Thomas the Tank Engine "The Missing Coach" (lost footage from unfinished episode; 1986)

"The Missing Coach"
The first of eight released screenshots from the episode (taken from the 1989 Thomas annual).
The first of eight released screenshots from the episode (taken from the 1989 Thomas annual).
Status Lost

"The Missing Coach" was a scrapped episode of Thomas the Tank Engine based off the Railway Series story of the same name that was intended to be the sixteenth episode of Season 2.[1][2]


"The Missing Coach" saw the arrival of twin engines Donald and Douglas, having been ordered from Scotland by the Fat Controller; the twins soon discover that only one engine was sent for and that the other would not be needed (and would likely be sent back). Douglas and his driver, after realising that Douglas is, in fact, the extra, unneeded engine and after mistakenly misplacing Thomas' Special Coach, prompting complaints from passengers (Douglas fearing that his error would give the Fat Controller more reason to get rid of him), hatch a plan with Donald and his driver to switch tenders (on which their respective numbers had been painted), effectively swapping identities and giving Douglas a chance to temporarily avoid being scolded by the Fat Controller (who ultimately decides to keep both engines, but only after uncovering their charade).

Cancellation and Existence

Halfway through the episode's production, Britt Allcroft (creator of the Thomas TV adaptation) decided that it was somewhat lacking in action and that the plot was a bit too complex for children to comprehend; as such, the episode was cancelled outright, instead being replaced by an entirely different episode, "Thomas, Percy and the Coal". Donald and Douglas' official series debut took place in the later Season 2 episode "Brake Van", in which they were hurriedly introduced through a short piece of opening dialogue; it has been speculated that the opening scene from "Brake Van" may have been retooled footage originally shot for "The Missing Coach".

On a Sodor Island Fansite interview with the late David Mitton (who co-wrote, co-produced and co-directed the show up until his retirement in 2003), published after Mitton's death in 2008, he confirmed that he was in possession of a collection of colour stills from the episode's shoot (as shot by Terry Permane), although, as of his passing, the fate of said stills has not been revealed (though they have likely been handed down to Mitton's heirs); the fate of the shot video footage is, likewise, currently unknown.[3]



  1. Sodor Island Fansite article on "The Missing Coach". Last retrieved 09 Nov 2014.
  2. Thomas & Friends Wikia article on "The Missing Coach". Last retrieved 09 Nov 2014.
  3. Sodor Island Fansite interview with the late David Mitton, in which "The Missing Coach" is discussed. Last retrieved 09 Nov 2014.

External Links



Anonymous user #1

18 months ago
Score 2++

If "The Missing Coach" was to be the opener of season 2, wouldn't that make the episodes out of order as Duck who has a role in that episode is not introduced until "Duck Takes Charge"?

Additionally "Shouldn't "The Missing Coach" be after "Better Late Than Never" and before "Break Van" and "The Deputation" which it relates to? Therefore the episode "Cows" which comes after "Thomas, Percy & The Coal" would be the season 2 opener.

Anonymous user #2

5 months ago
Score 0++
I think they would've shown him but not properly introduced him/told his story until the "Duck Takes Charge" episode. Unless that episode was created after the cancellation of this one.

Anonymous user #5

29 days ago
Score 0++
Actually, it is now believed that the episode actually replaced "Percy Takes the Plunge," which makes sense, as that episode references events that don't happen until Season 3, meaning it's most likely a placeholder episode.

Anonymous user #3

4 months ago
Score 0++
can you let them finish the missing coach so that it can be the first episode of season 2

Anonymous user #4

3 months ago
Score 0++
There is way more info on this on other websites. The thomas the tank engine Wikia gives a detailed description of the episodes plot, people involved with the production, characters that would have appeared in the episode, a more detailed reason behind cancellation, people who may have the footage, and WAY more screenshots


1 months ago
Score 0++

Higher quality version of photo 6


17 days ago
Score 0++
Possible footage https://www....=WGtVkf1zNY0
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