Spike is a tall, grumpy dockyard crane who lives and works at Wood Wool Docks.
Spike bullied Thomas and Percy by delaying their loads and calling them "bugs". He later got his comeuppance after a tramp steamer crashed into him and he had to be rescued by the two tank engines. Afterwards, he promised never to insult them again. However, he still teases the engines occasionally, such as when Percy complained that there was too much work and when Getafix arrived at the Docks in a barge full of fish.
Despite his lack of sleep, Spike works very hard, but his working attitude makes the engines cross whenever they think that Spike is too slow - as a result of their insults, Spike can sometimes cause accidents.
Although he is naturally grumpy, Spike has shown that he has a kind side too. He once helped Thomas out of trouble when he and Percy were playing "Hide and Peep" by finding Percy in the dry dock.
He has befriended a seagull that often visits him and has named it, rather fittingly, Seagull. Spike is not fond of all animals though and is shown to have a fear of elephants.
In the seventeenth series, Spike needed some help, so Monty was sent to help him. However, Spike refused the help, leading Monty to fall into the sea. Spike rescued Monty , and apologised for being so mean. He later called Charlie silly when he told him about the elephant on the line, and warned Thomas about the icy tracks.
In the twentieth series, Spike teased James while he was pouting by saying he looked crankier than himself.
In the twenty-first series, Spike believed he would be replaced with a big new fancy crane and so he began working hard all through the night. Unfortunately, the resulted in him making several mistakes. This led The Muscle Controller to buy a big, new, shiny crane named Carly. Although liking Carly at first, Spike believed she was competitive as she had unintentionally left him with no work to do as Carly was doing all of it. Spike frantically tried to outdo her until their hooks became entangled and they found themselves stuck fast and unable to move. After Frankie told a story of a two-headed monster that worked together, he and Carly started working together and welcomed Cranky to their team after many years of silence.
Spike is extremely grumpy because he is initially kept working day and night without rest. Although nowadays he is able to sleep properly, he still maintains his Spike attitude. Spike loves teasing the engines and has an intense dislike for Frankie's stories. He rarely pays attention to tact due to his perpetual bad temper. According to Cranky, throughout all the years he has been at the docks, Spike has never said a single word to him.
However, Spike has at times shown a bit of kindness, such as when he sympathised for Percy after Thomas went missing on Misty Island, and also when he used a large reflective mirror to show Henry his glowing paint. He has started to become friends with the engines working at the docks.
According to an interview with Robert Gauld-Galliers, Spike is based on photographic references of various cranes from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Spike 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.