The Foolish Freight Cars, 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 Foolish Freight Cars. 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. 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.

Types of Open Wagons (standard gauge)

7-Plank Trucks

4-Plank Trucks

Short Wheelbase Trucks


Slate Trucks

Mine Trolleys

8-Plank Trucks

5-Plank Trucks

Anopha Quarry Trucks

Ballast Trucks

Mineral Wagons

Type of Open Wagons (narrow gauge)

Slate Trucks

Trucks (Type 2)

Trucks (Type 3)

Arlesdale Railway Trucks


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

LMS 12 Ton Vans (faceless)

GWR Ventilated Vans


Utility Vans (4 wheels)

LNER 12 Ton Vans

Salt Wagons (model era)

Salt Vans (CGI era)

Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Vans

LBSC Railway 8 Ton Vans

GWR Cattle Trucks

Cattle Trucks

Bean Vans

LMS Banana Vans


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 Seriesis painted yellow. In Big World! Big Adventures!, some tankers in Africa were painted dark purple.

Types of Tankers

Standard Tankers

Tar Tankers

Milk Tankers

Oil Tankers

Fuel Tankers

Brake Vans

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

To date, 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.

Types of Brake Vans

BR 20 Ton Brake Vans

NER 20 Ton 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 trouble and show no remorse for whatever damage they do unless they are told off by their engine or controller. 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 and they are not known for their common sense; they will carry out their plans to pay back an engine even if they result in derailing, damaging or in some instances 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 the second series episode, Percy's Predicament, for example, Toby and Percy switched jobs, making Toby's trucks furious and causing Percy to crash. In the third series episode, Oliver Owns Up, the trucks refused for Oliver 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.

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 Saltyas 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. Salty's way of handling trucks is singing musical tunes for them to sing along, so as to keep their minds off of misbehaving. With Rebecca, when they tried to play tricks on her, they were instead confused 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 (although that was an understandable mistake, because in the Railway Series, all the engines on the Skarloey Railway were painted red, except for Rusty, who was painted charcoal black, and Duke, who was painted brown).

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 Dieselwas 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.

Very rarely do they behave well, but in other countries around the world, some trucks are shown to act very differently than the ones on Sodor, some being very polite and even helpful to the engines instead of causing trouble.


The Railway Series

  • The Three Railway Engines - Edward and Gordon
  • Thomas the Tank Engine - Thomas and the Trucks and Thomas and the Breakdown Train
  • James the Red Engine - Troublesome Trucks
  • Troublesome Engines - Percy Runs Away
  • Toby the Tram Engine - Dirty Objects
  • Gordon the Big Engine - Off the Rails (do not speak), Leaves and Down the Mine (do not speak)
  • Percy the Small Engine - Percy and the Signal and Percy and Harold
  • The Eight Famous Engines - Percy Takes the Plunge
  • Duck and the Diesel Engine - Pop Goes the Diesel, Dirty Work and A Close Shave
  • The Little Old Engine - Trucks!
  • The Twin Engines - Break Van
  • Branch Line Engines - Percy's Predicament
  • Gallant Old Engine - Special Funnel (mentioned)
  • Oliver the Western Engine - Donald's Duck (cameos), Resource and Sagacity and Toad Stands By
  • Tramway Engines - Mavis and Toby's Tightrope
  • Toby, Trucks and Trouble - Bulstrode
  • Wilbert the Forest Engine - Cab Over Wheels

Companion Volumes

  • 1972 - The Railway Series: Surprise Packet
  • 1976 - Famous Engines and Railway Map of the Island of Sodor
  • 1984 - Henry the Green Engine and the Elephant and James the Red Engine and the Troublesome Trucks
  • 1986 - Percy the Small Engine Takes the Plunge and Thomas the Tank Engine: The Complete Collection
  • 1987 - Thomas and the Evil Diesel
  • 1990 - Thomas and Gordon Off the Rails
  • 1994 - James the Red Engine and the Signal
  • 1996 - Thomas the Tank Engine: The Complete Collection
  • 2007 - Thomas the Tank Engine: The New Collection

Thomas & Friends


  • 1992 - Thomas and the U.K. Trip (cameos)
  • 2000 - Thomas and the Magic Railroad (cameos)
  • 2008 - The Great Discovery (music video cameos)
  • 2013 - King of the Railway
  • 2014 - Tale of the Brave
  • 2015 - The Adventure Begins
  • 2017 - Journey Beyond Sodor
  • 2018 - Big World! Big Adventures!

