Cranky's Surprise is a sixty-four page stencil book.
The engines are ready to be really useful. Percy starts the day with a washdown and James gets a fresh load of coal. While Percy heads off to deliver the mail, Thomas puffs to the Docks. Percy meets many of his friends on the way. Thomas arrives at the Docks and Cranky has a special delivery for Sir Topham Hatt. Spencer thinks he should deliver it because he is so speedy. Now Thomas wants to show how speedy and special he is, so Thomas and Spencer have race. During the race, Spencer falls off a broken bridge and into the marsh land. Thomas goes to get help and Harold and Rocky soon rescue Spencer.
Soon, Spencer is taken to the Sodor Steamworks and is repaired. Because of the accident, Thomas has forgotten about the special package for Sir Topham Hatt. He races as fast as he can and Jeremy cheers him on. Soon Thomas delivers the package to Sir Topham Hatt. The special package is a new top hat. He thanks Thomas for being a Really Useful Engine.
Percy has finished delivering the mail, so the two friends head home. Thomas is happy to be back at the sheds and the engines agree that Thomas is a very helpful friend and congratulate him with a banner. Thomas says that he is very lucky to have so many good friends.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The sub-plot about Thomas and Spencer's race is similar to the events of Hero of the Rails.
- The rails do not have spikes.
- The engines are missing their coupling hooks and lamp irons.