“What does dingy-fied mean?"
"It means Gordon is too big for his buffers!”
―Percy and Salty

Too Big for his Buffers! is a magazine story illustrated using photographs from the television series.


Gordon likes to keep clean and tidy, so when a grubby Salty pulls up alongside, he is less than pleased. Salty tells Gordon that he cannot keep clean whilst pulling trucks. To which Gordon responds that pulling trucks is not dignified for a grand engine such as himself. Salty remarks that Gordon is too big for his buffers.

That night, fog covers the Island of Sodor. All of the engines have to travel slowly. Soon there is a build-up of trucks at the docks, blocking the lines. The Fat Controller instructs Henry, Thomas, and Percy to go to the docks first thing the following morning to move all of the trucks out of the way. He then tells Gordon to go with them. Gordon cannot believe that he has to pull noisy, dirty trucks. He is very upset indeed. Gordon is determined that if he has to pull trucks, he will show the others how to do it properly - and quickly.

Next day, Gordon races down the track with his train as fast as he can. Gordon rattles past the junction and onto the branch line. Express trains must not go onto the branch line. The branch line is weak and rusty and even has a "go slow" sign to warn trains, but Gordon ignores the sign and goes even faster. The rails begin to buckle under his weight. Gordon slides off the rails and into a field, feeling very undignified. The Fat Controller is very cross. Gordon apologises and lets out a sad wheesh of steam.

Gordon is soon repaired and back at the docks, feeling very disappointed in himself. Thomas kindly tells him that everyone makes mistakes and James tells Gordon that Salty said sorry for teasing him. Gordon admits that he has been rather "too big for his buffers" and apologises himself. With that, the engines let out a jolly whistle and return to work.