Main page

This article is about 'the episode'. You may be looking for 'the book, the Buzz Book, or the DVD'.
"Beg pardon, sir. Excuse my intrusion."
"No, I won't! You've frightened my customers. I'll teach you!
— Duck and the barber

A Close Shave, retitled A Close Shave for Duck in American releases, is the fourteenth episode of the second season. It aired in the US on the Shining Time Station episodes Word's Out in 1989 and Billy's Runaway Train in 1993.


After being framed by Diesel for telling jokes about the engines to the Troublesome Trucks, Duck sadly goes to Wellsworth where he meets Edward and tells him what happened. Edward assures Duck that the Fat Controller will find out what is really going on and asks him to help him out with the trucks for the day.

Duck feels better working with Edward; however, the trucks are in a bad mood and make work hard for both of them. When the work is over, Duck bids farewell to Edward and heads back to the shed. As he coasts down Gordon's Hill, enjoying the breeze, he suddenly hears a guard's whistle, as the trucks have broken away and are intent on chasing Duck down and throwing him off the rails.

Duck makes a run for it, but the trucks quickly start to catch up. Luckily, the trucks only catch Duck gradually and do not throw him off the rails, but nevertheless Duck is forced to keep going at top speed as the trucks push him. Suddenly, Duck and his driver spot James pulling out of a station on their line with a train full of passengers. Duck tries his hardest to stop the trucks, knowing that a terrible accident could result otherwise. Duck is unable to slow down and is about to crash into the coaches when he is diverted into a siding at the last second.

At the end of the siding is a small shop where a barber has set up his business. Duck barrels down the line and smashes right into the front of the shop, completely destroying the wall. As Duck peeks in through the debris, he apologises to the barber, however the barber is furious and coats Duck's face with shaving foam as revenge for frightning his customers.

Thomas arrives to help clear the mess, while the Fat Controller speaks with the barber and explains that, while he understands how upset the barber is, Duck and his crew helped to prevent a serious accident. The barber apologises for his mistake and rinses the shaving foam off and compliments Duck for his bravery, as does the Fat Controller who tells him how proud he is of Duck.

Soon Duck is pulled clear from the barbershop and the Fat Controller tells him he will be returning home once he is properly washed and repaired. Duck becomes worried, believing that the engines still hate him and prefer Diesel. The Fat Controller tells Duck that is no longer the case, as he never believed Diesel and had sent him away. The other engines are now all very sorry and want Duck to come back.

A few days later, Duck returns to the shed fully mended where the other engines welcome him back with happy whistles. The Great Western engine proudly takes his place alongside them, feeling happier than ever to be home with his friends.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Duck and the Diesel Engine.
  • A large model of Duck is used for the scenes inside the barber shop.
  • In the close-ups of Duck after the crash, there is a soup can in front of him.
  • In the restored version, the scene of the trucks passing Wellsworth is sped up.
  • As Duck groans "It's too late", the line "...and shut his eyes" is omitted in the George Carlin narration.
  • In the George Carlin version, the trucks laugh throughout the whole chase and the runaway theme is different as Duck approaches Crosby.
  • In the German version, when Duck passes through Edward's station, the line "But the trucks were catching up" is omitted.
  • A deleted scene shows the barber and his customers looking at Duck before he crashes and the barber putting shaving foam on the customer's forehead by mistake.
  • In the original version, there are five shots of the barber lathering Duck's face. In the restored version, there are four.
  • When Duck crashes into the barber shop, the crash sound is different in both Ringo Starr and George Carlin versions.
  • This is the only episode where both Thomas' and James' whistle go flat after being held for too long. The makers at the studio tweeked the sound down on a keyboard.
  • In the credits of the Shining Time Station episode, "Billy's Runaway Train", the UK title card of the episode is used.
  • A reference to Dirty Work is made in this episode.


  • One of Thomas' eyebrows is missing in one scene.
  • When Duck buffers up to Edward's train, the brakevan doesn't have a face. But it gains a face when the engines pass through the level crossing. It disappears again once the trucks pass the same crossing as they chase Duck.
  • When Duck speeds through Wellsworth the middle track has a bump in the middle of it.
  • In both Ringo Starr narrations, he says that Duck shut his eyes, but his eyes are still open.
  • The narrator says that the barber lathers Duck's face all over, but he actually only lathers half of his face from his chin up to his nose.
  • When the derailed trucks are shown, you can see that the slate slabs have been deliberately placed.
  • When the barber said "I'll teach you!", he appears to be smiling instead of fuming.
  • In the close-up of Thomas' wheels when he pulls Duck from the barbershop, a wire can be seen sticking out near his wheels.
  • The barber washes half of the shaving cream off Duck's face, but when Duck is pulled back onto the rails the shaving cream is back all over his face again.
  • When Duck crashes into the barbershop the trucks are not derailed but in the next scene they are.
  • In the deleted scene of the barber and his customers looking at Duck before the crash, Duck appears to be smiling.
  • In the close up shots of Duck inside the barber shop, when he is being pulled out, studio equipment can be seen in the upper left corner behind the remains of the barber shop's roof.
  • The truck behind Edward does not have a face at first, but gains one when they reach Gordon's Hill.
  • In Ringo Starr's US narration, after Duck complains to Edward that Diesel has made the other engines think that he is horrid, there is an echo in the background. This is audio from the UK version.
  • When Duck speeds down the siding leading toward the barber shop, there is one track leading towards the building, but when the mess is cleared up, there are two lines.
  • As the trucks race past the level crossing, a string is seen pulling them.
  • When Duck speeds past the camera moments before hitting the barber shop, the large van changes the direction it's facing.
  • In close up shots of Duck inside the barber's shop, his nose is a different shape. His face is also undersized.
  • There are a few points when the cattle truck has a face and a few when it does not.


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Brazilian Portuguese Um Visitante Inesperado An Unexpected Visitor
Finnish Tarkka Rajaus Exact Defining
Italian Scampato Pericolo Narrow Escape
German Um Haaresbreite By a Hair
Norwegian Nære på Close
Danish Duck hos barberen Duck the Barber
Japanese とこやにいったダック Duck Went to the Barber
Welsh Sôn am Helynt Talk of Predicaments
Spanish Una afeitada al ras para Duck A Close Shave for Duck
Croatian Za Dlaku Near Miss
Slovenian V Brivnici In the Barbershop
Russian Опасное бритье Dangerous Shaving
Chinese 一次擦肩而过 A Pass
Korean 다시 집으로 돌아간 덕 Thanks Again to Return to the Home
Romanian Pe Aproape Bărbierit Close Shave
Hungarian Hajszál Híján Harline into the Game
Slovak O Chlp About Hair
Czech O Fous By a Whisker
Swedish Nära på Nearly
Polish O Mały Włos The Little Hair
Serbian Brijanje Shave
Dutch Op een haartje na From Hair
Thai ดั๊กชนร้านตัดผม Duck the Barber

Home Media Releases



DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets










Latin America



  • Thomas the Tank Engine 4




DVD Packs