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The sixth season of Chuggington (subtitled Tales from the Rails) began releasing during the summer of 2020. [1] It is the first season to be produced by Herschend Entertainment Studios, following their purchase of Ludorum. Michael G. Stern (Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake and the Never Land Pirates) serves as both head writer and co-executive producer, while Julie Phillips (VP of H.E.S.) serves as co-executive producer. Sarah Ball returns as a supervising director and voice director.

The new season has "a fresh approach with new formats, elements, and storytelling styles." [2] New characters, expanded locations, and a musical soundtrack were added, with some episodes being standalone, while others were written to make up larger story arcs. [3]

Prior to the new season, a series of 26 1.5-minute live action/animated hybrid shorts titled Discover Chuggington: All Aboard! where "live action kids globally will journey into the animated world of Chuggington" was produced to "to allow for increased audience interaction with the world and characters of Chuggington." The new series premiered on April 13th, 2020 in the US. [4]

The series was "developed in partnership with Alpha Group and leadership from the broader [Herschend Enterprises] family of businesses to ensure an organic 360 franchise for the relaunch." [5]

It premiered on Disney Junior in the US on June 29th, 2020 [6][7] and premiered on Cbeebies in the UK [8] on January 2nd, 2021. [9]

Synopsis

From Herschend's September 2019 press release:

"Season six of Chuggington will continue to delight preschoolers on A-list broadcast networks and top streaming platforms worldwide. In the new season, everyone’s favorite trio of trainees, Wilson, Brewster, and Koko, will embark upon exciting adventures that encourage teamwork, friendship, and fun, highlighted by a toe-tapping new soundtrack. Award-winning writer/producer Michael G. Stern (Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First) leads production, serving as head writer and co-executive producer.

The new season (46 x 10’) is all about discovery, getting to know the unique characters and the inner workings of the locations that make Chuggington so special. It’s a fresh celebration of the diversity, friendships, and adventures that have delighted audiences for the past ten years. To top it off, live action kids globally will journey into the animated world of Chuggington through an all-new hybrid live action / animated short format (26 x 1.5’)." [10]

From Disney Junior's YouTube playlist:

"Let’s train together with Wilson, Koko, and Brewster as they ride the rails on exciting, new adventures of teamwork, friendship, and fun. Chug deep into unique locations like Safari Park, the Docks, Chug Patrol HQ, and the Ice Cream Factory to explore the dynamic world of Chuggington that’s home to a diverse and playful community of trains. Board relatable journeys full of humor, action, and heart, accompanied by train-tastic new songs!"

