Season 5, Episode 5
Air date December 22th, 2015
Written by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Directed by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Episode guide
The Big City Engine
Bert Tries His Best


Nelson is a black ballast tractor with the number 10 on his side. He works with the Pack, to haul all the construction vehicles to their proper destination. He often feels a bit overworked, since they're often heavy, but says nothing about it. But recently, since the island had more construction going on than ever before, Nelson had more and more work to do.

One morning, Nelson was driving up to Cronk because Miss Jenny had summoned him. "I wonder what she wants..." he thought. As Nelson drove into the construction yard, he was surprised to find BoCo with Buster, Byron and Ned onboard three wellwagons. "Spot on, BoCo. You'd make a mother proud," Miss Jenny said. BoCo chuckled. "Thank you ma'm!" And the Diesel trundled away. "Miss Jenny, what's all this?" Nelson asked. Miss Jenny turned around and walked up to Nelson. "Nelson, I know you're busy, but can you please take Buster, Byron, and Ned to the new street in Toryreck?" Nelson was horrified; he didn't think he could take everyone at once, but he also didn't want to disappoint Miss Jenny. "Um...sure, ma'm." "Oh, thank you. I knew I could rely on you." Miss Jenny smiled and walked away. Nelson gulped. "Well... we're waiting," said Ned cheerfully. Nelson looked to the three trailers, where Buster, Byron and Ned had already drove onto. The ballast tractor groaned.

As soon as Nelson drove onto the road, he realized he had made a huge mistake; it was very hard work indeed, hauling three construction vehicles. "Oh, why can't you be a little less heavy?" Nelson groaned to them, "You put so much weight on me. I feel like I could burst." "I'm sorry." said Ned sadly, "It's just that I have to be heavy." Nelson cringed; he didn't like making Ned feel guilty for something that wasn't his fault. "I'm sorry, Ned... I didn't intend it to be rude. It's just that this is the heaviest load I've ever pulled!" Nelson exclaimed. "I am not heavy." snorted Byron indignantly. Nelson sighed, but he decided to say nothing; the trip was bad enough without petty arguing. His cheeks were bright pink from the weight and he had to go slowly, which didn't make the trip any better. Then Nelson noticed his tyres started to slip. "Oh no..." "What's wrong?" asked Buster worriedly. "Oh, it's just... *pant* My wheels... they're slipping..." "Do you need to stop?" asked Ned. "No... I'll... just try... and finish the job." Byron was a little worried. "Still, I think we... are a bit too much for you. One of us could go back onto the road ourselves." "No, no... It's alright..." Nelson spluttered, even when he knew it wasn't; he didn't want to make a big deal out of something that he thought would be easily dealt with.

A while later, at Toryeck Station, Thomas was waiting for his passengers when he noticed Nelson carrying the three Pack members. His jaw dropped. "N-n-nelson?!" Nelson looked over and smiled as best as he could. "H-hello... *pant* Thomas! *wheeze* How are you?" Annie gasped. "Nelson, what on Earth are you doing?! That's far too much weight on you!" "Indeed," agreed Clarabel, "You'll overheat!" "Nonsense," reassured Nelson, "I'll... make it... hopefully." Nelson turned to the left down another street. "Oh dear..." Thomas said worriedly. At last, Nelson stopped at the construction site. He let out a final breath as his engine finally could rest. "Thanks, Nelson! You truly are a hard worker!" called Buster as he trundled off a trailer. "Sorry we gave you so much trouble," Byron said. "I hope you feel better!" cried Ned and the trio set to work. "No problem." sighed Nelson, still out of breath, and his driver started him up again to head back to the shed. But as he tried to move, steam suddenly spouted from his radiator. "Oh no!" cried Nelson in despair, "I've overheated! I knew something like this would happen!" His driver sighed. "We should've known better... hold on, I'll get the yard." Nelson's driver phoned the yard as quickly as he could. "I'll notify the Fat Controller to send Thomas." said the yardmaster.

