Points of No Return is the sixth episode of the fifteenth season.

Points of No Return
Season 15, Episode 6
Air date 15 December 2013
Written by Christopher Awdry (original)

MainLineEngines (adapted)

Directed by MainLineEngines
Episode guide
Donald and the Breakaways
Quick Thinking


James was in the sheds with Gordon and Henry.

It had been awfully busy on the North Western Railway, and James was feeling rather exhausted.

"I wish I could have my own branch line," he began.

Henry groaned.

"Like that, I would have peace and quiet for myself. And, no shunting in dirty sidings."

"James, we are more than fortunate to be on a railway with a controller who understands engines. If it weren't for him, we'd be piles of scrap," Henry replied.

"Yes, but all this work is making me sick of the Main Line," James retorted.

"Knock it off, James, you know better. On branch lines, you'd have to do all your work for yourself," Gordon added.

But still James kept arguing until it was time to leave for his morning train.

James stopped at Crovan's Gate to take on water.

"Still want a branch line, James?" Gordon teased.

James snorted. He didn't think branch lines were "vulgar" as Gordon often described them. He thought them splendid and perfectly suitable for engines of his class.

"Why do you want a branch line, James?" asked Peter Sam.

"Well, . . ."

"You are a big, splendid Main Line engine," Peter Sam added.

"How do you think of your railway?"

"Well, its mostly peaceful. Except when Duncan gets cross. Lots of beautiful sights . . ."

"Exactly!" James interrupted. "That's why I want a branch line."

The Guard blew his whistle and James was off before Peter Sam could reply.

"Not worth it, James," Dodger told him. "If I were you, I'd stick to the Main Line, where all your trains are shunted by Norman and Diesel. But, I'm not you, so I can't do anything about it, except . . ."

"All right! I get your point! You've never been on a branch line. You've always been at the coal mines, doing . . ."

"At this time, coal is vital, so its an important job. . ."


"Now what's going on?"

"Oh, hi, uh, Molly. How you've been?"

"Fine. Now what's all this about branch lines."

"This fool wants a branch line to himself," Dodger replied.

"James, don't be modest. You're a Main Line engine. You must learn to overcome obstacles like all this heavy workload," she replied. "Its the truth."

"Well, yeah, but, uh . . ."

"Good. The Fat Controller wanted me to settle this nonsense, and put you to work. Dodger, please arrange his coaches, and I'll be on my way."

James sighed, defeated.

"Want a branch line, want a branch line," he grumbled to the coaches.

"Don't make such a fuss. Don't make such a fuss," the coaches grumbled back.

"I'll show them. I'll show them."

James was not paying attention as he descended Gordon's Hill.


"Brakes! Guard! Please!" shouted his Driver.

He did so, but the points were accidentally set to the wrong track!

He accidentally skidded onto the junction behind the station leading to Brendam on Edward's Branch!

"Never mind. Let's just go back quickly, as soon as the Guard says its clear," James' Driver told him.

But the Guard came running up saying: "The points are 'trap points'. In other words, we are 'trapped' on Edward's Branch. Just got informed by the Signalman. It's meant for runaway trucks, not engines."

"Uh, Donald!" James grumbled, but suddenly remembered . . . "Now, I'll show them."

(Driver and Fireman face-palm)

The Fat Controller arrived on Thomas.

"Now, now, now. What the blaze has happened here?"

"Trap points have 'trapped' NWR No. 5, Sir," the Signalman explained. "I'm really sorry. I didn't expect . . ."

"No. He wants a branch line experience. He'll have one."

"Thank you very much, Sir."

"Uh! OK? . . ."

The Fat Controller's voice was drowned by James's excitement.

James liked it at first, but it began to get boring; with the same routine; same schedule every day. More apart from that, he had to shunt his own trucks and coaches.

After two weeks, the points were fixed, and James was allowed back on the Main Line.

"Good bye!" tooted Edward. "I hope you enjoyed your visit to my branch line."

James snorted at this.

"I hope you decide to one day, join our team."

"No!" he screamed and puffed away as fast as he could.

When he returned to Tidmouth Sheds, everyone was waiting for him.

"So, James. How'd it go," teased Henry.

Then, all the engines joined in their chorus of teasing and laughter.

I don't think he'll ever want to go on any branch line. Don't you.



  • Tidmouth
  • Tidmouth Sheds
  • Wellsworth
  • Brendam
  • Crovan's Gate
  • Vicarstown


  • This story is based off the annual story of the same name by Christopher Awdry.
  • James makes a reference to Donald and the Breakaways.
  • The title is a play on words; The Points leave no option for return.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.