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

TUGS (stylized as TUGS) was the sister show of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. The series had a short run of thirteen episodes and lasted from 1988 to 1989. Thomas and Friends used some of the TUGS models 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 had made it past the CGI switch-over and are now generated in the CGI series.

TUGS was directed by David Mitton and Robert D. Cardona as a production of Clearwater Features.

Modified Models

  • S.S. Vienna
    • Had red funnels (late season 3).
    • Had black and white-stripped funnels, a black superstructure and renamed to S.S. Roxstar (season 4 onwards).
  • Big Mickey
    • Megaphone was removed.
    • Had a thinner top rail and walkway more detailed (Season 3-5)
    • Had riveted steel sides, covered hoist ends, square wheelhouse walkway and a new base (season 6 onwards).
    • Gains a face (season 21 onwards).
  • Coast Guard
    • Face and hat removed from wheelhouse.
    • Repainted light grey all over (Season 4).
  • 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 wheelhouse, had a white superstructure, a black and white-stripped funnel and renamed to Lakesider III.


  • The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Trucks used in the second season of Thomas and 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 most of the original TUGS models and formed The Star Tugs Trust, which aims to restore the models.
  • While members of SIF purchased the original TUGS Models, some of the models like Top Hat were not found, or not sold to them.
  • Unlike Thomas and Friends and its other spin-off, Shining Time Station, this show was never exported to North America, although Salty's Lighthouse, an American TV series, contained edited footage from this show.
  • Big Mickey and S.S. Vienna were 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 majority of the Japanese cast would later work for Thomas and Friends after the eighth season, including Masashi Ebara, Rokurō Naya and Hideyuki Umezu.
  • According to Dave 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 season episodes, the fanfare cue from Tugs can be heard.
  • There was an idea 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. 

See also