Learning Segments

  • Series 8 - Truck Trouble
  • Series 9 - Sir Topham Hatt's Helping Hand and Percy's Favorite Things
  • Series 10 - Help From Your Friends


  • 2018 - Meet the New Steam Team (cameos) and Why is Africa Important to Nia? (cameos)
  • 2019 - Meet Rebecca and Meet Nia

Voice Actors

  • Mike O'Donnell (second - seventh series; laughing voices)
  • Junior Campbell (second - seventh series; laughing and singing voices)
  • Neil Crone/Kevin Frank (Thomas and the Magic Railroad; cut from final film)
  • Ben Small (UK/US; sixteenth - eighteenth series)
  • Christopher Ragland (UK/US; The Adventure Begins onwards)
  • Rob Rackstraw, William Hope and Lucy Montgomery (UK/US; Journey Beyond Sodor)
  • Kerry Shale (UK/US; Journey Beyond Sodor onwards)
  • Rasmus Hardiker (UK/US; The Fastest Red Engine on Sodor)
  • Abubakar Salim, Richie Campbell, Akiya Henry and Chipo Chung (UK/US; Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Elvis Who (UK/US; Singing voice Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Gabriel Porras (UK/US; Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Nikhil Parmar (UK/US; Crowning Around)
  • Bernard Demory (France and French speaking Canada; sixth series onwards; excluding the eighth - twelfth series)
  • Michel Lasorne (France and French speaking Canada; eighth - twelfth series)
  • Shinobu Satouchi (Japan; Edward and Gordon, Thomas and the Trucks, Thomas and the Breakdown Train, Troublesome Trucks, Percy Runs Away, The Flying Kipper, Dirty Objects, Thomas, Percy and the Coal, Percy Takes the Plunge, A Close Shave, Break Van, Percy's Predicament, Toad Stands By, The World's Strongest Engine, and The Spotless Record)
  • Kōzō Shioya (Japan; Edward and Gordon, Thomas and the Trucks, Thomas and the Breakdown Train, Troublesome Trucks, Dirty Objects, Percy's Predicament, and Gordon and the Famous Visitor)
  • Kōhei Miyauchi (Japan; Percy and Harold)
  • Yasuhiro Takato (Japan; Pop Goes the Diesel, Dirty Work, Gordon and the Famous Visitor, Diesel Does it Again, Toad Stands By, Oliver's Find, and The World's Strongest Engine)
  • Ryō Horikawa (Japan; Pop Goes the Diesel, Dirty Work, and Emily's New Route)
  • Yūki Satō (Japan; Trust Thomas, Mavis, Toby's Tightrope, Special Attraction, Put Upon Percy, A Surprise for Percy, Busy Going Backwards, The World's Strongest Engine, Percy's Chocolate Crunch, Buffer Bother, Edward the Very Useful Engine, and Emily's New Route)
  • Toshio Kobayashi (Japan; Trust Thomas, Mavis, Toby's Tightrope, Oliver Owns Up, Toad Stands By, Harvey to the Rescue, and Percy's Chocolate Crunch)
  • Yasuhiko Kawazu (Japan; Oliver Owns Up, Oliver's Find and A Surprise for Percy)
  • Katsuji Mori (Japan; Heroes)
  • Naoki Tatsuta (Japan; Toad Stands By, Special Attraction, The World's Strongest Engine, Something Fishy, James Gets a New Coat, Emily's New Route, and Fish)
  • Hikaru Midorikawa (Japan; Toad Stands By)
  • Yasunori Masutani (Japan; Special Attraction)
  • Hisao Egawa (Japan; Haunted Henry, A Surprise for Percy, Salty's Secret, Harvey to the Rescue, Buffer Bother, Edward the Very Useful Engine, The Spotless Record, James Gets a New Coat, Emily's New Route and Fish)
  • Tetsu Inada (Japan; James and the Trouble with Trees)
  • Tomohisa Asō (Japan; Put Upon Percy and Edward the Very Useful Engine)
  • Naoki Kinoshita (Japan; Put Upon Percy)
  • Moriya Endo (Japan; Haunted Henry and Oliver's Find)
  • Ryōtarō Okiayu (Japan; A Surprise for Percy)
