Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
Main Page

This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the magazine story or the VHS.

“Hello! Playing tank engines? Sensible engine. Take my advice: scrap your tender and have a nice bunker.”
―Thomas teasing Gordon

Tenders and Turntables is the fifteenth episode of the first series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book Troublesome Engines.


Life in the yard since has been harder since Thomas left to run his branch line. With no tank engine to shunt in sidings or fetch coaches for them, Henry, James, and Gordon must must do these jobs themselves, which makes them very cross, causing the Fat Controller a great deal of trouble. In addition, while Thomas, being a tank engine, does not need a turntable, the larger tender engines do, as it is dangerous for them to go fast backwards. However, Gordon soon starts acting as though his tender is simply meant to show his importance.

One windy afternoon after lamenting to Thomas about the recent work, Gordon heads for the turntable at the end of the line. The turntable is by the sea, so the wind is very strong and unless an engine is perfectly balanced on the turntable, it becomes difficult to turn. Gordon is in a bad mood and is unable to get perfectly balanced, and neither his driver nor fireman can get him to cooperate. After several attempts, they give up and Gordon is forced to pull his next train tender first.

When Gordon arrives at the junction, a group of boys joke around and taunt him by calling him a tank engine. Thomas, who is waiting at the junction, laughs and suggests that Gordon should scrap his tender and get a nice bunker. James passes by with his train and laughs at Gordon as well. Gordon warns him that he may also stick on the turntable, but James claims that he will not because he is "not so fat" as him.

When James gets to the sheds; he carefully lines up on the turntable, allowing it to move very easily. But the strong wind begins to spin James around like a top, making his face turn green. Gordon arrives and sees the whole thing. When the turntable finally stops spinning, Gordon laughs as James backs into the shed feeling dizzy and humiliated.

Well, well. Are you playing round-a-bouts?

That night, Gordon, James, and Henry hold an indignation meeting. They decide it would be best, after the day's events, to go on strike.




  • This episode's opening exposition is taken from the story, Henry and the Elephant, which was not adapted for television until the fourth series.
  • This episode is one of the few instances where the term "fat" is kept intact in the US dub; in other episodes such as Thomas and the Guard and Off the Rails, the word is replaced with less pejorative terms due to broadcasting concerns.
  • James' whistle as he puffs onto the turntable and goes into the sheds after being spun is absent in both of Ringo Starr's dubs.
  • A behind-the-scenes photo taken at the time of filming for this episode shows that the Märklin Engine was used. The photo also shows Thomas with the same train he pulled in Troublesome Trucks, indicating that the beginning of said episode was filmed alongside this one.
  • Freeze frames are used when Thomas talks to Gordon about pulling his train backwards and for James' closeup in Tidmouth Sheds.
  • The JEI TV version of the Korean dub added subtitles to inform viewers what tank engines and tender engines are.


  • The Korean title of the episode is 고든, 제임스, 헨리의 꿍꿍이 (Godeun, Jeimseu, Helliui kkungkkungi). However, this is incorrect grammar, and the correct title should have been 고든, 제임스 그리고 헨리의 꿍꿍이 (Deun, Jeimseu Geurigo Helliui kkungkkungi).
  • When the engines say "We get no rest! We get no rest!", Henry has no crew in his cab and his train has no brake coach.
  • When the coaches say "You're lazy and slack! You're lazy and slack!" the second coach slightly bounces a few times.
  • In the close-up of the Fat Controller looking upset, his hat's brim has two chips in it.
  • When Gordon is on the turntable the first time, some wires can be seen inside his cab.
  • When Thomas and Gordon are at Elsbridge:
    • Clarabel is facing the wrong way.
    • Gordon's left buffer is crooked.
    • Both engines' puffing noises are heard before they start to move.
  • The narrator says that the fireman tried to turn the handle on the turntable, but there is a workman stationed at the turntable booth instead.
  • When James puffs onto the turntable, he is facing the sheds, but in the close-up shot of him, he is facing away from the sheds.
  • In the close-up of James moving on the turntable, the reflection of crew member Frank Schultz can be seen in his smokebox, and his dome is scratched.
  • The turntable stops on the last berth to the right, but when James backs into the shed, the turntable is in the center.


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Descontentamento dos Grandes
Chinese Mandarin 煤水车和转盘
Croatian Tenderi i Okretaljke
Czech Tendry a Točny
Danish Kulvogne og Drejeskiver
Dutch Kolen Wagons en Draaitafels
Finnish Hiilivaunuveturit Karusellissa
French Les Tenders et les Plaques Tournantes
German Kohlewagen und Drehscheiben
Greek Προβλήματα για Όλους
Hebrew קטרי הפחם ומשטח הסיבוב
Hungarian A Rakoncátlan Mozdony
Icelandic Stórlestir og Snúnispatlar
Italian Locomotive Arrabbiate
Japanese おおきなきかんしゃとてんしゃだい
Korean 고든, 제임스, 헨리의 꿍꿍이
Latin American Spanish Vagones y Plataformas
Norwegian Store Tog og Snuplasser
Polish Parowozy i Obrotnice
Romanian Tenderele şi Plăcile Rotative
Romansh Platta girabla
Russian Тендерные паровозы
Serbian Lokomotive i Okretnice
Slovak Tendrovky a Točne
Slovenian Težave Lokomotiv pri Obračanju
Swedish Stora Lokomotiv
Ukrainian Тендери і поворотні кола
Welsh Troi Mewn Cylchoedd

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


  • Troublesome Trucks and 8 Other Stories



  • Tenders and Turntables and Other Stories (Ringo Starr's dub)
  • Thomas and His Friends Get Along (George Carlin's dub)
  • The Early Years (UK dub)

DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets


















DVD Packs



  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4