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Percy and the Brake Van is the first episode of the fifteenth season.

Percy and the Brake Van
Season 15, Episode 1
Air date 27 November 2013

6 February 2019 (revised)

Written by Christopher Awdry (original)

MainLineEngines (adapted)

Directed by MainLineEngines
Episode guide
Ghost Train
The Twins' Passing Problem



One morning, Percy was waiting at the Junction for Henry. He had been sent to the Other Railway to collect an important goods train. Some of the trucks were needed on the Branch Line.

Presently, Henry steamed in and Percy began arranging the trucks.

"How was your journey?" asked Percy.

"Splendid," replied Henry. "I saw lots of new sights along the way. Including," he paused impressively, "an interesting way of pulling trucks over there."

"What was it?"

"Well, they don't use brake vans over there. Driver says all the trucks are fitted with brakes, thus eliminating the need for the Guard's van."

Percy thought about this. "I think I can handle trucks without a brake van."

"Nonsense, Percy. It's actually against the rules to go off without a brake van here. Our trucks don't have individual brakes."

"You just haven't dealt with trucks as long as I have."

"Rubbish. I can handle trucks better than you."

"Sez you," retorted Percy.

He puffed thinking of how well he handled trucks. He steamed into Ffarquhar right on time and felt very pleased with himself. He arranged the trucks and was soon resting in the shed.

"I say, did you see my expert handling?" Percy asked Jessie.

"Well, yes, that was very impressive."

"I'd say I don't even need a brake van."

"Don't be silly! The Guard is very important. He keeps a good look-out and helps control the trucks on the hill."

"But surely, I could go off without one."

Just then, Mavis rolled in.

"Hullo! Here are some more stone trucks, Jessie."

"Thank you."

The Guard coupled Jessie to the first truck, then ran back to his van.

"Surely, we'd all be fine without brake vans," continued Percy.

"What do you mean?"

"Henry told me about trains without brake vans on the Other Railway."

"That's because all trucks have fitted brakes," replied Mavis.

"Yes, but we can all handle trucks well. They daren't play tricks on me!"

"Without the Guard, they're more likely to try and play tricks."

"Rubbish! We'd show them!"

I'm sorry to say, Percy began to grow conceited and talked everlastingly about how well he dealt with trucks.

A week later, he was at the Harbour, preparing to take empty trucks up to Ffarquhar.

The trucks were grumbling as usual, but Percy paid no attention and was soon ready to go.

A shunter went along the train, making sure all the couplings were properly secured.

He was just reaching the brake van and the final truck when he saw two Harbour-workers lifting a heavy box.

"Careful!" called a worker. Then he saw the shunter. "Can you come help?"

"In a second!" replied the shunter. His pole lifted the coupling onto the brake van - but not securely.

"All's ready!" the shunter told the Guard as he ran over to help.

Percy and his Driver were waiting for the Guard's whistle and his green flag.

Presently, they heard it and the Driver advanced the regulator.

"Come on! Come on!" called Percy to the trucks. He started, puffing hard towards the hill.

But the brake van was not coupled properly as when Percy started, the coupling slipped out and the Guard was left behind. When the Guard realised this, Percy was already out of the Harbour.

Percy snorted up the hill, unaware that the Guard and his van had been left behind. But the rear trucks knew.

"Let's teach him a lesson," they whispered to each other.

"Nearly . . . there," panted Percy as the top approached, but at that moment, the trucks snapped the coupling! The last eight trucks ran down the hill, gathering speed towards the Harbour.

Percy stopped quickly and hurried back.

At the Harbour, everyone heard frantic whistling.

"There's trouble," said the Harbour Master, then he saw the trucks approaching. "Clear the line!"

"Leave it to me!" shouted the Guard.

"What are you going to do?" replied the Harbour Master.

The Guard locked the brakes on his van.

The points were set to the van.

Luckily, the trucks were tiring, and the van's brakes checked them, but they were still heading towards the sea.

"Too late! Jump out!" called a workman to the Guard.

As the Guard jumped out, the van pressed against the buffers and the trucks stopped, still on the rails but the van pressed against the buffers at the edge of the Harbour.

"Good work!" cheered the workers.

