- “You know something, Thomas? I think there might be three ways of doing things".
"'The Great Western Way', the wrong way and... 'The Thomas Way'! But 'The Great Western Way' is usually the best!”
- ―Duck and Thomas
The Thomas Way is the twelfth episode of the seventeenth series. It is also the 400th episode of the television series.
One morning, Harold is rescuing some climbers from the cliffs near Callan Castle. Once he has completed his rescue mission, he goes to take off again, but finds out that he cannot. His blades are jammed and he cannot take off. Duck is called to Callan Castle where the Fat Controller instructs him to take Harold to the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre for repairs. Harold is concerned that he will be too tall and wide to travel via rail, but the Fat Controller explains that Thomas will be Duck's back engine and keep an eye out.
As they travel along, Thomas gets an idea; perhaps Harold would like to see some of the island's sights from an engine's perspective. Harold is keen on the idea, but Duck is not. Duck is sure that there are only two ways to do things - the wrong way and the Great Western way which is to take the most direct and prompt way to the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre. Thomas becomes annoyed with Duck and decides to play a trick on him. Thomas tells Duck that they need to visit Knapford station to collect the engineer to fix Harold. This is not true and is just a way for Thomas to show off busy Knapford station to Harold. Duck falls for Thomas' trick and they set off towards Knapford.
When they arrive at Knapford station, Harold is amazed by what he sees, but as they are about to enter the station, Thomas and Duck have to brake sharply. Harold is too tall to fit under the station's roof, but luckily they grind to a stop just in time. Gordon then thunders up with the express but has to stop as Harold is very wide and is blocking his line. The Fat Controller is most surprised to see Thomas, Duck and Harold at the station. Duck explains that they have come to pick up the engineer, but the Fat Controller tells him that the engineer is waiting at the rescue centre. Duck realises that he had been tricked and they set off again.
Duck is cross with Thomas as they puff through the countryside. Duck is determined to stick to the Great Western way from now on. As they approach a tunnel, Thomas calls out to warn Duck that the tunnel is not wide enough. Duck thinks it is another trick and ignores Thomas. They thunder into the tunnel and Harold's blades scrape along the side of the tunnel until they get wedged.
Soon, some engineers arrive to try and free Harold: The Fat Controller also arrives in Winston. He is very cross with Thomas and Duck for causing Harold more damage. Harold is soon freed and the Fat Controller orders Thomas and Duck to go to the Search and Rescue Centre straight away. Outside the tunnel, Duck apologises to Thomas for not listening to him and Thomas also apologises for tricking Duck in the first place. Duck is concerned about how they will get to the Search and Rescue Centre without encountering any more tunnels. Thomas knows a route they can take - the Thomas way. Thomas goes to the front of the train and takes his own route to the rescue centre. The route is not as direct or as prompt, but it avoids all of the tunnels. Finally, Thomas and Duck pull into the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre with Harold where the engineer is waiting.
Later on, when Thomas and Duck stop at a signal, Duck admits that there might be three ways of doing things; the Great Western way, the wrong way and the Thomas way. But Duck cannot help but point out that the Great Western way is usually the best way and the pair laugh.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Blond-haired Engineer (does not speak)
- The Climbers (do not speak)
- Henry (cameo)
- James (cameo)
- Rosie (cameo)
- Salty (cameo)
- Winston (cameo)
- Rocky (cameo)
- The Ginger-Haired Boy (cameo)
- The Bird Watcher (cameo)
- The Welsh Bird Watcher (cameo)
- The Lady with the Big Hat (cameo)
- The Schoolchildren (cameo)
- The Female Puppet Show Entertainer (cameo)
- Lord Callan (mentioned)
- Island of Sodor
- The Coal Hopper
- Callan Castle
- Coastal Cliffs
- Sodor Search and Rescue Centre
- Misty Island Tunnel
- Sodor Animal Park (mentioned)
- Sodor Suspension Bridge (mentioned)
- The Mainland
- Paddington (Photo)
- Ben Small as Thomas
- Keith Wickham as Gordon, Harold and the Fat Controller
- Steven Kynman as Duck
- Martin Sherman as Thomas
- Kerry Shale as Gordon, Harold and Sir Topham Hatt
- Steven Kynman as Duck
- Going by production order, this is the nineteenth episode of the seventeenth series.
- This episode marks the first of several things:
- The first time that Duck has been referred to as Montague since his introduction in the second series episode, Duck Takes Charge.
- A photograph seen in this episode depicts Duck at Paddington station on the Great Western Railway. The image features Duck's television series model from the sixth series episode, Twin Trouble. This is, therefore, the first full CGI episode to feature models from the model era.
- Thus, this is also the first time since the twelfth series episode, Best Friends to use both models and CGI.
- This is also the first time since the fourth series episode, Fish that Duck has been the main character in an episode.
- This is the last episode to feature models.
- This episode has some similar plot points to Thomas and Skarloey's Big Day Out and Stop That Bus!, the former also being written by Paul Larson.
- The flatbed Harold travels on was partially designed by SiF user Sean O'Connor.
- In the scenes directly before and after Duck's photo is shown, bits of trees by the lineside can be seen floating in mid-air.
- In the photo of Duck on the Great Western Railway, he has his number 8 decal, which he was supposed to receive upon his arrival on Sodor.
- When Thomas and Duck approach Knapford station, the bird watcher is standing on platform two. When the Fat Controller walks up a few shots later, he is on platform one. He also changes position in the close-up of the Fat Controller.
- When Thomas, Harold and Duck are going along the coastal track, Harold's tail rotor is spinning.
- In one shot as Thomas, Harold and Duck enter the tunnel, Duck's steam is floating right onto Harold's face, while in the rest of the episode it is floating above him.
- When Thomas tricks Duck to go to Knapford, he does not seem to be coupled up to the flatbed.
- After Duck says, "I'm not falling for," his mouth stops moving before he could finish, "another one of your tricks, Thomas!"
- At the end of the episode, Thomas and Duck both clearly start rolling forward before the signals drop.
- Just before Duck and Thomas go over the narrow bridge just after collecting Harold, they are on the right hand track but going over and after the bridge, they are on the left.
- The entrance of the Misty Island Tunnel is transparent.
- Magazine stories - The Thomas Way
- Engine Adventures - The Thomas Way