20 June 1989 (UK)
Up River is the twelfth episode of TUGS.
One of the big tasks is logging, which under Captain Star’s held contract, the Star Tugs must take thousands of logs from downriver to the sawmills.
A large log jam has formed, which Big Mac and Sunshine are finding difficult to overcome. Big Mac advises Sunshine to take care. Sunshine continues to ram, unluckily causing a chain-reaction which starts the logs to tumble down and trap him. Then Puffa, a good friend of the Star Tugs, arrives who goes to get help from downriver. Big Mac is concerned about how the logs are very heating up.
Puffa, meanwhile, has found Ten Cents, and tells him all about Sunshine. Ten Cents rushes to the rescue.
Back at the log jam, Big Mac tries to shift the logs to free Sunshine, but, after several attempts, can’t. Big Mac and Sunshine find that smoke is starting to rise from the logs. When Ten Cents arrives, Big Mac tells him to help try and shift the logs to get Sunshine out. Then Billy Shoepack arrives with a load of dynamite. Ten Cents suggests Billy set off a little blast to free Sunshine. Big Mac hesitates, stating that if Billy uses his dynamite, he would blow Sunshine up as well. In the end, Big Mac reluctantly grants Billy to set up his dynamite. The smoke continues to build, and the logs are now well on fire. Billy sets up his dynamite. Upon countdown, up the logs go, and Sunshine is free. It is a very big bang though, which causes the whole jam to breakup. The logs charge downriver, threatening to wreck Uptown. When Puffa pulls up to the dock, Ten Cents tells him to warn Uptown, who steams off as fast as he can. The tugs set off down the way.
It is difficult to puff along the icy rails, but Puffa presses on. He toots warnings all the way down the line, and soon arrives in Uptown Docks, where Top Hat, O.J. and Warrior are working. Puffa tells them all about the disaster about to hit the quayside. Warrior comes up with a plan to build a “dam” across the river entrance.
Once all are in place, including Little Ditcher, they prepare themselves for the logs.
The logs continue to charge along, demolishing a small quay along the way. Some logs are stopped by the wreckage, but many more still continue. Ten Cents, Sunshine and Big Mac follow along still.
At Uptown, the church bells are ringing to warn everybody about the floating logs. The logs begin to approach, but Warrior is on the wrong side of the dam. O.J. tells the tugs to rev their engines to try and push back the logs, diverting them. The logs glance off and take out a factory due for demolition in spectacular, “explosive” fashion.
Ten Cents, Sunshine and Big Mac arrive to the others. Big Mac is worried about the factory, but O.J. tells him that at least the owner won't have to pay for the demolition. Warrior is called a hero, and the tugs head to clear up the mess.
- Ten Cents
- Big Mac
- Top Hat
- Billy Shoepack
- Little Ditcher
- Captain Star (only narration role, mentioned)
- Boomer (cameo)
- The Goods Engine (cameo)
- Schooners (cameos)
- The Shrimpers (cameos)
- Hercules (deleted scene)
- This episode marks the first time Billy Shoepack moves his head and eyes, and has an alternate face mask - in his debut episode, Trapped, his features stay immobile.
- This episode marks the final appearances of Billy Shoepack, Boomer, Little Ditcher and Puffa.
- This is Puffa's only speaking role.
- Hercules and the Z-Stacks do not appear in this episode.
- This is the only episode not to feature any of the Z-Stacks.
- The Japanese title translates to "Watch Out, Star Tugs!"
- The Star Dock building can be seen in Up Town when Puffa arrives to warn the tugs.
- The truck Puffa was pulling was used in the second season of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.
- In Japan, this episode aired on Christmas morning.
- This was the eighth episode produced.
- In the first scene of the logs after Billy Shoepack's explosion, a fly flies past the camera.
- Because of film-cuts, the logs move when the factory explodes.
- Boomer (as a tugboat) can be seen working in the background in one scene, even though he was refitted to be a houseboat in Jinxed.
- Warrior's body comes loose from his hull in one scene when the logs scrapes into him.
- The Goods Engine has Puffa's whistle sound.
- In the second close-up of Big Mac, the logs in the background suddenly split a few inches to the right, due to a film cut.