  • Hideo Ishikawa (Japan; Busy Going Backwards)
  • Hiromi Nishida (Japan; Percy's Chocolate Crunch)
  • Keiji Hirai (Japan; Edward the Very Useful Engine)
  • Nobuaki Kanemitsu (Japan; Emily Knows Best, Saving Edward, Hector the Horrid!, James Works it Out, Percy and the Bandstand, Ho Ho Snowman, King of the Railway, The Smelly Kipper, Tale of the Brave, Missing Gator, Who's Geoffrey?, Salty All At Sea, Henry Gets the Express, Diesel and the Ducklings, Bradford the Brake Van and Daisy's Perfect Christmas)
  • Mitsuhiro Sakamaki (Japan; Emily Knows Best, No More Mr. Nice Engine, Missing Gator and The Other Side of the Mountain)
  • Noriko Shitaya (Japan; Hector the Horrid!, The Smelly Kipper and Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Chie Kōjiro (Japan; No More Mr. Nice Engine)
  • Kunihiro Kawamoto (Japan; Thomas Toots the Crows, Thomas the Quarry Engine, Missing Gator, Salty All at Sea, Den and Dart, The Other Side of the Mountain, Philip's Number and Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Yuta Odagaki (Japan; Missing Gator, Journey Beyond Sodor and Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Takuya Iwabata (Japan; Missing Gator and Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Takayuki Kawasugi (Japan; Den and Dart, The Other Side of the Mountain, Henry Gets the Express, Diesel and the Ducklings, Bradford the Brake Van, Philip's Number, The Fastest Red Engine on Sodor and Journey Beyond Sodor)
  • Kōtarō Nishiyama (Japan; Den and Dart)
  • Hinata Tadokoro (Japan; The Adventure Begins)
  • Masanori Nakai (Japan; The Adventure Begins)
  • Anju Nitta (Japan; The Adventure Begins)
  • Tomohiro Tsuboi (Japan; The Fastest Red Engine on Sodor and Journey Beyond Sodor)
  • Erina Yamazaki (Japan; The Fastest Red Engine on Sodor and Journey Beyond Sodor)
  • Kenta Miyake (Japan; The Fastest Red Engine on Sodor and Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Tōru Akiyoshi (Japan; Daisy's Perfect Christmas)
  • Marie Oi (Japan; Daisy's Perfect Christmas)
  • Misa Ishii (Japan; Journey Beyond Sodor and Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Kazuyoshi Hosoya (Japan; Journey Beyond Sodor)
  • Shōto Kashii (Japan; Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Masafumi Kobatake (Japan; Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Kento Shiraishi (Japan; Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Yurina Amami (Japan; Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Tatsuya Tōjō (Japan; Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Haruka Jintani (Japan; Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Naoto Fuuga (Japan; Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Marta Dylewska (Poland; Journey Beyond Sodor)
  • Agata Skórska (Poland; Journey Beyond Sodor)
  • Johannes Semm (Germany)
  • Marcus Just (Germany)
  • Andreas Birnbaum (Germany; Journey Beyond Sodor)
  • Liza Ohm (Germany; Journey Beyond Sodor) 
  • Flemming Stein (Germany; Journey Beyond Sodor)
  • Sarah MacDonald Berge/Marianne Westby (Norway; King of the Railway only)
  • Øyvind Borgemoen Lyse (Norway; seventeenth series only)
  • Espen Sandvik (Norway; Tale of the Brave)
  • Caspar Phillipson (Denmark)
  • Bruno Mello/Caio Guarnieri (Brazil; eighteenth series onwards)
  • Kari Tamminen (Finland; Toad Stands By; singing and laughing voices)
  • Juha Paananen (Finland; King of the Railway onwards)
  • Petri Hanttu (Finland; Big World! Big Adventures!)
  • Bruno Lähteenmäki (Finland; Big World! Big Adventures!)


