Bert Tries His Best
Season 5, Episode 6
Air date December 23th, 2015
Written by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Directed by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Episode guide
Percy and the Problem
with James


Bert is the quietest out of all the Arlesdale Railway engines, though he's usually the one who holds the engines together. He sometimes has trouble with steaming, and Mike and Rex occasionally joke about it. "Getting old, eh?" teased Rex. "Go get a washout. It helps," quipped Mike. Bert just ignores them.

It was a winter morning on the Island of Sodor. At Arlesburgh Junction, Oliver and Rex were chatting. "I'm a bit worried about today," Rex said quietly, making sure nobody else would hear. "Why?" inquired Oliver. "Today's pretty cold, as you might've noticed," replied Rex. "Why is that bad?" "Just let me finish... Bert's kind've a bad steamer at times. Don't get me wrong, he's a hard worker. But sometimes he's a bit... short of breath, I guess you could say." Oliver frowned. "Hmm... That does sound bad." "Yes, but Bert can at least get his fire going," continued Rex, "You know the Blisters?" "Of course." "Well, sometimes in cold weather, they... can't start. It isn't laziness; they actually have a good work ethic, despite being... well... a bit annoying." What Rex said was true; in cold weather, the Blisters' engines often just refused to work, which is how they get their name in the first place. The Blisters often were often easily impressed and could get annoying. "We want entertainment!" cried Blister |. "Wow, did you just say 'entertainment'? That's a big word!" gasped Blister ||. "Nonsense. It's a good word." "You're right." "I know!" Rex sighed, demonstrating his point. "I... guess they're a bit of a handful," observed Oliver, "But that would be bad if you lost two engines. Or three, for that matter." "I know," admitted Rex, "Winter's a bit tough to get through at times. Luckily Christmas was just recently so it's not... that bad." "What are you doing down there? Get moving!" scowled Frank. Rex rolled his eyes. "Yes Frank, I'm coming...." And Rex chuffed away. "Mr. Oliver, I think it's time for us to go now," Toad said as his guard blew the whistle. Oliver sighed. "Yes... Of course, Toad." "Something wrong, sir?" "Not much... It's just that I'm worried about the Arlesdale Railway...I mean, losing two or three engines? That must be detrimental." "I'm sure they'll work things out," replied Toad, "Things won't always be that way." Oliver smiled. "You're probably right, Toad. Now come on! This ballast has to go to Tidmouth!" "Right behind you, Mr. Oliver!" chuckled Toad.

In the shed, Mike looked over at the two Blisters. "Aren't you two going to get a move on? You have to collect a lot of ballast from the mines soon." the red engine said. Blister | glanced to his twin, worried. "...well...?" Mike asked expectantly. "Uh... we can't get started," said Blister ||. "Again?!" spluttered Mike indignantly, "We're sorry, we're sorry!" cried Blister |, "But our engines just gave up!" Their drivers tried again, but the engines spluttered and died. Mike groaned. "Who's going to take the trucks now? I'd love to, but I have... ugh, passengers..." "That's not so bad, is it Mike?" asked Blister |. "You have no clue..." The Small Controller drove up in his car. "Blisters | and ||? What's taking you so long? The trucks have already been filled!" "We-" "They can't get their engines started," interrupted Mike. "I... see... Oh no..." Blister || looked to his controller. "*ahem* With all due respect sir, I must ask-" "Oh, that's such a clever phrase!" "I know!" "Just get to the point, you two..." "Oh. Right. Anyway, we were only wondering who could take the train. Since, it is pretty long," Blister || said. The Small Controller rubbed his chin in thought. "Well... Frank can't pull all that weight..." "Oh, so he's weak?" Mike laughed. Frank scowled as he rolled up beside the shed. "Hey!" The Small Controller sighed. "....and Mike has... other things to be doing..." Mike, getting the point, gulped and rushed off to the yard. "Rex is taking some coal from the North Western Railway to the that only leaves Jock and Bert." "Where is Jock?" asked Frank. "Right here! I'm to to help Rex with the coal." "Oh right... I think I had too little coffee this morning," the Small Controller sighed, "That only leaves Bert." Bert was on a siding, getting a drink at a water tower. "Are you sure that's wise, sir?" asked Jock. "It's the only choice we have, I'm afraid," sighed the Small Controller as he walked over to him. Jock, Frank and the Blisters were worried. "Uh... Bert, I have something to ask of you." Bert smiled. "Of course, sir! I don't mind the work I do, after all!" The Small Controller was relieved; Bert, along with Rex, were the only ones who didn't care what they did for the most part. "I need you to go to the mines and pick up fifteen trucks of ballast." Bert's jaw dropped. "S-sir?!" "I know this is tough for you, but you're the only engine available, and this order of ballast is extremely important." Bert gulped. "Alright, sir... I'll try my best." The Small Controller smiled weakly. "I knew I could count on you. Now if you excuse me, I need more coffee..." And the Small Controller walked away.

