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Please visit the TUGS wiki, based on the sister series of Thomas and Friends.


Tugs was a television series produced by David Mitton and Robert D. Cardona of Clearwater Features. The series had a short run of thirteen episodes and lasted for three months in 1989. From the third to twelfth series, some of the models from Tugs were used on Thomas & Friends after the series was cancelled, such as the S.S. Roxstar, Lakesider III, the cranes, the boats and the Fultan Ferry. Some of the Tugs models had made it past the CGI switch-over and are now generated in the CGI series.

Big Mickey is the only character to appear in both the model and CGI series.

Modified Models

  • S.S. Vienna
    • Had red funnels (late third series).
    • Had black and white-stripped funnels, a black superstructure and renamed to S.S. Roxstar (fourth series onwards).
  • Big Mickey
    • The megaphone was removed.
    • Had a thinner top rail and walkway more detailed (third to fifth series).
    • Had riveted steel sides, covered hoist ends, square wheelhouse walkway and a new base (sixth series onwards).
    • Gains a face (twenty-first series onwards).
  • Coast Guard
    • Face and hat removed from the wheelhouse.
    • Repainted light grey all over (fourth series).
  • A Shrimper
    • Megaphones removed, had a white superstructure and renamed to Katherine.
  • A Mail Boat
    • Had a grey and red-stripped funnel.
  • Izzy Gomez
    • Face and hat removed from wheelhouse and had a black and green-stripped funnel.
  • O.J.
    • Face and hat removed from the wheelhouse, had a white superstructure, a black and white-stripped funnel and renamed to Lakesider III.


  • The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Open Trucks used in the second series of Thomas & Friends were later used as Goods Trucks pulled by Puffa and the Goods Engine in TUGS.
  • In December 2012/January 2013, members of SiF purchased many of the original TUGS models and formed The Star Tugs Trust, which aims to restore the models.
  • Unlike Thomas & Friends, TUGS was never exported to North America. However, an American series called Salty's Lighthouse used the series as a segment, except Salty's Lighthouse used edited footage of TUGS, as well as some TUGS characters having their names and genders edited.
  • Big Mickey and S.S. Vienna are the only two characters from TUGS to make it into the CGI series.
  • A few crane models which were used as background items in TUGS were later seen throughout the series and were even generated in CGI.
  • A few of the Japanese cast members would later work for Thomas & Friends after the eighth series, namely Masashi Ebara, Rokurō Naya and Hideyuki Umezu.
  • According to David Axford, early scripts of Thomas and the Magic Railroad proposed that the TUGS models were to be featured in a scene entitled "Thomas' Sea-side run by".
  • In some third series episodes, the fanfare cue from TUGS can be heard.
  • A grey building from TUGS appeared at Drayton Manor for a brief time in 2009.
  • There was a plan to make a CGI Series for TUGS by members from the Star Tugs Trust, but the producers and members of this idea cancelled the project and kept their focus on the Star Tugs Trust.
  • The siren from the episode Munitions can be heard in the twenty-fourth series episode Emily to the Rescue.
  • A small recreation of the "Dangerous Rescue Theme" can be heard at start of Down by the Docks.

See also

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