Cranky the Crane is the twenty-fourth episode of the Engine Friends miniseries.
Thomas and Percy enjoy working at the docks, but one day, find themselves delayed when a new crane named Cranky pushes his weight around and messes up their work. Thomas and Percy tell James and Gordon about Cranky. While Gordon believes that cranes need a lot of attention like him, James tells Thomas and Percy that they should see the situation from Cranky's point of view, high up in the air, coping with wind, rain, and baking sun, looking down on the two engines being annoying and are called bugs.
Matters are made even worse when Cranky finds out Gordon and James agree with his ways, causing him to be more bossy. He tells Percy to shunt some trucks closer to him. Percy is too upset to concentrate and he pushes the trucks too far, leading Cranky to drop a crate of sand on Percy's funnel and boiler. Cranky then plays a trick on Thomas by telling him to shunt his flatbeds to the outside line, so that it will be easier for Cranky to load up. As Thomas does so, Cranky leaves the loads beside the trucks, rather than in them. The Fat Controller is unaware of Cranky's bad behaviour, so he assumes Thomas and Percy are responsible for the confusion and delay and is most upset with the aforementioned incidents. He sends the two engines to the sheds to consider how they will improve themselves the next day. Thomas and Percy are then upset too, with Cranky.
That night, a terrible storm rages across Sodor. Henry, Gordon, James, and Duck are stuck in the harbour shed. Duck is sure that they will be safe, but a tramp steamer loses control, crashes into the dockyard, and destroys the shed, making Cranky fall and land on his side. When the storm is over, the Fat Controller tells Cranky that Thomas and Percy are coming to help him so that he can help the other engines. Cranky tells the Fat Controller to apologise the little engines for his bad behaviour. The Fat Controller realises that Cranky was responsible for the incidents, agrees to send Cranky's message to Thomas and Percy. Soon the little engines come to the rescue, and it is not long before Cranky is upright again, and releasing the engines from what remains of the shed. Cranky then mistakenly calls his rescuers "mites." Percy, offended that Cranky is still insulting them, starts to puff away, not realising (despite Thomas' warning) that he is still attached to Cranky, and pulls him down again.
Cranky still looks down on Thomas and Percy, but ever since the stormy night, he never causes trouble for them again.
One day, Salty arrives late, and Cranky snaps at him. Bill and Ben pull up, and Cranky demands them to hurry up. The twins tell him he is no fun, to which he retaliates. The twins suspect that he is lonely, and Salty compares this hypothesis to an old, lonely Grand Banks lighthouse keeper, which to Cranky's dismay, leads to a story. This makes Cranky even more cranky, and he drops some pipes onto the tracks instead of the flatbeds. They roll into the shed, which collapses and topples on the ground, trapping everyone.
Sir Topham Hatt is being measured for a new suit when he gets the news. Knowing that any mishap at the docks can cause confusion and delay, he sets off. He reprimands Cranky for his actions, and tells the engines that they will have to wait for help. Cranky groans as Salty mutters those six fateful words: "That reminds me of a story!" All through the night, Salty tells sea stories, hurting Cranky's ears and delighting Bill and Ben.
In the morning, Salty is still telling tales. Cranky is about to lose it when Harvey finally arrives. Cranky is happy and claims he will never be rude again in exchange for not listening to Salty's stories. Soon, Cranky is a happy crane, saying "please" and "thank you." Thomas and Percy are amazed, and Thomas says that this is new. Unfortunately, he speaks too soon, as Cranky cannot help dropping more pipes, blocking Percy. Thomas, Percy, and Harvey find this funny, but Cranky is just cranky.