Rolling stock (Thomas & Friends)
This article lists the rolling stock that has featured in the Thomas and Friends children's television series.
A large number of different railway trucks and coaches have appeared over the years. In many episodes, coaches or trucks are key to the plot line. The engines prefer coaches, which are smooth-running and well-behaved. The trucks, on the other hand, are generally trouble.
- 1 Recurring Characters (Passenger)
- 2 Recurring Characters (Goods and Utility)
- 3 Minor characters
- 4 Prop Rolling Stock
- 5 References
Recurring Characters (Passenger)
The Coaches are pulled by engines to transport passengers from one station to another. The engines consider pulling passenger trains a privilege, although they have been known to anger or upset the coaches. The coaches talk generally to praise or scold the engine pulling them, and sometimes to complain about the conditions of their travel.
Annie and Clarabel
Annie and Clarabel are the two coaches who work with Thomas the Tank Engine on his branch line. Although they are old-fashioned, Thomas loves them very much and the three of them are quite inseparable. The coaches often offer advice to Thomas, and often appear more experienced than he is. Other characters have pulled them when Thomas was preoccupied, which usually makes Thomas upset as he worries for the coaches' safety.
Annie and Clarabel have appeared since the first season of the show.
- Teresa Gallagher (UK/US; both Annie and Clarabel)
Henrietta is Toby's faithful coach, who worked with him on their old railway. She has appeared in every Thomas and Friends season.
However she only talks in seasons 1 and 2, from season 3 on she does not speak at all.
Recurring Characters (Goods and Utility)
The Troublesome Trucks (known as Freight Cars in the U.S.) love to play tricks on the engines who haul them. They will often push, drag and hold engines back while chanting loudly. Their behaviour is sometimes unprovoked, but occasionally they seize an opportunity to cause trouble as retaliation for an engine's abuse. They also don't like overconfident new engines who start giving orders, and will often play tricks on them to put them in their place.
The trucks don't seem to care if they get damaged when playing a trick. They have been the cause of many accidents on the railway, and many engines dislike working with them.
Some engines work fairly well with trucks. Edward has never provoked trucks, Stepney finds them a fun change from his scenic passenger route, and Salty makes them cooperate by having them join in chanties.
- Glenn Wrage (UK/US)
Toad is based on a standard GWR 20 ton brake van. He is painted dark grey and has 'GW' painted on his sides, the number 56831 and "TOAD" at one end. In The Railway Series, he was presented to Douglas by Oliver for saving him from scrap. Toad always gets in trouble.
Rocky is a large, dark red crane with yellow hazard stripes, and is used as a rescue and maintenance unit. Gordon scoffed at the idea that Rocky could lift him, and said that cranes are useless without an engine. Edward initially shunned Rocky for this reason, and branded him "newfangled nonsense." After a careless accident, Edward came to rely on Rocky's help to clear up the mess, and took back what he'd said.
Rocky is now frequently used in recovery operations, in place of the older, olive-coloured cranes. He becomes part of the Search and Rescue team after Misty Island Rescue.
The Spiteful Brake Van
The Spiteful Brake Van is a brake van who rallied the support of the Troublesome Trucks. He took a dislike to Douglas and delayed his trains until Donald told him off. Later, he held James' train back and Douglas had to bank the train up Gordon's hill. Douglas pushed too hard against the trucks and the van was crushed. He was beyond repair and was scrapped making him the only character of the series to have been killed off.
The Spiteful Brake Van is a standard BR 20 ton brake van. In The Railway Series he had grey paint and "NW" painted on his sides.
S.C.Ruffey (aka Scruffey) is a Private-Owner ballast truck. He was once a leader of the Troublesome Trucks. S.C.Ruffey is grey and rusty and has "S.C.RUFFEY & Co. Ballast Contractors Tidmouth Sodor" on both sides.
After Oliver was pushed down a turntable well by the trucks, S.C.Ruffey led them in rude songs about the accident. Toad felt sorry for Oliver, and planned to silence S.C.Ruffey's insults. With S.C.Ruffey calling for the trucks behind him to brake hard, Oliver's pulling put too much strain on his frames and S.C.Ruffey fell to pieces. The trucks were horrified, and tried never to make trouble for Oliver again. S.C.Ruffey was rebuilt to earn himself "a proper name," but now refuses to talk about the incident.
