Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
This article is about the crane. You may be looking for the Story Library Book or the Engine Adventures book.

“You're/You are useless little bugs! If you put these trucks/freight cars on the inside lines, then I wouldn't have so far to travel!”
―Cranky to Thomas and Percy[src]

Cranky is an olive green tower crane who lives in Brendam Docks, where he also works.


Thomas & Friends

Cranky bullied Thomas and Percy by delaying their loads and calling them "bugs". He later got his comeuppance after a tramp steamer crashed into him and he had to be rescued by the two tank engines. Afterwards, he promised never to insult them again. However, he still teases the engines occasionally, such as when Percy complained that there was too much work and when Henry arrived at the Docks in a barge full of fish.

Despite his lack of sleep, Cranky works very hard, but his working attitude makes the engines cross whenever they think that Cranky is too slow - as a result of their insults, Cranky can sometimes cause accidents.

Although he is naturally grumpy, Cranky has shown that he has a kind side too. He once helped Thomas out of trouble when he and Percy were playing "Hide and Peep" by finding Percy in the dry dock.

He has befriended a seagull that often visits him and has named it, rather fittingly, Seagull. Cranky is not fond of all animals though and is shown to have a fear of elephants.

Cranky has an intense dislike for Salty's stories and Charlie's jokes. According to one of Salty's tales, Cranky is "the Monster of Brendam".

In the seventeenth series, Cranky needed some help, so Kevin was sent to help him. However, Cranky refused the help, leading Kevin to fall into the sea. Cranky rescued Kevin and apologised for being so mean. He later called Charlie silly when he told him about the elephant on the line and warned Thomas about the icy tracks.

In Tale of the Brave, Cranky attempted to stop a ship that Gator was on after Thomas thought that Percy was on board the ship. However, this resulted in Cranky breaking, forcing the ship to turn back.

Cranky was later unloading a crate from a ship at Brendam, but accidentally dropped the crate to the ground. Fearing the contents inside of the crate were broken, Cranky hid the crate out of sight, though it was later found and taken to the Town Hall.

In the twentieth series, Cranky teased James while he was pouting by saying he looked crankier than himself.

In The Great Race, Cranky accidentally loaded a crate with Diesel in it into a boat after the devious diesel shunter's plan to enter the Great Railway Show was foiled.

In the twenty-first series, Cranky believed he would be replaced with a big new fancy crane and so he began working hard all through the night. Unfortunately, this resulted in him making several mistakes. This led The Fat Controller to buy a big, new, shiny crane named Carly. Although liking Carly at first, Cranky believed she was competitive as she had unintentionally left him with no work to do as Carly was doing all of it. Cranky frantically tried to outdo her until their hooks became entangled and they found themselves stuck fast and unable to move. After Salty told a story of a two-headed monster that worked together, he and Carly started working together and welcomed Big Mickey to their team after many years of silence.


As his own name would imply, Cranky is extremely grumpy because he is initially kept working day and night without rest. Although nowadays he is able to sleep properly, he still maintains his cranky attitude. Cranky loves teasing the engines and has an intense dislike for Salty's stories. He rarely pays attention due to his perpetual bad temper. According to Big Mickey, throughout all the years he has been at the docks, Cranky has never said a single word to him.

However, Cranky has at times shown a bit of kindness, such as when he sympathised for Percy after Thomas went missing on Misty Island and also when he used a large reflective mirror to show Henry his glowing paint. He has started to become friends with the engines working at the docks. Although Cranky is now easier to befriend, he still does not take criticism well, and grew insulted when Professor Friedrich opted to check the Blastbooster-7 after he unloaded it, despite taking all the care in the world to unload it safely.

Although he has a serious and typically unflinching demeanour, Cranky has shown that despite his cynicism, he is able to have fun. However, he often attempts to hide signs that he is enjoying something to try and keep his grumpy image. These usually go fairly poorly, but on numerous occasions he actively chooses to join in the fun and not hide anything.

Technical Details


According to an interview with Robert Gauld-Galliers, Cranky is based on photographic references of various cranes from the 1920s to the 1950s. [2]

According to his 2015 trading card, Cranky is a hybrid design, based on various Tower Cranes that were mainly manufactured by the Stothert & Pitt Company of Bath, England.


Cranky is painted olive green with black and brown pulleys amongst his mechanism. He also has two nameplates on his sides that display his name in yellow lettering.


