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Troublesome Trucks, retitled Foolish Freight Cars in American releases, is the ninth episode of the first series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book James the Red Engine.


It has been several days since James damaged one of his coaches, and since then he has been shut up in the shed as punishment for all the trouble he had caused. Having been left alone and not allowed out to push coaches or trucks, James begins to cry at the thought he will have to stay in the shed for always and no one will see his red paint again. However, the Fat Controller finally returns and scolds him for his recent actions have caused a lot of embarrassment for the railway. James sincerely apologizes and the Fat Controller assigns him to pull some trucks, for which James cannot be happier to be let out and eagerly goes to work.

At the station, Thomas brings James his trucks and teases him about bootlaces before leaving. James angrily couples himself to the troublesome trucks, who tease him for his red paint. James just ignores them and sets off; however, the trucks refuse to go and attempt to hold back. James does not allow them to and drags them out of the station. As the journey continues, the trucks try everything they can to get James to give up, but it is no use as James is determined to prove himself a better engine.

Finally the train reaches Gordon's Hill and James tries his hardest to run up it as fast as he can which is initially tricky, but with a sudden jerk it gets easier and James makes it up the hill, but his driver stops him and points out that the brake van and the last four trucks became uncoupled and ran down the hill. They stop at the bottom, and the guard gets out to warn approaching engines.

James reverses down the hill to retrieve the trucks, where Edward has stopped due to the blockage. He offers to help, but James politely declines, determined to do it himself and Edward allows him. Pulling with every ounce of his strength, James finally makes it to the top of the hill and easily continues on to the station where Edward later arrives with the Fat Controller. James is very worried, thinking the Fat Controller will be angry again. This time, however, the Fat Controller is happy with James, having been aboard Edward's train and seeing everything. Since James made the most troublesome trucks on the line behave, the Fat Controller allows him to keep his red coat.


  • Thomas
  • Edward
  • Gordon
  • James
  • The Fat Controller


  • This episode aired on the same day that Jim Henson Presents The World of Puppetry premiered on ABC.
  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, James the Red Engine.
  • Stock footage from Thomas and the Trucks is used.