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Tenders and Turntables

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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

David Mitton


Britt Allcroft
David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona


Reverend W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Ringo Starr (UK/US)
George Carlin (US)

Air date

November 27th,
1984 (UK)
April 24th,
1987 (AUS)
March 19th,
1989 (US)
July 10th,
1990 (JAP)
April 19th,
1993 (George
Carlin US

Previous episode

Thomas and Bertie/
Thomas and
Bertie's Great Race

Next episode

Trouble in the Shed

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 and Schemer's Robot.


Life is harder at the yard since Thomas left to run his branch line. With no tank engine to shunt or be the station pilot, Henry, James, and Gordon must shunt in the sidings and fetch their own coaches.

One blustery day, 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. Neither his driver nor his fireman can get him to cooperate. After trying again and again, they give up and are forced to pull his next train tender first.

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

When James gets to the sheds, he carefully lines up on the turntable and his crew slowly rotates the turntable. But the strong wind has other ideas and begins to spin James around uncontrollably. Gordon arrives just in time to see the whole thing. When the turntable finally stops, James backs into the shed and says nothing, 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 with the opening dialogue from Henry and the Elephant.
  • James' whistle after being spun on the turntable is absent in both Ringo Starr versions, but can be heard in all other versions.
  • In the Railway Series, Henry has a mishap with a circus elephant and that, along with the problems in this episode, causes Gordon, Henry, and James to go on strike. In the television series, Henry's mishap occurred in the fourth season.
  • 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 scene photo from this episode shows that the Marklin engine was used.
  • The episode may have been filmed alongside Troublesome Trucks, as Thomas can be seen in a behind the scenes photo, with the same trucks he was pulling in the opening shot of the latter. Also when the turntable stops spinning, it's pointed to the right end berth where James was seen in when the Fat Controller had shut him up.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • James' brake coach is backwards when he rushes through Elsbridge.
  • Gordon' left buffer is crooked when he is talking with Thomas at Elsbridge.
  • In the close-up of James spinning on the turntable a crewmember's face is reflected in his paintwork.
  • When the turntable stops spinning it connects 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.
  • When James spins on the turntable, the trees in the background are not blowing even when the narrator says there is wind.

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 Large
Spanish Vagones Y Plataformas Wagons 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 Big Engines and Turntables
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 Tarjous Moottorit "Merry-Go-Round Tender Engines' Merry-Go-Round
Croatian Tenderi i okretaljke Tenders and Turners



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