"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 Bugs, fifth season
Cranky is a tall, grumpy dockyard crane (hence his name) who lives and works at Brendam Docks.
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 had to be rescued by the two tank engines. Afterwards, he promised never to insult them. However, he still teases the engines, 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 cause accidents.
Although he is naturally grumpy, Cranky has shown that he has a kind side too. Once he 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.
The reason Cranky is so grumpy is because he is initially kept working day and night without rest but he keeps up his cranky attitude even though he now gets to sleep. 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.
However, Cranky has at times shown a bit of kindness, such as when he sympathised for Percy when Thomas went missing on Misty Island and when he used a large reflective mirror to show Henry his glowing paint.
"You're useless little bugs! If you put these freight cars on the inside lines, then I wouldn't have so far to travel!"
- Cranky's first dialogue, Cranky Bugs, Season 5
"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, Season 5