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The scene shows the windmill. Thomas toots on the distance)

(The last verse of the Season 22 Roll Call plays)

Thomas & Friends

(Thomas puffs past the windmill with Annie and Clarabel)

Based on the Railway Series by the Rev W Awdry

(Thomas puffs over the watermill bridge with Annie and Clarabel)

Created by Britt Allcroft

(A boy waves at Thomas)

Told by Mark Moraghan

(Thomas puffs under the bridge with Annie and Clarabel)

Directed by David Stoten

(Steam rises)

(The scene shows Thomas on the mainline)

(The logo fades in) Narrator: A Return From An Old Friend. (The logo fades out) Narrator: It was Christmas time on the Island of Sodor. The North Western Railway was busy. They had to work extra hard to get the goods out before the weather closed in. But Thomas was having a particularly hard time. And not just because he had to work overtime. 

(Thomas is seen running along his branchline. Then...)

???: Thomas?

(Thomas looks around for the voice, but doesn’t hear anything.)

Thomas: That's... strange.

???: Thomas?

Thomas: Hello? Is someone there?

(Then, Thomas looks ahead, then gasps.)

Thomas: What?!

(Then...)

James: THOMAS!

Thomas: Huh?! Wh-wha-what?!

(Thomas is now seen in Tidmouth Sheds, where Gordon, James, Percy, Emily, Nia, Rebecca and the Aquarium Tank Truck are)

James: Annie and Clarabel are waiting. You're good to go.

Thomas: Huh? Uh-Oh. Sorry, James. I must've dosed off. Thank you.

(Thomas quickly rushes off, leaving the other engines confused.)

Emily: You know... Thomas has been like this for the past month.

Percy: Maybe his clock isn't working. (He then looks at Marlin who has his eyelids lowered) What?

Marlin: We don’t use clocks, Percy.

Percy: Oh. Right.

Nia: Hmm. Maybe I should try and talk to him.

(Nia, along with the other engines, head off to do their jobs) (The scene fades to India) India…

Narrator: On the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, the engines were in the same situation. They were having a hard time getting the work under control. But some weren’t affected by the work.

(On a branchline, Ashima is seen pushing her coaches, Rudra and Dev along the line. She looks at a billboard and sees something odd on it.)

Ashima: Huh? (blinks)

(Ashima looks at the billboard again, then sees an express engine there.)

Ashima: Oh. That's odd. It looked like... (sighs) I must be dreaming.

(They reach the terminal station, then Ashima’s Driver comes up to her.)

Dev: Are you alright, Ashima? You look like you saw a ghost.

Ashima: No. Everything’s fine, Tina. I’m just tired.

Dev: Oh, I see.

Rudra: Well, I’m sure you’ll be better once we get moving.

(Ashima tries to smile, but it fades away as she departs.)

(The scene fades to the Island of Sodor)

England…

(Thomas and Percy are seen shunting in the shunting yard. Thomas is still looking down.)

Percy: Thank goodness the day’s almost over. I’m looking forward to a good rest. As long as Gordon doesn’t open his mouth and Dory doesn't try and speak whale. (Chuckles)

Dory: (being sarcastic) Ha ha. Very funny.

(Percy stops beside Thomas, then sees his expression.)

Percy: Thomas? Are you alright?

Thomas: Huh? Oh, y-yeah. I’m fine, Percy. Just ready to head back to Tidmouth.

(Thomas quickly heads off. Percy looks with concern)

Dory: Hmm. Something doesn't seem right with Thomas.

Percy: Yeah.

(Nemo mouths the word Ashima)

Marlin: Nemo, what are you doing?

Nemo: Trying to tell Percy what he's concerned about.

Narrator: Throughout the day, Thomas worked, but still looked sad. The other engines asked what was wrong, but he simply said he was focusing. Ashima felt the same as well. Sometimes, she had illusions and other times, she almost called the engines Thomas. They asked her what was wrong, but she was too shy to say what it really was.

(One evening, Thomas stops at Brendam docks and looks out to the ocean. He sighs, then…)

HONK!

Thomas: Ah!

Salty: Ahoy, me harty! What’s got you in a wreck?

Thomas: Oh, n-nothing, Salty. Just… admiring the sea.

Salty: Oh arr! It is beautiful, isn’t it?

Thomas: Yeah. (smile drops) Beautiful.

(Then, Thomas reverses and heads to Tidmouth. There, Rebecca, Percy, James and Emily are chatting, then they see Thomas roll into a berth.)

Emily: Hello Thomas.

(Thomas doesn’t respond.)

Emily: Thomas?

