Non-rail vehicles (Thomas & Friends)
The television series Thomas & Friends and the original Railway Series books are well known for its anthropomorphic railway engines. This article lists the characters over the years who are not rail-based.
- 1 Recurring characters
- 2 Minor characters
- 3 The Pack
- 4 Prop Vehicles
- 5 References
Terence is an orange tractor fitted with caterpillar tracks. He often pulls other vehicles who have become stuck. When Thomas first encountered Terence, he insulted Terence’s caterpillars, but later discovered their usefulness when Terence pulled him out of a snowdrift. Terence also had a removable bulldozer blade that he used to clear snow or any sort of rubble.
Terence works on a farm by Thomas’ branch line. Terence first appeared in Season 1 (1984), with non-speaking roles in the 6th and 7th seasons. He also appeared in The Great Discovery. He may return to the series soon.
Bertie has been seen frequently since his debut in Season 1.
Discovered by Edward in a scrapyard, Trevor the traction engine was due to be broken up before he was saved by the Vicar of Wellsworth. He now lives in the Vicarage Orchard and is often used for light haulage work, and at the vicarage fete to give all the children rides. He is painted dark green with red lining, gold boiler bands and red wheels.
Trevor has been seen often since his debut in Season 2. He may return to the series soon.
Harold is a white helicopter who patrols the skies of Sodor. Nicknamed "whirlybird" by the engines, he enjoys a good-natured rivalry with them. He was introduced in Season 2 and has been seen often since his debut. Harold is modeled on the Sikorsky H-19 helicopter.
George is a green steamroller with gold boiler band and red lining who loathes the engines. He can often be heard chanting, "Railways are no good; turn 'em into roads! Pull 'em up! Turn 'em into roads!". He rarely comes out on top, as his enthusiasm for beating the railways can make him careless.
George made his first appearance in the Season 4 episode Steam Roller and also appeared in the Season 5 episodes Lady Hatt's Birthday Party and "Bye George" as well as the special feature Calling All Engines. He has made a number of cameos from the 6th to the 10th series and The Great Discovery.
Cranky is a grey-green tower crane who works at Brendam Docks loading and unloading ships. He finds the engines tiresome, particularly the smaller ones, and enjoys teasing them, in particular using the term "bugs" to deride them. Cranky cannot move on his own, but he can be dismantled and rebuilt in other locations if necessary.
On one occasion he was toppled when a runaway tramp steamer collided with the engine shed.
Cranky first appeared in Season 5 and has made numerous appearances since.
Cranky has also appeared in Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Calling All Engines, The Great Discovery, Hero of the Rails, Misty Island Rescue, Blue Mountain Mystery, King of the Railway, and Tale of the Brave.
Butch is a golden yellow and navy blue breakdown vehicle. He helps clear rubble and haul broken down cars and lorries. His number plate is 'BRK 03', and is also known as the 'Sodor Heavy Recovery Unit'. His only named appearance was in the Series 5 episode "Horrid Lorry", in which he had no face. In further background appearances, he is given a small, stubbled face on his radiator.
Butch's model has been recreated for the show's CGI overhaul, and cameos in the straight-to-D.V.D. Misty Island Rescue special. Since the opening of the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre, Butch has the logo of said establishment on his cab doors. Butch received a speaking role in a Season 15 episode, his first ever speaking role since his debut in season 5. He has since been fitted with a magnet that can lift metal objects.
Promotional materials state that he uses parts from the Diesel Engines, the Lorries, and the Cranes, and is similar in profile to a vintage 6x4 wrecker from Mack Trucks.
- Rupert Degas (UK; Series 15 only)
- Matt Wilkinson (UK; Series 16 onwards)
- Glenn Wrage (US; Series 15 - 16)
- Steve Kynman (US; Series 17 onwards)
Elizabeth is a maroon vintage Sentinel steam lorry. She was once the Fat Controller's first lorry, however she was stored in a shed for some time before she was found by accident. Now she works at the quarries with Rusty. She does not like laziness or rudeness, and will respond to both in the strongest terms. Although she believes roads are superior to rails, she often helps the engines out.
Elizabeth was first introduced in Season 6 and has appeared in seasons 7, 8 and 11. She may return to the series soon.
