Thomas Made up Characters and Episodes Wiki
A Bad Day for James
Season 1, Episode 2
Air date July 22, 2016
Written by Semaj5nodrog4
Episode guide
Double Diesel Trouble
Paxton Gets Pranked

A Bad Day for James is the second episode of the first season of The Many Adventures on the Island of Sodor.


Every engine on the Island of Sodor likes to feel lucky, special, and important, but none of them wants to feel more so than James, for he is proud of his smart red coat of paint and it makes feel lucky and really useful to have such splendid paint work. The other engines usually just ignore James and tell him that paint work isn't everything and there's more to being really useful than just that. James knows this, but regardless, he is still proud of his paintwork no matter what others say.

One morning, at the Steamworks, James puffed outside feeling proud of himself. Then he saw Toby puffing in onto the transfer table. James decided to talk to him.

"Good morning, Toby," James puffed. "It's a splendid morning, isn't it?"

"Uh, I guess so, James," replied Toby slowly.

"Well of course, it is," chuckled James, "and do you know why?"

"Why?" asked Toby.

"I'll give you a clue," said James. "What's on me that looks different?"

Toby looked at James. "Ummmmm, I don't really see anything different, James. The only thing I can see is your paint. It looks very clean."

"Exactly!" said James. "I received a brand new coat of paint this morning. Don't you think it looks grand?"

Toby rolled his eyes. "Looks the same as all the other times you got repainted," he replied.

"Ah James," chuckled Victor, as he puffed up. "Still vain as usual. You really do love talking about your paint, don't you?"

"All the time, Victor," boasted James. "It's my most prominent feature, you know, and everyone must know about it."

"Well you know," continued Victor, "there's other things you can talk about."

"I know that!" huffed James. "I'm just proud of my splendid red paint. I think you two are just jealous that your paintwork isn't as grand as mine."

"Paintwork is the least of my concern, James," replied Victor. "Making sure engines are fixed properly and working well is more important to me." Then they heard a crash from inside the building. It was Kevin. "And making sure Kevin doesn't make a mess."

"Sorry boss!" called Kevin. "Just a slip of the hook!"

Victor groaned, as Toby and James chuckled. Just then, Percy arrived with the mail train at the station beside the building, and he looked worried.

"What's the matter, Percy?" asked Toby.

"My driver told me earlier that today is Friday the 13th and it's the day where bad luck happens to everyone. Now I'm worried that I'll be unlucky all day," replied Percy anxiously.

"Oh please, Percy," scoffed James. "Nothing bad happens on Friday the 13th. That's just a silly saying."

"Ooo, I'd be careful of what you say, James," Victor advised. "Some things can still happen if you're not careful."

"Pah!" huffed James.

"And don't worry, Percy. As long as you have luck on your side, you'll be alright," added Victor.

"But I'm not sure if I have good luck," wailed Percy. "I still have a few more mail deliveries to make and I don't want to run into trouble along the way. How can I be sure that I'll stay lucky?"

"Well, you know, there's lucky charms," suggested Victor.

"Oh yeah, I've heard of them," said Percy. "Like Stephen's horseshoe, but I don't have time to run all the way up to Ulfstead Castle to ask him for it."

"Ha ha ha!" chuckled Toby. "There are other types of lucky charms you know, Percy."

"That's right," added Victor. "There are four-leaf clovers, a rabbit's foot and...oh! The lucky number seven."

"Really?" said Percy. "Seven is a lucky number?"

"Yep, it certainly is," replied Victor.

"Wait, so does that mean Toby is lucky? You know, because of his number 7?" asked Percy.

"I should think so," chuckled Victor.

"Wow!" said Percy. "Then that means Toby is the luckiest engine of all!"

Toby blushed. "Well, I don't know about that," he said modestly, "but I would like to think so."

"Oh please!" snorted James. "That doesn't make any difference. Just because Toby has the number 7 painted on him doesn't mean he's lucky."

"Well you never know James," Victor said. "Toby might be luckier than you today after all and you'll have the bad luck." James just rolled his eyes.

