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For other uses, see Trucks (disambiguation).

The Troublesome Trucks (called Cars, originally Foolish Freight Cars, in the US narration) are pieces of rolling stock that are nicknamed so because they can be very troublesome, and love to play tricks on the engines.

Open Wagons

Open wagons are the most common Troublesome Trucks. They can be seen working in most places on the North Western Railway. They carry a variety of loads, including crates, stone, slate and coal. Plank trucks are the most common type of troublesome trucks.

There are also narrow gauge open wagon counterparts on the Skarloey Railway and Mid Sodor Railway.


Plank trucks are based on 5 and 7-plank open wagons. The smaller trucks are based on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway open wagon, scaled up accordingly. The slate trucks are based on the 2-bar wooden slate wagons of the Talyllyn Railway, scaled up accordingly.


In The Railway Series and the early television series, the plank trucks were painted in a number of different liveries. Currently in the television series, they are predominantly painted grey. In Big World! Big Adventures!, some of the plank trucks in Brazil were painted purple-red. In the twenty-second series, some plank trucks in China are painted black with red buffer beams. In the twenty-third series, the trucks in India are painted either orange or white.

Type of Open Wagons (standard gauge)

Type of Open Wagons (narrow gauge)


For further information, see main article: Vans

The Vans carry goods and freight on the North Western Railway. There are several types of anthropomorphic vans featured throughout the Railway Series and television series.


In the early television series, the vans were painted primarily in grey or brown. Currently, they are predominantly painted cream. In Big World! Big Adventures!, some of the vans in Africa were painted green and light grey. In the twenty-second series, Lei, a van in China, is painted pink with red buffer beams.

Type of Vans


For further information, see main article: Tankers

The Tankers are used to carry a variety of liquids. Most of the tankers in The Railway Series and television series do not have faces. The only types to be seen with faces are the standard tankers, tar tankers, milk tankers, a fuel tanker and oil tankers.


The Oil Tankers and Tar Tankers are painted black, with their respective symbols on their sides. The Standard Tankers are painted black with blank sides and the Fuel Tanker from The Railway Series is painted yellow. In Big World! Big Adventures!, some tankers in Africa were painted dark purple.

Type of Tankers

Brake Vans

For further information, see main article: Brake Vans

Brake Vans are railway carriages from which the train's brakes can be controlled by the guard.

To date, only one troublesome brake van briefly appeared in the second series episode, A Close Shave. Another troublesome brake van appeared in the book, James the Red Engine and the Troublesome Trucks.


The brake van that appeared in the television series is based on a BR Standard 20 Ton van. The other brake van is an NER 20 Ton brake van.


Brake vans are commonly painted grey.

Type of Brake Vans


Every wise engine knows trucks cannot be trusted. Trucks could be considered the rebels and the troublemakers of all rolling stock on the railway, as most of them love to cause mischief and trouble and show no remorse for whatever they do unless they are told off by their engine or controller. If an engine is having a bad day, makes a mistake, or is naive and easily played upon, the trucks begin their wild antics of singing, name calling, holding back, shoving, bumping, giggling, teasing and so on. They will play tricks on an engine based on how they treat them. They are known to be the cause of many accidents and some of them are a form of revenge due to mistreatment and they are not known for their common sense; they will carry out their plans to pay back an engine even if they result in derailing, damaging or destroying themselves.

Trucks can also be described as territorial; when they get used to certain engines pulling them, another engine in the yard to take them may cause confusion or anger for the trucks. In the second series episode, Percy's Predicament for example, Toby and Percy switched jobs, making Toby's trucks furious and causing Percy to crash. In the third series episode, Oliver Owns Up, the trucks refused for Oliver to take them and demanded Duck or Donald or Douglas instead.

To the trucks, one engine is as good as another, as on one occasion they took their anger out on Thomas when they could not get back at James for bumping them. Another occasion was when Toby was pushed by the trucks when he took them instead of Mavis, the latter of whom had asked them to push her at the level crossing.

