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The first series of Thomas & Friends started airing on 9th October 1984 in the UK. Ringo Starr narrated all twenty-six episodes in the UK and twenty-five in the US, with George Carlin later re-narrating the entire series for the US on Shining Time Station.


All of the stories in the first series were originally written by the Rev. W. Awdry, including a one-off story commissioned by the staff, Thomas' Christmas Party. The stories were then scripted for television by Britt Allcroft and David Mitton. The seven engines introduced in this series became the core of the cast in later episodes. The Pilot for the series was an adaptation of Down the Mine, which was remade entirely when the rest of the episodes were shot.

The Pilot

Screenshot Title Original UK release date Episode number #
DowntheMine65Down the Mine (Unaired Pilot)Unaired (Test Screened Mid-1983)#00
The original 1983 pilot episode of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. The pilot was based on the Railway Series story Down the Mine and differed from the final aired version. The pilot was never broadcasted, instead it was re-filmed after the series was green-lighted by ITV.


Screenshot UK title (top)
US title (bottom)
Original UK release date Episode number # Source material
ThomasandGordon20 "Thomas and Gordon"
"Thomas Gets Tricked"
September 4th, 1984 #01 Thomas the Tank Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Thomas is a tank engine who works at a big station on the Island of Sodor, shunting coaches to their proper places. He enjoys teasing the other engines, especially Gordon. But when his teasing goes too far, Gordon decides to teach him a lesson.
EdwardandGordon48 "Edward and Gordon"
"Edward Helps Out"
September 9th, 1984 #02 The Three Railway Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry

Edward is an old engine, and has not been out working for a while. His crew feels sorry for him, and decide to take him out one day. Not only that, but he helps Gordon the next day when he gets himself stuck on a hill.

TheSadStoryofHenry64 "The Sad Story of Henry"
"Come Out, Henry!"
September 12th, 1984 #03 The Three Railway Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry

Henry is a green engine, who is afraid of the rain, thinking it will spoil his lovely paintwork. One day, he runs into a tunnel and refuses to come out. After numerous attempts to move him, the Fat Controller decides to shut him in the tunnel.

EdwardGordonandHenry65 "Edward, Gordon and Henry"
"Henry to the Rescue"
September 14th, 1984 #04 The Three Railway Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry

Henry has been stuck in the tunnel for a long time now, and wishes he hadn't been so silly. But one day, Gordon goes too fast and bursts a safety valve. Edward is the only engine available, but he can't push the heavy train without Henry's help.

Thomas'Train33 "Thomas' Train"
"A Big Day for Thomas"
September 17th, 1984 #05 Thomas the Tank Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Thomas gets bored of shunting, and wishes he could pull a train. The other engines believe that he's too impatient, but Thomas is determined to prove a point. When Henry is ill, his chance comes with disastrous results.
ThomasandtheTrucks28 "Thomas and the Trucks"
"Trouble for Thomas"
September 20th, 1984 #06 Thomas the Tank Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Thomas is fed up with shunting coaches in the yard, so Edward agrees to swap jobs the next day. However, Edward's train consists of trucks, which love to play tricks, especially on an engine not used to them, like Thomas.
ThomasandtheBreakdownTrain39 "Thomas and the Breakdown Train"
"Thomas Saves the Day"
September 22nd, 1984 #07 Thomas the Tank Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
When James, the red engine comes off the rails, Thomas quickly comes to the rescue with a strange train called the "Breakdown Train". The Fat Controller is so pleased with Thomas, he gives him his own branchline and two coaches as a reward.
JamesandtheCoaches50 "James and the Coaches"
"James Learns a Lesson"
September 25th, 1984 #08 James the Red Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry

James, after having an accident on his first day, is now trying to be really useful. He does however cause trouble, when he wets The Fat Controller's new top hat with steam, and then bumps coaches so hard that one of their brakes fail.

