- "That Hugo is the engine of the future!"
- ―Stephen on Hugo, Engine of the Future, twentieth season
Hugo is a kind rail zeppelin.
Hugo is unique for being fitted with a propeller. He is a very fast engine, whose spinning propeller makes him very popular with passengers.
Upon arriving on Sodor, he surprised many engines and Sir Topham Hatt with his fast speed. Stephen, however, told Thomas that he may replace them. This made all the engines unfriendly with him and it was not until Hugo explained to Thomas and Percy that Stephen was wrong. He was not replacing the engines; he does not even have a coupling hook to pull coaches or trucks. This helped the engines learn that Hugo is actually very nice and later they gave him a proper welcome.
He would later see a real Zeppelin in the sky and felt upset that he could not fly like it. He followed it all over the island and was so keen on flying that he forgot to turn off his propeller upon entering Knapford's platform. Sir Topham Hatt explained that he is a rail Zeppelin meant to travel on the rails and not in the sky.
Hugo is a kind and gentle engine. He loves to be useful, but is also a bit sensitive. This was shown when his feelings were hurt by the other engines ostracising him, out of fear that his kind would replace them; but they soon saw that they were wrong and apologised to him.
Hugo is based on the Schienenzeppelin, known as "the Rail Zeppelin" in English, an experimental German propeller driven railcar built in 1929. It set several speed records, including the world rail speed record in June 1931 at 143 mph, which was not surpassed until 1954. It still holds the world speed record for a petrol powered rail vehicle. Due to safety concerns about having a moving propeller in crowded stations and its inability to haul rolling stock, it did not enter regular service and only a single example was built. It was scrapped in 1939 due to its material being needed by the German Army during the Second World War.
The Schienenzeppelin was rebuilt several times during its short career; Hugo is based on its appearance "as-built".
Hugo is painted silver, with a two-tone blue strip beneath his windows and a thin blue stripe above them. He has blue nameplates on the sides of his cab with his name in white and he has blue wheels. The area around his front lights is painted black.
- Season 20 - Engine of the Future and Hugo and the Airship
He will appear in the twenty-first season.
- Journey Beyond Sodor (cameo)
- 2018 - Engine of the Future/Hugo and the Airship