Thomas the Building Engine is the third episode of The Railways of Crotoonia. It premiered as part of The Big Build Marathon.


Thomas has been summoned by the Crotoonian Construction Co. to help with a big project in the Cliffstone Mountains; a new railway depot is being built in Cliffstone Valley, and Brewster is gone for his monthly check up, leaving them without a shunter to help with the work.

Thomas meets Jack and another digger called Scoop when he arrives to the busy construction site before meeting the man in charge of the project; Bob the Builder! As Thomas is bursting to work, Bob assigns Thomas with picking up and dropping off materials from the Crotoonian Construction Company Yard with Isobella and Packer. The three are soon hurrying off to work...although Isobella takes concern about her paint being dirtied by loads of smoke.

They soon make their first run successfully, and when Thomas arrives back to the site, MORE machines have arrived than before! Cement mixers helping to lay out concrete, a self-loading dump truck setting down tarmac, a new signalbox being put up, and trucks and freight cars moving about and being shifted! Eager to join in the building work, Thomas sneakily decides to take one of the breakdown trains to transfer a container of furnishings to the other end of the site.

As Thomas readies his plan, Lofty the Crane is busy shifting a roofing section over to the new depot building. He's forced to ride along the railway line, as Roley and Buster are keeping the road loaded while tarmac is being put down, making him incredible nervous of the edge of the valley he's riding along. Max and Monty, on the other end of the yard, are being loaded with rubble from the pit of a new water pipeline by Ned and Oliver. The two are getting increasingly heated in wanting to finish their work faster, and Max starts off before the road is cleared and their rubble is loaded. Speeding through, a cacophony of chaos follows; Lofty brakes and drops his roofing section in a panic, with Max ramming into him, Monty screeches JUST on the edge of the valley...and Thomas, racing ahead out of panic, slams the crane into the buffers, losing the container to the bottom of the valley! The team rushes to the scene of disaster, with Dizzy scolding Thomas for taking on a job he shouldn't have. However, Wendy is far more concerned about how to get the crane back from the bottom of the valley; neither Lofty or Kelly have long enough booms to pick it up, and Gripper, the only one who can, is busy at Gridinia Bay Dock]. Soon, however, Thomas comes up with an idea, returning later with an old junkyard crane and a van loaded with scaffolding. He proposes that they rig him, Isobella, and Packer onto a structure built out of the scaffolding, and using the junkyard crane to lift the crate back up. Wendy approves of the idea, and after a mention of "Can we fix it?", followed by a "Yes We Can!", the plan is soon put into action.

The plan is tricky due to the odd location of the container, but with Lofty's magnet hooked onto the crane, picking it up is easy. But the true challenge comes when its time to lift it back up from its awkward perch. Thomas pulls hard to bring the container back up, and when its finally in the right place, Isobella (with Packer's help) brings the jib trolley back in, bringing the container safely to the ground! Bob and Wendy congratulate Thomas for a job well done on the plan, but Thomas still feels guilty for being the reason the container landed in the valley. Bob, on the other hand, argues that he still corrected his mistake and learned from it, and that he is still "a really cognitive tank engine!"

Thomas later returns to the City Sheds that night to tell his friends all about his day's adventures.


Voice Cast


  • Welcome to Duckburg - Ron Jones [Thomas makes his way to Cliffstone Valley]
  • Ain't No Road Too Long - Waylon Jennings [Thomas, Packer, and Isobella get to work]
  • Toy Wars - Ron Jones [Thomas loses the container]
  • Theme Unknown [Thomas and the crew build the jib and rescue the container]
  • Bedtime Story - J.A.C. Redford ["You are a really cognitive tank engine!"]
  • Sesame Street Theme - Van Dyke Parks and Lennie Niehaus [Thomas heads back home]
  • Theme Unknown [Credits]


Main article: Thomas the Building Engine/Transcript


  • This episode was dedicated to the memory of grandmother Mary Prsa, who passed away during production of the episode.
  • This marked the first full-length episode to not be fully animated by Milan; Sooty Will animated the majority of Part 2 (from Wendy and the team running up to the scene of the disaster to the second-to-last scene of the episode).
  • This marked the last episode in which Grayson Court co-produces; before the episode premiered, they left to focus on other things.
  • Originally, MainlandStudios was assigned to animate Part 1 of the episode, but computer problems caused him to drop out with only some animation produced; though none of his animation was used in the final episode, his tests still laid some groundwork for some shots, and he remained credited in the final episode for his contributions.
  • Many changes occurred during the scriptwriting phase:
    • The opening would have had Thomas travelling along the overpass of The Toon Train Branch with Annie and Clarabel; the original version can be seen in the "Let's Go!" music video, and was animated in Mainland's version of the episode, before changing it to the more geographically correct Celgreb City Central.
    • Following Thomas overlooking the construction scene, instead of trying to lift the container, he would have met Percy at Great Wolf Junction on his way to drop off empty containers at the Docks; Percy would be taking scaffolding to the Freight Yard (giving him the idea of the crane later) and stated that Tootle was causing chaos with Annie and Clarabel (a scene which was animated by Mainland in the early stages of production). The scene was scrapped during revisions, as it was felt the scene slowed down the story.
    • Originally, Lofty was to loose the furnishings at the bottom of the valley, with the circumstances remaining the same (Max and Monty being at fault). It was changed to Thomas (which changed up part of the plot points in Part 2), as it was felt it fit better and lined up more with a usual Bob the Builder episode.
    • The scaffolding crane had a very different appearance in the original script; "It’s multicolored, due to the various kinds of scaffolding used. It’s rickety, but stable. It resembles a mixture of BIG MICKEY from TUGS and ROCKY."
    • The epilogue speech was very different from the final episode; "That evening, Thomas went back to the sheds to tell his friends about the day’s adventures. He’d learned something that day, as did all of us; sometimes, the usual way of solving a problem isn’t the best way, or the one that can solve it. A brand new way of fixing it can be created if you put your thinking on the right path. Thomas still helps the Construction Crew from time to time with Brewster; but he’ll never stop telling Brewster about his wild construction rescue! Needless to say, it’s a story that Thomas bored him quite a bit with after a while!"
  • "Ain't No Road Too Long", a song from the Sesame Street movie 'Follow That Bird' is used.

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