TroublesomeTrucks(episode)27 "Troublesome Trucks (episode)"
"Foolish Freight Cars"
October 2nd, 1984 #09 James the Red Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
James is in big trouble with the Fat Controller. He has been confined to the shed for a long time, but is released to pull trucks. He works hard, and then takes a goods train up Gordon's Hill. The trucks misbehave, but James doesn't give up.
JamesandtheExpress45 "James and the Express"
"A Proud Day for James"
October 7th, 1984 #10 James the Red Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Gordon, boasting about himself as usual, says he knows the right Express line by instinct. Later, James finds out that Gordon was switched the wrong way and got lost. James is honoured when he is given the Express instead of Gordon.
ThomasandtheGuard45 "Thomas and the Guard"
"Thomas and the Conductor"
October 9th, 1984 #11 Tank Engine Thomas Again by the Rev. W. Awdry
Thomas thinks his branch line is the most important part of the whole railway. He soon becomes impatient, while waiting for Henry at the junction. Unfortunately, Thomas starts so quickly that he forgets his guard at the junction.
ThomasGoesFishing47 "Thomas Goes Fishing" October 12th, 1984 #12 Tank Engine Thomas Again by the Rev. W. Awdry
Thomas loves his branch line. He wants to fish after seeing people fishing, but the other engines say engines don't fish. The next day Thomas needs a drink, but the water tower is out of order, so Thomas' crew decides to get water from the river. However, there's a consequence and Thomas is endanger of blowing up!
Thomas,TerenceandtheSnow50 "Thomas, Terence and the Snow"
"Terence the Tractor"
October 15th, 1984 #13 Tank Engine Thomas Again by the Rev. W. Awdry
Thomas meets Terence the Tractor, and says his wheels are ugly. Terence explains that they're caterpillar tracks, and he can go "anywhere". This comes in handy during the winter when Thomas doesn't use his snowplough and gets stuck in a snowdrift.
ThomasandBertie59 "Thomas and Bertie"
"Thomas and Bertie's Great Race"
October 20th, 1984 #14 Tank Engine Thomas Again by the Rev. W. Awdry
One morning, Thomas meets Bertie the bus. Bertie is to help Thomas deliver his passengers on his branch line, this makes Thomas cross. He becomes jealous of Bertie, and Thomas challenges the cheeky bus to a race.
TendersandTurntables28 "Tenders and Turntables" October 21st, 1984 #15 Troublesome Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry
Gordon, James, and Henry are upset that they have more work to do. Now that Thomas is gone, they have to shunt their own coaches. Because of always having to turn around to shunt, Gordon and James have trouble on the turntable. Gordon has to pull his train backwards, while James spins around like a top.
TroubleintheShed9 "Trouble in the Shed" October 24th, 1984 #16 Troublesome Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry
The big engines go on strike, so the Fat Controller asks Edward to work in the yard again. But Edward can't manage alone, so the Fat Controller buys a new engine called Percy and shuts the big engines up in the sheds. In the end, Thomas and Edward run the main line while Percy runs the branch line with Annie and Clarabel.
PercyRunsAway58 "Percy Runs Away" October 26th, 1984 #17 Troublesome Engines by the Rev. W. Awdry
The big engines have been let out of the shed and as reward, Percy, Edward and Thomas go and play on the branch line. However, Percy forgets Edward's warning about going on the main line and is almost caught in a collision with Gordon. Percy is so startled by Gordon and runs away, leaving it up to Gordon to find him.
Coal26 "Coal"
"Henry's Special Coal"
October 28th, 1984 #18 Henry the Green Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Henry isn't feeling well because his firebox is too small, and he can't make enough steam. The Fat Controller addresses the problem, and decides to scrap Henry, but he comes to a conclusion that Henry needs Welsh coal to preform well.
TheFlyingKipper(episode)38"The Flying Kipper" October 31st, 1984 #19 Henry the Green Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Henry is chosen to pull the "Flying Kipper". Everything goes well, but ice jams the points and snow forces down a signal set a danger, leading to Henry crashing into another freight train on the siding. The Fat Controller sends Henry to Crewe to get a new shape and a larger firebox, making Henry the engine he always deserved to be.
WhistlesandSneezes14 "Whistles and Sneezes" November 3rd, 1984 #20 Henry the Green Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry

Gordon is jealous about Henry's rebuilt and complains about Henry whistling too much. Ironically, Gordon whistle jams 'on' and he won't stop whistling. Meanwhile, some boys throw stones at Henry and break the coaches' windows. Henry's crew decided to pays them out by making Henry sneeze at the boys.