  • 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 and Lei are exceptions to this, being the only trucks with their own names. The ERTL character cards named two trucks, Naughty and Troublesome. The Wooden Railway range introduced a teal truck called Rickety.
  • From the sixth series onwards in the US, the term "truck" is used more often. In more recent series, however, the US has been more consistent in using the term "car", unless referring to the Troublesome Trucks.
  • The audio clip of the trucks laughing heard from the second through seventh series is actually Junior Campbell's laughing sound in a higher-pitch, as is the clip of the trucks singing their song, "Pop Goes the Diesel".
  • In the first series, the Troublesome Trucks had paper eyes and a paper mouth similar to how Annie and Clarabel's were made. No other emotions besides an angry expression were able to be used until the following series when they were given face masks to present a greater variety of facial expressions.
  • The Troublesome Trucks went through several aesthetic changes in the television series:
    • Series 2:
      • The Trucks gained face masks to allow a greater variety of facial expressions. However, first series trucks made cameo appearances. 
    • Series 12:
      • The Trucks have the same face design.
    • Series 13:
      • The open topped wagons became taller.
    • Series 17:
      • All trucks are now light grey.
      • The trucks now have identical faces with no distinguishing features, just as they did in the twelfth series.
    • Series 20:
      • The Goods Vans regain their faces.
    • Journey Beyond Sodor:
      • The tankers, salt vans and slate trucks regain their faces.
    • Big World! Big Adventures!:
      • Several trucks in other countries are seen with different liveries and facial features.
  • Some face masks of S.C. Ruffey, Toad, Bulstrode and The Spiteful Brake Van have been seen on the trucks.
  • In the second series episode, A Close Shave, a brake van is seen with a troublesome trucks face.
  • 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.
  • The Capsule Plarail toys are repainted from JNR Tora55000-type's toys.


  • ERTL (normal, miniature, brown livery and Gold Rail; all discontinued)
  • Wooden Railway (normal and talking, both discontinued)
  • Take Along (discontinued)
  • Take-n-Play (normal, talking, blue-green and red; all discontinued)
  • Minis
    • Classic Minis
    • DC Super Friends Minis (As Scarecrow)
    • Creatures Minis
    • Insects Minis 
    • Monster Minis 
    • Back to School Minis
    • Sushi Minis
    • Ice Cream Minis
  • My First Thomas (discontinued)
  • Lionel Trains
  • Bachmann (HO and large scale)
  • Hornby (discontinued)
  • Motor Road and Rail (discontinued outside Asia)
  • LEGO (discontinued)
  • TrackMaster (various colours)
  • Trading Cards (discontinued)
  • Thomas Engine Collection Series (discontinued)
  • Mini Die Cast Collection (discontinued)
  • Departing Now (discontinued)
  • Thomas Town (discontinued)
  • My Thomas Story Library (discontinued)
  • Tomix Trains
  • De Agostini (discontinued)
  • Brio (discontinued)
  • Nakayoshi
  • Tomica (with Percy)
  • Limited Edition Collection
  • Capsule Plarail (normal and metallic)
  • Pocket Fantasy (discontinued)
  • Mega Bloks (discontinued)
  • Boss (discontinued)
  • Choro-Q (discontinued)
  • IR Thomas (discontinued)
  • New Block
  • Collectible Railway
  • Adventures (discontinued)
  • Waku Waku (discontinued)
  • Engine Adventures
  • TrackMaster Push Along

See also

  • Plank Trucks
  • Quarry Trucks
  • Slate Trucks
  • Vans
  • Animal Wagons
  • Tankers
  • Brake Vans
  • Other Narrow Gauge Rolling Stock
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