Then Sir Topham Hatt arrived. "Ah, good morning everyone," he said.

"Good morning, sir," replied the engines.

"Now I have a few jobs for some of you," said Sir Topham Hatt. "Toby, the Refreshment Lady has run out of refreshments at Bluff's Cove. I need you to pick up the ingredients needed for making ice cream and take them to the Ice Cream Factory. Then after the ice cream is ready, I want you to take it to the beach for them."

"Yes sir," replied Toby.

"And James," said Sir Topham Hatt, "I need you to take coal to the Smelters' Yard. The furnaces there will be needing more coal soon."

James was horrified. "B-b-b-but sir," he stammered. "I just received a new coat of paint. Can't some other engines do that?"

"No James, I'm asking you to do it because you are available right now," replied Sir Topham Hatt.

"But sir," pleaded James. "The furnaces there are huge. You'd need engines like Henry, Hiro, or even Gordon to take enough coal to fill them up. Plus, it'll take all day for me to do this job."

"Then I suggest you get started," retorted Sir Topham Hatt. "The sooner you get going, the sooner it will be over. I'm off now, so all of you do your best. Good-bye!"

"Good-bye, sir!" replied the enignes, then Sir Topham Hatt left.

James was still upset. "Oh relax, James," chuffed Toby. "Like he said, the sooner you get going, the sooner it'll be over." Then Toby set off for his jobs.

"Wow, James," puffed Percy. "It looks like Toby is the lucky one after all, and you're the one stuck with the bad luck!" Then Percy laughed.

James was cross. "So will you if you don’t get back to delivering the mail, Percy," he puffed.

Percy gasped. "Cinders and ashes! I almost forgot!" And without another word, Percy raced away. James chuckled, and then set off for the Coaling Plant.

Victor just watched, and frowned at James. Then Kevin came up.

"Do you think James really is going to have bad luck today, boss?" he asked Victor.

"Well if he keeps up that attitude," replied Victor, "he might, my friend."

"Wow, well hopefully he doesn't," smiled Kevin. "Having bad luck is no fun at all. I can't think of anyone who even has that." Then Kevin headed back into the Steamworks. Then there was another crash.

"Whoops! Ha, ha. Sorry again, boss!" called Kevin. Victor groaned.

Later when James arrived at the Coaling Plant, he looked around. He was expecting a train to be ready for him, but he couldn't see any. "Um, where's my train?" he asked the yard manager.

"Sorry James," replied the yard manager. "Rosie was supposed to get your train ready, but then she broken down and there was no other engine available. So I'm afraid you'll have to get it yourself."

James groaned. "Oooooh! Alright, I'll get started." Then he reluctantly started shunting and loading his cars. James was trying his best to stay clean, but unfortunately, the cars knew he was and decided to play a trick on him.

"Hold back! Hold back!" they whispered as James was loading them under the hopper.

James was cross. "I'm not in the mood today," he huffed. "Now get moving or you'll be sorrAAAAHH!" The cars suddenly gave way and James shot forward and stopped, right under the hopper.

"Aah! Oh no! Oh no, wait, wait, wait, please wait! Hold on! Stop! Stop! NO!!!" But it was too late. Coal poured out everywhere, and poor James was covered from funnel to footplate in coal, and his splendid red paint was not so splendid looking anymore.

The cars laughed and laughed. "Oh, my paintwork," James groaned. "It's ruined!" He was upset, but he knew he still had to get the job done, so he carried on. However, the cars were still being troublesome and making things very difficult for James to complete quickly.

At last, after an hour shunting and loading, James was ready to go. "Huh, finally," he huffed. "Now to get this train delivered as soon as possible." And he set off, but it wouldn't be delivered as soon as James had thought for his train was heavy, just as he predicted earlier, and because of this, he had to go slowly.

James heaved and huffed as hard as he could along the line to the Smelters'. He wished more than ever that he could go faster, but he knew he couldn't and continued on feeling more and more cross, and the cars were not helping either.

