Cranky by name and cranky by nature, Cranky is nearly always seen with a grumpy look on his face and can usually be heard muttering about the gulls on his crane arm or the noise of engines below. Cranky hates a lot of things from Salty's stories to being woken up to Charlie's jokes and he loves teasing the engines when things don't go their way. He rarely pays attention to tact due to his perpetual bad temper and this can get him into trouble when doing some important jobs. However, sometimes the good deeds the engines do can lift Cranky's spirits and he's gotten so used to work that he does it with ease.
According to an interview with 'Thomas and Friends' art director, 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.