Donald and Douglas are twin engines from Scotland who arrive on the Island of Sodor to help out, however the Fat Controller had only sent for one engine. While the twins mean well, their identical appearance causes confusion and the Fat Controller has numbers painted on them; Donald is 9, while Douglas is 10. However the Fat Controller still intends to send one of the engines back.

In the yard, a spiteful brakevan takes a dislike to Douglas and does his best to make things go wrong whenever Douglas takes it out. As a result, Douglas' trains are late causing him to get a bad reputation. Donald is angry at his twin's unfair treatment and bumps the brakevan hard before threatening it. The breakvan starts behaving better after that.

However things start to go wrong when Donald travels along some slippery lines and crashes into a signalbox. The Fat Controller is very angry at Donald and informs him that he had decided to keep him and send Douglas back before this incident. Now Donald needs to have his tender mended and James will have to do his work, which the Fat Controller knows James will not like.

The Fat Controller is right and James is very grumpy about the extra work. Douglas jokes about James' incident with the tar wagons, making him angrier. He takes a train of trucks which includes the spiteful brakevan, who decides to make life difficult for James and has the trucks hold back, quickly tiring James out.

Meeting Douglas, James asks for help climbing Gordon's Hill and the Scottish engine agrees. Douglas and James work as hard as they can to climb the hill, however Douglas pushes too hard and accidentally destroys the spiteful brakevan.

The Fat Controller arrives with Edward and is angry that Douglas has caused even more trouble. Edward stands up for Douglas, having heard what happened and tells the Fat Controller of all the hard work Douglas did. The Fat Controller feels that Douglas went too far, but understands Douglas had good intentions and was only trying his best. The Fat Controller is left unsure about what to do with Donald and Douglas.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, The Twin Engines.
  • In the US narration, the line "Donald wasn't hurt" is heard after Donald crashes into the signal box. This is missing in the UK narration.
  • In the US narration, the line "The Fat Controller was making up his mind about something" is changed to "Sir Topham Hatt was making up his mind about which engine to send away".
  • When passing Rolf's Castle, the Spiteful Brakevan says "He's cross" in the UK narration. This is changed to "James is cross" in the US narration.
  • The title of the UK episode is a play on words as Douglas breaks the brakevan.
  • In the restored version, the lead-in notes to the outro music are barely audible.
  • A LEGO can be seen beside the tracks when James and Douglas leave the station.
  • In the Norwegian version of the series, this episode is called "The Challenging Truck".
  • In the restored version, before Donald crashes into the signalbox, the close-up of him skidding on the rails is extended.


  • At the beginning, blu-tak is used to hold Donald's face.
  • In the widescreen of the first shot, Douglas' number has been painted on.
  • Donald's brake-pipe is facing downward when he first speaks.
  • When Donald says "It's to leave you behind I'd be wanting", the flatbed beside him has been replaced by a platform.
  • When Donald bumps the Spiteful Brakevan, the sound of him bumping him is late by a second.
  • The "M" is partly rubbed off on the sign on the signalbox that Donald crashes into.
  • When James leaves the yard the van coupled to him tips.
  • Ringo Starr does not use a Scottish accent when Douglas says "We'll show them".
  • When Donald approaches the spiteful brakevan his lamp iron disappears.
  • A censor bar is seen covering Douglas' nameplate after he crushes the brakevan. In the restored version, Douglas' nameplate is shown and wobbles after he crushes the brakevan.
  • The spiteful brakevan turns brown after Douglas crushes him.
  • When Douglas crushes the brakevan, his wheels are a bluish gray.
  • In a rare picture, Douglas' face is loose when he is coupled behind the brakevan.
  • Douglas is smiling when he breaks the Spiteful Brakevan and when the Fat Controller speaks angrily to him.
  • Nothing is said about the signalman after Donald crashes.


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