Luke's New Friend is the eighth episode of the seventeenth season
It is dusk at the Blue Mountain Quarry and Rheneas and Luke decide to race each other to the crushing shed. On the way, Rheneas has to stop sharply to avoid hitting an animal which has strayed onto the line. Neither Luke nor Rheneas have any idea as to what the animal is. Rusty and Sir Handel roll by and inform them that the animal is Luke's Deer Rheneas is a little shaken up and says that the animal does not belong at the quarry. As Luke teases Rheneas for being scared, Skarloey arrives and tells them all that it is nearly time to stop working.
That night, everything is quiet and peaceful except for Luke who is too excited about the next day's work to sleep. As Luke rolls into a tunnel for the night, he spots the deer from earlier. The deer is timid and hides when he hears Owen's loud snoring. Luke falls asleep, not expecting to see the deer again, but when he wakes up he discovers the deer sleeping in his cab. Rheneas steams past and Luke tells him to be quiet. Rheneas tries to tell Luke that the quarry is no place for an animal, but Luke is sure that the deer will grow to like it there. Rheneas is not convinced, but Luke is sure that he can look after the deer and he sets off to work.
Luke puffs around the quarry quietly with the young deer still in his cab, but every noise scares the little deer even more. Suddenly, the deer hears a loud explosion and leaps from Luke's cab. The deer scampers towards Owen with Luke following close behind. Owen does not notice that the deer is stood on his platform and he starts to move it. Luckily, the deer makes it to the bottom safely and he wanders off again. Like Rheneas, Owen is not sure that the noisy quarry is the place for a little deer. Luke agrees that Owen is right and he starts to order everyone to work quietly.
Although the engines are happy to see Luke reunited with his little friend again, they find it hard to adjust to working quietly. Peter Sam tries so hard to work quietly that he forgets to watch where he is going and he runs into Rusty's trucks that are being loaded up. The accident causes a whole series of loud noises that the deer does not like one bit. The deer leaps out of Luke's cab as Merrick explains that they are unable to do there jobs properly if they are being quiet. Rheneas tells Luke that it is impossible to be really useful at the quarry and look after a little deer at the same time. Skarloey suggests that Luke take a trainload of gravel to Ulfstead Castle where it is nice and peaceful. Luke agrees and is soon coupled up to the gravel train. The deer bounds into Luke's cab and they set off on the narrow gauge line to Ulfstead Castle.
The park around Ulfstead Castle is extremely scenic and quiet. The young deer is very happy to be finally away from the hustle and bustle of the Blue Mountain Quarry. Then, the deer spots another deer, presumably his mother, in the park. The deer hops out of the cab and runs over to the other deer. The two deer are extremely happy to be reunited and Luke watches sadly as his new friend runs off into the park. Although Luke is upset, he understands that the deer is much happier in the castle park than he was a the quarry.
Back the busy Blue Mountain Quarry, Luke explains that he has left his little friend at Ulfstead Castle and is happy when Skarloey tells him that he will still be able to see him when he takes more gravel to the castle. Luke then cheerfully, and noisily, sets back to work with his old friends at the quarry.
- Sir Handel
- Peter Sam (does not speak)
- Paxton (cameo)
- Merrick (cameo)
- Blue Mountain Quarry
- Blondin Bridge
- Ulfstead Castle
- This is the first episode to have the exact same cast in both the UK and US versions.
- This episode aired before King of the Railway premiered, meaning the audience would not know about Ulfstead Castle yet.
- Steven Kynman is mistakenly added to the UK credits
- In this episode, Rheneas, Peter Sam and Luke receive lamp irons.
- Rheneas should have known that the animal was a deer.
- When the trucks of gravel are being coupled to Luke, the brakevan is white and is standard gauge, but when Luke pulls away the brakevan is a brown narrow gauge one.
- How did Luke get from the upper terrace down the lower terrace so quickly?
- There would not have been enough room for the deer and Luke's crew in his cab.
- In the first morning shot, when Luke wakes up, the deer is not visible, but in the next shot, the deer is sleeping with his head hanging outside Luke's cab.
- In real life, the deer would have been frightened by the presence of Luke's crew in the cab.