The unusual spelling of his name is unique to the television series and related merchandise - in the original story in which he appears, his name is spelled as pronounced.
The Old Slowcoach is an elderly express coach. Thomas and Percy found her lying in a scrapyard, where she'd been waiting for years to be broken up. When a workmen's hut on a coastal construction site caught fire, Thomas and Percy saw a chance to have Old Slowcoach repaired and brought back from the scrap yard, and she briefly served as a home for the workmen. She was later part of a special train for Mrs Kyndley's daughter's wedding, as the "Something Old".
She wears the "chocolate and cream" paintwork of the Great Western Railway, and appears to be based on the Great Western Railway's clerestory coach stock. Season 5 is the only season to feature Old Slowcoach.
Hector is a black hopper who started out as an aggressive and troublesome truck. Bill and Ben had to haul him together to the coal depot, and once there he would shout at Thomas until left alone, becoming an icon to the other trucks. When Hector's yelling frightened Rosie from the depot, Thomas rammed him off the rails, and Hector admitted that he yelled because he was scared of being filled with coal. Thomas helped him to overcome his fear, and Hector cooperated from then on.
Once during a snowstorm, James refused to follow Hector's advice as a matter of pride in front of the engines, until repeatedly ignoring Hector sent him on a late and difficult journey.
The Chinese Dragon
The Chinese Dragon is a paper dragon which first appeared in the Season 3 episode Thomas, Percy and the Dragon, in which it is collected by Thomas at night for a carnival. Along the way, its appearance gives Percy a fright.
The Chinese Dragon has to date appeared three times within the TV Series - once in Season 3, once in Season 10 and it made a cameo in Season 11. It has also appeared in an Interactive Learning Segment in Season 10 and 11.
In the Season 6 episode "Thomas and the Jet Engine", this piece of machinery was supposed to be delivered to the airfield. But Cranky the Crane carelessly knocked the "ON" lever with his hook, causing the jet to fire up and Thomas to be shot down the track at high speed. It is mounted on a large white flat truck, which also consisted of a red fuel tank and two large crates covered with tarpaulins.
One point to note is the model has a larger central box while "engaged" (this can be seen as the box is wider than the truck itself). This is probably to house the large motor which powered the model.
Prop Rolling Stock
The Coaches on the Island of Sodor have many different designs and colour schemes throughout the series. Within the episodes themselves, coaches are rarely referred to specifically (unless specifying the engine who is pulling them, e.g. the Express Coaches).
The Trucks (usually referred to in American releases as The Freight Cars) transport goods. There are various designs of trucks, designed for different purposes: the open-topped Wagons carry most goods; liquids are carried in the Tankers; and anything which needs protection from the elements can be carried in the Vans (trucks with a roof).
The Tankers are used in various episodes to carry supplies including milk, tar and fuel, oil, raspberry, cream, jam and toffee. The tankers are mostly shown without faces (except for a few seen in Season 3), and are not often seen in the series to be as troublesome as other trucks.
The Brake Vans are an important part of a goods train. They are heavy trucks that carry the guard and are equipped with a strong brake to assist with slowing and stopping the train. From here, the guard can keep an eye on the train in case of problems. They generally don't bear faces, the only ones shown being Toad, the Spiteful Break Van, and also the Elderly Brake Van and the Troublesome Brake Van that appeared in "A Close Shave".
The Breakdown Train
The Breakdown Train consists of two flat-bed trucks, two rail-mounted cranes and a workmen's coach.
It is used for rescue and clear-up operations after accidents, but is also kept busy on maintenance, construction, repair and demolition jobs around the railway. The train is painted olive green, and the coach features the words "Works Unit" on the sides.
In recent seasons, Harvey has often hauled the workmen's coach and breakdown cranes, while Rocky has been used for larger jobs.
The Flying Kipper
The Flying Kipper is an early morning fish train, usually pulled by Henry. It is a fast train made up of various vans. It has been at the center of a number of events, the most famous of which is from the first season, when Henry crashed while pulling the train and had to be rebuilt (in a new shape). The Flying Kipper has been featured a number of times since.