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This article is about 'the episode'. You may be looking for 'the UK book, the VHS/DVD, The US Book or the magazine story'.
"Why, 'tis a floatin' basket with folk in it."
"Whatever will they dream up next?
— Donald and Douglas

James & The Red Balloon is the fifteenth episode of the sixth season.


It's summer holiday time on the Island of Sodor and the holidaymakers are coming to visit the Island. Thomas picks up a special to take to Dryaw Airfield, Thomas tells Percy he's taking a balloon, and Percy thinks it's a party balloon, but Thomas corrects him and says that it's a special balloon and chuffs away.

Thomas arrives at the airfield and the hot air balloon is starting to blow. James arrives and Thomas explains that the balloon is for taking holidaymakers around the island, but James is jealous because taking holidaymakers is a job for engines. He asks what will happen if the balloon takes their passengers and what will become of them. After hearing this, Thomas isn't excited about the balloon anymore. The balloon can be seen from everyone on the Island.

Later that day, Thomas and James are waiting at a crossing talking about the hot air balloon, until the hot air balloon falls on top of James after it runs out of hot air. James, petrified, lets off a huge burst of steam, which invariably blows the balloon up again. His driver cheers for him, but Thomas and James are upset that it would eventually take their passengers.

James arrives at Dryaw where a lot of visitors and the Fat Controller are waiting. He praises him, but James tells him that the balloon will take their passengers. The Fat Controller laughs saying that he's right, but also reminds him that the holidaymakers will need a ride home in a train. James is relieved, as the engines are now busier than ever taking vacations to and from the airfield for balloon rides. Whenever James sees the red balloon, he whistles hello, and sometimes when he's asleep, he wishes he could fly to, just like the red balloon.




  • This story may be loosely adapted from the mini book by Christopher Awdry, James and the Balloons.
  • This is the first episode of the sixth season to renarrated by Michael Brandon in the US and Michael Angelis in the UK with New Series Music.
  • A faceless Toad model can be seen in a rare picture.


  • When Percy pulls up next to Thomas, he is pulling trucks. But after that, they disappear.
  • The end of the tracks crossing the level crossing are visible, more so for James' side.
  • The footage of the balloon collapsing on top of James is reversed, as the smoke goes inward.
  • In some shots at Dryaw, the tracks running through lead to bushes at both ends.
  • The tracks under the bridge in the last shot lead to bushes.
  • When Percy says "What have you got there?" Thomas does not have a face. This is only apparent in the widescreen versions.
  • In the American narration, Alec Baldwin does not even attempt a Scottish accent for the twins' voices.
  • The Storyteller's hat is falling off when Thomas arrives at Callan Station.
  • In a scene when the balloon is falling on James, his cab roof is out of place.
  • When the narrator goes, "Duck gazed at it for so long," the balloon is static and is not moving.


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Norwegian James og den røde ballongen James and the Red Balloon
Welsh Mae Balwn ar gyfer James A Balloon for James
Danish Den Røde Ballon The Red Balloon
German James Und Der Rote Ballon James and the Red Balloon
Dutch James en de Rode Ballon James and the Red Balloon
Japanese ジェームスとあかいききゅう James and the Red Balloon
Slovenian Jakob in Rdeči Balon James and the Red Balloon
Polish Kuba i Czerwony Balon James and the Red Balloon
Hungarian James és a piros léggömb James and the Red Balloon
Italian James e il Pallone Rosso James and the Red Balloon
Russian Джеймс и красный шарик James and the Red Ball
Romanian James şi Balonul cel Roşu James and the Red Balloon
Swedish Den röda ballongen The Red Balloon
Slovak Jakub a červený balón James and the Red Balloon
Chinese 詹姆士与红气球 James and the Red Balloon
Korean 제임스의 걱정 James' Worries
Thai เจมส์อิจฉาบอลลูน James is Jealous of the Balloon

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