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Signals Crossed is the third story of the first volume of Adventures on Rails.

Signals Crossed
Season X, Episode 3
Air date 11 March 2019
Written by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler (original)

MainLineEngines (adapted)

Directed by MainLineEngines
Episode guide
Stuck in the Snow


Toby the Tram Engine enjoys his jobs on the Ffarquhar Branch consisting of taking workmen to the Quarry and bringing stone trucks to the Harbour. He loves the Harbour because it reminds him of the old days before he received his own branch line. He rarely ventured out to the Main Line unless he needed to go to the Works.

"I'm just not familiarised with the Main," he told Henrietta and Victoria at the Junction. "I prefer the Harbour and not having to rush."

Henrietta and Victoria understood.

One day, James arrived as usual with workmen for the Quarry. He also brought the Fat Controller.

"Hullo Sir," said Toby.

"Morning, Toby," he replied. "I have some news for you. Norman needs to be sent to the Works for a check-up. It shouldn't be too long, but I need another engine to help at the Big Station. So, starting tomorrow, after you have taken the workmen, you will come down and help at Tidmouth."

"Yes, Sir," replied Toby, doubtfully.

The Fat Controller walked away.

"What's wrong, Toby?" asked Henrietta.

"Well, I just don't know if I can do all the work. I'm not as young as I used to be!"

"Nonsense. You're still Really Useful," assured Victoria. "You can definitely handle the workload."

"Are you just worried about the complex signal set-up there?" asked James.

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, of course you wouldn't know. You haven't been there in ages!"

Just then, James's Guard blew the whistle and he had to go.

Later, Toby talked to Percy.

"Well, there's an array of points and signals that can be quite hard to understand at first glance. But I'm sure you'll manage."

The next day, Toby left his coaches at the Top Station and headed to the Big Station.

He was taking on water at the Junction when Gordon whooshed by with the Express.

"There's bound to be lots more noise over there," he thought.

Soon, he was approaching the station. His Driver looked ahead to see the signal.

"Goodness me, it is a complicated set-up," remarked the Driver.

Toby was nervous but his Driver re-assured him.

"We'll figure this out, old boy."

Toby looked right above his line. The signal was up so he stopped.

Then, Douglas came past with a goods train.

"Thanks, Toby. See ye soon!" he whistled.

Then, the signal dropped and Toby puffed smoothly into the Yard.

"That wasn't that bad," he told his Driver.

"It'll just get better," agreed the Driver.

Jessie was shunting in the Yard.

"Hullo Toby! Glad you made it here. I can't be here all day."

"Where are you going next?"

"Up to Arlesburgh for some ballast trucks, but I'll be here to help as often as I can."

"I'm just glad I was able to pass the signal without getting mixed up."

"When I first started working, it was a bit difficult too!"


"Yes, I'd only worked in the Steelworks before."

"I'm really only used to the Harbour and branch lines."

"And soon, you'll know all about complex signal layouts!"

"Maybe. Let's get to work, shall we?"

And they did. Toby worked hard and rested in the shed at the Big Station.

"Look, here's Toby," called James. "Frightened of the signal layout?"

"Actually, I understood it quite well," he retorted.

James said no more. He just grinned.

A couple days later, Toby was due to go back home.

He was preparing to leave, shortly before James's stopping train.

He waited at the gantry waiting for his signal to drop. He waited and waited.

"What's the matter?" he wondered. "I feel like we've been standing here for ages!"

"Can't be helped," replied the Driver. "We can't go on if the signal isn't down."

Toby agreed.

At the station, James was growing impatient too.

"What's the hold up," he grumbled. "That Toby should have left ages ago!"

Just then, the Signalman came down to Toby.

"The signal is broken," he explained. "I'm going to tell the Stationmaster." And he hurried away.

Back at the station, James was still grumbling.

"Can't we move up ahead. Maybe Toby's broken down or something."

Then the Signalman ran up and told the Stationmaster what had happened.

"Well, there's your answer James," said the Driver.

"Well then. Ol' Toby really does know his signals."

"I think it'll be all right if you double-head the train to the Junction," said the Stationmaster.

So James was flagged to the signal gantry where Toby was waiting.

"Excellent, Toby. You did a fine job not going through the red signal."

"Thank you, James."

"You do know your signals after all. I'm sorry for teasing you."

"That's all right. Now, let's get to the Junction."

Soon, everything was ready. After the two engines had left, workmen came to mend the signal but for the meantime, all engines would have be flagged through. As for Toby, he was glad to have been able to visit the Big Station and enjoyed the new experience, but still prefers his jobs on the Ffarquhar Branch.




  • This episode is based off the episode of the same name from the eighteenth season of Thomas and Friends.