At Elsbridge, Thomas was waiting for the guard to blow the whistle when the stationmaster ran out to see him. Thomas was confused. "What's wrong, sir?" "Nelson's broken down. We need you to bring in a crane so Nelson can be taken back to the construction yard." the stationmaster explained, "Toby can take these passengers." "Alright, sir," Thomas said. "I knew he'd break down," Clarabel sniffed. "Typical," scoffed Annie. "Oh, be nice, will you?" Thomas said crossly, "I just hope poor Nelson is alright." And he raced away. Ten minutes later, Thomas hurried in with a flatbed and the crane to lift Nelson onto the flatbed. Nelson sighed as the cranes lifted him onto the flatbed. "I feel so silly, Thomas..." "It wasn't your fault," Thomas reassured, "You just wanted to do your job." Nelson smiled. "That does make me feel better." Thomas swiftly puffed into the Sodor Construction Yard with Nelson and the cranes. Miss Jenny was there with Oliver, who wasn't doing any work at the moment. The crane carefully put Nelson back on the ground. "Thanks, Thomas." called Ms. Jenny. "No problem, ma'm." Thomas said. He whistled and puffed back to Tidmouth Yard to drop off the crane. But Nelson still felt silly. "I'm sorry, Ms. Jenny... I let you down, didn't I?" said Nelson sadly. Ms. Jenny smiled reassuringly. "I understand, Nelson. I did put too much stress on you. The work has been too much for you lately, so I have a plan." "What is it? If you don't mind me asking?" Oliver asked. Miss Jenny winked at the two Pack members. "You'll see soon enough," and Miss Jenny walked away. "What was all that about?" asked Nelson to Oliver. Oliver frowned. "Search me." replied the excavator.

An hour later, Butch arrived to collect Nelson and take him to the Crosby Garage. "I hope you feel better, Nelson." said Butch, "It's no fun being broken down." "So do I..." groaned Nelson, "It's such hard work sometimes, carrying the Pack!" "I know the feeling." chuckled Butch, "I'm one to haul road vehicles myself. You should know how heavy Bertie is!" Nelson couldn't help chuckling too; he did feel a bit better with Butch's support. As Butch and Nelson entered the garage, they could see what appeared to be a green lorry who had a number 23 on his side. Butch stared at it questioningly. "What on Earth...?" "What is it?" asked Nelson when he noticed that Butch had stopped. "It's... uh... See for yourself," said Butch. Butch's driver unhooked Nelson and then he saw the lorry too. Nelson gasped; he couldn't speak, but Butch could. "Who are you?" asked Butch, stuttering. The green lorry drove up to Butch and Nelson, smiling widely. "Oh, hello there! You're... well, I don't actually know your names yet. But I know mine! The name's Nigel! What's yours?" "I'm Nelson and this is Butch." "Are you part of the Pack?" asked Butch, "I mean, you have a number." Nigel giggled. "Uh, well... not yet, Miss Jenny built me in her workshop a few years ago, but had no use for me, so she left me in a shed so I wouldn't be sold. When you broke down, Miss Jenny came to see me and said that I could be Really Useful! Doesn't that sound great?" said Nigel happily. "Yeah, yeah, it's great." Nelson said quietly, but he had a nagging fear in his mind. Nigel seemed to notice this. "You alright?" he asked worriedly. "Oh, uh... yes... But there's one thing bothering me. Are you..." Nelson gulped; he could barely get the words out, "Are you going to replace me?" Nigel stared for a second, then laughed. "Goodness me, no!" laughed Nigel, "After you're fixed, Miss Jenny wants us to work together." Nelson sighed with relief, suddenly feeling a lot better. "Well, good luck with that. The Pack members are really heavy," advised the ballast tractor. "I'll keep that in mind, even if it shouldn't be an issue," replied Nigel, "Miss Jenny told me I have a stronger engine or something." "Oh... Right..." Just then his driver revved his engine, signaling Nigel to get a move on. "Oh it's time for me to go. My driver has to learn the road and landmarks of Sodor, and so do I. Goodbye!" called Nigel and drove away. Nelson grinned; he knew his job was in good hands.

A few days later, after the workmen inspect Nigel for any problems, Miss Jenny arrived at the sheds. "Everyone, I understand that losing Nelson is a bad thing. But we have good news too! While Nelson is away, we'll be having a replacement for him! When he returns, this special lorry will continue to be Really Useful alongside him! Everyone, meet Nigel!" She clapped as Nigel drove up to the shed. "Hello!" Nigel said happily. The Pack exchanged looks, all skeptical. "He seems nice," whispered Oliver politely to Patrick. "Maybe." muttered Patrick, "But I prefer Nelson. At least he has class..." Nigel spoke up again, not hearing Oliver and Patrick. "So, any work that needs to be done? I do want to have my tyres kick up some dust again." Ms. Jenny smiled at Nigel. "I knew you'd be enthusiastic! Perfect! Your first job is to haul Byron, Alfie, and Ned to the Blue Mountain Quarry to shovel stone." "Right, ma'm!" "At the same time? Isn't that how Nelson broke down in the first place?" interrupted Jack worriedly. "Don't worry, Jack. Nigel is stronger and can handle the weight." replied Ms. Jenny. Patrick glared at Nigel, clearly distrusting him, but Nigel just set to work. "Hop on my trailers!" The three Pack members exchanged a look but quickly were tied down. "Are you sure about this?" asked Alfie. "Of course I am! Let's go!" And Nigel set off on his journey.

