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"Long Lost Friend" is the twenty-fifth Christmas episode of the PBS hybrid series Thomas & Friends, aired in the show's eighteenth season.

Synopsis[]

It is nearly Christmas on the Island of Sodor and it is a very busy day at Brendam Docks. Cranky is busy unloading cargo when he comes across a very heavy load which turns out to be Percy's friend, Gator. Salty is pleased to see him, but he knows that Percy will be even more excited to do so. A load of rock salt has also been sent over on Gator's ship, but the delivery note got wet and become unreadable during the transit. The dock manager thinks the salt is destined for the Blue Mountain Quarry and asks Gator to take it. Before he leaves, Gator asks Salty to let Percy know he is back if he sees him.

Gator meets Thomas at a junction. Thomas can't believe his eyes; he did not expect to see him again. He asks Thomas to tell Percy that he is back when he sees him. He promises to do so. He knows that Percy will be very excited to see Gator again.

Thomas rushes into the shunting yard where Percy is busy shunting trucks. Thomas tells him that Gator is back. He is delighted and thinks it is sure to be the best Christmas ever. Percy asks where Gator is, and Thomas says that he is currently making a delivery to the quarry. Percy decides that he will deliver himself to there in order to see Gator.

Up at the quarry, Gator has made his delivery. Owen is very pleased to see him again. He asks Owen to let Percy know that he is back on Sodor. Owen promises to do so. Then, Gator's driver explains that there has been a mistake; the rock salt isn't meant for the quarry. The driver assumes that it must be for the Sodor Steamworks. Gator heads off toward the steamworks, just as Percy arrives at the quarry. Owen tells him that Gator has been there and he is heading for the steamworks so Percy sets off after him.

At the steamworks, Gator's driver is told that the salt is not for them. A workman thinks it must be for the platforms at Knapford Station as they have a tendency to get very slippery in the winter. Gator heads off as Percy makes his way to the steamworks. They even pass by one another and do not even notice. Gator is beginning to think that Percy doesn't want to see him after all. At the steamworks, Percy is told by Victor that Gator has come and gone again. He starts to wonder why Gator has been to see everyone else apart from him. Maybe Gator has forgotten all about him.

At Knapford, Gator meets Thomas who tells him that Percy is looking for him. HR finds this hard to believe; if Percy really wanted to see him, he would've found him by now. Just then, the Fat Controller walks up and demands to know why Gator has brought the rock salt to Knapford. His driver shows him the unreadable delivery note. The Fat Controller checks this with his notes and tells Gator that the salt was meant for Brendam Docks all along, to stop the docks from being slippery in the winter. He tells Gator to take it back there as quickly as he can. He sets off. As Thomas pulls out of the station, he meets Percy who is very upset at the thought of being snubbed by Gator. Thomas explains that he wants to see Percy as much as Percy wants to see him and tells Percy that Gator is heading back to the docks. Percy thinks he is leaving again and races off as fast as he can for the docks.

Percy speeds into the docks just in time to see the ship depart. He has missed Gator once again. H puffs forwards, shouting at the ship. Due to the fog, he can't see the train of salt until it is too late. He collides with it, sending bags of salt flying all over the docks. Then, he discovers Gator, covered in bags, at the other end of the train. He is thrilled. Gator says that this time, he plans to stay on Sodor at least long enough to have the salt cleaned off of him. Salty rolls up and jokes that they can't have two Salties on Sodor causing all threee engines to laugh. Percy will have a very happy Christmas now that he has been reunited with Gator.

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