Thomas: Huh? Oh, s-sorry Emily. Hello.

(Then, Nia arrives, shunting a line of trucks in the trucks shed. She sees Thomas looking glum.)

Nia: Is something wrong, Thomas?

Thomas: No. I’m just… tired.

James: Thomas, I know there’s something wrong. If you want to talk about something, just let it out. Gordon won’t be back for a few hours.

(Thomas looks at his buffers. Then…)

Thomas: (Sighs) I just miss… well… her.

James: Her? Do you mean… the girl you met at the Railway show?

Nia: Is this the engine who saved Thomas from falling in the sea?

Rebecca: Yes.

Thomas: … Ashima.

Emily: You really miss her, don’t you?

Thomas: Yes.

Philip: How long has it been since you last saw each other?

Thomas: For a long time.

Nemo: A long time?! Yikes.

Thomas: Yeah. Now I feel like she’s forgotten about me.

Marlin: Pfft. That’s rubbish! I know Ashima misses you as well. After what you did for her, there’s no way she’d forget you.

(Thomas looks down at his buffers, not sure.)

India…

(Ashima is seen in her shed, with Rudra and Dev, she had explained what had happened.)

Ashima: That’s why I’ve been more quiet than usual. I really miss Thomas.

Rudra: Goodness! That’s awful.

Dev: I’m really sorry, Ashima.

Ashima: It’s okay guys. (Looks down at a puddle of water, sad) I wonder if he still remembers me.

Rudra: After you helped him, why wouldn’t he?

Ashima: It’s been a long time since we last saw each other. Now I’m worried if-

(Then, Charubala appears.)

Charubala: Good evening, Everyone.

Rudra/Dev: Good Evening, ma'am.

Rajiv/Noor Jehan/Shankar: Good Evening, ma'am.

Ashima: Hello, Charubala.

Charubala: Is there something wrong, Ashima?

Ashima: Uh…

Rudra: Nothing’s wrong. She’s just tired and ready for a good night sleep.

Charubala: Ah. Well, before you dose off, I need to tell you something.

Ashima: What would that be?

(The scene cuts to the Island of Sodor)

The Next Day…

Narrator: At Brendam Docks, Cranky was unloading fireworks for the New Year’s party. When…

(Suddenly, the cable snaps, then the fireworks fall and go off, covering the docks in sparks and smoke.)

Cranky: Phil!

Cranky’s operator/ Phil: What?

Cranky: I told you to fix my cable!

Salty: We’re under attack! Abandon ship!

Porter: Woah! Yikes!

(The fireworks continue to go off.)

Narrator: Meanwhile, Thomas was on his branchline, pulling a stone train.

(As Thomas runs along the line, he hums a tune. He looks down as he remembers it.)

Thomas: # I can only be me.... There’s nothing else I could possibly be... #

Marlin: What on earth are you singing, Thomas?

Thomas: Nothing.

Dory: Thomas... you were singing something.

Marlin: Dory.

(Later, Thomas drops off the stone trucks, then Peter picks them up. Suddenly, Edward appears.)

Edward: Ah, Thomas! There you are! The Fat Controller needs us to help out at the docks.

Thomas: What’s happened now?

Edward: Some fireworks fell and went up in smoke, along with the dockside.

Thomas: Okay then. Let’s go.

(Thomas and Edward leave the yard.)

Narrator: Later, Edward and Thomas arrived at Brendam. It was covered in smoke from the fireworks.

Thomas: (Coughs) Cinders and ashes! (cough) First the Steelworks, now this!

(Dory coughs)

Dory: Goodness. What a mess.

(Then, Thomas hears someone else cough.)

???: Hello? Is this Brendam Docks?

Thomas: Not now, Dory. I was just sent to- (Eyes widen) Wait a minute! You’re not Dory!

Dory: Uh... Thomas? I'm here you know. (She waves)

(Thomas rolls his eyes)

???: Wait! Is that…?

(Then the smoke clears. Thomas looks ahead of him, then his jaw drops.)

Thomas: What?! It… it can’t be!

Dory: No.

Ashima: T… Thomas!

Thomas: Ashima!

(Thomas and Ashima rush towards each other, overjoyed. Then, their buffers meet as they look at each other’s face.)

Thomas: I don’t believe it! Your back!

Ashima: Neither can I! It’s so good to see you again!

(Then, the Fat Controller appears.)

The Fat Controller: Oh, Thomas! I was expecting to have you two meet in Knapford. But, looks like you beat me. But, I’m glad to see you arrived safely, Ashima.

Ashima: Thank you sir.

Thomas: I… I don’t understand, sir. How did you get Ashima back? And why did you decide to come back?