Soon James was approaching a signal and he saw it was red. "Bother!" he muttered. "Well at least I can rest for a little while." So he stopped and waited. As he waited, he heard a familiar bell. Then he saw Toby crossing a bridge up ahead and noticed he was pulling a train full of ingredients, looking pleased.

James just snorted. "Pah! His luck will run out soon," he said to himself, but secretly, he doubted it.

James waited and waited at the signal, but it never changed. He was getting impatient. "Come on! What's the hold-up? I have a delivery to make, you know."

"Sorry James," called the signalman. "There's been an accident up ahead and Rocky has been cleaning it up. You'll be on your way soon."

"Well can't you call him and tell him to hurry up please?" huffed James. "I really need to deliver this coal soon."

"I'm afraid I can't, James," replied the signalman. "So you're just going to have to wait a little longer."

James sulked dreadfully. At last, after a few more minutes, the signal changed and James was finally on his way again.

Along the way, he saw Edward and Rocky. Edward was preparing to take Rocky back to the Sodor Search and Rescue Center.

"Oh my, James," exclaimed Edward. "What happened to you?"

"I was just having a little trouble at the Coaling Plant earlier, Edward," replied James smugly. "That's all."

"A little trouble?" chuckled Rocky. "You look like you had a catastrophe, James! I can barely tell it's you!"

This made James feel both embarrassed and cross as he continued slowly on his way.

Finally, after a long and tiresome journey, James could see the Smelters' up ahead. "Oh thank goodness!" he sighed. "I thought I would never get here. Hopefully nothing else will happen." But something was about to happen, for there waiting outside the Smelting shed were 'Arry and Bert.

"Oh dear," groaned James. "They're sure to make fun of me for this." And he was right. The diesels stared at James when he came up and then 'Arry spoke.

"Um, Bert," he asked. "I thought it was James who was supposed to deliver the coal, not Donald or Douglas or whoever this is."

"I agree, 'Arry," replied Bert. "James was supposed to...oh wait! What's this? Do I see a number 5 on that tender?" James gulped.

"Yeah, I think you're right, Bert," said 'Arry. "I see a 5 too, but it can't be James. He usually has a red coat of paint, not a black 'coal' of paint!" And the diesels laughed.

James scoffed. "Alright, you two. That's enough. After the day I had, you're lucky that you got your coal at all."

"Well what took you so long?" huffed 'Arry. "Oh wait, let me guess. Judging from all that coal, you took decided to take a bath in it?"

"What? No!" hissed James. "I was..."

"No, no 'Arry," interrupted Bert. "That's not it. He probably wanted to pretend he was a car today and decided to load himself up with coal, only he didn't know what would happen next!!!" And then he and Bert laughed again.

"Stop it!" snapped James. "That's not funny!" But 'Arry and Bert were laughing too hard to listen. James, feeling quite exasperated, decided to not say another word.

After delivering the coal, James puffed slowly along the main line. He couldn't have felt more embarrassed and sad. His driver could tell.

"Cheer up, James," he said. "I know today was rough, but at least you don't have any other work right now. How about we stop at the washdown and get all this coal off of you? Hmm? I know that's make you feel better."

"Huh, I guess," sighed James doubtfully. "I don't know what good it will do." And then he headed for the washdown.

After a while, all the coal was washed off of James and his paint looked spotless again, but he was still feeling depressed.

Just then, Thomas arrived alongside and saw James. He could see he was upset. "Hello James," he smiled. "How's your day been going so far? Is it going well?"

"Not at all," sighed James. "I probably had one of the worst days of any engine ever."

"So I've heard," said Thomas. "Edward told me how you looked when you passed him and Rocky earlier and he said you didn't look happy."

"Well I hate to admit it, but he was right," muttered James.

"Oh James, it's alright," soothed Thomas, as he saw how upset James was. "Everyone has a bad day every now and then, even you. As long as you know what you did that made it a bad day and promise to make it better, then there will be better things ahead for you."

