Oliver and the Mainland Exploration is the 18th episode of the ninth season.
The Fat Controller had heard all about Thomas and James' adventure on the Mainland. "It gives me an idea; maybe we can work alongside them," he said to himself as he sat in his office, overlooking the hustle and bustle of Knapford. "It makes sense. It would take a bit of burden off of the Waste Dump, Scrap Yard, and Smelter's Yard." He telephoned Arlesburgh Goods Yard. "Is Oliver available?" "No Sir; we need him to help with shunting. We expect the workload to slow down near the evening." "Then in that case, please tell him to meet me at Wellsworth station first thing in the morning. And tell him to bring Toad along with him." "Yes Sir."
The Arlesburgh Goods Yard Master went to tell Oliver the news. Oliver then, when he had a chance, told Toad the news. "What does he need us for?" asked Toad. "Don't know, but it sounds exciting, doesn't it?!" "You might want to consider a washdown," suggested Duck as he was coupled up to the train of ballast. "You might be meeting those engines that Thomas and James talked about." "What do you mean? I look fine!" "Not when you're covered in ballast dust."
Oliver could care less about his appearance; he was more concerned about if the engines would like him. The next morning he picked up the Fat Controller, who climbed aboard Toad. "Now, we're going on an adventure to the Mainland. We'll meet those engines, and see the Steelworks and Canal! All we need to do is puff along the line like you usually do when pulling trains." Oliver puffed nervously away. They soon crossed the Vicarstown Bridge, and seamed towards the Junction, in which they were sent down a branch line. They soon reached a canal. "Hey there!" "Whoo! Watch where you're dropping things!" shouted Oliver. "I only wanted to meet you; I'm Beresford." "And I'm Sir Topham Hatt, controller of the North Western Railway." "I see; you down there, get the Canal Manager. He'll want to meet Sir Topham Hatt." Soon the Canal Manager appeared on the scene. "Nice to meet you Sir," said the Canal Manager. "I'd like to get your phone number so we can discuss at a later point in the near future about engines coming to work here." "Of course Sir!" The Canal Manager soon returned. "Talk to you soon; Beresford, why is that pallet of crates on the tracks?! It needs to be loaded onto the flatbeds!" "Sorry Sir!" "I'm Oliver by the way," called Oliver as he puffed away. "And I'm Toad." "As in the brake van 'Toads' on the Great Western?" "Yes indeed."
They soon found a lonely engine yard with old parts. "Not long before we reach that Steelworks. Are you two excited." "Very excited Sir!" "I'm a little nervous." "Nervous? Why?" "Because I'm not cleaned up; I'm still dusty from working at Arlesburgh West yesterday." "Appearance doesn't matter; as long as you're kind, I bet the others won't mind. Besides, maybe they're nervous to meet us too."
At the Steelworks, the engines were all busy when Hurricane returned, looking concerned. "Visitors are coming!" "At this point in time?" said Frankie. "Can't they come later?" "I think so," said Lexi, "nope, very important. Tourists are always welcomed here!" "Right...well, it's alright for you lot, but look at me, I'm the strangest one of all," said Theo sadly. "The engine I saw looked similar to Thomas," said Hurricane, "and trust me, I'm nervous about how I look. I'm covered in soot from emptying the slag heat." "They're coming," hissed Frankie. Oliver, Toad, and the Fat Controller arrived on the scene. "Hello there," said a workman, "who are you?" "I'm Sir Topham Hatt, controller of the North Western Railway on the Island of Sodor!" "And you two are?" "Oliver." "Toad." The workman went inside an office and returned. "Here's our phone number. I assume you'd like to work with us?" "Definitely!" "Come on out you lot!" The five engines all rolled nervously out. All of them were dirty, dented, and starched. "Hello there," said Oliver weakly, "I'm Oliver. This is my brake van Toad." "Please to meet you all!" "I'm Frankie." "Hurricane." "Lexi." "Merlin." The last engine didn't speak. "You don't think I look strange?" asked Theo. "I thought you would think I wasn't a good engine due to my paintwork being dirty," said Oliver quietly. "And I thought you would think I looked weird with all these gears. I'm Theo."
Soon the Fat Controller made arrangements, and sends a couple of his engines to work at the Canal and the Steelworks, and from the day that Theo met Oliver, he has slowly been able to introduce himself without the help of his friends, which makes him feel wonderful to not be afraid of meeting others that may become his friend.