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For other uses, see Trucks (disambiguation).

The Troublesome Trucks (also called Cars or Freight Cars, originally Foolish Freight Cars, in the US narration) are pieces of rolling stock that are nicknamed so because they can be very troublesome, and love to play tricks on the engines.

Open Wagons

Open Wagons are the most common Troublesome Trucks. They can be seen working in most places on the North Western Railway. They carry a variety of loads, including crates, stone, slate and coal. Plank trucks are the most common type of troublesome trucks.

There are also narrow gauge open wagon counterparts on the Skarloey Railway and Mid Sodor Railway.


Plank trucks are based on 5 and 7-plank open wagons. The smaller trucks are based on the narrow gauge Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway open wagon, scaled up accordingly. The slate trucks are based on the 2-bar wooden slate wagons of the Talyllyn Railway, scaled up accordingly.


In The Railway Series and the early television series, the plank trucks were painted in a number of different liveries. Typically, Private Owner plank wagons had their own liveries in great multitude. Currently, in the television series, they are predominantly painted grey. In Big World! Big Adventures!, some of the plank trucks in Brazil were painted purple-red. In the twenty-second series, some plank trucks in China are painted black with red buffer beams. In the twenty-third series, the trucks in India are painted either orange or white. Green and dark blue ones were introduced in the twenty-fourth series.

Types of Open Wagons (standard gauge)

Type of Open Wagons (narrow gauge)


For other uses, see Vans (disambiguation).

The Vans carry goods and freight on the North Western Railway. There are several types of anthropomorphic vans featured throughout the Railway Series and television series.


In the early television series, the vans were painted primarily in grey or brown. Currently, they are predominantly painted cream. In Big World! Big Adventures!, some of the vans in Africa were painted green and light grey. Lei, a van in China, is painted pink with red buffer beams.

Type of Vans


For other uses, see Tankers (disambiguation).

The Tankers are used to carry a variety of liquids. Most of the tankers in The Railway Series and television series do not have faces. The only types to be seen with faces are the standard tankers, tar tankers, milk tankers, a fuel tanker and oil tankers.


The Oil Tankers and Tar Tankers are painted black, with their respective symbols on their sides. The Milk Tankers are painted white with "TIDMOUTH MILK" in blue lettering, In Misty Island Rescue onwards, the logo was replaced with a a circle with a picture of a cow in it colored in blue lining. The Standard Tankers are painted black with blank sides and the Fuel Tanker from The Railway Series is painted yellow. In Big World! Big Adventures!, some tankers in Africa were painted dark purple.

Types of Tankers

Brake Vans

For other uses, see Brake Vans (disambiguation).

Brake Vans are railway carriages from which the train's brakes can be controlled by the guards.

In the television series, only one troublesome brake van briefly appeared in the second series episode, A Close Shave. Another troublesome brake van appeared in the book, James the Red Engine and the Troublesome Trucks.


The brake van that appeared in the television series is based on a BR Standard 20 Ton Brake Van. The other brake van is an NER 20 Ton Brake Van.


Brake vans are commonly painted grey. Some are painted brown.

Types of Sentient Brake Vans


Every wise engine knows trucks cannot be trusted. On railway networks in Great Britain and Sodor, trucks could be considered the rebels and the troublemakers of all rolling stock on the railway, as most of them love to cause trouble and show no remorse for whatever damage they do unless they are told off by their engine or controller that knows how to handle them. If an engine is having a bad day, makes a mistake, or is naive and easily played upon, the trucks begin their wild antics of singing, name-calling, holding back, shoving, bumping, giggling, teasing and so on. They will play tricks on an engine based on how they treat them. They are known to be the cause of many accidents and some of them are a form of revenge due to mistreatment. They are not known for their common sense; they will carry out their plans to pay back an engine or cause trouble out of boredom even if they result in derailing, damaging or in some instances, destroying themselves. Very rarely do they behave, if they ever do.

Trucks can also be described as territorial; when they get used to certain engines pulling them, another engine in the yard to take them may cause confusion or anger for the trucks. For example, there was an occasion when Toby and Percy switched jobs, making Toby's trucks furious and causing Percy to crash. In another instance, when Oliver was to work with certain trucks, they refused for him to take them and demanded Duck or Donald or Douglas instead.

To the trucks, one engine is as good as another, as on one occasion they took their anger out on Thomas when they could not get back at James for bumping them. Another occasion was when Toby was pushed by the trucks when he took them instead of Mavis, the latter of whom had asked them to push her at the level crossing, but the trucks decided to bump him anyway.

Trucks are also shown to be somewhat manipulative and can take advantage of other engines that do not know much about them. This was shown when they tricked Bill and Ben by telling them where to put them when they said they wanted to help, only to end up causing delays when the trucks ended up all over the sidings in messy situations, making the twins late to fetch Gordon's coaches.

The only engines the trucks are known not to play tricks on are Edward, Stepney, Wilbert, Hiro, Rebecca and Salty as well as Toby and Mavis from the fifth series onwards. These engines have their ways of necessary sternness and knowledge of how to properly discipline them when they misbehave and only bump them when they deserve it. Conversely, Diesel believed that the only way to get the trucks to behave was by using violence, but this only made them behave worse, leading him to have to be taught by Hiro how to deal with the trucks' antics. Salty's way of handling trucks is singing musical tunes for them to sing along to, so as to keep their minds off of misbehaving. With Rebecca, when they tried to play tricks on her, they were instead befuddled by the end of their journey with her as she went along with their antics instead of letting them get to her. In fact, she even looked forward to taking them again. Additionally, the trucks are hesitant to play tricks on Peter Sam due to his friendly nature, though some once crashed into him on the Incline when they mistook him for Sir Handel, who often bumps them regardless whether or not they behave.

They are also afraid of Donald and Douglas after the latter crushed the Spiteful Brake Van to pieces and Oliver since he pulled a privately owned truck called S.C. Ruffey - who was also their leader - apart. Although they were all accidents, the trucks were never told that and since these incidents, they always keep in mind never to play tricks on those engines.

There have, however, been some cases where the trucks and engines are on the same side, such as when Diesel was given a third chance on Sodor, but the trucks tricked him into misbehaving and getting sent away again. They also asked Percy to help move them away from Bulstrode, only to end up in his hull and damage him, resulting in him being sent to a beach. The trucks are also capable of realizing when they have gone too far, as they never seem to want to harm any passengers (except in one notable instance).

However, in other countries around the world, there are trucks that are shown to act very differently than the ones on Sodor, being very polite and even helpful to the engines instead of causing trouble. Like their Sodor counterparts, these trucks sing songs for their enjoyment but do so for the engines that pull them to enjoy rather than to tease them.


  • The Troublesome Trucks are the first official antagonists to be introduced in the entire series.
  • Trucks are usually unnamed; however, those that are privately owned tend to take on the name of their owner, like S.C. Ruffey, Fred Pelhay and Old Bennett. Hector, Rickety, and Lei are exceptions to this, being the only trucks with their own names.
  • Eight original Troublesome Truck face masks along with several truck models that were used on-screen are now owned by Twitter user ThomasTankMerch. Another Troublesome Truck face mask is owned by Twitter user IsaacM6991, as well as Twitter user TomProps.
  • From the first series to the fifth series, the wagons and Troublesome Trucks used in the television series were made out of vaccuformed plastic Tenmille gauge 1 kits.

See also