Previous Episode: Episode 6

Next Episode: Episode 8

Episode 7: Old Groaner

James complains about getting old, but the other engines just ignore him. An inspector tells him people living nearby are complaining about a groaning noise keeping them awake at night. It turns out James' brake blocks have been rubbing together from shunting. James is pleased to get a rest, but not when he is nicknamed Old Groaner!


  • Henry
  • James
  • Emily
  • Molly (cameo, unnamed; sing-a-long segment only)
  • Sir Topham Hatt
  • Thomas (cameo)
  • Edward (cameo)
  • Gordon (cameo)
  • Percy (cameo)
  • Duck (cameo)
  • Donald and Douglas (cameo)
  • Oliver (cameo)
  • Cranky (cameo)
  • Boco (cameo)


Part One

Narrator: James was feeling unusually sorry for himself.

James: {grumbling sadly} I'm getting old! I just can't get about like I used to. It's all right for you younger ones, but my wheels are getting stiff!

Narrator: Thomas and Edward had been on the Island of Sodor longer than James, but they didn't say so. Henry grew tired of James' complaints.

Henry: {sarcastically} Poor Old Groaner! It's no use of you just sitting there and moaning! Why don't you tell Sir Topham Hatt that you're past it?!

Narrator: But James didn't like that idea, especially because of the way Henry had said it. Not all old engines - so he heard - were preserved. Some - so they said - were sold for scrap! James shuddered at the thought, and quickly decided not to take a chance on it.

{Cut to night at Brendam Docks.}

Narrator: As it's name suggested, the Midnight Goods left Brendam Docks at midnight. Usually, Boco pulled it, but he was away being mended. James had to take it instead, and he grumbled like anything!

James: All this extra shunting!

Sing-a-Long Segment

{Cut to Molly and Emily on a stage}

Molly: And now we come to that part of the series where we ask all of you out there in the audience to sing along with the Fab Four. Emily, the sign please!

Emily: A little lower, Charlie! Now a bit more to the right! Hold it right there! Well, Molly, what do you think?

Molly: It's utterly far!

Emily: I'd figure it myself to get the people sinin'!

Molly: The word is "sing-ing".

Emily: Sinin', that's what I said!

Molly: -ing! Singing! You really aught to pay more attention with your pronunciation!

Emily: What's wrong with the way I pronounceiate them?

Molly: Well, for one, you're always dropping your G's.

Emily: What do you mean, droppin' my G's?

Molly: See, you did it again! The word is dropping-ing!

Emily: {shrugs} Aw, what's the difference? Dropping a G never hurts anybody.

{The G in "along" falls and lands on Emily's smokebox.}

Molly: Oh no? What are you going to say about it now?

Emily: G-likers! {passes out}

Molly: Now let's sing friends. A-one, a-two...

The Beatles: Well, come on pretty baby, won't you walk with me?
Come on, pretty baby, won't you talk with me?
Come on pretty baby, give me one more chance.
To try to save our romance!
Slow down, baby, now you're movin' way too fast.
You gotta gimme little lovin', gimme little lovin',
Ow! if you want our love to last.
Well, I used to walk you home, baby, after school,
Carry your books home, too.
But now you got a boyfriend down the street,
Baby what you're tryin' to do?
You better slow down!
Baby, now you're movin' way too fast.
You gotta gimme little lovin', gimme little lovin',
Bbbbb! if you want our love to last.
Well you know that I love you, tell the world I do.
Come on, pretty baby, why can't you be true?
I need your love baby, oh so bad,
The best little woman that I've ever had
Slow down, baby, now you're movin' way too fast.
You gotta gimme little lovin', gimme little lovin',
Ow! if you want our love to last.

{Cut back to the stage.}

Molly: That was a bit all right, all right? {Emily comes by with a book} Benny, Doug, you were simply fa- {BUMP!}

Emily: Oh, uh, pardon me Molly! The rain stain falls mainly on the plain!

Molly: Is that what you interrupted our sing-along for? Some silly weather report?

Emily: I was practicing the exercise in this book. It's easy on how you pronounceiate good, like an Englishman should!

Molly: The word is e-nounceiate! E, e, E! Don't you know of a king's English?

Emily: No, of a queen's! {laughs}

Molly: Look, Emily, let me finish this next sing-along and I promise I'll help you with your Dickson lessons!

Emily: Honest? Cross your heart and not to die?

Molly: Cross my heart, and not to die.

Emily: Step on it Captain, hidden his eye!

Molly: Step on it Captain, hidden his eye-

{Emily smashes Molly in the face with the book.}

Emily: That does it! I ain't taking no speech lessons from some bloke who mistreats animals! {reading} How now, brown cow?

Brown Cow Actor: Can't complain! How's about you?

Molly: Everybody sing!

The Beatles: Well how come you say you will when you won't,
Say you do, baby, when you don't?
Let me know honey how you feel,
Tell the truth now, is love real?
But huh uh well honey don't, well honey don't,
honey don't, honey don't, honey don't
A-say you will when you won't, huh uh honey, don't.
Well I love you, baby, and you ought to know
I like the way that you wear your clothes,
Everything about you is so doggone sweet,
You got that sand all over your feet.
But huh uh well honey don't, honey don't,
honey don't, honey don't, honey don't
A-say you will when you won't, huh uh honey, don't.
[Oh, rock on George, one time for me.]
Well honey don’t, well honey don’t,
A little little honey don't,
A-say you will when you won't, uh huh honey, don't.

Part Two

Narrator: Two days later, an inspector came to Tidmouth Sheds.

Inspector: People who live close to the good yard are complaining. They say that there's a groaning noise which keeps them awake at night. Would you gentlemen have anything to know about it?

James' driver: I don't remember hearing anything. We were there until midnight.

Inspector: That's right! That's when they say it stopped.

Emily: It's probably only James moaning and groaning about his extra shunting if you know what I mean!

James: Oh, shut up you Scottish git! If you had to shunt at night, you'd moan and groan louder than anybody, and I know that from previous experience, Emily!

Narrator: That night, James' driver and fireman listened carefully as they went about their work.

James' driver: It is you James, but not the way Emily thinks. Your brake blocks aren't holding your wheels properly, and when they rub against each other, they make a sort of groaning sound.

Narrator: Sir Topham Hatt acted at once.

Sir Topham Hatt: I cannot have complaints about my railway. We all know that faulty brakes can cause problems, serious ones. Another engine will take the midnight goods until Boco returns. James must have his brakes seen to at once.

Narrator: James was pleased to not have to pull the midnight goods, and a yellow Claud Hamilton from the LNER took the midnight goods until Boco returned. James' nickname of "Old Groaner" stuck for several weeks afterwards. He even began to feel that it might've been better to doing the shunting.


Fun Facts

  • The story originally came from the 1986 Thomas annual.
  • Molly is unnamed, but isn't appropriately introduced until episode 10.
  • Sing-a-Longs: Slow Down by The Beatles; Honey Don't by The Beatles

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