Thomas The Tank Engine Series Wikia
"Why, 'tis a floatin' basket with folk in it.
Whatever will they dream up next?
— Donald and Douglas

James and the Big Red Balloon
Season 1, Episode 7
Air date January 21st, 2014
Written by DonaldDouglasandOliver11
Directed by DonaldDouglasandOliver11
Episode guide
Henry's Happy Day
The Refreshment Lady's New Tea Shop

James and the Big Red Balloon is the seventh episode of the first season.


It's summer holiday time on the Island of Sodor. Holidaymakers come from far and wide to enjoy the beauty of the island. It's the busiest time of the year for the Fat Controller's engines. Thomas was excited, the Fat Controller had sent him to pick up a special to deliver, to Dryaw airfield. "What have you got there?!" tooted Percy "A balloon." replied Thomas "A party balloon?!" asked Percy excitedly "No!" said Thomas "This is a very special balloon." and he chuffed away.

Soon, Thomas arrived at the airfield, and hot air was puffed into the balloon. "What is that?!" huffed James "A hot air balloon!" said Thomas "It'll take holidaymakers on rides around the island..." "Takin' holidaymakers on rides around the island is our job!" wheeshed James jealously, then as if by magic, the hot air balloon rose silently up into the sky "What if the hot air balloon takes our passengers away??!" puffed James "What will happen to us then?". This made Thomas worried. Suddenly he wasn't so excited about the balloon. The balloon could be seen by everyone on the Island of Sodor. Geoffrey saw it from the Wellsworth "It's a balloon." he said. Duck gazed at it for long, he ran into the back of Stepney "Ow!" "Why, 'tis a floatin' basket with folk in it." said Donald, "Whatever will they dream up next? said Douglas.

James and Thomas were waiting at the Level Crossing, they were still worried about the hot air balloon. "If it takes our passengers away..." chuffed Thomas, "There'll be no use for us engines." "Passengers should travel on trains!" huffed James "Not! In silly balloons!" and something big and round and red drifted straight towards them. "We're out of hot air!" shouted a voice "Ah!..." cried James, "What's happening?!" CRASH! BANG! WALLOP! went the balloon and landed right on top of James. He was so scared, he let out a huge burst of steam, which blew the balloon back up again. The balloon rose into the air once more "Well done, James!" called his driver "Your hot air did the trick!" "Oh no, James!..." cried Thomas, "You saved the hot air balloon." "I didn't mean to." groaned James "Now it's sure to take our passengers."

Wherever James went, he could see the balloon carrying holidaymakers across the island, he felt he should be taking those passengers "Rails are better than hot air, any day!" James arrived back at the station, there were lots of people on the platform. The Fat Controller was waiting too "Well done, James." he said "But now the passengers will ride in the hot air balloon." the Fat Controller laughed. "You're right James!" he said. "But they will need a ride home... In a train!". James was delighted, the Fat Controller was right. The engines were busier than ever, taking holidaymakers, to and from the airfield.

Whenever James sees the red balloon, he whistles and toots. And sometimes when he's asleep at night. James dreams he could fly too, just like the red balloon.



  • The Lighthouse
  • Callan
  • Brendam Docks
  • Dryaw
  • Maithwaite
  • Wellsworth
  • Tidmouth Sheds
  • The Level Crossing
  • The Viaduct
  • The Windmill
  • The Watermill (deleted scene)

Home Media Releases


  • The story is similar to the real Thomas episode from Season 6 James and the Red Balloon.
  • This episode marks Douglas, Charlie, George, Tiger Moth, Stephen Hatt and the Red Balloon's first appearances.
  • This episode marks Donald's first speaking role.