Just then, Percy arrived with the rest of his trucks.

"Sorry about that," he apologised.

"Never mind," said the Harbour Master. "Thanks to the Guard and his van, a serious accident was prevented."

"Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Guard," added Percy. "Brake vans are very important after all."

"Better safe than sorry," affirmed the Guard. "I hope you learnt your lesson. Now, let's make up for lost time."

They did so.

That night, Percy found his story was there before him.

"Did you hear about the engine who wanted to go off without the Guard and his van," whispered Jessie.

"Who would ever do that?" replied Mavis.

"With so much expertise, who needs one?" She paused. "But he should know that it's the rules he must abide to."


Percy promised from now on, to never go off without his brake van.


Percy was shunting trucks at Knapford when Henry steamed in. He had gone foreign and had stayed overnight on the Other Railway, and was just returning from his long trip.

"Hullo, Henry."

"Hullo, little Percy."

"How was York?"

"Great, great."

There was a moment of silence.

"I saw something odd over there."

Percy was puzzled.

"I saw a diesel pass by with a long train of trucks. But, when it finally got to the last truck, I saw it had no brake van!"

"That train should've been stopped," Percy replied firmly.

"I thought so too, and I whistled, but my Driver explained trucks on the Other Railway have special brakes. Just like the Flying Kipper and coaches."

"I think I manage my trucks pretty well," Percy said.

"You are bit accident-prone, but . . ."

He cut off as he realized what this meant.

"No, Percy, you need a brake van. Not even David who's a master with trucks would dare to go out without a brake van," Henry continued.

"Silly comments. Stupid regulations. I'll show you."

"He's heading for trouble, alright," Henry thought as he departed towards Tidmouth.

Percy explained this idea to The Truck.

"No, no, Percy. You and I make a great pair and we do look after trucks well, but the Guard is important."

The Truck felt worried that Percy would try to go without a brake van, but to his relief he didn't.

The next day, Percy was at Knapford Harbour collecting some new rails along with empty trucks for Toby.

Percy gathered his train.

"Once an engine attached to a train . . " he began singing.

He shunted The Truck at the back, then organized the rails, finally the empty trucks and the brake van at the back.

"I'll have it coupled up," said the Shunter.

Percy seized impatiently.

The Shunter had just coupled The Truck's front hook to the flatbeds when he was called away.

"Just a second!" he called and quickly coupled the brake van up. Improperly.

Neither the Guard, The Truck or Percy and his crew had any idea of this.

However, the trucks sensed trouble.

"All's clear!" called the Guard who blew his whistle and waved his green flag.

"Come on, come on," Percy puffed determined.

It was only until too late did the Guard realize they left him behind!

"We've no brake van," the first truck said.

"Let's break away," said another.

"Percy, uh, Percy! called The Truck.

The trucks began to scream and hold back.

"Come on," Percy gasped straining up the hill.


At the top of the hill, it happened.

(redition of Willam Overture's theme starts)

The break made Percy jump foward, down the hill!


And the trucks at full speed towards the Harbour!

"What're you doing here Percy? You're supposed to . . "

"Hi, Daisy. Bye, Daisy."


"I can catch them."

The trucks were having fun, but not The Truck.

"Help!" he screamed.

However, the Guard had a plan.

He set the brakes tight on the van, and waited.

The trucks grew tired and were slowing down, but still could knock themselves into the sea.

With the van, they slowed, then at the last instant the Guard jumped out.

The trucks strained on the buffers until they stopped.

Percy had been in time to witness the whole scene.

"Well, Percy," began The Truck. "The Guard and the brake van saved, well, my life."

"I'm sorry Mr. Guard. I really didn't mean it."

"I know you didn't, but I hope you now understand the importance of these brake vans."

"I do. I do."

Percy is now always aware to have his brake van attached to his train.




  • Knapford
  • Knapford Harbour
  • Toryreck


  • This episode is based on the 1989 annual of the same name by Christopher Awdry.
  • This episode was originally meant to air November 28th.
  • Jessie, who will be properly introduced in Work and Play, makes an appearance in the revised version released 6 February 2019, as a teaser of sorts for the upcoming aforementioned short.