"Food For Thought" is the first episode of the tenth season.
Bill and Ben were on their way to Wellsworth Yard with a long line of clay trucks. "It's been fifteen minutes now," grumbled Bill. "If we're not allowed out of this passing loop in five minutes I say we go." "We won't let you," said their drivers, "it's against the rules to go pass a red signal; you both know that." "Fine then; allow us to be late," said Ben crossly. Finally Molly puffed by with a long line of vans. "What took you so long?" snapped Ben. "Sorry; I had to drop off fruit and vegetables, and now I'm on my way to Wellsworth with this line of candy, chips, and ingredients for the bakeries in the town." When the twins arrived Edward was taking on water. "Don't you start scolding us," said Bill defensively, "we know we're late." "And we won't let it happen again," added Ben cheekily. "I wasn't going to scold you two anyways. I wanted to congratulate you for not being so rude to Molly, despite being cross." Just then James huffed in to refill his tender with coal. "Those food trains are making me late with my local train! Something must be done about it!" "And quickly; I guess Sir Topham Hatt doesn't care about the railway," said Bill. "You know full well that he does," said Edward firmly as he puffed over to a goods train, was coupled up, and left the yard.
James was right; the food trains were delaying other trains. At Vicarstown he finished his journey and shunted his coaches into a siding so that he could start helping out. "My goods train of tires, steel, and vehicles got here late because I had to wait at Kirk Ronan Junction for twenty minutes," said Murdoch sadly as he was uncoupled from the train and puffed to the sheds for a rest. James followed him. "Say Murdoch; I've got a plan to end the confusion. Want to join me?" "I'm not joining you," said Murdoch kindly. "You're plans mostly cause trouble, and I'm not one who wants to purposely cause trouble." "Fine; be an engine who doesn't care about being on time, and causing confusion and delay!" he exclaimed, puffing back to work. James knew other engines that would be in on helping him. He met Gordon and Henry at the sheds. "Those food trains need to be rescheduled, and I have an idea to make sure the other trains run on time," said James. He explained everything. "I can definitely prove that we don't need trains made specifically for food," said Gordon. "Stealing trucks at night, no problem," chimed in Henry. James also passed the word on to Bill and Ben when they next met later that morning. Soon the team was at work; taking vans loaded with food whenever they could.
Neville arrived at Wellsworth station to collect some vans of candy, bread, cheese, and many other things. "Where's the vans?" he asked Edward. "No idea; I last saw them in that siding over there where I left them." The Yard Manager was brought out of his office and Edward explained what had happened. "Hm....Neville, you can deliver those flatbeds of rails to Suddery. I'll find another engine to take those fuel tankers to the Clay Pits." Other yard managers all across Sodor were having the same problem; even the harbor masters were having the same issue too. "We must put a stop to this at once," fumed Sir Topham Hatt, who made posters that were posted at every yard, shed, and harbor, saying: "IF ANYONE KNOWS ABOUT STOLEN FOOD, PLEASE REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY." Murdoch was at the Docks when he saw the poster; he also saw and heard something else. "James will be pleased with us when he finds out about how many food trains we've delivered," said Bill. "Let's scram before someone sees us," hissed Ben. "Bill, Ben, wait up. Wha-" but Porter stopped; they were already gone. "Don't worry Porter. Please, go and fetch the Dock Manager. I need to speak to him urgently." Murdoch was soon telling him about Bill and Ben, and the Dock Manager called Sir Topham Hatt. James was resting at Great Waterton Sheds when Sir Topham Hatt arrived. "James, you've been a very naughty engine," he said crossly as he approached him. "Explain the meaning of you and the your friends taking the food trains." "There was a lot of delays at the junctions Sir, and I wanted to end all of it." "Putting an idea into place without my permission has caused trouble for the yard managers and engines alike. You know that if you have an idea to improve things, you must come and suggest them to me." Then Sir Topham Hatt pondered for a moment about James' punishment. "You shall pull slow goods trains for three weeks." He then turned on his heel and drove back to his office to make some changes to the food trains. As James served his punishment, he didn't see too many food trains on the Main Line. "Although you were troublesome James, the food trains use the cut-off lines to bypass busy junctions." James smiled; at least he ewas listened to, and when he returned to doing other work on the railway, he made sure to keep his cool when being delayed for more than tem minutes; but that didn't last long; poor James!
- Bill and Ben
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Bill and Ben's drivers
- This episode marks Bill and Ben's only appearance in the tenth season.