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The television series Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends is well known for its anthropomorphic railway engines. However, there have also been many characters over the years who are not rail-based. These are often rivals to the engines, but several become friends to the railway.
Terence is an orange tractor fitted with caterpillar tracks. These allow him to go anywhere, and make him very useful when it comes to pulling other vehicles out of a jam. When Thomas first encountered Terence, he insulted Terence’s caterpillars, but later discovered their usefulness when Terence pulled him out of a snowdrift.
Terence is a friendly sort of tractor, and when he is not needed for rescues, he works on a farm by Thomas’ branch line. Terence made his first appearance on television in Season 1 (1984), and he made cameos in the 6th and 7th seasons but has not been seen since. He does however make an appearance in the Season 10 intermissions.
Bertie is an excitable red bus who loves nothing more than a chance to show his speed on the roads of Sodor. He famously raced Thomas and, though he lost, the two have been firm friends ever since. He often helps the engines, and sometimes they can even help him.
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. He is painted green with red wheels.
Although he is old fashioned and slow, he has lots of uses from sawing logs to helping with construction work. His favourite activity of all is giving rides to children.
In The Railway Series, Trevor was black.
Harold is a white helicopter who patrols the skies of Sodor. Nicknamed "whirlybird" by the engines, he enjoys a good-natured rivalry with them. Although Harold can sometimes be considered boastful, he loves nothing more that to help out and get's annoyed when he's not doing something. He was introduced in Season 2 and has been seen often since his debut.
Cranky, as his name suggests, is always cranky. He is a tower crane who works at the harbour loading and unloading ships. He finds the engines tiresome, particularly the smaller ones, and enjoys teasing them. Howe
ver, the engines usually find ways of getting back at him if he goes too far.
Cranky cannot move on his own, but he can be dismantled and rebuilt in other locations if necessary.
Elizabeth is a vintage Sentinel steam lorry. 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.
She was also the only character able to insult the Fat Controller without getting into trouble, as she was the first lorry he ever drove. Elizabeth was first introduced in season 6 and made appearances within the 7th, 8th and 11th series.
Jeremy is a jet plane who is rather conceited and believes that jet planes are better than trains. In his debut episode ("Thomas & The Jet Plane" of Season 10), this concerns Thomas until a hurricane is spotted. He then gets to take the children to the picnic.
One of his features is a reference to the movie Cars. That's because his eyes are on his windshield instead of on his face like most other Thomas characters.
Madge is a snub-nosed white and light green truck with a three-wheeled cab and a flatbed. What she lacks in elegance, she makes up for in strength and personality. She is the prime organizer of the little engines but she can be playful and loves a joke. Her first appearance was in the episode "Cool Truckings" in Season 11's special narrow-gauge VHS/DVD.
Madge is based on a Scammell Lorry, of which many of these were used on the BR.
Bulgy is a big red (now green) and cream double-decker bus with very left wing political views who works on the Island of Sodor. 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!"
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. His lies were exposed, and soon "nobody would believe his destination boards". Eventually he was turned into a henhouse by Duck's branch line.
Many years later, he was brought back to the road to help with passengers, but the chickens caused trouble. He was then turned into a green mobile vegetable stand, where he enjoys his work delivering fruit and vegetables around the Island.
Bulgy was only 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 10. He was also featured in the Railway Series with black face with separate eyes like Caroline and a license plate that reads BLG1.
George is a grumpy old steamroller who hates the engines. He can often be heard chanting, "Railways are no good; turn 'em into roads! Pull 'em up! Turn 'em into roads!" However, he rarely comes out on top, as his enthusiasm for beating the railways can make him careless. He is painted green.
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 cameo and background appearances since. Originally, George was supposed to have a role in the film "Thomas and the Magic Railroad", but never appeared in the finished film.
Caroline is an elderly car used by the Cricketers on the Island of Sodor. She does not like high speeds as these wear her out, overheating her motor. However, 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'. This episode was the first to feature Caroline, she made cameos in seasons 8 and has not been seen since the episode Percy and the oil painting season 9. In the Railway Series, her license plate reads URA 1.
Bulstrode is a highly disagreeable 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. This annoyed the trucks, but Bulstrode ended up getting what he deserved when 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 we're always barging in and moaning!" He was then towed to Knapford Beach, where he was turned into a children's playground. He remains there today, still expectedly grumbling.
Bulstrode was only featured in the Season 4 story 'Special Attraction', which was originally written by Christopher Awdry for the Railway Series. In the books he had a light yellow face and two holds, and was never featured again.
It appears his model was dismantled, as his cabin is seen in the episode 'Happy Ever After' in Season 5 at the Fishing Village. However, part of Bulstrode has 'lived on' in the series, with his surprised face being used on troublesome trucks (most notably in Season 8's 'Fish')
These three were, as their name suggests, unpleasant characters. They came to Sodor to replace the engines, but were sent away following a series of accidents.
All three are painted red, and the only way of differentiating between them is by their numberplates, which read "LOR 1", "LOR 2" and "LOR 3". They do not have names as such, and are simply known as Lorry 1, Lorry 2 and Lorry 3, though Thomas christened them "The Brothers Grim: Smashed, Broken & Sunk" after their accidents. According to the official series website, they consider themselves brothers and were all built at the same time for the Sodor Construction Company.
