Behind the Scenes

This is a behind the scenes subpage for Annie and Clarabel.
This subpage contains all behind the scenes material relating to said article.

Background Information

The Railway Series

Annie and Clarabel are fictional standard gauge coaches created by the Rev. W. Awdry.

They first appeared in the Railway Series book, Thomas the Tank Engine, which was published in 1946. Their last appearance was in Thomas and his Friends, published in 2011.

Illustrations of Annie and Clarabel:

Behind the Scenes

Awdry's models

The coach that was to be the basis for Annie was first built by a teenage Wilbert Awdry as part of a model railway layout. Many years later, after a long hiatus from modelling, a brake coach was built to match so that the Reverend's Thomas model would have a complete train and it would be called Clarabel.

Television Series

Clarabel cameoed in the series premiere, but both wouldn't be properly introduced until Thomas and the Breakdown Train, making several appearances since. The two were constantly portrayed as faithful to Thomas but prone to complaining from time to time, either from Thomas's behavior or other factors. As they belong to Thomas, Annie and Clarabel have multiple appearances, rivaling their engine in frequency. The 2 rarely saw any speaking roles from series 8-16, but since Blue Mountain Mystery, they became series regulars and now speak in many episodes. Shelley-Elizabeth Skinner voiced both in Thomas and the Magic Railroad, while Teresa Gallagher voices both of them in the english dub since 2012. Gallagher and Skinner portray them with British accents, while the former depicts Annie with a deeper voice compared to Clarabel.

Gauge 1 models

Annie and Clarabel were made from Tenmille's gauge 1 Stroudley 1st/2nd Composite coach with custom roofs and vacuum formed ends. For production of the episode, Sir Topham Hatt's Holiday, resin copies of them were made.

In the Clearwater Features era, Annie has her front bufferbeam lowered to match Thomas' low buffers. In the third series, it was raised to the same position as her rear one and Clarabel's. However, many of the promotional arts remains low position.

In the first series episodes James and the Coaches, Annie and Clarabel were reused for the orange branch line coaches.

In the first series episodes Thomas' Christmas Party, Clarabel has red cheeks indicating cold.

In the third series episodes Thomas Gets Bumped, Annie was seen with open doors. This was reproduced by bonding door parts to the side.

In the tenth series episodes Thomas and the Shooting Star, Clarabel was seen with a tail lamp. This was powered by a hidden battery pack.

Annie and Clarabel have modifications throughout the model era. These include:

  • Series 3:
    • Annie's front bufferbeam was raised to the same position as her rear one and Clarabel's; prior to this, it had been lowered down to accommodate Thomas' abnormally low buffers.
  • Series 5:
    • They became significantly weathered, due to their models being in poor shape.
    • In Sir Topham Hatt's Holiday, they were repainted, lost their weathering, they received grey roofs and their buffer shank housings became red.

During production of the twelfth series, new faces were proposed for Annie and Clarabel. These faces would be grey and rectangular similar to many of the other characters in the television series. Additionally, the new faces would not be meshed into the carriage body, making it easier to add the faces in post using CGI tracking software. Ultimately, the design was dropped and they retained their original face designs.

Annie and Clarabel's resin models are now on display at the Hara Model Railway Museum. They had previously been on display at Nitrogen Studios.

In 2019, a faithful replica prop was made by CoolProps in Japan and sold to the public. They used the original models located at the Hara Model Railway Museum in Japan for referencing.

Gauge 3 models

Gauge 3 models of Annie and Clarabel was built in the eleventh series to be used alongside the large-scale models of Skarloey Railway engines, which had been used since the fifth series for ease of filming and reliability. The models only appeared in the episode, Duncan Does it All.

Close-up model

A close-up model of Annie and Clarabel were built to be used for scenes where they had to interact with the close-up scale figures. The same model was used for both coaches with Annie's name written on one side and Clarabel's name on the other.

Annie and Clarabel's close up model was used in the first, third, fourth, sixth, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth series, and the special Calling All Engines!.

In the episodes James and the Coaches and Edward's Exploit, Annie and Clarabel's close-up model was reused for an orange branch line coach.

CGI models

In 2009, the series introduced Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) as a replacement for the show's long-standing live-action models. Annie and Clarabel were recreated from scratch in CGI by Nitrogen Studios. Their models were "hand-sculpted" in Maya, a 3D animation and modelling software.

Photographs of Annie and Clarabel's Gauge 1 models were used for referencing. According to Greg Tiernan, every detail of the original television series models for each character is carefully reproduced in the CGI model. The models are subjected to many rounds of review before they are submitted to HiT Entertainment for final input and approval.

Their CGI models have gone through some slight changes.

  • Hero of the Rails:
    • They increased in length and height; now being as tall as Thomas' cab.
    • The tops of Annie's end windows became slightly curved inwards while Clarabel's remained straight.
    • Their orange-brown liveries became more vibrant.
  • Series 13:
    • Annie and Clarabel's eyelashes disappeared.
  • Series 14:
    • Some episodes featured their eyelashes back.
  • Series 15:
    • Their eyelashes returned fully.

The following pantone colours are used on Annie and Clarabel's CGI models:

  • PMS 153 (brown)
  • PMS 485 (red)
  • PMS 432 (blue)
  • PMS 3 C (black)
  • PMS 873 C (gold)
  • PMS 877 C (silver)

Clarabel's common goofs

Clarabel has a brake compartment for luggage and a guard, unlike Annie. But many merchandise items except some Japanese merchandise share the same mold as Annie, so her guard compartment is omitted. And also seen in several promo art and CGI promos.

Also, even if Clarabel had guard compartment, it was sometimes on the front (opposite her face) by mistake. This error may have been caused creators confusion due to her wrong direction in the television series.

Voice Actors



  • Shelley-Elizabeth Skinner (Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
  • Teresa Gallagher (UK/US)
  • Chisato Nakajima (Japan; first - eighth series, excluding Sir Topham Hatt's Holiday)
  • Tomoko Naka (Japan; Sir Topham Hatt's Holiday only)
  • Saori Gotō (Japan; ninth - eleventh series)
  • Sakura Yoshioka (Japan; Blue Mountain Mystery onwards)
  • Sonja Spuhl (Germany; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
  • Margrit Strassburger (Germany; Blue Mountain Mystery only)
  • Monika Hein (Germany; King of the Railway and seventeenth series only)
  • Marion von Stengel (Germany; Tale of the Brave onwards)
  • Marion Martienzen (Germany; Audio Books only)
  • Marianne Westby (Norway; Blue Mountain Mystery - Tale of the Brave, excluding the seventeenth series)
  • Marit Berg (Norway; seventeenth series only)
  • Ewa Serwa (Poland; Blue Mountain Mystery - seventeenth series)
  • Lidia Sadowa (Poland; eighteenth series onwards)
  • Blanche Ravalec (France and French speaking Canada; seventh series onwards)
  • Ruth Toscano (Latin America; Blue Mountain Mystery onwards)
  • Talya Barkay (Israel)
  • Marjolein Algera (The Netherlands)
  • Claudia Victoria (Brazil)
  • Olga Kuznetsova (Russia; seventeenth series onwards, excluding Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure)
  • Susa Saukko (Finland; Blue Mountain Mystery onwards)
  • Paqui Horcajo (Spain)
  • Laura Amadei (Italy)
  • Vina Papadopoulou (Greece)


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