Bert was worried; that was about the train Jock pulled when he had tried to set a record. How could he pull a train like that? As he was having these thoughts, Samson arrived with a train of coal. "Samson here, at your service!" he announced. Frank rushed away. "I, uh, have maintenance duty!" he spluttered as he rounded the bend. Samson cocked an eyebrow. "Why do some engines do that?" "Maybe because it's a warning sign," quipped Rex. "Ha ha... Just be lucky that I brought your coal for you." "Don't get us wrong, Samson. We do appreciate that," chuckled Jock. Samson looked at Bert, slightly confused. "What's with the blue one?" he asked. "That's Bert," replied Rex, "I guess he has to pull the Blisters' train." "I see..." He was uncoupled and puffed up to Bert. "How many trucks are you pulling exactly...?" Samson asked. Bert looked up. "Oh, about fifteen..." Samson snickered. "What's so funny?" asked Bert, agitated. "Fifteen?! I can pull twenty-five! I am the strongest tank engine after all!" Bert was cross. "We miniature engines are smaller than you big engines, so we have to pull less." "Miniature is right! How tall are you?" "Um..." "You're shorter than your driver!" laughed Samson, "Oh, this is priceless! If you can't pull fifteen trucks, how do you expect to be Really Useful?" Samson chortled as he left his trucks behind, "I'll be back for those later!" Bert was furious. "How dare he speak to us little engines like that! Little engines are just as useful as those big engines!" Rex and Jock looked to each other with worry. "Bert... Are you alright, Bert?" asked Rex. Bert was so cross that he could barely talk. "'I'll show that ingrate how useful we are!" Bert cried as he rushed away. "...this could end badly," Jock said.

At the mines, Mike had shunted all the trucks together in a long line. Bert gulped as he looked at them all. "These.. are all the trucks?" he asked, suddenly feeling as if he shouldn't have lost his temper. "Well, yes... Good luck. I'd help but I have a... passenger train to pull." Mike whistled as he started off back down the line. Bert gulped again as he was coupled up. "Okay... Here I go..." Bert heaved, his wheels slowly turning. The trucks started to move forward. Bert suddenly felt excited; maybe he could pull this off after all! Just then, he felt himself slowing down. He gasped. "No, I can't slow down now! I'm not even out of the mines yet! Come on, trucks! Come on!" His driver dropped some sand on the rails, which did make things a bit easier. Slowly but surely, Bert puffed out of the mines.

At Tidmouth Station, Samson was boasting to Bill and Ben. "It just goes to show that big engines like us aren't full of ourselves like those Arlesdale engines..." Ben yawned, disinterested in what Samson was saying.. "It's so ironic," snickered Bill, "Because he's full of himself all the time." Ben chuckled. Hiro was nearby, resting so he could have a drink of water, and he was cross when he heard Samson talk about other engines. "Samson! You mustn't say things like that!" Samson looked over, startled. "Huh?" "You know what I am talking about! Little engines are just as useful as bigger ones!" Hiro said wisely. Samson couldn't help but snicker. "If they can't pull anything, what's the point in building them?" "Samson, I'm ashamed of you... That's a terribly rude thing to say!" Hiro exclaimed, Samson felt flustered; Hiro was a bit intimidating to him. "Oh, uh... I think I have trucks to shunt! Oh, goodbye you three!" And Samson hurried away. Bill and Ben laughed. "Thanks for saving us, Hiro," quipped Ben. "Right. He's so annoying," agreed Bill. Hiro couldn't help smiling to himself as he puffed away. But he quickly frowned again. "I just hope Samson learns that those Arlesdale engines are strong... I haven't ever met them before but they deserve better than that..."