Trucks are also shown to be somewhat manipulative and can take advantage of other engines that do not know much about them. This was shown when they tricked Bill and Ben by telling them where to put them when they said they wanted to help, only to end up causing delays when the trucks ended up all over the sidings in messy situations, making the twins late to fetch Gordon's coaches.

The only engines the trucks are known not to play tricks on are Edward, Stepney, Salty, Hiro and Rebecca, as well as Toby and Mavis from fifth series onwards. These engines have their ways of necessary sternness and knowledge of how to properly discipline them when they misbehave and only bump them when they deserve it. Salty's way of handling trucks is singing musical tunes for them to sing along, so as to keep their minds off of misbehaving. They are also afraid of Donald and Douglas after the latter crushed the Spiteful Brake Van to pieces and Oliver since he pulled a privately owned truck called S.C. Ruffey apart. Although they were all accidents, the trucks were never told that and since these incidents, they always keep in mind never to play tricks on those engines.

There have, however, been some cases where the trucks and engines are on the same side, such as when Diesel was given a third chance on Sodor, but the trucks tricked him into misbehaving and getting sent away again. They also asked Percy to help move them from an ill-mannered and obnoxious barge named Bulstrodeonly to end up in his hull and damage him, resulting in him being sent to a beach.

On very rare occasions, they behave unusually well but can be easily annoyed. They were also confused by the end of their journey with Rebecca, as instead of letting them get to her, she went along with their antics, even looking foward to taking them again.

In other countries around the world, some trucks are shown to act very differently than the ones on Sodor, some being very polite and even trying to help the engines instead of causing trouble.


Thomas & Friends


Learning Segments:

Voice Actors


  • Trucks are usually never named; however, those that are privately owned tend to take on the name of their owner, like S.C. Ruffey, Fred Pelhay and Old Bennett. Hector and Lei are exceptions to this, being the only trucks with their own names. The ERTL character cards named two trucks, Naughty and Troublesome. The Wooden Railway range introduced a teal truck called Rickety.
  • From the sixth series onwards in the US, the term "truck" is used more often. In more recent series, however, the US has been more consistent in using the term "car", unless referring to the Troublesome Trucks.
  • The audio clip of the trucks laughing heard from the second through seventh series is actually Junior Campbell's laughing sound in a higher-pitch, as is the clip of the trucks singing their song, "Pop Goes the Diesel".
  • In the first series, the Troublesome Trucks had paper eyes and a paper mouth similar to how Annie and Clarabel's were made. No multiple emotions were able to be used until the following series when they were given face masks to present a greater variety of facial expressions.
  • The Troublesome Trucks went through several aesthetic changes in the television series:
    • Series 2:
      • The Trucks gained face masks to allow a greater variety of facial expressions. However, first series trucks made cameo appearances. 
    • Series 12:
      • The Trucks have the same face design.
    • Series 13:
      • The open topped wagons became taller.
    • Series 17:
      • All trucks are now grey.
      • The trucks now have identical faces with no distinguishing features, just as they did in the twelfth series.
    • Series 20:
      • The Goods Vans regain their faces.
    • Journey Beyond Sodor:
      • The tankers and salt vans regain their faces.
    • Big World! Big Adventures!:
      • Several trucks in other countries are seen with different liveries and facial features.
  • Some face masks of S.C. Ruffey, Toad, Bulstrode and The Spiteful Brake Van have been seen on the trucks.
  • In the second series episode, A Close Shave, a brake van is seen with a troublesome trucks face.
  • Two original Troublesome Truck face masks along with several truck models they were used on-screen are now owned by Twitter user ThomasTankMerch. A third Troublesome Truck face mask is owned by Twitter user IsaacM6991.
  • From the first series to the fifth series, the wagons and Troublesome Trucks used in the television series were made out of vaccuformed plastic Tenmille gauge 1 kits.
  • The Capsule Plarail toys are repainted from JNR Tora55000-type's toys.


See also

* RWS only | ** T&F only | --- Dropped

* RWS only | ** T&F only

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