Thomas Breaks the Rules is the twenty-second episode of the first series.


One day, Thomas is leaving the quarry at the end of his branch linewith both trucks and his coaches. The rails here run alongside the road, so Thomas is always careful at this point in his run and whistles to make sure no one is coming gets hurt. Thomas sees a new policeman by the crossing and having been friends with the previous Constable who had just retired, he whistles 'good morning' to him. Unfortunately, the policeman is not in the mood to be friendly. He is red in the face and very cross.

The policeman first complains about Thomas' whistling after stating he did not get any sleep the night before, and then claims to Thomas that he is breaking the law by having no fitted cowcatchers or sideplates. Thomas' driver protests that they have been along this road many times before without an accident, but the policeman retorts that it makes things worse, and he brands Thomas a "regular law breaker" in his notebook. Thomas then continues sadly back to the station.

In his dining room, Sir Topham Hatt is having breakfast with his wife when he is phoned about Thomas' incident with the police. He grabs his hat and rushes to the station, where Thomas' driver tells Sir Topham Hatt what has happened, and they both try to reason with the policeman. However he refuses to back down, saying that they cannot change the law. Sir Topham Hatt decides that there is no use in arguing and concedes that they will have to make cowcatchers for Thomas. Thomas is distressed by this, worrying that people will laugh at him and say he looks like a tram. This comment causes Sir Topham Hatt to be reminded of Toby, making him realise that a tram engine is needed on Sodor. Knowing Toby's line has lost its business to buses and lorries, the Fat Controller writes a letter to his controller asking if he can be sent to Sodor.

A few days later, Toby arrives, and is greeted by Sir Topham Hatt, who notices that Toby has brought Henrietta with him and agrees to allow her to stay as well. Toby soon proves to have a talent for handling the trucks. Although Thomas is jealous at first, he quickly becomes good friends with Toby, especially when Toby uses his bell to frighten the policeman.


  • Thomas
  • Toby
  • Sir Topham Hatt
  • The Ffarquhar Policeman
  • The Butler
  • Foolish Freight Cars (do not speak)
  • Henrietta (does not speak)
  • Lady Hatt (not named; does not speak)
  • James (cameo)
  • Annie and Clarabel (cameo)
  • Earnest (portrait cameo)


  • The Quarry Tramroad
  • Topham Hall
  • Elsbridge
  • Rail Under Road Bridge and Signalbox
  • Lower Tidmouth
  • Tidmouth Sheds (deleted scene)
  • Ffarquhar Quarry (mentioned)


  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Toby the Tram Engine.
  • A portrait of Earnest, a Victorian-style steam engine depicted with a moustache can be seen in Topham Hall.
  • As the Fat Controller was listening to the phone, the fast-talk is simply the later quote from Ringo Starr's UK narration within the episode is sped up. This was later reused in Off the Rails, but with more quotes from this episode within.
  • Stock footage from Thomas' Train is used, though only in the original version. The restored version only uses a different shot, presumably alternative footage from said episode.
  • A deleted scene from Coal is used.
  • Footage of Thomas puffing away sadly was used for the intro of Storytime with Thomas, albeit Thomas' face was edited.
  • In both of Starr's narrations, when the policeman shouts "Oi, you!" at Toby, it is said by a background voice. In Carlin's narration, the shout is changed to "Hey, you!" and is said by Carlin.
  • A deleted scene shows Toby pulling his train past Tidmouth Sheds.


  • In the first close-up of the policeman talking, the camera wobbles.
  • In the restored version, during the first close-up of Thomas, his wheels do not move for the first two seconds of the shot.
  • When the narrator says that the policeman was "red in the face and very cross," he appears to be more sad than cross.
  • As Thomas is seen stopping and talking to the policeman, the top right corner of his tank has a chip in it.
  • When Thomas' driver says "Rubbish! We've been along here hundreds of times and never had an accident," the brim of his cap is falling off and there is a hole in his head.
  • The words "Regular lawbreaker" were written long before the narrator says that the policeman wrote them in his notebook. They are blurred a bit in the original footage while the restored version is more clear.
  • When the Fat Controller talks to the policeman, the brim of his top hat has paint chips in it with a crack at the top.
  • Before Toby comes on screen before passing Thomas, the track in front of him wobbles.
  • When Thomas says "Everyone will laugh, sir. They'll say I'll look like a tram," a bush beside him moves a bit and the left part of his smokebox saddle (viewer's right) is cracked.
  • In a picture of Thomas at Elsbridge and when Thomas first stops by the policeman, his eyes are wonky.
  • Clarabel is facing the wrong way when Thomas puffs away from the policeman and when Toby passes Elsbridge at the end.
  • In the Serbian version, Ringo Starr's narration can be heard in the background.
  • In the first shot of Elsbridge station, one of the stairs is crooked.


  • Buzz Books - Thomas in Trouble
  • Magazine Stories - Thomas in Trouble
  • Ladybird Books - Toby and the Stout Gentleman and Thomas in Trouble

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