They appeared in one Season 5 episode, 'Horrid Lorry' and have not returned since. However, their models have been reused as background props in several episodes, although they had their faces removed. Although not necessarily canon continuity, the horrid Lorries have also appeared in the computer games, an example being "Trouble On The Tracks". They also make frequent appearances in the Thomas Magazines and Comics, of which is all not considered complete canon.
Butch is a yellow and greyish blue breakdown vehicle who works on the Island of Sodor. He keeps busy on the Island helping clear rubble and haul broken down cars and lorries. He also helps out on accident scenes, and pulls his low loader trailer to help out stranded vehicles. He is also seen assisting in engine rescues (Season 6's 'Gordon Takes a Tumble') and lowering boats into the sea (Season 11's 'Thomas Sets Sail'). He also assisted with the demolition of Tidmouth Sheds in 'Calling All Engines!'. His number plate is 'BRK 03', and is also known as the 'Sodor Heavy Recovery Unit'. He was one of the first Thomas characters to have facial hair.
Butch was only named in the Season 5 story 'Horrid Lorry' (and seen without a face), however he has made many cameos since. It is revealed on the official website that he was constructed out of a diesel, lorry and crane.
Tiger Moth is a red and yellow plane who is reckless and daring. He flys up high, doing tricks to show off, and is very rude indeed. But soon his ways catch up with him and he crashes into a hay stack. After that he is grounded for while but is soon flying high again.
Tiger Moth has had few features but several cameos. He was first seen in Season 5.
In the Thomas Magazines Tiger Moth is seen with a face in the story 'The Great Air Race', in which he challenges Harold to a race and loses as an comeuppance to his 'hot-headed' attitude.
Tiger Moth is based on a real biplane aircraft, the de Havilland Tiger Moth.
Thumper is a red quarry machine with two arms and caterpillar tracks, who was designed and bought for loosening rocks and enabling the workman to collect it faster. He proved useful, but often went out of control, which caused a huge boulder to run loose and chase the narrow-gauge engines down the line. These days he is mainly used for slate mining.
Thumper has had no real personality, although he has been said to act as a 'cool man'. He only featured in one Season 5 story, 'Rusty and the Boulder', with no dialogue. He was the first non-Awdry character created with caterpillar treads.
He is not based upon any particular type of quarry machine - indeed, a machine of that sort would be positively dangerous to those around. Another example would be the lack of windows at the front of the cab, making the operator unable to see.
Colin Is a Wharf Crane. His first appearence was in the Season 12 episode, "The Party Surprise".
Kevin is a Mobile Crane. He first appeared in the special, Hero Of The Rails.
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'. However, they have recently been featured with 4 new characters in a new DVD entitled On Site with Thomas; though whether the episodes on this DVD form part of the official Thomas canon or not is debatable.
The Pack consists of:
A friendly and enthusiastic front loader. Jack 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 has the number 11. In some promo sketches of the Pack characters seen on a Japanese website, Jack is seen with a backhoe arm and bucket, most likely drawn before it may have been removed from the model to avoid any more likeness to Scoop from Bob the Builder.
It is unsure of what type of vehicle Jack is based off, although he does resemble a Nuffield Tractor.
Alfie is an excavator and a fast worker whose motto is, "More help 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.
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 off, 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 has the number 14 painted on his cab. 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.
Max and Monty
Max and Monty are the devious and troublesome 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 (with yellow crane arm) and the oldest member of the Pack, having originally belonged to Miss Jenny's father. He seem to be good at heart and to get along with everyone (except perhaps Max and Monty). Kelly has the number 17 painted on the sides of his cab .
Byron is a boisterous yellow bulldozer with a big blade. He is a bit up on himself, but likes to be useful like the rest of the Pack. He has the number 18 painted on his sides.
Ned is an old 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. He has the number 19 painted on his cab as well as 'Packard and Co.'.
Isabella is a vintage lorry who looks almost identical to Elizabeth, apart from her bright yellow paintwork. She is a hard worker, but does not like getting dirty. She has the number 22 painted on her sides.
Patrick 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. Patrick is older than a lot of the other machines and has a lot of experience in construction, he means well despite his pride and boastfulness, and likes to help the younger less experienced machines. He dons the number 23 for The Pack.
Buster is a simple 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 wears the number 13.
Nelson is an intelligent transporter truck whose job is to haul construction workers to and from work. As the bearer of such weighty loads, Thet often feel overworked, but will never complain.He is proud of their paint job and are happiest when they looks their best. Nelson is 10
There are several vehicles that appear in various episodes as props. They do not have faces and do not speak. However, some fans class them as characters nonetheless. The Ertl_Company range of die-cast models featured a number of them, partly to ensure that they could keep up the numbers of new "characters" released in the years between seasons. For a time, the official Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends website included some of these vehicles in their character section, but they have since been deleted. The Ertl range named a number of these "characters" for ease of identification (such as the Dyson Low Loader and the Sodor Soft-Side Truck), and these names are still used by fans.
From Season 3 onwards, a number of the background vehicles were used from the defunct television series TUGS. These mainly consisted of boats, but a number of cars, lorries and cranes from that source also made their way into the series.