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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, also known as Trouble with Mud, is the tenth episode of the third season. It first aired on the Shining Time Station episode, A Dog's Life in 1991.


One morning, Thomas is being cleaned when Gordon arrives, who has mud blown all over his smart blue coat of paint. Thomas tells Gordon to have a wash down, but Gordon does not care and leaves. A strong wind is blowing and Gordon's driver warns him to slow down, but that only makes Gordon more cross at being dirty and late.

At the wash down near the next station, a large sign informed engines that "all trains must wash down daily". James is just finish getting cleaned and Gordon's driver tells him it is now his turn to get washed. But Gordon angrily lets off steam and mud flies off all over James, the workmen and Gordon's driver! Gordon's driver scolds him for being a very naughty engine 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 Knapford and tells him that, because of his appearance, Henry will have to take the express. Gordon is then ordered by The Fat Controller to get cleaned up at once.

Gordon is soon cleaned and then pulls trucks for the rest of the day, much to his disappointment. James is getting ready to pull the express, when Gordon returns. Gordon warns James about the hills being slippery and says that he may need help, but James denies this and leaves.

Earlier, a storm had swept across Gordon's Hill, blowing leaves onto the tracks, making it very slippery for trains. The storm had already passed but the hill remained difficult to climb. James knew what had happened, and with a green signal, James goes faster and tries to go up the hill by himself like last time, but halfway up his wheels begin to slip on the leaves, and he rolls back down the hill. Gordon sees everything and helps James up the hill. The two big engines are determined to do it and finally reach the top. James and Gordon both wait to thank each other as well as saying goodbye.

That night, Thomas asks the Fat Controller if Gordon can pull coaches again. The Fat Controller says he is allowed as long as Gordon understands that having a wash down is sensible. After he leaves, Gordon is happy that he finally gets his privilege back and states that he's a famous machine no matter if he's clean or not, even though there is no one else left awake or around to hear him.




  • This episode is very loosely based on the story Leaves from The Railway Series book, Gordon the Big Engine. Thomas' line "Please Sir, can Gordon pull coaches again now?" is taken from Paint Pots and Queens.
  • The episode can be seen in a Japanese game, Magical Adventure.
  • In the episode, the express coaches of James' train are red, but in a few rare photos, they're green.
  • A reference to the first season episode, Troublesome Trucks is made.
  • In the early UK narration, the music in some scenes are omitted:
    • In the scene when Gordon angrily let off steam and the driver talking to Gordon.
    • When the narrator said "Gordon saw everything."
    • The music at the end of the episode is omitted, though a little bit of it is slightly heard when the credits started.


  • The cleaners washing Thomas all have skinny flesh-coloured wires for necks.
  • When Gordon says "Baaah!", studio equipment can be seen in the top left corner.
  • As Gordon says "Mind my eyes!" his right eye is wonky.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In a rare picture of James climbing up the hill, his eyes are wonky.
  • 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 version, James is referred to as Henry when he says, "Trucks will be trucks."


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
Spanish Barro Problemas/Los Problemas con el Barro
Swedish Vanskelig Søle
Thai กอร์ดอนไม่อยากอาบน้ำ
Ukrainian Клопіт через бруд
Welsh Helynt y Mwd

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets



VHS/DVD Boxsets


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

DVD Boxsets




DVD Boxsets



DVD Boxsets



  • Thomas, Percy and the Post Train










Video Games

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