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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the magazine story or the VHS.
"Take care. You might stick too!"
"No fear! I'm not so fat as you!"
―Gordon and James

Tenders and Turntables is the fifteenth episode of the first season. In the US, this episode aired on the Shining Time Station episodes Whistle While You Work in 1989 and Schemer's Robot in 1993.


Life has been harder at the yard since Thomas left to run his branch line. With no tank engine to shunt or fetch coaches for them, Henry, James, and Gordon must shunt in the sidings and fetch their own coaches which soon 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 backwards too fast.

One windy afternoon, Gordon arrives at the other end of the line with his train and heads for the turntable. 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 trying again and again, they give up and he 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 flies by with his train and laughs as well. Gordon warns James that he may also stick on the turntable, but he claims that he won't because he is "not so fat as him."


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

When James gets to the sheds; he carefully lines up on the turntable, allowing it to move very easily. But the strong wind has other ideas and begins to spin James around like a top. Gordon arrives just in time to see the whole thing. When the turntable finally stops spinning, James backs into the shed looking rather sick, dizzy and humiliated.

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 is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Troublesome Engines. Much of the exposition at the episode's start is from the story Henry and the Elephant from the same book.
  • James' whistle while puffing onto the turntable and after being spun is absent in both Ringo Starr versions, but can be heard in all other versions.
  • Despite aiming to avoid using this term in the American script, this episode is the first to use the word "fat" in the US.
  • A reference to Thomas and the Breakdown Train and a foreshadow to Trouble in the Shed are made.
  • Two freeze frames are used when Thomas talks to Gordon about pulling his train backwards and when James is in the shed by himself.
  • A behind the scenes photo from this episode shows that the Märklin engine was used.
  • James' mishap with the turntable is based on an event that occurred in 1900 at a railway station in Garsdale Head, Cumbria, England.
  • This episode marks the only appearance of Vicarstown Goods Yard before Journey Beyond Sodor which would air 33 years later.


  • When the engines say, "We get no rest! We get no rest!" there are two orange coaches behind Henry, but in the next scene, when the coaches say, "You're lazy and slack! You're lazy and slack!" Henry is coupled up to three coaches. Also, Henry has no crew in his cab.
  • When the narrator says, "The big stations at both ends of the line..." Henry is shunting the same coaches as he was when James came past shunting his and the first coach behind Henry seems to have a dented roof.
  • James' brake coach is backwards when he rushes through Elsbridge.
  • In the close-up of James spinning on the turntable, a crew member's face and arm is reflected in his paintwork and his dome is scratched. Also the wires between James and his tender are visible.
  • When the turntable stops spinning, it connects to the last berth on the right, but when James reverses, the turntable leads to the middle line.
  • When Thomas and Gordon are at Elsbridge, Clarabel is facing forwards, Gordon's left (viewer perspective right) buffer is wonky and both of their puffing noises are heard before they start to move.
  • When James puffs onto the turntable, he is facing towards the sheds, but in the close-up of him as the turntable turns, he is facing away from the sheds.
  • In the close-up of Sir Topham Hatt being confused, his hat's brim has two chips on it.
  • When Gordon backs onto the Tidmouth Sheds' turntable at the beginning, Sir Topham Hatt's blue car is missing some of its paint.
  • In Gordon's close-up, his buffers are crooked.


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
German Kohlewagen und Drehscheiben Coal Wagons and Turntables
Norwegian Store tog og snuplasser Big Trains and Turning Places
Brazilian Portuguese O Descontentamento dos grandes The Discontent of the Big Ones
Spanish Vagones y Plataformas Trucks and Platforms
Welsh Troi mewn Cylchoedd Turning in Circles
Japanese おおきなきかんしゃとてんしゃだい Have a Nice Day and a Big Day
Polish Parowozy i Obrotnice Locomotives and Rotors
Hungarian A rakoncátlan mozdony The Unruly Engine
Dutch Kolen Wagons en draaitafels Coal Wagons and Turntables
Italian Locomotive Arrabbiate Angry Locomotive
Finnish Hiilivaunuveturit Karusellissa Tender Engines' Merry-Go-Round
Croatian Tenderi i okretaljke Tenders and Turners
Hebrew קטרי הפחם ומשטח הסיבוב The Coal Engines and the Rotation Surface
Slovenian Težave lokomotiv pri obračanju Problems Locomotives Turning
Russian Тендерные паровозы Tender Locomotives
Ukrainian Тендери і поворотні кола Tenders and Turning Circle
Chinese 煤水车和转盘 Coal Waterwheel and Turntable
Korean 고든, 제임스, 헨리의 꿍꿍이 Gordon, James, Henry's Underhand Scheme
Romanian Tenderele şi Plăcile Rotative Tenders and Turntables
Slovak Tendrovky a Točne Tenders and Turntables
Swedish Stora Lokomotiv Large Engine
Czech Tendry a točny Tenders and Turntables
Serbian Lokomotive i okretnice Locomotives and Turntables
Danish Kulvogne og drejeskiver Tenders and Turntables
Greek Προσφορών και Πικάπ Tender and Turntable
Thai หัวรถจักรน้อยใจ Offense Engine
French Les Tenders et les Plaques Tournantes Tenders and Turning Plates

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


  • Troublesome Trucks and 8 Other Stories


DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets


















DVD Packs






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