Penn Pals
Season 3, Episode 12
Vital statistics
Air date April 15, 2016 (promo), April 29, 2016 (full episode)
Written by EnterprisingEngine93
Directed by Matt Michaud
Episode guide
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The Suggestion Box Ice Breaker
Penn Pals is the twelfth episode of the third season.


Philip is a new diesel boxcab who was brought to Sodor to serve as a station pilot at Knapford, due to the big engines' request of a permanent shunter. Some of the engines are rather annoyed at his zeal and excessive energy, but he has a good worth ethic and is eager to prove himself.

One day, while Philip is shunting for Molly, when Hank the American Engine arrives to the station. Distracted from his work by the sight of a fellow Pennsylvanian, Philip stops to talk to Hank, who is also delighted to see a familiar-looking engine. Before long, the two "Pennsies" start chatting about British railway lingo versus American. During their chat, Molly tries to get Philip's attention, to no avail. Bear helps her by releasing a huge growl, causing Philip to regain focus on his work. However, he is disappointed when Hank has to leave, and wants to see him again.

The next day, when Hank shows up at Knapford, Philip is overjoyed to chat with him. He offers a race against the big engine, but Hank declines, saying he's too busy, but perhaps another time. This upsets Philip, and Hank feels rather guilty. He departs, wishing that he could be able to be a role model for the little diesel, but is unsure of how he could do that. Suddenly, he starts to feel a pain, which he discovers is due to his chassis wearing out under his heavy weight. His driver goes to call for help, which arrives in the form of Philip, who is ecstatic to assist his new friend. Philip struggles to push Hank, but is unfortunately not strong enough to move him more than a few inches. Nevertheless, he is still impressed with his work, but Hank is a little too busy worrying about something else. While Philip is cheering himself on, the rails beneath Hank collapse, and he tumbles to the ground. Philip is aghast and ashamed that he could not have helped. Soon, the breakdown train has arrived to take Hank to be repaired, but Philip still feels terrible.

That night, he is waiting at Knapford, wishing he could apologize to Hank. His driver reminds him that he cannot go out onto the main line, but as Percy passes with the mail train, the little diesel box cab gets an idea.

Meanwhile, at Crovan's Gate Works, Victor informs Hank that he will be receiving new parts, as well as a message. Hank is confused, until Percy enters carrying a letter from none other than Philip, wishing Hank better soon. Touched by the sentiment, Hank instantly requests paper to write a response.

For the next few weeks, while Hank is being mended, the men at the works and Philip's crew send letters back and forth on behalf of the two engines. Through this method of communication, Hank and Philip remain firm friends, even from far away.


The Knapford Stationmaster, Hank's Driver, and Philip's Driver also speak. They are voiced by L S-L, HanktheAmericanEngine and LittleBlueTrain67, respectively.


  • A promo for the episode was released on April 15, 2016 entitled "Hank Takes Philip Under His Wing."
  • In a continuation of The Suggestion Box, a Netflix account is installed at the Crovan's Gate Works.
  • This episode marks the first time Percy has been voiced by ArlesburghHarbourStudios, the first time Bear has been voiced by MilkTankerMedia, and the first time Victor has been voiced by Steve Garcia.
  • This episode marks the first speaking role of Philip and Sam, and the first official appearance of Knapford in an episode.
  • Hank and Philip's correspondences in order:
    • Philip tells Hank that he is helping out a big container yard with Stafford and the diesels.
    • Hank tells Philip that Crovan's Gate Works finally created a Netflix account, and that Kevin asked Paul if he wanted to "chill," a prospect which did not enthuse the mechanic.
    • Philip told Hank about his adventure racing a feisty rabbit.
    • Hank tells Philip that he's feeling better and has new, stronger chassis. He also tells him that Donald and Douglas have been feeling well, and are excited to see the outside world once more.
  • From this episode onwards, the engines' whistles sound are constantly the Thomas & Friends TV series whistles, EE93 stated that the whistles sound will share a mix of realistic whistles and TVS whistles.


  • CrikeyFellRailway was uncredited for voicing Sam.
  • A reflection of someone (probably EE93) is seen in Philip's magnet during one of his close-ups.
  • When Hank pulls into Knapford, he is referred to as a Pennsylvannia "Berkshire" instead of an "K4."Later on in the epsiode, he is referred to as a K4. 
  • Edward's front tender wheels has been lifted as he pass by Hank and Philip