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“The cranes are for lifting heavy things like engines and coaches and trucks.”
Thomas' driver, Thomas and the Breakdown Train, first series

The Breakdown Train is composed of two cranes, flatbeds and a coach for the workmen.


The Railway Series

The Breakdown Train is pulled to accident scenes to lift engines, coaches and trucks onto the rails. The train is manned by workmen. Thomas once brought it to rescue James after he crashed into a field from being pushed by the Troublesome Trucks.

Thomas & Friends

Since Rocky's arrival, the breakdown cranes were rarely seen, but the works unit coach - in several colours - has regularly appeared in the CGI series.

The Breakdown Train returned in The Adventure Begins, in the form of Judy and Jerome, gaining new colours and increasing in size. Additionally, the works unit coach is now painted orange-brown, its Railway Series livery.

In Big World! Big Adventures!, another Breakdown Train was seen in China helping Nia back on the track.

When Thomas derailed, Rajiv brought the Breakdown Train to put Thomas back on the rails.[1]

Technical Details


In the Railway Series, the cranes and flatbeds are based on a Cowans Sheldon 45-ton breakdown crane. In the television series, the cranes and flatbeds are based on a Cowans Sheldon 30 ton breakdown crane.

The works unit coach is based on the old coaches that do appear to be freelances though they do bare a resemblance with some pre-grouping company builds such as those on the Great Northern and Great North of Scotland railways. However, in The Railway Series, it appears similar to the non-corridor suburban coaches operated by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.


In The Railway Series, the cranes and flatbeds were originally painted dark green. They were later painted red with the top of the cranes painted cream. Finally, they were painted in a dull green-brown. The works unit coach is painted orange with a white rooftop.

In the television series, the cranes, flatbeds and works unit coach are all painted grey-green. There are also several other works unit coaches, all painted in different liveries, such as blue, brown and dark green. In the CGI series, Judy and Jerome, the breakdown cranes, are painted dark green-grey with yellow hazard stripes along their sides. They have brass nameplates on the sides of their cabs. The works unit coach is painted orange with a white rooftop.

The Chinese cranes and flatbeds are painted light green with yellow hazard stripes. The Indian cranes and flatbeds are painted yellow.


Thomas & Friends




  • The Breakdown Train's model used to be on display at Drayton Manor, but it is now in storage. Two of the flatbeds were on display as well, but they had different loads. One had a tractor and some hay bales, and the other had the water wheel from Steady Eddie. One of the flatbeds is now currently in storage.
  • In the UK dub of the game Trouble on the Tracks, the Breakdown Train is referred to as the "Breakdown Truck" for unknown reasons.
  • In Thomas and the Magic Railroad, the cranes both had posters reading “Sir Topham Needs You” on the back of their cabs.
  • Since the fourteenth series, many recoloured versions of the works unit coach have been seen, mostly being used in goods trains. The coach also gained front windows.
  • In The Railway Series, the Breakdown Train is sometimes seen with two vans, presumably loaded with crane equipment.


All merchandise but Hornby and Capsule Plarail had only one crane and flatbed and without the works unit coach, although it was sold separately in TOMY.


* RWS only | ** T&F only | --- Dropped
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