|This article is about the coaches. You may be looking for the magazine story or the Story Library book.|
Annie and Clarabel are Thomas' faithful coaches, whom he loves dearly and would never dream of being separated from them.
Annie and Clarabel both have seating accommodation for carrying passengers; Clarabel also has a brake compartment for luggage and a guard. The two coaches are nearly always seen coupled together, with Annie usually facing Thomas and Clarabel facing backwards.
Annie and Clarabel were given to Thomas in 1925, when he was given his branch line. They operate as a push-pull set. They have had several adventures, such as losing their guard and becoming runaways. Clarabel once derailed on a set of trap points when Thomas slipped on some oily rails and had to be helped by Diesel.
Thomas met Annie and Clarabel for the first time when he thought they were the Express Coaches. He apologised and introduced himself, leaving Annie and Clarabel impressed. At that time, they were often pulled by James. When Thomas received his branch line after rescuing James, the two coaches were given to him to use.
At times when Thomas is away, James, Percy, Toby, Duck, Stanley, Emily, Rosie (unseen) and Ryan have all taken his place to pull them. Emily and Neville have both taken them not knowing they were Thomas' coaches and Caitlin has once taken them without realising they were coupled to her own coaches and Hiro saved them. Gordon also pulled them once, when Samson took his Express Coaches by mistake. Ashima, Daisy, Diesel and Nia have also pulled them.
Annie and Clarabel are respectful to all of the engines, but most of all Gordon and Thomas, whilst they respect Daisy least of all for insulting them and Henrietta. They show a kind and caring side to everyone on the whole railway. However, despite their kindness and sweetness, when needed they can be stern, especially Annie, like when they scolded Thomas for teasing Gordon, however they are no saints themselves. Once when Daisy was rude to them, they naughtily tricked her into thinking that there was something wrong with her which caused confusion and delay. When the Fat Controller found out he told them that two wrongs don't make a right and that he expected better from the both of them. Annie and Clarabel are best friends, but like all friends, such as Donald and Douglas, sometimes they fall out.
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.
In the Railway Series, they are a pair of bogie coaches (i.e. each coach is supported on a pair of four-wheeled bogies or "trucks"). As currently illustrated, they appear similar to non-corridor suburban coaches operated by the LMS. In the 1987 annual Christopher Awdry implies the pair were likely built in the early 20th century on the mainland and that they were possibly six-wheeled designs. Some time after being brought to Sodor their bodies were lengthened, placed on bogie frames and upgraded with electric lighting.
In the television series, Annie and Clarabel are LB&SCR four-wheeled coaches built to a design by Stroudley between the early 1870s and late 80s. Several coaches of this type are preserved on the Bluebell Railway and the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.Several other coaches all share the same basis as Annie and Clarabel in Season 1.
In the Railway Series, Annie and Clarabel were originally painted orange-brown and were later painted brown with a yellow stripe.
In the television series, they were painted in an orange-tan livery with their names painted on their sides in white. In the fifth season, they were refurbished, repainted and their buffer shank housings became red at the request of Lady Hatt.
In the CGI Series, their liveries are a more vibrant orange. In Thomas' imagination where he gets streamlined in The Great Race, Annie and Clarabel are repainted in NWR blue with a white stripe near the bottom and a thicker white stripe with red borders near the top.
In the magazine story, Thomas, Terence and the Snow, Annie and Clarabel were coloured greenish grey.
Annie and Clarabel on the Big Screen
Annie and Clarabel were voiced by Shelley-Elizabeth Skinner in Thomas and the Magic Railroad. In the film, after Thomas met Junior and Lily the two agreed to help and together to find Mr. Conductor at the Windmill, he told Annie and Clarabel that Percy will pick them up, leaving Annie and Clarabel behind.
- The Hero of the Rails intro shows Annie and Clarabel with bogie wheels.
- Annie and Clarabel's models used to be on display at Nitrogen Studios but are now on display at Hara Model Railway Museum in Japan.
- Early illustrations of Annie show her shocked face and this was carried on to later illustrations and most merchandise. This is likely intentional for easier identification. Even Hornby both had Annie and Clarabel models with smiling faces originally.
- A real television series version of Clarabel (a former LNER "Sunshine" coach) has been put into service at the Llangollen Railway in North Wales.
- Originally, there were plans to give Annie and Clarabel 3D grey faces, similar to the engines, in the twelfth season, as it would be easier to animate. During the production of said season, they were referred to as Annabel and Clarabelle.
- Their original television series models were built from Tenmille Stroudley coach kits.
- Bachmann HO models of Annie and Clarabel appeared in the 2015 Marvel film "Ant-Man", along with models of Thomas and Emily's Coaches.
- In the French dub of the Classic Series, Annie and Clarabel were called Annette and Claudette.
- Several merchandise ranges and CGI promos of Clarabel lack her guard compartment.
- Up until the debut of the Slip Coaches in Season 18, Annie and Clarabel were the only characters with embedded faces ever since that practice had phased out.
- Annie and Clarabel went through several aesthetic changes in the television series:
- Season 3:
- Annie's front bufferbeam was raised to the same level as her rear one and Clarabel's; prior to this, it had been lowered down to accommodate Thomas' abnormally low buffers.
- Season 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.
- 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.
- Season 13:
- Annie and Clarabel's eyelashes disappeared.
- Season 14:
- Some episodes featured their eyelashes back.
- Season 15:
- Their eyelashes returned fully.
- Season 3:
- In CGI promotional images and in almost all merchandising, Clarabel lacks her guards compartment.
- “Oh come along, we're rather late! Oh come along, we're rather late!"
"We're coming along! We're coming along!”
- ―Thomas, Annie and Clarabel singing, Thomas and the Guard, first season
- “He's dreadfully rude, I feel quite ashamed. I feel quite ashamed, he's dreadfully rude. You mustn't be rude, you make us ashamed”
- ―Annie and Clarabel telling Thomas off for teasing Gordon, Down the Mine, first season
- “My! What splendid coaches! So much better than those beach huts on wheels!”
- ―Lady Hatt, Sir Topham Hatt's Holiday, fifth season
- “I'll never complain about Thomas again!"
"Nor will I!”
- ―Annie and Clarabel after being pulled by Caitlin, Not So Slow Coaches, eighteenth season
- “Those are my coaches! Give them back!”
- ―Thomas telling Emily to bring Annie and Clarabel back, Emily's New Coaches, seventh season
- “Clarabel: Come on, Thomas!
Annie: It's time to go!”
- ―lines in every twenty-second season end segment onwards