Jeremy is a white and blue jet plane who believes planes are better than trains. He first appeared in Thomas and the Jet Plane in Season 10.
He speaks with a booming voice and had also appeared in Seasons 11 and 12. He also made a passing appearance in The Great Discovery.
Madge is a green and cream colored snub-nosed lorry with a three-wheeled cab and a flatbed. Her first appearance was in the episode Cool Truckings and then Wash Behind Your Buffers in Season 11's special DVD, Engines and Escapades. She is described as having a motherly attitude towards the Skarloey engines, and often eager to please-so much so she forgets her own priorities. Madge is based on a Scammell lorry, commonly called 'Scammell Scarabs' and were used frequently around British Railways.
Kevin is a mobile crane who works alongside Victor at the Sodor Steamworks. Kevin calls Victor "Boss" and he's young and somewhat accident prone, which can be a bother to Victor, but the two work well together.
Kevin's catchphrase is "It was a slip of the hook!" This has become so well known that most of the engines can finish the line for him.
Kevin first appeared in Hero of the Rails and has appeared in seasons 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18. He has also appeared in Misty Island Rescue, Day of the Diesels, Blue Mountain Mystery, King of the Railway, and Tale of the Brave.
Captain is a blue, red and yellow coast guard lifeboat who first appears in Misty Island Rescue. He is part of Sodor Search and Rescue Team, along with Harold and Rocky. He speaks in a Cockney accent with nautical slang.
He also appears in Day of the Diesels and King of the Railway.
- Keith Wickham (UK/US; Misty Island Rescue onwards)
Flynn is a fiery red fire engine with a New York accent. First appearing in the season 15 episode Firey Flynn, he bears the Rescue Centre insignia on his cab doors, and is equipped to go road to rail. He resembles a 1964 Oshkosh W800 4x4 aircraft rescue fire engine.
He officially appeared prominently in the 2011 special Day of the Diesels, (the prequel to season 15). He has also appeared in season 17.
Merrick is a sleepy red crane whose snores can be heard around the quarry. Once he is needed, Merrick is wide awake and ready to swing any boulder down to the stone cutting shed.
Merrick made his debut in Blue Mountain Mystery and has appeared in season 17.
- Matt Wilkinson (UK/US; Blue Mountain Mystery onwards)
Owen is an enthusiastic ochre traction engine who is really proud of the uniqueness of his job. He never tires of sending cargo trucks up and down the incline at the quarry.
Owen has made his debut in Blue Mountain Mystery. He has also appeared in seasons 17 and 18.
- Ben Small (UK/US; Blue Mountain Mystery onwards)
Reg is a crane, who works at The Scrapyards on Edward's branch line.
Reg is painted yellow with black warning stripes.
Reg made his official debut in Tale of the Brave. He also has appeared in season 18.
- Tim Whitnall (UK/US; Series 18 onwards)
Bulgy is a Scarlet red and cream, bad-tempered double-decker bus, later repainted green and cream. He hated railways, and believed that some day they would all be replaced by roads. He even carried a poster on his side telling people to "JOIN THE ANTI-RAIL LEAGUE". His favourite phrase is "Free the roads!" He also wears a large sign saying "RAILWAY BUS," although he isn't really.
When he first arrived, he tried to steal Duck’s and Oliver's passengers by pretending to be a railway bus. Bulgy was determined to get the passengers to the Big Station before Duck, but was stopped when he became stuck under a low bridge after taking a short cut. Eventually he was turned into a henhouse by Duck's branch line.
Bulgy was only prominently featured in two episodes, 'Bulgy' in Season 3 and 'Bulgy Rides Again' in Season 7. He also made a cameo in Seasons 4, 7 and 12. However, Bulgy's green livery was changed to red, and converted into a regular bus in Season 12 for unknown reasons.
Caroline is an elderly red and gold automobile used by the cricketers on the Island of Sodor. She does not like high speeds as these wear her out, overheating her motor. She does have a softer side, and she appreciates the engines after Stepney helped her back to the field in the Season 4 episode 'Train Stops Play'. She also appears in Season 5's 'Lady Hatt's Birthday Party' and cameos in Seasons 8 and 9.