Episodes

Screenshot UK/US title Written by Original UK release date Episode number #
SlowCoachKokoBBCPromo.png Slow Coach Koko Craig Fernandez 2nd January 2021 #01
Koko's confidence is shaken after she gets in an accident, but has to think quickly in order to save Brewster from an accident of his own.
MyHeroBBCPromo.png My Hero Michael Foulke 3rd January 2021 #02
When Action Chugger fails to show up for Hero Day, Brewster decides to be a hero himself.
Wilson’sBroadcastBluesBBCPromo.png Wilson's Broadcast Blues Ryan Toyama 9th January 2021 #03
Wilson, the newly appointed Radio Chuggington host, exaggerates a news story to get the attention of his friends, with serious consequences.
WildSafariParkBBCPromo.jpg Wild Safari Park Denise Downer 10th January 2021 #04
Mtambo is charged with feeding the Safari Park animals and needs help from Wilson to complete his task in a timely manner.
Frostini’sTrueCallingBBCPromo.png Frostini's True Calling Eva Konstantopoulos 16th January 2021 #05
Frostini decides to embark on a personal mission to discover what his true passion in life is.
TheOldFashionedWayBBCPromo.png The Old Fashioned Way Kevin Monk 17th January 2021 #06
Koko has Old Puffer Pete feeling like his old ways are methodical and too slow, but is proven wrong when new technology is put to the test.
TheExtraMileBBCPromo.jpg The Extra Mile Michael Rabb 18th January 2021 #07
Wilson and Brewster attempt to find Koko's ribbon that Wilson secretly borrowed and then lost.
GlowKokoBBCPromo.jpg Glow Koko Sarah Ball 19th January 2021 #08
Koko, Piper and Hodge stumble upon an unexpected number of things that glow in the dark around Chuggington.
NotFromAroundHereBBCPromo.jpg Not From Around Here Michael G. Stern 20th January 2021 #09
When a new chugger, Rosa, comes to Chuggington, the trainees try to find the best job for her.
OutInTheColdBBCPromo.jpg Out In The Cold Michael Rabb 21st January 2021 #10
When a snow storm comes to Chuggington, Wilson and Brewster get caught out in the cold and must work together to make their way home.
Wilson'sWag-A-Lag-OnBBCPromo.jpg Wilson's Wag-A-Lag-On Stacey Greenberger 22nd January 2021 #11
Wilson's long time wagon begins falling apart, but he is determined to keep it in service.
SleepyheadKokoPromo.png Sleepyhead Koko Denise Downer 25th January 2021 #12
Brewster and Wilson do their best to keep Koko awake for an important passenger run after she stays awake all night.
PiperactiveBBCPromo.jpg Piperactive Craig Fernandez 26th January 2021 #13
Piper must limit playtime when the trainees are assigned a job.
TheMightyKokoBBCPromo.jpg The Mighty Koko Michael Foulke 27th January 2021 #14
Koko becomes incredibly strong after she gets an upgrade to her hydraulic power booster.
TheFast,TheStrong&TheWilsonBBCPromo.jpg The Fast, The Strong & The Wilson Ryan Toyama 28th January 2021 #15
The Chuggington Games are underway, but an enthusiastic Wilson finds that he is not the best at any of the tournaments.
ChugPatrol,OutofControlBBCPromo.jpg Chug Patrol, Out of Control Ryan Toyama 29th January 2021 #16
Wilson finds it difficult to be a good chief once he organises Zephie, Piper, Hoot and Toot into his junior Chug Patrol crew.
The3WaysoftheTrackBBCPromo.jpg The 3 Ways of the Track Bill Zide 1st February 2021 #17
With guidance from the ever-wise Hanzo, Tai must learn how to remain focused, calm and balanced.
SpyTrainBBCPromo.jpg Spy Train Jessica Welsh 2nd February 2021 #18
The trainees' spy missions get out of control once Wilson overhears that Hamish is supposedly leaving Chuggington.
OddTrainOutBBCPromo.jpg Odd Train Out Danielle Koenig 3rd February 2021 #19
Zephie, Wilson and Brewster compete to be Koko's partner in a relay race, but Koko knows that Zephie is the weakest.
It'sNotEasyBeingCleanBBCPromo.jpg It's Not Easy Being Clean Michael Rabb 4th February 2021 #20
Wilson, a magnet for mess, tries his best to stay clean to prove a point to Koko and Brewster.
MonkeySittingBBCPromo.jpg Monkey Sitting Sharon Soboil 5th February 2021 #21
Wilson has his hands full while babysitting an adorable yet deceiving monkey.
TaiTracksBBCPromo.jpg Tai Tracks Michael Rabb 8th February 2021 #22
Tai struggles to find her way around Chuggington but is reluctant to ask for help.
Rock'n'RollersBBCPromo.jpg Rock 'n' Rollers Eva Konstantopoulos 9th February 2021 #23
Koko breaks her horn on the day of the first performance of her newly-formed band, the Rockin' Rollers.