James sighed. "I guess you're right, but I doubt today will get any better considering the number of mishaps I had. I mean, I know now that I shouldn't constantly brag about myself, but even so, nothing good happened today and I don't think it will get any better."

Thomas paused. "Hmmm, there must have been something good that happened today? Right? Didn't you take a train of coal to the Smelters'?"

"Yes," replied James.

"And you managed to deliver it, didn't you?" added Thomas.

"Well....yes, I did," James replied, "but I was late delivering it."

"But you still delivered it regardless," added Thomas, "and that's important. James, I think even you know by now that it's not how you look that's important, but getting the job done is the most important of all."

James didn't say anything for a second, then he spoke. "Alright, yes, I'll admit it. You're right, Thomas. I do know that. I just hate it when my paintwork gets dirty. It really brings me down and I don't want others to see me, but I promise I will let that go and make getting the job done and being really useful my top priority."

"That's what I wanted to hear," smiled Thomas. "Good for you, James."

Just then they heard Percy's whistle. He sounded frantic.

"Whoa, calm down, Percy," puffed Thomas. "What's the matter?"

"I came to warn you two that Toby has broken down at Bluff's Cove Junction while taking ice cream to the beach," explained Percy. "He needs help quickly."

James and Thomas looked at each other and smiled. "I think this might be the chance to make your day better, James," chuffed Thomas.

"I think so," agreed James.

"Wait, what?" asked Percy.

"Oh nothing, Percy," said James. “It just means that I'll go and help Toby. Good-bye." And with that, James puffed away to find Toby.

Soon James arrived at the junction and there was Toby looking upset. "Well, well, well," chuckled James. "So much for your lucky number 7. I guess your luck finally ran out on you, didn't it?"

"Oh, hello James," sighed Toby. "Yeah I guess you could say that."

"Oh well, it happens to everyone sooner or later," smiled James, "but don't worry. We have ice cream to deliver."

James coupled behind Toby's train and pushed him and the train the rest of the way to Bluff's Cove. It was harder than he had expected, but James did his best.

At last, they arrived at Bluff's Cove and there on the platform were vacationers delighted to see the ice cream. The Refreshment Lady was pleased too.

"Oh thank you, Toby," she said. "I was getting worried."

"You're welcome, ma'am," said Toby, "but actually, I only made it part of the way. It was James who helped me the rest of the way. If he hadn't come to rescue me, no one would've gotten their ice cream today."

"Well, in that case, thank you to both of you," chuckled the Refreshment Lady. "You two are really useful engines." And everyone agreed, and James felt very proud.

Afterwards, James helped Toby to the Steamworks. On the way, Toby was curious. "Say, James?" he asked. "I couldn't help but notice that you seem to be a bit more cheerful now. Are you okay?"

"Oh yes, Toby," replied James. "I'm feeling fine. Also, I'm sorry about what I said about your number 7 and how it doesn't make you lucky."

"Oh that's alright," said Toby. "I actually don't really believe in that 'lucky' business anyway, so it didn't matter too much to me. As long as I get my jobs done, I always feel lucky and really useful."

"You know, Toby?" chuffed James. "I agree with you."

Toby was surprised. "You do?" he asked.

"I most certainly do," replied James proudly.

"Oh, well, that's nice to know," puffed Toby. "May I ask why you agree?"

James smiled. "Well, let's just say a combination of experiencing Friday the 13th and learning a valuable lesson made me realize that looks don't matter and being really useful does."

Toby chuckled. "I think I might know what that means, James, and good for you for knowing that. It's most certainly a true fact."

"Indeed, Toby," agreed James. "Indeed." And they continued on their way to the Steamworks, with James feeling proud to once again learning what it means to be a really useful engine.




  • The seventeenth season television episode, Percy's Lucky Day, is referenced.
  • Going canonically by the television series, this marks the Refreshment Lady's first appearance since the television series special, The Great Discovery, and her first speaking role since the seventh season television series episode, The Refreshment Lady's Tea Shop. This is also her only speaking role in this season of The Many Adventures of the Island of Sodor.