- “In those days, I used to pull slip coaches; coaches which could be uncoupled without even stopping! That way, we always ran on time and there were never any delays.”
The Slip Coaches are three Great Western bogie coaches who work with Duck on The Little Western. They are special as they can be uncoupled at stations without the engine stopping. Duck calls them Slippies.
Thomas & Friends
Before coming to Sodor, Duck used to pull these three slip coaches on "The Sunshine Line", part of the Great Western Railway.
Later, Duck told the other engines about his coaches. When the Fat Controller was concerned about passengers getting to their destinations on time during the peak summer months; James told him about slip coaches, claiming Duck's idea as his own. The Fat Controller purchased some slip coaches, and rewarded James with the chance to pull the coaches on Duck's Branch Line, but not knowing the red engine did not know how to time the uncoupling correctly. At Bluff's Cove, after uncoupling the rear coach, he slowed down to show off his paintwork. Because the last coach was still moving, it bumped into the back of the rest of the train. The slip coaches then refused to move, as James didn't know how to use them.
By coincidence, the slip coaches that the Fat Controller purchased were the same slip coaches Duck used to pull on the Great Western Railway and they were glad to see their old engine. Since Duck knew how to handle the slip coaches, he took over pulling the slip coaches from James for the rest of the day.
At Christmas, when Connor needed extra coaches for his last train on Christmas Eve, the slip coaches offered to help. The third was released at Kellsthorpe Road, the second coach was released at Maron, and the first coach was released at Wellsworth. Unfortunately, the first coach overshot the platform, but Thomas managed to shunt the coach to the platform.
When they first arrived on the Island of Sodor, the trio were allocated to the Main Line to help out when trains were busy. The Slip Coaches are now permanently used on the Little Western, pulled by Duck. However, one day when Dowager Hatt was running the railway, the coaches were seen being pulled by 'Arry. Another time, Edward borrowed the slip coaches.
The Slip Coaches are very good friends with Duck. Like most coaches, they do not like being bumped by an engine. They can be very judgemental if they are not treated right, and need to be handled delicately.
The Slip Coaches are based on the Great Western Railway's Slip Coaches. These coaches had the unique ability in which they could be uncoupled at stations without stopping. The uncoupled coaches are stopped when the guard sets a handbrake.
Sadly, none of these coaches have survived to preservation. The last service took place in 1960 and was hauled by GWR Castle Class No. 5023 Brechin Castle on the London to Wolverhampton express.
The Slip Coaches are painted maroon and cream, almost similar to British Railways' coaching stock of the 1950s.
- 2016 - The Last Train for Christmas
- Duck's first and third slip coaches are the first male coaches to be introduced in the television series. All three are also the first sentient coaches to be introduced in the television series since Old Slow Coach in the fifth series.
- The Slip Coaches were the only characters created by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler before they left the production team the following series.
- They were the first characters with embedded faces since Harold in the second series.