TobyandtheStoutGentleman25 "Toby and the Stout Gentleman"
"Toby the Tram Engine"
November 6th, 1984 #21 Toby the Tram Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Toby the tram engine and his coach, Henrietta, have seen better days. They are quickly running out of work being replaced by road vehicles. The Fat Controller and his family meet them on their holiday, but Toby's line slowly closes down.
ThomasinTrouble9 "Thomas in Trouble"
"Thomas Breaks the Rules"
November 9th, 1984 #22 Toby the Tram Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
There's a quarry near Thomas' branch line. However, he gets in trouble with a policeman by going across the public road without cowcatchers and sideplates. When The Fat Controller hears about it, he buys Toby who brings Henrietta with him.
DirtyObjects42 "Dirty Objects"
"James in a Mess"
November 12th, 1984 #23 Toby the Tram Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Toby and Henrietta are still new to the railway, but they often get teased by James about their appearance. However, James gets pushed crashes into some tar wagons, spoiling his own paintwork. Toby and Percy are the only engines who can help.
OfftheRails32 "Off the Rails"
"Gordon Takes a Dip"
November 19th, 1984 #24 Gordon the Big Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
One morning Gordon is very difficult, especially when he's given a special goods train. He decides to jam the turntable to prove a point, but only proves to be silly when his attempt makes him slide into a ditch.
DowntheMine45 "Down the Mine" November 23rd, 1984 #25 Gordon the Big Engine by the Rev. W. Awdry
Thomas enjoys teasing Gordon for falling into a ditch. Annie and Clarabel are deeply shocked, but Thomas doesn't care a bit. Thomas then goes to a lead mine to collect some trucks. But when Thomas foolishly passes a danger board and falls down a mine, only a disgraced Gordon can help.
Thomas'sChristmasParty41 "Thomas' Christmas Party" December 25th, 1984 #26 Toby the Tram Engine and Thomas' Christmas Party by the Rev. W. Awdry
It's Christmas on the Island of Sodor. All the engines are busy with passengers and parcels, especially Thomas and Toby. Thomas wants to hold a special party for Mrs. Kyndley, after saving him from a nasty accident. Unfortunately, Mrs. Kyndley's house is snow in and the two engines have to save her.


Characters introduced


  • When first broadcast in 1984 and 1985 on ITV, two episodes were compiled into one ten minute block with the nameboard sequence featured in between. For repeat broadcasts, the stories were shown individually. They were also shown this way on Cartoon Network, ABC (Australia) and several VHS compilations.
  • The season took about 9 months to film.
  • The Norwegian, Finnish and early Swedish narrations credit Ringo Starr as the narrator, even though they were redubbed in their respective languages.
  • Most of the season's scripts were partially edited for the US versions.
  • In the Ukrainian version, Ringo Starr's voice can be heard in the background.
  • This was the only season of several things:
    • The only season where all the episodes are adapted from the Reverend W. Awdry's stories.
    • The only season to have videos released on Betamax.
    • The only season to have its UK recordings released in the U.S.
    • The only season where lead was used to create the human characters. From the second to eleventh seasons, all human characters were made from resin, so they could move around more easily.
    • The only season where the trucks have their faces embedded into their bodies. From the second season-the eleventh season, the trucks have moulded faces, although some first season style trucks appeared in some episodes of that season.
    • The only model season not filmed at Shepperton Studios. Instead, it was filmed at Clapham Junction in Battersea.
    • The only season in the Finnish dub that Thomas is known as Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • The events of Thomas and Gordon, Edward and Gordon, The Sad Story of Henry, Edward, Gordon and Henry, Thomas' Train, Thomas and the Trucks and Thomas and the Breakdown Train which were based on the first two books of The Railway Series (The Three Railway Engines and Thomas the Tank Engine) were all later retold in the 2015 45-minute special The Adventure Begins.
  •  When first broadcast on CITV Dirty Objects was paired with Thomas's Christmas Party. VHS releases however,have it paired with Down the Mine. This was also the case when The Complete First Series was released on DVD/VHS.