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"'Ello, Toby! Why you looking at old tin cans?"
— Whiff
Toby's Special Surprise

Steve Asquith


Simon Spencer


Sharon Miller


Michael Angelis
Michael Brandon
Pierce Brosnan
(original cut)

Air date

September 9th,
2008 (UK)
November 6th,
2008 (AUS)
November 8th,
2008 (US)

Previous episode

Heave Ho Thomas!

Next episode

Excellent Emily

Toby's Special Surprise is the seventh episode of the twelfth season.


One morning, Toby greets his friends at Tidmouth Sheds. The Fat Controller is giving the engines their orders for today, but, while all the others get important jobs, Toby must go back to Arlesdale End to wait; his only job is to collect workmen and deliver them to Great Waterton in the afternoon. Toby is very disappointed.

Once back at Arlesdale End, Toby thinks that his friends have been given specials because they have found something very special, like the time Emily found the family of seals, the time Henry found a flag of Sodor, and the time Thomas found Great Waterton. So Toby decides to find something special so he can be given a special too. Taking Henrietta with him, Toby goes up into the hills. First he sees something red in the trees and thinks it is a big red bird. But on closer inspection, it is only an old Wellington boot. Toby then spies something glittering. Thinking it is a treasure chest, Toby puffs closer, but it turns out to be a rusty truck full of tin cans for Whiff to collect. Whiff is surprised that Toby is looking at old tin cans, which makes Toby feel silly.

Toby continues his journey, only to learn from Thomas that the Fat Controller is at Great Waterton waiting for him. Toby had completely forgotten about his job, so he quickly sets off to collect the workmen. With the workmen aboard Henrietta, Toby tries his best to get to Great Waterton, but he gets distracted again. This time by a shiny piece of metal, which is stuck in the undergrowth. Suddenly, Toby hears a hissing noise; he used up all of his coal.

Quickly, Toby tells the workmen to use their hammers to hit the metal as hard as they can while he rings his bell, to inform someone at Great Waterton that they are in trouble. Fortunately, Whiff and the Fat Controller are at Great Waterton and hear the noise. The Fat Controller climbs onto Whiff's footplate and they set off to find Toby. Once they arrives, Toby tells the Fat Controller that he does not feel special, but the Fat Controller reminds Toby that, as the only steam tram on Sodor, he is special.

Later, Edward arrives with Rocky to take the old metal from the undergrowth to the Smelters. However, the Fat Controller realises that the old metal is very special indeed; Toby has found the old sign of the Sodor Tramways. This makes Toby very happy and very proud.




  • Stock footage from Thomas and the Storyteller and Thomas and the Lighthouse are used as a flashback of The Great Discovery.
  • References to the eighth season episode, Emily's New Route, the ninth season episode, Henry and the Flagpole, and The Great Discovery are made in this episode.
  • This episode aired before The Great Discovery came out in the UK, so the audience would not know what Great Waterton was.
  • This marks Whiff's last appearance until Misty Island Rescue, and the last appearance of the breakdown train until The Adventure Begins, aside from the Works Unit Coach.
  • A recreated CGI flashback of the eighth season episode, Emily's New Route, is used.


  • When Toby collects the workmen, there are three, but when he runs out of coal, there are only two.
  • When the engines say "Good morning!" to Toby, their faces are not positioned correctly.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
German Tobys Überraschung Toby's Surprise
Italian La Sorpresa Speciale di Toby Toby's Special Surprise
Portuguese A Surpresa Especial de Toby Toby's Special Surprise
Indonesian Kejutan Istimewa Toby Toby's Special Surprise
Romanian Surpriza Specială a lui Toby Toby's Special Surprise
Polish Niespodzianka Tobika Toby's Surprise
Spanish La Sorpresa Especial de Toby Toby's Special Surprise
Czech Tobyho speciální překvapení Toby's Special Surprise
Slovak Tobyho špeciálne prekvapenie Toby's Special Surprise
Chinese 托比的惊喜 Toby's Surprise

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets


  • Heave Ho!
  • The Complete Twelfth Series

DVD Boxsets