Brewster'sGreatestGiftBBCPromo.jpg Brewster's Greatest Gift Stacey Greenberger 10th February 2021 #24
With Hodge's radiator broken and no way to order another one, Brewster turns out to be the only one that can help by making a brave decision.
ChuggingtonNoirBBCPromo.jpg Chuggington Noir Ryan Toyama 11th February 2021 #25
With the lighthouse out and a ship coming in, Brewster and Hodge search Chuggington for an answer as to what has been using up all the power.
ImagineThatPromo.png Imagine That Jeff Wynne 12th February 2021 #26
Tai and the trainees learn that with a little imagination any ordinary job can be extraordinary.
ChugEncountersoftheTrainKindBBCPromo.png Chug Encounters of the Train Kind Ryan Toyama 15th February 2021 #27
Adventure ensues when the trainees think that they are being visited by chuggers from outer space.
TheSpookyChuggerBBCPromo.jpg The Spooky Chugger Thomas Hall 16th February 2021 #28
With unexplained happenings around Chuggington, the trainees are convinced the tracks are haunted by the legend that is the Spooky Chugger.
ChugPatrolMissionThunderBBCPromo.jpg Chug Patrol: Mission Thunder Eva Konstantopoulos 17th February 2021 #29
Wilson faces his fear of thunder and lightning to help a lost giraffe during a bad storm.
TheRoyalChuggerBBCPromo.jpg The Royal Chugger Michael Rabb 18th February 2021 #30
Wilson is dubbed "Chuggington Royalty" once he is found to be the first of his kind (supposedly, that is.)
ActionChugger'sDayOffBBCPromo.jpg Action Chugger's Day Off Danielle Koenig 19th February 2021 #31
Action Chugger has a hard time relaxing while the trainees attempt to give him a day off.
TwinTroubleBBCPromo.jpg Twin Trouble Eva Konstantopoulos 22nd February 2021 #32
Hoot and Toot have finally had it with each other and go their separate ways, but wish they were together when they get lost.
NightMovesBBCPromo.png Night Moves Danielle Koenig 23rd February 2021 #33
When a pipe bursts in the Roundhouse, an exhausted Wilson must roam Chuggington in search of a new cabin to sleep in, but nothing feels quite like home.
TheGreatChuggerCaperBBCPromo.png The Great Chugger Caper Ryan Toyama 24th February 2021 #34
The trainees take on their undercover personas to retrieve a surprise gift for Skipper Stu.
Piper'sCitySafariBBCPromo.png Piper's City Safari Patrick Rieger 25th February 2021 #35
When Safari Park is closed for the day, Koko, Wilson and Brewster give Piper a surprise tour and discover all the exotic wildlife outside of the park.
TheTrainee&TheTreeBBCPromo.png The Trainee & The Tree Stacey Greenberger 26th February 2021 #36
Brewster discovers the oldest tree in Chuggington, but has to choose wether or not to dig it up.
GoldRushBBCPromo.png Gold Rush Michael Rabb 1st March 2021 #37
The trainees find a gold nugget and dream of ways to spend their riches.
PumpkinSpiceChuggersBBCPromo.png Pumpkin Spice Chuggers Ryan Toyama 2nd March 2021 #38
The trainees are on another mission as they try and rescue the last pumpkin in town.
Reachin'RosaBBCPromo.png Reachin' Rosa Patrick Rieger 3rd March 2021 #39
During a game of Chugball, the trainees discover that Rosa has a talent for reaching high.
ChugatronicCargoBBCPromo.png Chugatronic Cargo Eva Konstantopoulos 4th March 2021 #40
An advanced technological super robot, known as the Chugatronic, wreaks havoc around Chuggington.
TheZephieExpressBBCPromo.png The Zephie Express Thomas Hall 5th March 2021 #41
Zephie attaches to a turbo car in an attempt to be faster than Koko.
TheArtOfChugShuiBBCPromo.png The Art of Chug Shui Ryan Toyama 8th March 2021 #42
Cormac must visit the Repair Shed, and Tai is put in charge of the Drop and Load Yard. However, Cormac's strict rules are hard for Tai to follow.
TheRecordBreakersBBCPromo.png The Record Breakers Patrick Rieger 9th March 2021 #43
Zephie and Piper attempt to prove they are ready for the big jobs in Chuggington.
Brewster'sBestBuddyBBCPromo.png Brewster's Best Buddy Danielle Koenig 10th March 2021 #44
Brewster goes to great lengths to try and get busy Action Chugger to play a game of hide-and-seek.
Season6PromotionalArt.jpg Superstar Brewster Veronica Wall-Reed 11th March 2021 #45
Brewster gets himself in a bad situation when he accidentally takes credit for Rosa's work.
YouForaDayDisneyNOWthumbnail.jpg You for a Day Ryan Toyama 12th March 2021 #46
Wilson and Brewster switch places for the day to prove who has the tougher job.

