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Free The Roads is the first episode of the twenty-third series.


Bulgy is annoyed at the engines always taking the passengers. He attempts to take some that are waiting for Percy to arrive, but they decline his offer to ride on him. Bulgy attempts to block off Percy at the level crossing while trying to express his "Free the roads" policy, but moves after Bertie tells him to. While fantasying about him and Bertie saving passengers from being taken by Percy by taking them instead, he accidently knocks into some steel drums that have some tyres on them. One of the tyres rolls off the drums and onto a plank of wood that launches a bag of soil into a water tower.

Thomas fills up with water from the water tower Bulgy got soil into, and breaks down some time later while taking Annie and Clarabel. Bulgy is then asked by Sir Topham Hatt to take Thomas' passengers instead. Some of the other engines also take on water from the same water tower and break down as well, leaving Bertie and Bulgy very busy.

Bulgy initially likes taking passengers, but he soon gets more than he bargained for; Bertie ends up breaking down due to an overload of passengers to take, leading them to ride in Bulgy and causing him to break down as well. When his passengers complain about this, Bulgy states his regrets in getting the soil in the water tower. Unfortunately, The Fat Controller hears this and chastises Bulgy for what he did. Bulgy is then left broken down while the passengers are picked up by the engines. He is then left further dismayed when he is taken back to the garage by Thomas, but is still sticking to his beliefs.





  • Joseph May as Thomas
  • Christopher Ragland as Percy and a Passenger
  • Teresa Gallagher as Annie, Clarabel, the Teacher and Albert's Wife
  • Keith Wickham as Bertie and Sir Topham Hatt
  • Colin McFarlane as Bulgy
  • Kerry Shale as Max
  • Rob Rackstraw as Monty, the Knapford Stationmaster and a Passenger



  • Max and Monty have their US voices in the UK dub.
    • Additionally, Kerry Shale is not credited in either the US or UK end credits despite voicing Max.
    • Rob Rackstraw is also not credited in the UK end credits for voicing Monty. However, Rasmus Hardiker is credited despite not voicing him.
  • Max and Monty have Sidney and Paxton's horn sounds.
  • As Percy starts leaving Maithwaite, his last two coaches are not rendered properly as they are merged together.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Liberem as Estradas
German Straße frei für die Busse
Polish Więcej Dróg
Spanish Liberen los Caminos
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