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

The Trouble with Mud, also known as 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 of 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 tells him that, because he is muddy, Henry will have to pull the train instead. Gordon is then ordered 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. As James prepares to take the express, Gordon warns him about the hills being slippery and says that he may need help, but James denies this and leaves. Earlier, a storm swept across Gordon's Hill, blowing leaves onto the tracks. Though the storm is over, the hill is still slippery.

When James comes to the hill, he picks up speed as he tries to pull the train over the hill by himself like before. 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 decides to help James 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.
  • In the episode, the express coaches of James' train are red, but in a few promotional photos, they are green.
  • In the early UK narration, the music in the scene when Gordon lets off steam and blows mud onto James, when the narrator said "Gordon saw everything," and at the end of the episode is omitted. Though a second of it is slightly heard when the credits started.
  • This marks the only appearance of Gordon's Hill in the third series.
  • Chronologically, Leaves (the story this episode is based on) takes place just after the events of Off the Rails.


  • The cleaners washing Thomas all have skinny flesh-coloured wires for necks.
  • The mud on Gordon changed several times whenever he refused to get a washdown.
  • When Gordon's driver says "You'll feel better after a good hose down," studio equipment can be seen in the top left corner.
  • The camera wobbles when Gordon finally receives a washdown in the restored version.
  • 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.
  • 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 versions, James is referred to as Henry when he says, "Trucks will be trucks."


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: UK: Phew, Gordon! Slow down! / US: Gordon, slow down!
Narrator: UK: This made Gordon even crosser / US: This made Gordon crosser still.
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 hosedown.
Gordon: PAH!!!
[he angrily lets off steam, covering his driver 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/Freight Trains! Goods/Freight 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 / Sir Topham Hatt: 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
Brazilian Portuguese Os Problemas com Lama
Chinese 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 Błotne Kłopoty
Romanian Probleme cu Noroiul
Russian Проблема с грязью
Serbian Problem sa Blatom
Slovak Ťažkosti s Blatom
Slovenian Težave z Blatom
Swedish Vanskelig Søle
Thai กอร์ดอนไม่อยากอาบน้ำ
Ukrainian Клопіт через бруд
Welsh Helynt y Mwd

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