Percy Runs Away is the seventeenth episode of the first series.


After several days of being shut up in the shed for going on strike, the Fat Controller visits Gordon, James, and Henry. He tells the three that he hopes they are sorry and have learned they are not as important as they thought. He informs them that there is a new tank engine named Percy and that Edward and Thomas have been running the main line well by themselves. However, he is willing to let them out and return to work on the condition that they be good and do not complain about shunting anymore. All three agree and they quickly resume their duties.

The Fat Controller then speaks to Thomas, Edward, and Percy and as a reward for their hard work, allows them to play on the branch line for a few days. Thomas happily collects Annie and Clarabel while Edward and Percy go and play with trucks in the yard. Edward and Thomas leave and Percy is left alone where he enjoys watching the larger engines go by. He also enjoys being cheeky to them, which makes them very cross.

Later, after doing some more shunting, Percy heads back to the yard, but the points are against him. Percy is so eager to work, he carelessly forgets that Edward had told him to whistle when he got to the signal box so that the signalman would know he was there. Suddenly he sees something that does make him whistle, in panic; Gordon, on the same line, heading towards him full speed with the express. Percy is horrified, but cannot do anything and closes his eyes as Gordon gets closer. Luckily Gordon applies his brakes and stops just in time. However, by now a frightened Percy has begun to move and intending to run away, begins running backwards.

Percy runs straight through Edward's station and is so frightened he runs straight up Gordon's Hill without stopping. After he descends the hill, Percy quickly becomes tired but is unable to stop because his crew had jumped out when they saw Gordon. Luckily, a signalman sees that Percy is in trouble and sets the points into a siding, where Percy finally stops in a big bank of soil. By now, Percy is so tired he does not care where he stops. He is dug out of the soil by some workmen, who offer him some coal and a drink of water to make him feel better.

Gordon arrives and congratulates Percy on starting quickly and stopping a potential accident. Percy apologises for his previous cheekiness and Gordon pulls Percy out from the bank.

Now friends with Gordon, Percy quickly settles into his new role as station pilot. Although he never loses his penchant for cheekiness, he now knows to always be careful when he goes on the main line.


  • Edward
  • Henry
  • Gordon
  • James
  • Percy
  • Troublesome Trucks
  • Sir Topham Hatt
  • Thomas (does not speak)
  • Annie and Clarabel (do not speak)


  • Tidmouth Sheds
  • Knapford
  • Wellsworth
  • Gordon's Hill
  • Lower Suddery
  • Ffarquhar Quarry (mentioned)


  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Troublesome Engines.
  • Stock footage from Trouble in the Shed is used.
  • In the restored version, when Gordon is approaching Percy, Percy's eye movement is different than it is in the original version.
  • Percy's mishap is based on four real events; the first one occurred in Thirsk in 1892, the second one occurred on Christmas Eve 1910 at Hawes Junction, the third occurred in Quintinshill on 22 May 1915 and the fourth one occurred at Newton Abbot August 1939 shortly before the beginning of WWII.


  • Henry has the external steampipes of his new shape in the Tidmouth Sheds scenes.
  • When Percy leaves the turntable the turntable sags.
  • Annie and Clarabel's nameplates are missing when Thomas takes them away.
  • In a close-up of Percy, greenery appears behind him instead of Wellsworth.
  • The narrator says that Edward took some empty trucks to the quarry, but the last three are full.
  • In one close-up of Percy at the points, the camera jumps a bit.
  • In the shot of Percy's wheels spinning as he reverses, there are red specs on his wheels.
  • In some shots, while Percy runs away, his crew is in his cab.
  • Percy goes further back from the signal box without moving.
  • When Gordon is rescuing Percy, one of the workmen has blu-tak around his neck.
  • According to maps of Sodor, the branch line to Suddery is between Wellsworth and Gordon's Hill. Percy should have passed the line before he went up Gordon's Hill.
  • In the last shot, a track in front of the camera has a dead end.
  • When Percy crashes into the bank of soil, his rear stripe sticker is partially unattached from his boiler.
  • In George Carlin's narration and some foreign dubs, Gordon told Percy he was clever to stop so quickly at Wellsworth, when it was Gordon who stopped just before Percy started reversing.
  • In the close-up of Percy when he is beginning to reverse, a piece of track is visible next to him. However there is no track next to him by the signal box. This also applies to the close-up where he is about to back into the bank of earth.
  • Percy passes through Wellsworth long before the narrator says he does.
  • Edward's eyes jolt a little at the beginning when the Fat Controller talks to him.
  • The inside of Thomas' funnel is white instead of black.


  • Buzz Books - Percy Runs Away
  • Magazine Stories - Percy Runs Away
  • Ladybird Books - Percy Runs Away and Thomas and the Breakdown Train

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets

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