Thomas & the missing Christmas tree

(1986)

Written by Christopher Awdry

Based on the TV story by Britt Allcroft and David Mitton

 In 1986, Christopher Awdry took up the role of writing the Christmas Story for the TV Series, and developed a longer version of the story set down initially by David Mitton & Britt Allcroft for a spin-off / tie-in book.  The book followed the TV Series continuity for that year, with characters such as Oliver and Bear carefully omitted and Donald and Douglas featuring in their TV Series livery as opposed to the Caledonian livery they wear in the Railway Series books. 

Story Summary Written by R Healy

It’s Christmas, and Thomas is the envy of the other engines.  He has been given the important job of collecting the Christmas tree for the Big Station.  But on the day he’s supposed to collect the tree from the Works Station, he’s very late in returning to Tidmouth.  Gordon, Henry, Donald and Douglas joke and spar over what might have happened, casting up previous incidents each engine has faced – until the Fat Controller arrives with the grim news that there has been a heavy snowfall beyond Edward’s Station and Thomas might be stranded.

 

Cold but confident, Donald and Douglas brave the drifts and plough on to find Thomas and bring him home again.  It takes a big effort from both engines, but when they are ready for giving up, they hear a voice in the snowy wilderness... it’s Thomas, buried deep in snow and calling for help.  With additional help from Edward and James, they bring Thomas and the missing Christmas tree back to Tidmouth.

 

And as a reward for all their hard work in rescuing Thomas and getting the tree to the station safely, the engines are invited to join the Fat Controller and his guests for the carol party and greet Father Christmas, who arrives with Harold the Helicopter.  After the celebrations are done, Thomas and Percy return to the shed, and Thomas tells his friend that it was no fun being stuck in the snow, but it was certainly worth it for the party!