The Fat Controller: Well, I was asking Charubala if she could visit you until New Year. Thankfully, she did say that she would let her stay.

Ashima: It wasn’t entirely the controller’s doing. I volunteered to come here.

Thomas: You did? Why?

Narrator: Ashima went red. She wanted to tell Thomas something, but she was too shy.

(Then Edward appears, hearing the conversation.)

Edward: Because she said she always wanted to come back to Sodor one day.

Thomas: Oh. I see. 

The Fat Controller: Now, as much as I hate to break reunions, let's just get back to business. Snow is on the way.

Thomas: Yes sir. Well, I hope you’ll like Sodor, Ashima. (Departs) And welcome back!

Ashima: Thanks Thomas: (Looks at Edward) And thank you too, uh, Edward, was it?

Edward: Yes indeed, Ashima. Welcome to Sodor. Now, we’d best get to work. We have a big order to fill. I’ll show you around as we work.

(Ashima follows Edward as they leave the docks.)

Narrator: The Fat Controller was right. It was a very busy time for the engines. And Ashima proved to be an invaluable asset. When she wasn’t shunting trucks, she pulled trains along the branchlines. Thanks to her efforts, the jobs were done in record time.

Narrator: Soon, it was Christmas Eve. Everything had shut down and the engines were tucked in their sheds.

(At Tidmouth sheds, the engines are seen chatting.)

Rebecca: Phew. After today, I’ll sleep for a week.

Thomas: I know.

Emily: Happy to see Ashima again, Thomas?

Thomas: (blushes a bit) Y-yeah.

(Then Ashima appears on the turntable.)

Ashima: Hello everyone.

James: Hello Ashima. 

Percy: What are you doing here?

(Then, the Fat Controller appears.)

The Fat Controller: Well done everyone. Thanks to your efforts, our clients are very happy. And I’d like to say Ashima has done an outstanding job. I’ve talked to your owner, and we both agreed that, if you want, you can stay for a couple of months.

(Ashima’s eyes widen. Then she looks at Thomas quickly, then at the Fat Controller.)

Ashima: Yes sir! I’d love to!

The Fat Controller: Excellent!

Dory: Welcome to the North Western Railway, Ashima! Whoo!

Emily: Same!

Ashima: Thanks guys.

Thomas: And don’t worry, I’ll make sure Gordon doesn’t “ditch” anything!

Gordon: Oh, you little…!

(Everyone laughs. Ashima laughs too, happy to be back.)

Narrator: Soon, the engines were fast asleep. Thomas and Ashima were still awake, talking about their adventures since they last saw each other.

Thomas: -Then, Theo knocked the button, and I was nearly turned into steel soup! I was able to avoid it though.

Ashima: Gosh! You must’ve been scared.

Thomas: I was. But, I’m still in one piece.

(Ashima giggles. Then, they both look away, blushing a bit.)

Thomas: It’s good we have a day off tomorrow. 

Ashima: Indeed.

Thomas: We should probably get to sleep.

Ashima: Yeah. But, I don’t know all the sheds around the island.

(Thomas’ eyes widen, then he has an idea.)

Thomas: Why don’t you sleep in my berth? (Reverses) There’s plenty of room for you.

(Ashima smiles at Thomas’ sweetness. She then moves into Thomas’ berth, almost touching his buffers. They look away again, blushing at the situation.)

Thomas: (yawns) I’ll see you in the morning.

Ashima: (Yawns) See you in the morning.

Thomas: Merry Christmas, Ashima.

Ashima: Merry Christmas to you too, Thomas.

(Thomas falls asleep. Ashima watches Thomas, smiling widely at his expression. Then, she falls asleep.)

(Steam rises)


(Thomas puffs past the windmill with Annie and Clarabel)

They're two, they're four, they're six, they're eight
Shunting trucks and hauling freight
Yellow and green, red, orange and blue
They're the really useful crew
All with different roles to play
Round Tidmouth Sheds or far away
Down the hills and round the bends
Thomas and his friends

Thomas, he's the cheeky one
Rebecca, she's new and lots of fun
Percy pulls the mail on time
Gordon thunders down the line
Emily really knows her stuff
James is always showing off
Nia wants to help and share
Toby, well let's say, he's square

They're two, they're four, they're six, they're eight
Shunting trucks and hauling freight
Yellow and green, red, orange and blue
They're the really useful crew
All with different roles to play
Round Tidmouth Sheds or far away
Down the hills and round the bends
Thomas and his friends

(Thomas toots)

(Steam rises)

(Thomas is seen at the windmill)

(The credits show)


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