Specials

In addition to forty-six episodes, two 24-minute specials also premiered as part of the season. [11]

Screenshot UK/US title Written by Original UK release date Episode number #
ChuggingHomefortheHolidaysBBCPromo.png Chugging Home for the Holidays Michael G. Stern TBA #01
The trainees set out to San Locomota to cheer up a homesick Rosa. The chuggers soon learn the best holiday traditions are the ones made with your friends.
CelebrateChuggingtonBBCPromo.jpg Celebrate Chuggington Sarah Ball 7th March 2021 #02
The trainees learn the importance of training together in preparation for the first annual Chuggington Day celebration.

Songs

From Episodes

Characters

Characters Introduced

Cast

UK

US

Half Hour Format

As the season premiered in the United States on the Disney Junior block Mickey Mornings, two episodes would be paired alongside a Discover Chuggington: All Aboard! short- this would add up to roughly twenty minutes, with ten left for television advertisements. The episodes and the short were connected via the traditional side-cutaways from the first five seasons. The episodes aired in the following order:

  • 29th June 2020: Rock 'n' Rollers + Spy Train + A Day in the Life of a Chugger
  • 30th June 2020: The Extra Mile + Wilson's Broadcast Blues + to be added
  • 1st July 2020: Sleepyhead Koko + Odd Train Out + to be added
  • 2nd July 2020: Not From Around Here + My Hero + to be added
  • 6th July 2020: The Mighty Koko + Piperactive + On the Right Track!
  • 13th July 2020: Frostini's True Calling + Chug Patrol, Out of Control + Hide and Seek
  • 20th July 2020: Wild Safari Park + Glow Koko + Safari Nap Time
  • 27th July 2020: It's Not Easy Being Clean + Monkey Sitting + Guess That Chugger
  • 3rd August 2020: Wilson's Wag-A-Lag-On + The 3 Ways of the Track + Horn Harmony
  • 10th August 2020: The Fast, The Strong & The Wilson + Slow Coach Koko + Special Announcement
  • 14th September 2020: Chug Encounters of the Train Kind + Chuggington Noir + to be added
  • 26th October 2020: Action Chugger's Day Off + Tai Tracks + to be added
  • 7th December 2020: Out In The Cold + The Old Fashioned Way + to be added
  • 4th January 2021: The Royal Chugger + Twin Trouble + to be added
  • 8th February 2021: The Great Chugger Caper + Chug Patrol: Mission Thunder + to be added
  • 8th March 2021: Piper's City Safari + The Trainee & The Tree + to be added
  • 5th April 2021: Brewster's Greatest Gift + Imagine That + Chuggington Roll Call
  • 26th July 2021: You for a Day + The Zephie Express + Koko's Song
  • 2nd August 2021: Chugatronic Cargo + The Art of Chug Shui + Wilson's Song

Marketing

In addition to Alpha Group's new toyline, a massive marketing effort is being put in for Season 6. As stated in a press release, "the brand reintroduction will also be supported with refreshed and all new creative assets, a special minihub website (launched February 2020, with the kids' site set for a March 30th launch), broadcaster support, direct-to-consumer campaigns, promotional events, and global brand partnerships."

At Brand Licensing Europe 2019, Herschend met potential new partners across key catagories including publishing, secondary toys, puzzles and games, food and drink, sleepwear, apparel and bedding.

The relaunched toyline was revealed at London Toy Fair 2020, before a larger and more elaborate display was shown at New York Toy Fair 2020.

The official website was relaunched in mid-February, with the new kids site set for relaunching in early April; the site was originally intended to launch March 31st at 12am, but the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a week-long delay.

A new app titled Ready to Roll! was released on April 8th, featuring several elements from the new season; these included new US voices and selections of music from the new season.

The new website officially launched on April 10th, 2020 at 10am EDT, marking the first public showcase of the series' new branding. The site and first Discover Chuggington: All Aboard! short were shown in "Milan's Chuggington Site Launch Celebration", a official collaboration between Herschend and The MilanToon Channel on YouTube. Later in the day, an official press release [4] was released announcing its official airdate and confirming a Summer release for Season 6.