Thomas & Friends


Music Videos

Learning Segments



Magazine Stories

Cranky also appeared in the magazine stories, Company for Cranky, Fish and Fog!, Fun With Friends, Sea-Bound Salty and The Camel Train.

Official Description

From Official Website:[1]

Cranky the Crane: Cranky was built by the Brendam Docks Company and has worked the quaysides all his life. Like all cranes, he has a high and mighty attitude which often annoys the Engines. Cranky knows that if he ever gets too big for his crane hook, the Engines have ways of getting back at him. However, Cranky enjoys teasing them because, he says, it makes for good working relationships - but don't ask Percy if he agrees!!

Historical Note: Although similar in some respects to other cranes, Cranky's design is almost certainly unique!

From Official Website:[2]

Cranky: Like all cranes, Cranky has a high and mighty attitude that often annoys the engines. But Cranky knows that if he ever gets too big for his crane hook, the engines have ways of getting back at him. However, Cranky enjoys teasing them because, he says, it makes for good working relationships - but don't ask Percy if he agrees!

Fun Fact: Cranky mainly works down at the docks. He will, however, be transported to other areas of the Island "If it is absolutely necessary."

From Official Website:[3]

Cranky: Despite his gruff nature, Cranky always keeps things moving at Brendam Docks. His high and mighty attitude often annoys the other engines. From his lofty perch he sees the comings and goings of his part of the island. Cranky knows that if he ever gets too big for his crane hook, the engines have ways of bringing him back to earth.

Fun Fact: While he's almost always down at the docks, if he's needed elsewhere on the island, Cranky can be moved, but it's not easy!

Audio Files

In the book Camera Tour, Cranky has a horn.

First used Last used Sound Effect
Camera Tour Camera Tour


  • Cranky can be dismantled and shifted to different locations, despite it never being mentioned or shown in the show; however, there are some cases where Cranky has not been seen at Brendam or seen elsewhere.
  • Before the script was cut, Cranky was to have a much larger role in Thomas and the Magic Railroad, where he would be seen in an early sequence loading Henry's trucks, and another scene where he accidentally drops a crate of fruits and vegetables on Splatter and Dodge.
    • In the aforementioned film, although he is not a major character, his model can still be seen in the background as Diesel 10 sneaks away from the sheds. In this case, he was located in the yards at Knapford Station rather than Brendam Docks.
  • In the Serbian dub, Cranky's name is Mrgud, which is also Bulgy's name in the same language.
  • In the French dub, Cranky's name is Felix. It is intended to be an ironic name as Felix is Latin for "happy".
  • One of Cranky's models used to be on display in Canada at Nitrogen Studios and wore his content face. It is now on display at Drayton Manor Theme Park and is still wearing his content face.
  • Cranky's crew can access him by a floor hatch underneath his body. This is also annotated in his concept art.
  • Cranky's hook moving sound was heard in various pieces of other media such as the Madagascar penguin game and Treasure Planet.
  • Originally, Cranky was to have a grey livery; this would explain why Cranky's original Plarail and Wooden Railway toys were painted light grey instead of olive. The vast majority of his merchandise is also forest green instead of olive. Promotional renders made by Nitrogen Studios also depict him in a very deep shade of forest green. Also, the My First Thomas toy of Cranky is incorrectly painted blue.
  • Cranky was the first non-Awdry character introduced in the television series who was not Railway Series-related with a freelance basis.
  • According to an interview with Sodor Island Forums, Cranky is one of Mark Moraghan's favourite characters alongside Percy.
  • Cranky has two seagull friends named Seagull and Stuart.
  • In the Learning with Thomas short, Thomas & Percy Learn About Recycling, Cranky is shown with a grabber attachment as opposed to his hook attachment.
  • Cranky had a total of nine facial expressions during the model series era, all of which were used on-screen.
  • Since his introduction, Cranky has spoken in every series, excluding the twelfth series.


“You're/You are useless little bugs! If you put these trucks/freight cars on the inside lines, then I wouldn't have so far to travel!”
―Cranky's first dialogue, Cranky Bugs, fifth series
“These ships can't be kept waiting. They have important cargo. If they miss the tide, they will be delayed in the docks. You should look up to the ships and show more respect. You are, after all, only little.”
―Cranky's second appearance, Horrid Lorry, fifth series



Non-rail vehicles

* RWS only | ** T&F only | *** Other Media only