Meanwhile, Bert panted into Marthwaite, already tired. His driver was worried as he put the water pipe into his engine's tanks. "Bert, are you sure you want to continue the journey? We can send Jock if you really-" "No, driver. I have something to prove. Little engines can do big things; that Samson needs to learn that." His driver couldn't help smiling. "I admire your determination, Bert. Perhaps we should keep going..." His driver put the water pipe back in its place and hopped into his engine's cab. "Come on, Bert! We have a schedule to keep to!" he chuckled. Bert grinned as his sandboxes dropped a bit more sand on the rails. "Right... Let's go!" cried Bert as he slowly started off down the line. But he didn't get very far when he felt the trucks holding him back. "Ugh, come on!" he spluttered. His cheeks started to grow pink as he began to wheeze. His wheels moved a bit slower as he used up a lot of sand, just to keep going. His driver was worried. "What if we run out of sand?" he asked. "We can fill up later," Bert wheezed, "Let's just get this ballast to Arlesburgh! The Small Controller is counting on me!"

Frank was waiting for the workmen as they were on their coffee break. He gawked when he noticed Bert slowly puffing into the station. "Hello *pant* Frank!" Bert said, as cheerfully as he could, "How are you?" Frank could barely speak. "Y-you got the train all the way down here?! By yourself?!" Bert smiled, barely. "I sure *cough* did..." "You should be careful!" advised Frank, "You really don't look so well!" "I'll be *wheeze* fine... I hope... *pant*" Bert strolled through the station, getting closer and closer to Arlesburgh Junction.

Between Ffarquhar Road and Arlesburgh Junction lay a gradient that sloped down to the junction with the Little Western. In his ordeal with the long train, he had completely forgotten about this section of track. As Bert heaved and hauled up the small slope, the weight of the heavy trucks started to push the miniature engine down the hill. Bert's eyes popped open immediately as he realized he was picking up speed. "Oh no, oh no, help, help! I can't go this speed on my own!" Bert tried to drop sand from his sandboxes but he suddenly realized they were empty. "Oh no, my sand!" Bert's driver cleared his throat. "At this point I'm just going to yell like a coward. Ahhhhhhh!" "This is too fast!" Bert yelled desperately, "Toooo faaassst!" His driver tried to brake but the trucks pushed on and on. He was going so fast that Bert nearly derailed at a bend. "Oooooh help! Help! I could really use a brakevan right now!" Bert rushed into the forest that led to the junction. "Somebody, anybody, help meeeee!" At Arlesburgh Junction, Oliver was waiting for his ballast. "Who's taking the train for the Blisters?" he asked, agitated, "I've been waiting a long time." "Erm... Bert is," Rex said meekly. Oliver was surprised. "Oh dear..." Samson was there too, collecting the trucks he had left earlier.  "He can't pull a train if his life depended on it," remarked Samson, "Not like me. I can easily pull." Oliver, Rex, Mike and the Blisters glared at him. "That's not very nice to say, Mr. Samson," huffed Toad. "Quite right," agreed Blister |, "Bert deserves respect." "You just show off," smirked Blister ||. "Wow, we're so honest," said Blister |. "I know!" Samson gulped. "Oh, um..." "Just keep your mouth shut," Mike scowled, "He'll be here soon... I hope..."

Meanwhile, Jock was puffing along the line with a train of produce for market. He squinted as he noticed a blue bur racing towards him. "Bert?!" Jock spluttered. Bert tried to brake again, and this time, he did slow down, but not enough to stop. "Jock, look out!" "I'm looking, I'm looking!" Jock cried in horror as he puffed onto the other line. The points were switched and Bert rushed past. Jock was shocked. "What the heck was that about?!" Suddenly he gasped. "Oh no! He's heading for the junction, and then he'll reach the harbour! I've got to do something. Do you have a phone, driver?" His driver looked up. "What? Oh, I was just imaging that Bert actually manages to stop before nearly crashing into Rex and Mike." Jock blinked. "I don't want to know..." "Yeah, you don't."