After airdates were confirmed via television guides weeks prior, the first promo for the season, now under the subtitle Tales from the Rails premiered Tuesday, June 23rd during the Disney Junior block on Disney Channel.

On July 7th, it was announced that Herschend would be partnering with Union Pacific and Safe Kids Worldwide on a national partnership to promote rail safety. The program commences in August, and will include "a Chuggington-themed PSA campaign, dedicated website, branded in-school safety folders and activity sheets, and social media campaign."

On November 17th, it was officially announced that CBeebies, RTE, TF1, Super RTL, and TVP ABC would be renewing their distribution agreements for the new series, with an "early 2021" target for premieres; "licensing agents across the regions covering key category offerings and product mix, including publishing, secondary toys, puzzles and games, food and drink, sleepwear and apparel, and bedding" are to be announced shortly. [12] TVP ABC in Poland would be the first to premiere the series on December 26th, 2020. The channel would also be the first to air the Celebrate Chuggington special on December 27th, 2020.

The January 2nd UK premiere of the series was lead in with the UK broadcast premieres of Snow Rescue (on Boxing Day 2020) and The Big Freeze (on January 2nd, 2021, less than an hour after the premiere of Slow Coach Koko).

In a Fall 2020 presentation for the Alpha Group toyline, an extensive marketing effort for the season was revealed for 2021; in addition to the international premieres and licensing/merchandising rollout, a "Breakout Special Promotion" and Q3 Back-To-School brand campaign titled "Train Together" were announced, with theme park activations and partnerships planned to launch through Herschend Family Entertainment (the Parks and Attractions division of Herschend Enterprises) and Herschend Live (the live entertainment division of Herschend Enterprises).

Summer 2021 saw the promotional and merchandising side of Chuggington begin to build back up; after a few months on hiatus, new episodes began airing on Disney Junior in July 2021, which coincided with the late-July public announcement of the month-long "Train Together" campaign for August, which featured a new activity every day featured on both social media and the Official Website, the premiere of Celebrate Chuggington in the US, and a music video for "Let's Train Together". [13] Preceding this, Silver Dollar City marked the first spot to host an official Chuggington theme park tie-in, as select episodes were screened from June 12th to August 8th as part of their "Star-Spangled Summer" festival.

During this time, the Alpha Group toyline was officially listed and released, with a competition to win the Safari Park Track Set hosted in a special July edition of the UK-based FANTASTIC Magazine, and major retailers such as Amazon and Target beginning to list items for release.

Trivia

  • The cutaway introduced in this season uses orthos of Wilson, Brewster and Koko from Season 1, despite new ones being made for Season 6.
  • Originally, the season was announced with an order of fifty-two 10-minute episodes; the final order is forty-six 10-minute episodes and two half-hour specials.
    • This makes Season 6 the second largest season in the series, with the largest being Season 1, standing at a total of 52 episodes.
  • Production on the season began in May 2019; Herschend will oversee the series' writing staff and completion, while Ludorum Enterprises Ltd. (with a new subsidiary Chuggington Productions Ltd.) will oversee production itself, with many key personnel from the original five seasons returning.
  • This season marks the first occurrence of several things:
    • The first season to be produced by Herschend Entertainment Studios.
    • The first season to produced without Sarah Ball serving as head writer; she has returned as the supervising director and an occasional writer, and voice directs several episodes (and presumably the UK dub).
    • The first season not to feature most of the original US dub voices, as most of the US dub has been recasted.
    • The first season where James Goode and Richard Ridings give Skipper Stu and Hamish British accents in the US dub.
    • The first season where Wilson, Brewster and Koko are voiced by Teddy West, Harry Reeve and Alyssa Burton in the UK dub, and Jordan C. Reed, Jacks Dean and Madigan Kacmar in the US dub.
    • The first season where Wilson, Brewster and Frostini have singing voices, those being Louis Wint, Avi Le Brocq and Randy Crenshaw.
    • The first season not to include Dunbar, Calley, Harrison, Chatsworth, Irving, Olwin, Speedy, Skylar, Decka, Fletch, Tyne, Payce, Daley, Harry, Russ, Captain Charlie, and Howie since their introductions.
    • The first season to have music composed by Alex Geringas and Karam Salem.
    • The first season to be aired after five years of hiatus.
    • The first season to be released under the title, Tales from the Rails.
  • Marketing materials shown at New York Toy Fair 2020, as well as the launch lineup for the Alpha Group toylines and the premiere of the Discover Chuggington: All Aboard! shorts, revealed the Depot, the Ice Cream Factory, the Safari Park, and the Docks would be among the season's main locations.
  • A line of die-cast vehicles (giving the trainees temporary new designs) has been confirmed to tie into one of the episodes.
  • Austin Connelly plays Emery in this series in the US dub, despite him being portrayed by Dylan Curtis in Discover Chuggington: All Aboard! (both of which were produced alongside each other).