Along the way, the three machines were worried for Nigel. "You can stop now if you'd like." offered Alfie. "Nonsense. I'm fine!" Nigel said confidently. "If you say so..." Ned said worriedly. Nigel never complained and never wheezed either. This surprised the trio indeed. "He's a hard worker, like Nelson," Byron whispered. "And they both start with 'N'," said Ned. "Uh... that doesn't matter," replied Alfie. Nigel just chuckled. A half hour later, Nigel brought the three machines to the quarry. "That was fast!" said Alfie gleefully. "Very impressive!" agreed Byron, "Faster than Nelson, to be honest." The trio got off their trailers quickly. Nigel smiled as the three set to work. A little green engine puffed by with some stone trucks. "Who is that?" Luke wondered to himself. Not wanting to be rude, he reversed and looked at Nigel. "Oh, sorry for the rude interruption. My name's Luke." Nigel smiled; he liked it when he met new friends. "My name's Nigel." "Have you come to be a quarry lorry?" asked Luke cheekily. "Bless you, no! I'm just dropping off my friends." explained Nigel. "Oh alright then. See you later at the quarry sometime!" called Luke and he chuffed away to shunt more trucks of quarry rock. Nigel turned around and raced back to the Yard. "What a nice island." Nigel said to himself.

For the next few weeks, Nigel worked his hardest to get the Pack to their destinations. The hard work paid off, although Patrick, Max and Monty didn't quite trust him. One night, Nigel took Nelson's place in the sheds. This made Patrick cross. "What makes you think you have the right to do that?" the cement mixer asked rudely. Nigel was surprised. "Do what?" "Stay in Nelson's shed while he's away!" "Oh... It's only temporary. I'm sure I'll sleep somewhere else once all these repairs are over." "You better," Max retorted, "Nelson's better than you'll ever be!" Nigel and the rest of the Pack were shocked. W-what?" Nigel stuttered. "Don't even think about replacing Nelson either," Monty agreed. Nigel was dumbfounded. "So... that's what this is about?" "Yeah," stormed Patrick, "You-" "Patrick, Max and Monty. I thought you wouldn't be so petty," argued Oliver, shocking everyone; Oliver was usually quieter than the rest. He wasn't shy but avoided chatter. "What?" the trio spluttered. "Nigel isn't here to replace Nelson. He's here to help us, and help Nelson! How can you be so blind?! Miss Jenny told us that when Nigel was first introduced!" Nobody said a word. From then on, Max, Monty and Patrick didn't like Nigel, but they didn't say anything to him either.

At last, Nelson returned from Crosby, and he looked brand as new. "It's great to have you back!" smiled Jack. "It's great to be back," Nelson replied. One day, he saw Nelson in the shed that evening after a hard day's work. "Hey, Nelson! Good to see you're in good working order again." "Yes, I am. Thanks for helping me while I was away." said Nelson sincerely. "Of course. It's my job, isn't it?" Nigel grinned. "Indeed." laughed Nelson, "Tomorrow's going to be pretty busy." "I'm ready." Nigel said. "Good. We'll need it." Nelson chuckled. Nigel smiled and knew that he and Nelson would be a great team.


  • Thomas
  • BoCo
  • Luke
  • Annie and Clarabel
  • Butch
  • Nelson
  • Jack
  • Alfie
  • Oliver
  • Max and Monty
  • Byron
  • Ned
  • Patrick
  • Buster
  • Nigel
  • Miss Jenny
  • Peter Sam (cameo)
  • Rusty (cameo)
  • Kelly (cameo)
  • Isobella (cameo)
  • Owen (cameo)
  • Toby (mentioned)
  • Bertie (mentioned)
  • The Fat Controller (mentioned)


  • Cronk
  • Toryeck
  • Elsbridge
  • Crosby Garage
  • Blue Mountain Quarry
  • Tidmouth Yard (mentioned)
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