"Surprise!" is the second episode of the tenth season.
Sir Robert Norramby was making lots of phone calls one spring evening. "What a wonderful surprise birthday party for Sir Topham," he said cheerfully, hanging up the phone. "Speaking of which, I'll need to borrow some of his engines to help bring the guests up to the castle." Sir Topham Hatt was in the middle of answering a letter when Sir Robert called him. "I'd like to use three of your engines for a special assignment tomorrow," he said, putting his pencil to the paper to write down the final agreement. "Which engines did you had in mind?" The Earl told him; Thomas, Percy, and Stanley. "You can definitely borrow them. Goodnight Sir Robert."
Arrangements on the Skarloey Railway were being made too. The Thin Controller, being one of Sir Topham's friends, was invited, and was asked to help with making some deliveries for the party. Mr. Percival was at the engine sheds. "Bertram, you'll deliver all of Sir Topham Hatt's friends to the castle. And Mighty Mac, you two shall deliver the decorations and the fireworks." Duncan and Sir Handel, who were in the shed at the time, were cross. "We should have been given those jobs," whispered Duncan crossly. "That's why I've got something in mind for those two," said Sir Handel, who whispered it to Duncan before puffing away to pull a goods train. The next morning Sir Handel was in the yard at Skarloey. Bertram was there to collect his coaches. Sir Handel puffed behind him and started pushing him. The force knocked his crew off the footplate. "Please, stop, stop!" cried Bertram, rocketing through the yard. They neared the carriage sheds. Sir Handel screeched to a halt, but Bertram sped through and smashed through the wall, which stopped him. Sir Handel picked up a long line of coaches and puffed away. "Bertram, are you alright?" asked Mighty Mac, who arrived moments later to help pull him out. "I'm glad this didn't cause a more serious accident, that's all," said Bertram as the double-engine gently pulled him back onto the rails.
Now, the plan was that Bertram would collect passengers starting at Skarloey, and bring them down to Crovan's Gate, where Stanley would take them onwards to Maron, and from there Thomas would take them up to the castle. "This is strange; I thought a lot of passengers would be here," said Stanley as he puffed into the station. When he reached Maron he told Thomas about the small amount of people. "Maybe they took a bus to get there," suggested Annie, trying to avoid anger. "It'll save us time and give us less stress," added Clarabel. But Thomas and Stanley ignored them. "Someone's taken over our job. Someone's taken over our job," grumbled Thomas as he puffed away to the castle. At Ulfstead Castle Sir Handel dropped off all the passengers. He puffed away as quickly as possible. Soon Thomas arrived with the small amount of people. "Thomas, did you or Stanley leave any of Topham's friends behind?"asked Lady Hatt sternly. "No Ma'am; Stanley picked up all these passengers." Lady Hatt could tell that Thomas was telling the truth. "Very strange; oh well. Please continue being really useful."
When Sir Handel returned to the sheds he was smiling with pride, but his smile didn't last long. Mr. Percival was furious. "You've interfered with the arrangements. And Bertram is now at the Steamworks having his funnel and front repaired. You shall stay in the sheds for a few days; then you can do Bertram's work as well as your own." Sir Handel now felt ashamed; doing exrra work was something he hated doing. "I hope Duncan is more successful than I was," he muttered to himself. At the Wharf, Mighty Mac had arrived to collect half of the decorations, but saw no vans waiting for them. "Hey Rusty; seen any vans for us to deliver to Ulfstead Castle?" asked Mac. "Sorry. I've just come from the Transfer Yards to start working here." "Have you seen anything Colin?" asked Mighty as they puffed towards him. "No; but I'll keep my eyes and ears open for anything going to the castle." "Hopefully this doesn't happen with the fireworks," sighed Mac as they joined in with shunting. Duncan had collected not just half, but all of the decorations, tables and chairs. Percy was also confused and a little cross when Mighty Mac explained everything to him. "At least you have time for some of your other jobs," said Rusty kindly. But Percy was already puffing away.
Evening had arrived; Duncan came with empty vans to one of the tWharf cranes. "Please have these vans loaded with the fireworks before I get back from the Coal Hopper," he ordered as he was uncoupled and puffed away. Stanley then arrived with some empty vans too. "Please load half of the fireworks into the vans." "But we were told to put the fireworks into the narrow gauge vans," said a workman, feeling a little confused. When Percy arrived the workmen were talking with the Wharf Master. "PEEEEEEP!" whistled Percy crossly, which brought silence. "What's going on? I was to deliver half of the fireworks. All this confusion is interfering with the surprise party for Sir Topham Hatt!" "I'm going to call Mr. Percival; he'll get this mess sorted out," said the Wharf Master kindly. Mr. Percival was soon on the scene; by then Duncan had returned. "Did you tell the workmen to load the entire delivery of fireworks into your vans?" he demanded. "Yes Sir; I wanted to be involved in preparing for the party, just like Sir Handel." "Oh, so now I understand; you were both in on the plan to cause delays like this one. Duncan, you shall go to the sheds and join your friend. You'll keep each other company for the next few days before you both do extra work of your own!" Duncan puffed sadly away. "Rusty, since you're still here, please take the vans. I'm sorry Percy; it's too late. Thomas is to collect Sir Topham when I telephone the Earl. I do hope he's still in his office." Luckily he was; Sir Topham was answering the last of the complaints from managers and passengers so they could be mailed out when the Earl called him. "Thomas is to pick you up Sir and bring you to the castle." "Really? How wonderful; but what for?" "You'll see." Thomas soon arrived and took Sir Topham Hatt to Ulfstead Castle. "I don't understand; why would he want me to come when the castle's closed?" The second he stepped out of Annie - the lights went on. "Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Sir Topham! Happy Birthday to you!" sung all his friends, along with Percy, Stanley, Rusty and Mighty Mac, who were also invited for handling things that happened that day. "Sir Robert...I don't know what to say." "You're the Birthday Controller; I have all your favorite games, cakes, presents, everything. You're the one to decided what order we do things in." "Then let the party begin, starting with some cake. I'm straving!" Everyone had a good laugh as they all sat down and the Earl and some of the workman began to dish up the cake. "You know, despite of everything today," whispered Thomas to Percy and Stanley, "things turned out alright after all." Percy and Stanley agreed.