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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Buzz Book, the magazine story or the Indian DVD.

“Dirty or clean, I'm a famous machine!”

The Trouble with Mud is the tenth episode of the third series. It is based on the story Leaves from the Railway Series book Gordon the Big Engine.


One morning, Thomas is being cleaned when Gordon arrives covered in mud. Thomas tells Gordon to have a wash down, but Gordon does not care and leaves. A strong wind is blowing and Gordon's driver tells him to slow down, but that only makes Gordon more cross at being dirty and late.

In the goods yard at the next station, Gordon sees a sign saying "All trains must wash down daily." James is just finishing with his wash down and Gordon's driver tells him it is his turn now, but Gordon angrily lets off steam and mud flies all over his driver, the workmen, and even James. Gordon's driver scolds him and now he has to wait until James gets another wash, but Gordon does not and leaves to pull the express. The Fat Controller is waiting for Gordon at the big station and is shocked to see the big engine looking very muddy. He tells Gordon that Henry will have to pull the train instead and orders him to get cleaned up at once.

After Gordon finally receives a wash down, he pulls and shunts trucks for the rest of the day, much to his anger, while James gets ready to take the express. Earlier, a storm swept across Gordon's Hill, blowing leaves onto the tracks. Though the storm is over, the hill is still slippery. Gordon warns James about the hills being slippery and says that he may need help, but James denies this and leaves.

When James comes to the hill, he picks up speed as he tries to pull the train over the hill by himself. But halfway up, despite his best efforts, his wheels begin slipping on the leaves and he rolls back down the hill. Gordon sees everything and after teasing James for not listening to his advice, he decides to help him up the hill. Then, thanks to Gordon's pushing from behind, James makes it to the top.

That night, Thomas asks the Fat Controller if Gordon can pull coaches again. The Fat Controller says that Gordon may, as long as he understands the importance of having a good wash down. As the other engines settle to sleep, Gordon states that "Dirty or clean, I'm a famous machine," even though there is no one else left awake or around to hear him.




  • Thomas' line "Please Sir, can Gordon pull coaches again now?" is taken from Paint Pots and Queens, which would later be adapted in the following series.
  • In the episode, the express coaches of James' train are red, but in a few promotional photos, they are green.
  • In the original UK dub, the music was omitted in the following scenes:
    • Gordon letting off steam and sprays mud onto James.
    • The narrator saying "Gordon saw everything," after James was being brought back down the hill.
    • The end of the episode after Gordon says "Dirty or clean, I'm a famous machine!" though a second of it is slightly heard when the credits started.
  • In the US and Ukrainian dubs, the sound effects in the scenes of Gordon and Henry at Knapford to the one of James and Gordon at the yards are barely audible.
  • In the restored version:
    • The scene where Gordon's driver tells Gordon that he is a naughty engine is different compared to the original version.
    • The line in the original UK dub where Gordon splutters "Goods Trains! Goods trains!" as he is pulling trucks is omitted.
    • The scene with Gordon bumping the trucks is slowed down. Additionally, in the original UK dub, the narrator says "he felt his position deeply", but in the restored version, the line was replaced with "he bumped the trucks hard".
  • This marks the only appearance of Gordon's Hill in the third series.
  • This episode marks the first time James' drowsy face was used at the end of the episode when Gordon says, "Dirty or clean, I'm a famous machine!"
  • Audio from the original UK dub of this episode can be heard in the 2006 British Drama film, "After Thomas."
  • A few promotional images show Thomas with his chuckling face instead of his standard happy face when he teases Gordon.


  • The cleaners washing Thomas all have skinny flesh-coloured wires for necks.
  • The mud on Gordon changes several times whenever he refuses to get a washdown. This was due to the layout designs being set up and dismantled many times for filming the episode's different scenes.
  • Before Gordon sprays mud onto James, a studio equipment can be seen in the top left corner.
  • As Gordon says "Mind my eyes!" his right eye is misaligned.
  • As the passengers board the express, one of the coaches has a hole in the roof.
  • When James first sets off with the express, his wheels slip.
  • When James is sliding back down Gordon's Hill, a wire can be seen attached to his rear coach pulling him back down the hill.
  • In the extended scene of James going back up the hill, Gordon is not seen pushing James, meaning that it was a stock footage of James going up the hill for that first time. This was cut to pretend that Gordon is pushing James.
  • Gordon's eyebrows are missing at the beginning.
  • When Gordon and James are at the bottom of Gordon's Hill, a signal above them is set for stop.
  • The signals at the bottom of Gordon's Hill are incorrect as the yellow distant signal is above the red home signal.
  • In the Norwegian and Swedish dubs, James is referred to as Henry when he says, "Trucks will be trucks."
  • When Gordon puffs through the forest, he rounds the same bend twice.
  • Gordon's buffers are crooked throughout the episode.


Thomas: [sees Gordon covered in mud] Hello, Gordon. You look as if you've had a mud bath. Be a sensible engine and have a shower instead.
Gordon: I haven't time to dawdle over my appearance like fussy tank engines do.

Narrator: The wind blew stronger.
Gordon's Driver: Phew, Gordon! Slow down!
Narrator: This made Gordon even crosser
Gordon: Now I'll be dirty and late! Dirty and late!

[at the washdown, James is finished]
Driver: Come on, Gordon. You'll feel better after a good hose down.
Gordon: PAH!!!
[he angrily lets off steam, covering his driver, the workman and James in mud]
Driver: You're a very naughty engine! Now James will need another shower! You'll have to wait your turn till later!
Gordon: Good riddance! I'm far too busy to waste time with water!

Gordon: [while being cleaned] Mind my eyes!
Narrator: And he pulled trucks for the rest of the day.
Gordon (Early UK / US versions only): Goods Trains! Goods Trains!

Gordon: Ah well, we live and learn. Never mind, little James. I'm going to push behind.
[the two big engines climb Gordon's Hill]
James: We can do it!
Gordon: We will do it!
[cut to the top of the hill, they make it up]
James: Peep peep! Thank you, goodbye!
Gordon: Boop boop! Goodbye!

Thomas: Please, sir? Can Gordon pull coaches again now?
The Fat Controller: If you understand that having a washdown is essential to every engine, then yes, Gordon. You may.
Gordon: Thank you. Dirty or clean, I'm a famous machine!
[the engines fall asleep except Gordon]
Narrator: But no one heard but him.


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Chinese Mandarin 泥帶來麻煩
Czech Potíže s Blátem
Danish Problemer med Mudder
Dutch Die Lastige Modder
Finnish Mutaa Matkassa
German Immer dieser Schmutz
Greek Το λασπόλουτρο
Hungarian A Csúszós Vasúti Sín
Italian Una Doccia ci Vuole
Japanese どろんこゴードン
Korean 진흙투성이, 고든
Norwegian Vanskelig Søle
Polish Kłopoty z Myciem (Original)
Błotne Kłopoty (Alternate)
Romanian Probleme cu Noroiul
Russian Проблема с грязью
Serbian Problem sa Blatom
Slovenian Težave z Blatom
Swedish Vanskelig Søle
Ukrainian Клопіт через бруд
Welsh Helynt y Mwd

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets




  • Trust Thomas and Other Stories
  • 10 Years of Thomas
  • Best of Gordon

VHS/DVD Boxsets


  • Trust Thomas and Other Stories
  • All Aboard!
  • The Complete Series 3

DVD Boxsets

  • Complete Series 1-10
  • Classic Collection
  • Series Three and Series Four Double Pack




DVD Boxsets



DVD Boxsets



  • Thomas, Percy and the Post Train









  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4



Video Games