The fourth series of Thomas & Friends first aired on television in October 1995 in the UK. It aired between 1995 and 1996 on Shining Time Station and Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales in the US. All twenty-six episodes were narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and George Carlin in the US.
The fourth series saw the introduction of the smaller narrow gauge engines. For ease of filming, the fifth series would introduce larger-scale versions of the characters and from the sixth-twelfth series, these larger models were used almost exclusively.
Half of the third series consisted of stories written by the show's staff, but only one original story, Rusty to the Rescue was written by Allcroft and Mitton for the fourth series. The episodes which used The Railway Series did take some liberties with the source material, in order to fill the runtime and make the stories more accessible. From the fifth series onwards, all stories would be staff-written, without using the Awdrys' books as a source until the twentieth series which would later finally introduce the Arlesdale Railway. The characters would then be led by their television personas and no longer by their storybook roots.
Stepney, a character based on a real-life engine and used to highlight the preservation movement in the books, was given an entirely different background when he was introduced. This decision carried on into later series, in which he was seen on either a fictionalised Bluebell Railway or as a visitor helping out on the Fat Controller's railway.
(Note: * means that an episode was shown in the Shining Time Station Family Specials).
(Note: ** means that an episode was shown in the Shining Time Station spinoff, Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales).
(Note: *** means that an episode was shown on both).
- Sleeping Beauty
- You Can't Win
- Four Little Engines
- A Bad Day for Sir Handel
- Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady
- Home at Last
- Rock 'n' Roll
- Special Funnel
- Roller Steam Roller
- Passengers and Polish
- Gallant Old Engine
- Rusty to the Rescue
- Thomas and Stepney
- Train Stops Play
- Bowled Out
- Henry and the Elephant
- Toad Stands By
- Bulls Eyes
- Thomas and the Special Letter
- Paint Pots and Queens
- Special Attraction
- Mind that Bike
- Thomas' Anthem Grand Finale
- Let's Have a Race
- Gone Fishing
- Don't Judge a Book By its Cover
- The Island Song
- Really Useful Engine
- Thar's What Friends Are For
- Rules and Regulations
- Donald and Douglas
- Bill and Ben
- Annie and Clarabel
- Troublesome Trucks
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Little Boys
- The Signalman
- Some Workmen
- Jem Cole (not named)
- Farmer Trotter (not named)
- Diesel (not named; does not speak)
- Bertie (does not speak)
- Henrietta (cameo)
- Terence (cameo)
- Trevor (cameo)
- Bulgy (cameo)
- Coast Guard (cameo)
- Izzy Gomez (cameo)
- Big Mickey (cameo)
- Stephen Hatt (cameo)
- Mrs. Kyndley (cameo)
- The Vicar of Wellsworth (cameo)
- Farmer Finney (cameo)
- Harold's Pilots (cameo)
- One Member of the Railway Society (cameo)
- The Ffarquhar Stationmaster's Wife (cameo)
- Märklin Engine (scrapped model cameo)
- Bridget Hatt (music video cameo)
- Jeremiah Jobling (music video cameo)
- Father Christmas (music video cameo)
- The Stone-Dropping Boys (music video cameo)
- The Storyteller (music video cameo)
- Sir Handel
- Peter Sam
- S.C. Ruffey
- Refreshment Lady
- Tom Tipper
- The Inspector with the Bowler Hat
- The Portly Man
- The Crovan's Gate Policeman
- The Dryaw Policeman
- Stepney's Controller
- The Mid Sodor Railway Manager
- The Important Passenger
- The Elsbridge Cricket Club
- The Painter
- The Tailor
- The Railway Board
- Class 40 (not named)
- Elizabeth II (does not speak)
- The Elephant Keeper (does not speak)
- Other Mid Sodor Railway Engines (indirectly mentioned)
- The Dukes of Sodor (indirectly mentioned)
- This was the first series of several things:
- The first series to feature the Skarloey and Mid Sodor Railways.
- The first series to feature Callan and The Misty Valley Branch Line.
- The first series not to end with a Christmas-themed episode and the first not to feature a Christmas-themed episode.
- The first series to add the Proteus 1 to compose the music.
- The first series to have episodes released on more than one VHS before airing on television.
- The first series where Bertie does not speak in any of his appearances.
- The first series to feature a television series-exclusive engine, with that being Smudger.
- The first series to premiere on Cartoon Network in the UK.
- The first series where Bill and Ben, Diesel, Harold, Terence, Trevor and Farmer Finney all appear in only one episode each.
- The first series dubbed by Mike Erander.
- The first series not to feature Bridget Hatt.
- This series marks the only of a few things:
- The only series in date where Diesel appears, but does not speak.
- The only series in date where Terence appears, but only cameos.
- The only series in date to feature Duke physically, not counting his portrait cameos in Series 5, and his stock footage cameo in Series 7.
- The only series until the tenth series to feature Sir Handel.
- This was also the final series of a few things:
- The last production to feature stories based on The Railway Series until The Adventure Begins and therefore the last to have Wilbert Awdry as a technical consultant.
- The last series up until the twentieth series to feature episodes based on the stories from The Railway Series.
- George Carlin's last series as narrator due to him moving onto continue on his comedy career before passing away a decade later in May 2008. Alec Baldwin would assume the role from the fifth - sixth series.
- The last production to introduce characters from the Railway Series into the television series until Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
- The last series shown on Shining Time Station.
- The last series released completely on VHS in New Zealand.
- The last series dubbed in Ukrainian until the seventeenth series.
- The last series to feature Daisy in an episode until the nineteenth series.
- The last series released on DVD in Finland until, the eighth series.
- The last series to release some of its episodes early in the United States until the eigthth series. But this time, on VHS/DVD instead of television.
- With a number of 24 out of 26 episodes, Series 4 holds the most episodes released directly to home video before television, with the exceptions of Rusty to the Rescue and Thomas and Stepney as they aired on television in the US on 7th January 1995 on the Shining Time Station special Once Upon a Time before being released on VHS. The only two episodes that aired on television in the UK before they were released on VHS were Four Little Engines and Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady.
- In total, only 6 episodes of this series have aired in the United States before being broadcast in the United Kingdom in 1995 are Thomas and Stepney, Granpuff, Sleeping Beauty, Rusty to the Rescue, Toad Stands By, and Thomas and the Special Letter.
- The first eleven episodes of this series, from Granpuff to Special Funnel have Michael Angelis' narration recorded in dobey.
- The last fifteen episodes of this series, from Steam Roller to Mind that Bike have Michael Angelis' narration recorded back to normal.
- This series contained the 100th episode of the television series, which was Thomas and the Special Letter.
- This is the only series dubbed by The Family Channel Studios.
- To date, this series introduced the most new characters out of any other series to date.
- Thomas appears in 23 episodes in this series, more than any other series in the Classic Series, but still less than most of the series outside the Classic Series.
- Oddly, a significant amount of sound effects and music are missing in the US versions of most fourth series episodes, a notable example being Rusty Helps Peter Sam, which misses almost all the music in the first half of the episode. The episode also excludes most of Peter Sam's whistles and adds an unusual high pitched whistle when he cries for help after his accident.
- This series is unique as the first fifteen episodes focused primarily on the Skarloey Railway engines.
- All Chinese narrations from this series credit George Carlin as the narrator, and all Norwegian/Hindi narrations credit Michael Angelis, even though the episodes were redubbed.
- In the Ukrainian narration, Michael Angelis' voice can still be heard in the background.
Early US Opening
AUS/Nick Jr. 2 UK Opening
Story and Song Collection/Playtime Opening
Cartoon Network Opening
UK/New Zealand Opening