Bert gasped as the trees started to become a little less common. "I'm getting closer to the junction! Driver, stop! Stooopp!" "But this is good drama." "Seriously?!" "No, I'll brake." The driver tried to pull the lever, and Bert did end up slowing down but the trucks were still quite heavy to stop. He whistled, desperately hoping someone would hear him. Luckily, somebody did. Rex gasped as he heard the whistle. "Listen, that's Bert's whistle!" "So?" asked Oliver, "That's a good thing, isn't it?" "Hellllp!" Bert cried as he rushed into the junction. Samson was shocked. "Well, crack my dome!" he spluttered. "I think they already did that," snickered Mike. "No time for jokes, Mike! Bert's heading straight for us!" shouted Rex as he started to reverse. "Oh no!" Mike and Rex slowly backed up, horrified. Bert, face bright red, braked harder than he had ever had before. "Mr. Rex and Mr. Mike, go faster! Faster!" cried Toad. Oliver and Samson were too stunned to say a word. "We're moving as fast as we can!" replied Rex. "I must save my friends, I must!" Bert said, though he was using so much energy he could barely talk. Mike and Rex shut their eyes, as did the other engines. Sparks flew from Bert's wheels as they squealed against the metal rail.

Bert gasped for breath as he suddenly that he had stopped moving. "I've stopped! I've stopped!" Rex and Mike opened their eyes, just as shocked as Bert. "You did!" Mike spluttered, "I don't believe it!" "Amazing!" puffed Rex. Bert smiled. "Well, I have to protect younger engines from scrapes, you know..." Rex laughed. "Come on, let's get you on the chute for Oliver." "I can't believe a little engine like him did something like that!" huffed Samson. Oliver and Toad glared at the cabless engine. "I think you need more respect for different sizes," retorted Oliver, "These Arlesdale Railway engines are very useful. Just because they're little doesn't mean anything." "Indeed," said Toad, "Besides Mr. Samson, you're not the biggest engine on Sodor yourself." Samson blushed. "Well, I, uh-" "What on Earth is going on?" cried a voice. The engines looked over to find The Small Controller walking into the yard, "I heard the squeal of brakes from my office!" "Bert saved Rex and Mike from crashing sir," said Blister |. "He was a runaway but he managed to stop just in time!" agreed Blister II. "It was amazing!" finished Blister I. The Small Controller was impressed, and relieved. "Thank you, Bert. I understand I might've given you too much of a task, but you did manage to pull through and saved your best friends from certain peril. I applaud you for that." "Thank you sir," said Bert on the chute, even if he was too tired to say much at all. The ballast fell into Oliver's trucks at last. "I best be off," Oliver said, "I'll be sure to tell the other engines about this! Well done Bert!" He whistled and Toad winked at Bert as Oliver set off down the branch line. "So much for being weak," Mike smirked. Samson sighed. "Oh, alright... I suppose I did act a bit... harsh on yon engines. I suppose you do have your own way of being useful..." Bert smiled; he liked it when engines learned to appreciate all sizes, including their own. "And the apology?" he taunted. "Oh, right... Sorry..." He was coupled up to the empty trucks and started to let off steam. "And to be honest, I am impressed by what you did today. So I salute you! Well I would if I had arms, which I don't. Granted, that's probably for the better." The engines laughed as Samson puffed away. Suddenly The Small Controller remembered something. "Oh dear, Bert! I forgot to tell you this but it's very important. Because of your hard work today, I'll be giving you an overhaul!" The engines all whistled while the Blisters cheered. Bert felt proud. "Oh, thank you sir! I'll work twice as hard when I get back!"

Soon, Bert was taken to the Steamworks for his overhaul, and when he got back, he steamed better than ever before. Everyone respects him now, and when anyone is skeptical of the Arlesdale Railway's value, the engines automatically bring up Bert's heroism, especially Samson.


  • Oliver
  • Bill and Ben
  • Hiro
  • Samson
  • Rex
  • Mike
  • Bert
  • Frank
  • Jock
  • Blister | and Blister ||
  • Toad
  • The Small Controller
  • BoCo (cameo)
  • The Works Diesel (cameo)
  • Neville (cameo)
  • Rosie (cameo)
  • Sigrid of Arlesdale (cameo)


  • Arlesburgh Junction
  • Arlesdale Mines
  • Tidmouth
  • Marthwaite
  • Ffarquhar Road
  • Sodor Steamworks
  • Arlesburgh Harbour (mentioned)


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