Bulstrode is a white, black and red self-propelled barge who worked at the harbour on the Island of Sodor. He was used to carry cargo like coal and stone, but always complained about not being loaded fast enough. Percy accidentally pushed trucks off a dock and into his hull, causing damage to him and the trucks. The trucks then giggled and said to him, "Serves you right! You were always barging in and moaning!" He was then towed to Knapford Beach, where he was used as a children's playground.
The Horrid Lorries
The three Horrid lorries came to Sodor to replace the engines, but were sent away following a series of accidents. Lorry 2 accidentally drove down and off a steep mountain road on his way from the quarry and crashed into some rocks below and got smashed, Lorry 3 broke down after being overloaded with flour and his rear wheels fell off, and Lorry 1 reversed straight into the sea.
All three are painted dark red and carry numberplates, which read "LOR 1"(L0R 1), "LOR 2"(L0R 2) and "LOR 3"(L0R 3). Thomas christened them "The Brothers Grim: Smashed (Lorry 2), Broken (Lorry 3) & Sunk (Lorry 1)" after their accidents. According to the official series website, they consider themselves brothers and were all built at the same time for transporting goods and are built to work for "The Pack" after "Horrid Lorry" their models had their faces and registration plates removed and were used as props till "Hero of the Rails".
In the video game Thomas & Friends: Trouble on the Tracks, Horrid Lorry No. 1 is shown to still be working on the island. The Fat Controller asks him to collect coal from the mines for the engines in the shed after James who was supposed to collect it had an accident he also appears in "Railway Adventures" in the Supply Run level where Thomas has to take a Repairman, a Fuel Tanker Car or a Coal Car to him .
Thumper is a vermillion quarry machine with two arms and caterpillar tracks, used to loosen rocks in the quarry. He was only featured in one Season 5 story, 'Rusty and the Boulder', with no dialogue.
Tiger Moth is a red-and-yellow biplane. Tiger Moth has had few features but several cameos. He was first seen in Season 5.
In the magazines, the character of Tiger Moth is extended- to the point where he is depicted with a face.
Colin is a green stationary steam crane who works at the Wharf and is a good friend of Freddie. Colin has never been to a party because he cannot move, so Freddie decides to hold the party at the Wharf. Colin has made his debut in Season 12 the episode is "The Party Surprise". He can load and unload cargo from trucks and barges. Colin will return in Season 18.
In Season 6, a new set of characters was introduced called 'The Pack'. This was a gang of construction machines owned by Miss Jenny. The characters were devised by then-producer Phil Fehrle with the intention of being turned into a spin-off series, possibly as a rival to Bob the Builder. This series never materialised, and prior to 2006, the Pack only ever appeared in the episodes Jack Jumps In and A Friend In Need. They have been featured with 4 new characters in a DVD entitled On Site with Thomas. In The Great Discovery, almost all of The Pack are seen. The exceptions are Nelson, Patrick, Isabella and Byron. Jack, Alfie and either Max or Monty also appeared in the season 12 episode, Percy and the Bandstand. Jack is currently the only member of the Pack to appear in the CGI series, appearing in the 2013 special, King of the Railway. Jack also appeared with a new look to his face it was formerly round and in King of the Railway it was square.
Jack is a friendly and enthusiastic front loader who was first seen in the episode 'Jack Jumps In' when he joined the Pack. Despite a couple of accidents, he was able to prove himself when he saved Thomas from disaster, and is now part of the team. Jack is painted red and cream and has the number 11.
It is unclear what type of vehicle Jack is based on, although he resemble a Nuffield Tractor. Concept artwork shows Jack with a backhoe.
In the Japanese version he is voiced by Naomi Shindou
Alfie is an excavator and a fast worker whose motto is, "More work means more dirt; more dirt means more fun!" He loves working hard, and handles even the toughest of jobs with ease. He is painted green and has the number 12 painted on his sides and on the back of his cab. He'll Possibly Return In Series 18 After Jack.
In some examples of merchandise Alfie is depicted with freckles, although he evidently doesn't have any in the TV Series. It is unknown of what Alfie is based on, although he does resemble a 1960 K1C10 & K Excavator.
