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Couplers or couplings are devices that connect all rail machines with each other. The couplers that are used in Chuggington, Tootington, San Locomota, Zheng-Chu, and elsewhere are of an American knuckle coupler design and are made of metal.


The original design of the couplers feature a swivel. In the first series, the second series, and the first part of Chuggington: Badge Quest, the ability of chuggers to move on their chassis causes their bodies to clip into their couplers in numerous scenes due to the lack of vertical movement as well as the limited coupler hatches of the chuggers. Additionally, chuggers and rolling stock in the series do not have their couplers placed at a consistent height.

Attempts at circumventing the limited movement of the couplers were made by the animators. Some shots depict couplers as being attached to the chuggers' bodies instead of their chassis to allow for free movement. In shots where couplers that were placed at different heights were required to connect, one of the couplers was typically raised. In the first part of Chuggington: Badge Quest and the second series, vertical movement is allowed without a visual indicator.

In the second series episode, Chug of War, a new automated coupler design was introduced. The new design features both a swivel and hinges. The new design of the couplers also has a retractable piece and can twist slightly. The new design allows chuggers to be able to move more freely on their chassis, couple at the inconsistent heights at which couplers are placed, and traverse steeper inclines. Additionally, the automated coupler system was easier to animate.[3] Starting with the fourth series, couplers are used to control levers and joysticks.

In addition to the new coupler design, the designs of multiple characters were slightly modified in order to widen their range of movement.

  • Wilson and Koko's front coupler hatches are extended to the bottom of their fronts.
  • Koko's rear is shortened so that it ends above her rear coupler.
  • Emery's square plate beneath his coupler entrance is removed.
  • Chatsworth's rear coupler entrance is opened at the bottom.
  • Olwin's bar connected to her buffer bases is removed.

The original coupler design was not removed for all chuggers and rolling stock simultaneously, and it has appeared after its retirement from the series in different forms.


First series design[]

Second series design[]


  • The automated coupler system was designed by Jonny Gorden.[3]
  • In most shots of the series, the chuggers' couplers are not present unless they are required. Many of the chuggers' designs could not realistically accommodate the size of the original couplers, which do not have a retractable piece.
    • Until the second series, chuggers always had their rear couplers extended for this reason.
  • The retractable piece of the new coupler design makes couplers much shorter. In shots requiring that two couplers of the new design are coupled together, one of the couplers is often stretched, for the two couplers would not reach each other at their actual length.
  • Prior to the introduction of the newer coupler design, Zephie only had one coupler. In Heave Ho Harrison, Zephie is depicted with two couplers, but all shots including her are framed so that only one of her couplers is visible.
  • Although chuggers and rolling stock use knuckle couplers, they have no visible air brake hoses (vacuum brake pipes). In real life, all rolling stock must have FRED (Flashing Rear End Device) and Deadman brakes which do not appear in the series.
    • There are instances in which the brakes of rolling stock do work despite not having brake hoses. In Brewster to the Rescue, the brakes of Chatsworth's last hopper wagon became stuck.[13] In Undercover Action Chugger, Brewster tells Action Chugger it is easier to release the wagon brakes. Despite no visual indicator existing, a lever crank sound is heard when Action Chugger releases the brakes of the wagons.[11]
  • Most Chuggington merchandise, such as StackTrack, Chuggington Interactive Railway, Chuggington Motorised, Chuggington Construction, and numerous Alpha Group products use couplers with a "ball joint" design.
    • The Plarail and Alpha Group Mini Scale ranges use couplers with a "hook on" design.
    • The Chuggington Wooden Railway range, similar to most other wooden brands, uses magnets for couplers.