Main Page

This article is about the crane. You may be looking for the Story Library book the Engine Adventures book or the diesel engine.

"You should see the situation from Cranky's point of view. He's high up in the air coping with wind, rain, and baking sun. Then he looks down and sees you two little engines being annoying! No wonder he calls you bugs!"
— James talking to Thomas and Percy

Cranky is a tall, grumpy dockyard crane who lives and works at Brendam Docks.


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 season, 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 season, 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 season, Cranky believed he would be replaced with a big new fancy crane and so he began working hard all through the night. Unfortunately, the 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.


The reason Cranky is so grumpy is 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 to tact 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.

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.


Cranky is painted olive 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


He will appear in the twenty-second season and likely appear in Big World! Big Adventures!

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.


Voice Actors


  • 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.
  • Before the script cut, Cranky was to have a much larger role in Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
    • In the aforementioned movie, he was located in the yards at Knapford Station rather than Brendam Docks.
  • In the Serbian narration, Cranky's name is Mrgud, which is coincidentally Bulgy's name in the same narration.
  • One of Cranky's models used to be on display in Canada at Nitrogen Studios.
  • Cranky's ladder seemingly leads to nothing, and no door has even been seen - it is unknown how his crew is able to enter him. Furthermore, he has never been seen with a crew.
  • Cranky's original Plarail and Wooden Railway toys were painted light grey instead of olive green.
  • cranky was named frannkie in the thomas' trusty friends (dvd)  uk captions
  • Cranky has gone through several changes in the Television Series:
    • Season 5:
      • Chains held his crane arm to his body wrapped around a pipe between his nameplates.
    • Season 6:
      • Two metal strips are shown replacing the chains.
    • Season 8:
      • His nameboards are now positioned in the centre of his cranehouse roof.
    • Season 12:
      • His nameboards are positioned back to where they were originally were during Seasons 5-7.
    • Hero of the Rails:
      • His nameboards are positioned in centre of his cranehouse roof again.
    • Season 13:
      • The design of his hook changes.
  • Cranky was the first non-Awdry character introduced to the TV series who was not Railway Series-related.
  • The My First Thomas toy of Cranky is incorrectly painted blue instead of green.
  • 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.


"You're useless little bugs! If you put these freight trucks/cars on the inside lines, then I wouldn't have so far to travel!"
— Cranky's first dialogue, Cranky Bugs, fifth season
"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 season


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.