Oliver is a wise old excavator, larger than Alfie, who keeps an eye on the other members of the Pack. He is light brown and light green and has the number 14 painted on his cab in red. He should not be confused with the steam engine Oliver. Oliver is also capable of switching between different tools, including a chisel and wrecking ball. He is polite to the other members of the Pack.
Max and Monty
Max and Monty are the devious and troublesome red Dump truck twins. They are known to cause trouble for the Pack Members and also the engines; but are sternly scolded by Miss Jenny when they are found out! Despite being unruly at times with dangerous stunts, they have a good side in them – somewhere – and still do the work like everyone else. They are painted red and grey and have the numbers 15 and 16 respectively.
Kelly is a dark blue crane truck (with yellow crane arm) and the oldest member of the Pack, having originally belonged to Miss Jenny's father. He is a good friend of Isabella and seems to trust Jack. He seems to be good at heart and to get on with everyone (except perhaps the dump truck twins). He has the number 17 painted on the sides of his cab. Kelly is sometimes bossy, but will be helpful whenever he can.
Byron is a boisterous yellow bulldozer with a big blade. He is a bit conceited, but likes to be useful like the rest of the Pack. He has the number 18 painted on his sides. He always likes to made sure the site is leveled which can sometimes cause trouble. He soon learned that "the leveled site is very important but that is nothing to boast about" after Oliver told him to be careful near the muddy pond and not to fell into it, However he Rescues Alfie in Percy's happy Day and Miss Jenny scolds at Max and Monty.
Ned is an old light brown and tan steam shovel. He means well, but he can sometimes be clumsy. Indeed, he once nearly caused a terrible accident by knocking out the keystone of a railway bridge when Thomas was due to cross with a goods train in "A friend in need". But apart from the minor bumps and accidents, Ned's heart is as big as his bucket and he is a valued member of the Pack. He has the number 19 painted on his cab as well as 'Packard and Co.', but later changed to "Sodor Construction Company" on "On Site with Thomas".
Isobella is a vintage lorry who looks almost identical to Elizabeth, apart from her bright yellow paintwork and her flatbed. She is a hard worker, but does not like getting dirty. She has the number 22 painted on her sides. She is the second lorry on the island of Sodor.
Despite many misconceptions of her name being spelt "Isabella", official material proves that her name is correctly spelt as "Isobella".
Patrick is a concrete transport truck. He was found to be quite a boastful soul in his first appearance. He knows all there is to know about cement and thinks it is one of the essential means of keeping the building site running. He is painted maroon with cream bits. He has the number 23.
Buster is a simple red-brown steamroller who goes about his job with glee and pride knowing all is right with the world. What Buster lacks in imagination, he makes up for in heart, commitment and hard work and is liked by all the machines in the yard. He is the only member of the Pack not to wear a number.
Nelson is an intelligent Ballast tractor whose job is to haul construction workers to and from work. As the bearer of such weighty loads, he often feels overworked, but will never complain. He is proud of his paint job and is happiest when he looks his best. He wears the number 10 and is painted black and gold. he would soon return with the rest of the pack in Season 18.
The website of series art director Bob Gauld-Galliers features a sketch of a thirteenth Pack character, Nigel, a green-and-gold transporter who wears the number 21. Because of the similarity in name and prototype, it is possible that Nigel is the character who eventually became Nelson.
There are several vehicles that appear in various episodes as props. The Ertl Company range of die-cast models featured a number of them and named these "characters" for ease of identification, for example the Dyson Low Loader and the Sodor Soft-Side Truck.
From Season 3 onwards, a number of the background vehicles were used from the defunct television series Tugs. These included the Boats, the Cars, the Lorries, and the Cranes. Also appearing are the Fire Engines based on a 1956 Dennis F8 fire engine.
The Fat Controller's Car
Sir Topham Hatt goes almost everywhere in it. He has had a few accidents while driving it, namely, popping one of its tyres in a pothole, and sliding into a ditch, a haystack, and a pond. In the Season 11 story Thomas and the Runaway Car, Thomas collected the "New" Car that looks identical to the "Old" Car. Whether or not this is a new one or merely the old one is currently unknown. It is painted "Hatt Blue".