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For other uses, see Trucks (disambiguation).

The Troublesome Trucks (called Cars, originally Foolish Freight Cars, in the US narration) 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 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. Currently in the television series, they are predominantly painted grey.

Type of Open Wagons (standard gauge)

Type of Open Wagons (narrow gauge)


For further information, see main article: Vans

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 grey.

Type of Vans


For further information, see main article: Tankers

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 Standard Tankers are painted black with blank sides and the Fuel Tanker from The Railway Series is painted yellow.

Type of Tankers

Brake Vans

For further information, see main article: Brake Vans

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

To date, only one troublesome brake van briefly appeared in the second season 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 van. The other brake van is an NER 20 Ton brake van.


Brake vans are commonly painted grey.

Type of Brake Vans


Every wise engine knows trucks cannot be trusted. Trucks could be considered the rebels and the troublemakers of all rolling stock on the railway, as most of them love to cause mischief and trouble and show no remorse for whatever they do. If an engine is having a bad day, makes a mistake, or is easily played upon, the trucks begin their wild antics of singing, name calling, holding back, shoving, bumping, giggling and so on. They will play tricks on an engine based on how they treat them. Most accidents caused by the trucks are a form of revenge due to mistreatment and they are not known for considering the consequences of their actions; they will carry out their plans even if they result in derailing, damaging or destroying themselves.

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. In Percy's Predicament for example, Toby and Percy switched jobs, making Toby's trucks furious and causing Percy to crash. In Oliver Owns Up, the trucks refused for Oliver to take them and demanded Duck, 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.


Trucks are traditionally painted either dark grey or brown with black frames, although in recent years, they have also appeared in red, green, blue, pink, and many other colours. Privately-owned trucks typically have their own specific livery.


Railway Series

Television Series


Voice Actors


  • Trucks are never named; however, those that are privately owned tend to take on the name of their owner, like S.C. Ruffey, Fred PelhayU.L.P., Bennett and Co. and possibly Rickety.
  • From the sixth season onwards in the US, the term "truck" is used more often. In more recent seasons, however, the US has been more consistent in using the term "car", unless referring to the trucks with faces.
  • The audio clip of the trucks laughing heard from the second through seventh seasons is actually a higher-pitched version of Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell laughing, as is the clip of the trucks singing "Pop Goes The Diesel".
    • This makes the trucks the first characters to have individual voice actors in English-speaking countries.
  • In the first season the Troublesome Trucks had paper eyes and a paper mouth similar to how Annie and Clarabel's were made, however until the second season the trucks were only able to look cross.
  • The Troublesome Trucks went through several aesthetic changes in the television series:
    • Season 2:
      • The Trucks gained face masks to allow a greater variety of facial expressions.
  • According to the Railway Series book, Oliver the Western Engine, ballast trucks are considered to be the worst of all.
  • Some face masks of S.C. Ruffey, Toad, Bulstrode and The Spiteful Brake Van have been seen on the trucks.


* RWS only | ** T&F only