to platform 2, but Spencer refuses, claiming that Gordon told him special engines depart from Platform 1 and that they will both be late unless Gordon moves to Platform 2. Gordon, cross but being flexible, does so.
A few minutes later, Thomas arrives and leaves the Express Coaches at Platform 1, and Philip places Spencer’s coaches at Platform 2. The passengers arrive and board the coaches, and the engines set off, with the fact that they have the wrong coaches unbeknownst to them.
Gordon approaches Wellsworth and stops, but Spencer proceeds on. As Spencer rockets, Gordon notices he is pulling his Express coaches, and realises there is trouble. Due to an abrupt stop, the party guests tumble out of the pullman coaches. The Fat Controller asks where Spencer is, and Gordon replies that there had seemed to be a mix-up. The guests reembark, and the Fat Controller has Gordon chase Spencer up to the castle.
Once up at Callan Castle, the passengers are cross with Spencer for taking the Express. Gordon arrives, and the Duke demands Spencer to explain himself immediately. Spencer explains that Thomas and Philip must have confused their coaches. The Fat Controller asks Gordon’s side of the story, to which he says that Spencer was at his platform, and Spencer tries to defend himself by saying special engines always leave from platform 1. Gordon admits he may have given him that impression before being interrupted by the Fat Controller, who says they are both to blame and that they have caused confusion, delay and the Express passengers to end up at the Castle where they didn’t want to go. Both Gordon and Spencer apologise for their actions, disappointed in themselves for causing all this trouble. The two engines are sent to take the Express passengers back to their correct stations.
It is almost midnight when an exhausted Gordon returns to Knapford. Spencer pulls up next to him, just as worn out, and neither engine cares which platform they are on. The Fat Controller, along with his family, the Mayor of Sodor and the Duke and Duchess, now in better moods, tells the engines to apologise to each other as it is a new year and a new start for both of them. Spencer begins for taking Gordon’s platform and upsetting his passengers, and Gordon apologises for teasing him about which platform was the best and continues by saying the number does not make much of a difference. Thomas and Philip pull in and join them as the New Year’s fireworks begin and they all wish each other a Happy New Year.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Stephen Hatt
- Bridget Hatt
- Dowager Hatt
- The Duke and Duchess of Boxford
- The Mayor of Sodor
- The Thin Clergyman
- The Fat Clergyman
- The Grumpy Passenger
- A Porter
- Paxton (cameo)
- Lady Hatt (cameo)
- Sir Robert Norramby (cameo)
- The Knapford Stationmaster (cameo)
- The Bird Watcher (cameo)
- One of Dowager Hatt's Friends (cameo)
- The Welsh Bird Watcher (cameo)
- Lord Callan (mentioned)
- Henry's Tunnel
- Crovan's Gate
- Skarloey Engine Sheds
- Knapford Station Yard
- Wellsworth Sheds
- Callan Castle
- The Duke and Duchess of Boxford's Summer House (mentioned)
- Crosby Tunnel (deleted scene)
- Joseph May as Thomas
- Kerry Shale as Gordon
- Glenn Wrage as Spencer
- Rasmus Hardiker as Philip
- Keith Wickham as Sir Topham Hatt, Dowager Hatt, the Grumpy Passenger and a Porter
- William Hope as the Duke of Boxford
- Jules de Jongh as the Duchess of Boxford
- Teresa Gallagher as Stephen Hatt and Bridget Hatt
- David Bedella as the Mayor of Sodor
- Rob Rackstraw as the Thin Clergyman (uncredited)
- Tom Stourton as the Fat Clergyman (uncredited)
- Going by production order, this is the fourth episode of the twenty-first series.
- An instrumental version of Auld Lang Syne can be heard throughout the episode.
- This episode marks the first of two things:
- The first New Year's-themed episode in the series.
- This is the first episode where Spencer is seen with a snowplough.
- When Thomas was shunting the express coaches at platform 1 during Gordon and Spencer's conversation about the importance of numbers, a bump sound effect used from Series 4-7 can be heard.
- This episode marks Spencer's only appearance in the twenty-first series.
- This episode marks the last of a few things:
- The final episode of the Thomas & Friends series, before the Big World! Big Adventures! rebrand.
- The last episode narrated by Mark Moraghan in the UK and US dubs, Óscar Gómez in Latin America, Stefan Knothe in Poland, Alexandru Rusu in Romania and Tatá Guarnieri in Brazil, as well as the final episode to use a third-person narrative although he narrated the recaps of Journey Beyond Sodor, Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure and The Great Race parts 1 and 2 on Nick Jr. in the US in 2018. Thomas would take over as narrator starting from Series 22.
- The last episode to be written by Helen Farrall before she left the writing team.
- The final episode to use the Engine Roll Call as the opening song, the twenty-second series later swaps it with Set Friendship in Motion.
- The last episode where the vehicle's bodies are static.
- The final episode to have a running time of eight minutes and forty-five seconds.
- The final episode to not be dubbed in Finnish.
- In the UK dub, while Gordon is laughing at Philip, he says "68". This line is omitted in the US dub.
- In the Nick Jr. USA broadcast of the episode, it is paired with Runaway Engine.
- A shortened version of the episode, narrated by Joseph May as Thomas, can be found on the official YouTube channel and the Nick Jr. USA website.
- In a deleted scene, Gordon and Spencer are seen racing through Crosby Tunnel, this scene was cut from the episode possibly to fit the time slot.
- William Hope and Kerry Shale are credited in the UK end credits despite none of their characters speaking.
- Rob Rackstraw and Tom Stourton are not credited in both dubs for voicing the Thin and Fat Clergymen respectively.
- In the wide side-by-side shot of Gordon and Spencer racing at the beginning, Gordon's wheels are going backwards at a slower speed..
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