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Western Animation / Chuggington

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"Chuggington... Chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga, Chuggington! Chuggington... chugga, chugga, chugga... chugga, chugga, chugga..."

Chuggington started airing in Great Britain in 2008, and debuted on the Disney Channel in the United States in 2010. It features three young, talking locomotives referred to as "trainees", and several supporting characters in the form of either people who work at the station or other anthropomorphic trains. Most episodes revolve around these three learning a new kind of job, including pulling passenger cars or delivering cargo... also, serving ice cream and learning to be superheroes.

Two of the founders of the company that produces this show were previously executives for the company that produces Thomas & Friends. Not that there's any similarity between this show and that one.

The main characters are as follows:

  • Wilson, a red locomotive who likes to have fun, often at the expense of listening to important directions. He has also been shown to be impatient and impulsive. Presumably used as a way of demonstrating to kids the benefit of taking your time with important jobs and listening carefully.
  • Brewster, a blue locomotive that is supposed to be the strongest of the three, but also has a tendency to be overly cautious. He's not used to demonstrate subtle moral lessons so much as the two others, but is the butt of their jokes more often.
  • Koko, a green locomotive who is the fastest of the group, and is quite competitive as well. She tends to work faster than the others, then teases them about being slow. This often results in things not going well, or taking longer than normal. The resulting Aesop is similar to what is taught via Wilson.

Chuggington provides Traintastic examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: While no specific year is given, the retro-futuristic architecture and high-tech machinery suggest this series takes place sometime into the future.
  • Abridged Series: Chuggington: Little Trainees, four-minute re-edited episodes with a narrator a la Thomas, produced following the fifth season completed production.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Being old and forgetful, Puffer Pete regularly forgets everyone's names.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version had an exclusive ending theme that included a dance number, called "Janken Train" (Rock-Paper-Scissors Train).
  • Always Late: Since Eddie lived far from Chuggington, he was always late in the earlier episodes. This came to a head in "Late Again, Eddie!" where he moves closer to Chuggington and is never late again for the rest of the series.
  • Ambiguous Robots: Vee is either a human who only communicates through the PA system or — in this world of living machines — actually the PA system.
  • Artistic License – Engineering:
    • Electric trains need overhead wires and a pantograph to operate, no matter what country. Here, Koko, the only electric train, is self-sufficient, which is impossible. There are also, in general, no overhead wires present whatsoever. It is also worth noting that this is a British show, where every electric train that exists in the country does indeed need overhead wires and a pantograph to operate, things that Koko completely lacks, meaning the way she operates is completely conjured from the imagination of the show's creators.
    • Steam trains need coal from their tenders to be put into their engines to continually operate. Old Puffer Pete, Speedy Mcallister, and Olwin, the only traditional steam engines, are able to operate because they obtain their fuel from elsewhere without the use of tenders, something of which steam trains have never been able to do since their debut in the vehicle world.
    • Trains immediately derail as soon as their wheels leave the track, as they are perfectly placed so they fit into the tracks below. Here, the sentient trains jump enthusiastically multiple times and never fall off the tracks. However, they do fall off if they turn a corner at great speed or something similar.
  • Chaos Architecture: Mainly between Seasons 3 and 4. Notably the right depot station and restaurant being moved to make space for the Chug Patrol HQ and many human-catering features being removed and replaced with cargo drop-offs.
  • Character Catchphrase: There are several. Like with Thomas & Friends, many of them are railway-themed puns:
    • Wilson:
      • "Let's ride the rails!"
      • "Perfecto!"
    • Koko:
      • "Chugga-chugga choo-choo!"
      • "Traintastic!"
      • "Go Koko! Go Koko!"
      • She also lets out a squeaky "Ooooooh!" when she is excited.
    • Action Chugger: "I'm number one! I'm helpful, I'm strong, I get the job done!"
    • Emery: "This chugger is ready to depart." (See also Verbal Tic below.)
    • Calley:
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The main trio: Wilson is red, Koko is green, and Brewster is blue.
  • Crying Wolf: Zephie, a small anthropomorphic trolley, is outfitted with a siren to be used in case of emergency in one episode. She almost immediately starts coming up with excuses to use it.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: When Vee sounds an announcement, the three-note tune is the same sound as the "Chuggington" heard in the theme tune. Brewster can be heard briefly humming the theme tune during one of his Badge Quests.
  • A Dog Named "Cat": Discussed at the end of an episode, where characters are wondering what to name a frog and one character suggests naming him Dragon, since she and several others mistook him for one earlier.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Downplayed. In "Wilson and the Wild Wind", Wilson makes a passing comment about Dunbar having an accent. A joke that doesn't translate as well in the US dub, as in the UK dub, he has an exaggerated Irish accent that's Played for Laughs. The joke still kind of works because he has a thin southern accent in the US dub, but it's not as pronounced.
  • Dub Name Change: In the Polish dub, Brewster is renamed Bruno.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: "You're pulling my pistons, aren't you?"
  • Jaded Professional: Frostini the ice-cream factory owner finds his job boring despite having told Wilson that he found it interesting when he first got it.
  • Just Train Wrong: Wilson has the sound of a turbocharged EMD 645 engine, but his basis, the EMD F-unit, used the earlier (and better-known) EMD 567.
  • The Kiddie Ride: A carousel made by Kiddie Rides Australia
  • Leitmotif: Action Chugger has his own theme.
  • Lost Voice Plot: In "Nurse Wilson", Dunbar loses his voice and the Wilson tries to get it back and find out why he lost it. It turns out his mouth needed oiling.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Tai and Rosa from Season 6 are this to Calley and Skylar.
    • Several Dunbar and Harrison recolors appear in the backgrounds of Season 1.
  • Playing Sick: Toot does this in "Toot’s Tall Tale". She fesses up when Morgan tells her she’ll have to stay in the repair shed overnight for a new part.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: "Discover Chuggington: All Aboard", the first shorts from Herschend Entertainment Studios (who bought the series in Dec. 2018), employs this effect as kids journey through the CG world of Chuggington.
  • Single Power Superhero: Action Chugger, a train that can fly, and... that's all.
  • Sleep Aesop: In "Wake Up, Wilson", Wilson stays up late playing with Koko and so messes up his job due to sleep deprivation. In the end, he learns the importance of sleep.
  • Steam Never Dies: Steam locomotives will go on and on and on. Forever. Though one character is introduced that runs on vegetable oil, and the characters comment on the eco-friendliness of this. Downplayed, though, in that there are also plenty of modern diesel and electric locomotives, and in fact none of the three main characters are steam-powered.
  • Three Shorts: This is how the show was packaged in the US, with two regular episodes, and a Badge Quest short sandwiched between the two to fill time. When the show was released on Hulu, all episodes were separated individually as intended, albeit with the Badge Quest shorts missing.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The main trio consists of Wilson (male), Brewster (male), and Koko (female).
  • Verbal Tic: Being a public transit chugger, Emery has a habit of saying certain phrases as transit announcements.
  • The Voice: Vee, the depot announcer and dispatcher. She is only ever "seen" via her omnipresent public address system, which is capable of showing body language (well, as much as a faceless speaker post fastened to the ground can anyway). This coupled with contradictory clues from various episodes make it unclear if she is a human or an intelligent machine like the chuggers.