References

  1. Madigan Kacmar on Instagram: "The shorts begin airing this Monday, the 13th and the series begins airing in June on Disney Jr!" (10/4/20). Retrieved 13th April 2020.
  2. Licensing Corner article on Alpha Group partnership: "Consisting of 52 x 10' animated episodes, the new season features a fresh new approach with new formats, elements, and storytelling styles." (3/6/19). Retrieved 4th June 2019.
  3. Kidscreen article on the series by Jeremy Dickson: "The episodes are standalone, but some have been written to build larger story arcs." (10/9/19). Retrieved 4th October 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Animation Magazine article on Discover Chuggington: All Aboard! by Mercedes Milligan: "Ahead of the Disney Junior U.S. summer premiere of the much anticipated Chuggington from Herschend Entertainment Studios (HES), young fans are invited to explore the fantastical train world like never before with the launch of a series of animated/live-action shorts, beginning Monday, April 13 at 8:25 a.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel and DisneyNOW." (10/4/20). Retrieved 10th April 2020.
  5. Julie Phillips on Licensing.biz article on the series by Robert Hutchins: "The series is also being developed in partnership with Alpha Group and leadership from the broader HE family of business to ensure an organic 360 franchise for the relaunch." (27/9/19). Retrieved 4th October 2019.
  6. Videoage article on the new series: "Herschend Entertainment Studios announced that a new season of Chuggington will premiere in 2020 on Disney Junior in the U.S." (9/12/19). Retrieved 10th December 2019.
  7. Zap2it listing for Chuggington: Tales from the Rails: "Aired: June 29th 2020". Retrieved 16th June 2020.
  8. Angelo Cola's LinkedIn portfolio: "Mr Frostini returns in a new series of Chuggington on BBC". Retrieved 10th December 2019.
  9. BBC CBeebies schedule: "Slow Coach Koko: 2nd January 2021". Retrieved 28th December 2020.
  10. HES press release PDF: "The new season (52 x 10’) is all about discovery, getting to know the unique characters and the inner workings of the locations that make Chuggington so special. It’s a fresh celebration of the diversity, friendships, and adventures that have delighted audiences for the past ten years. To top it off, live action kids globally will journey into the animated world of Chuggington through an all-new hybrid live action / animated short format (26 x 1.5’)." (9/19). Retrieved 13th September 2019.
  11. Total Licensing article on the new series by Rebecca Ash: "Herschend Entertainment Studios has committed a multi-year and a multi-million dollar investment into supporting the franchise for the long term – not only with new episodic content of 46 x 10' episodes and two half-hour specials, but also new interstitials and music." (14/8/20). Retrieved 16th August 2020.
  12. Licensing.biz article on Chuggington broadcast partners in Eroupe by Robert Hutchins: "The series has been picked up by CBeebies, RTE, TF1, SUPER RTL, and TVP ABC." "Licensing agents across regions will be announced shortly, covering key category offerings and product mix, including publishing, secondary toys, puzzles and games, food and drink, sleepwear and apparel, and clothing." (17/11/2020). Retrieved 18th November 2020.
  13. TV Gravepine article on Celebrate Chuggington by Sammi Turano: "The campaign includes original download/printable activities and a new catchy live-action dance-along video premiering on YouTube, Friday, August 20, showcasing the episode's highlighted song "Let's Train Together." (3/8/21). Retrieved 4th August 2021.
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