- “That slimy old tub?! Gordon tricked me, he wants me to get dirty! I'll show him! A shiny engine like me never gets dirty!”
James is very proud of his bright red paint and thinks his work is very important. One day, he is at the washdown when Percy arrives. His whistle is clogged with quarry dust, so he blows hard to clean it. But he accidentally blows mud all over Gordon, leaving the blue express engine very cross. James brags that he is collecting the mayor today, which Gordon thinks should be his job. But James laughs and tells him that he needs a wash first. James collects the mayor and puffs on his way.
Later at Tidmouth Sheds, the Fat Controller asks for a volunteer to collect the Queen of Sodor, an old barge which needs to go to the workshop. James pulls into the sheds, which gives Gordon an idea. He loudly asks the Fat Controller if collecting the Queen of Sodor is important, which it is. James loudly announces that he will collect her and sets off happily. Gordon's plan is working.
James arrives at the canal and is furious to see that the Queen of Sodor is a dirty old boat. He realises that Gordon conned him and James is determined to prove that a shiny engine never gets dirty. So he sets off with the Queen of Sodor.
It is a very long way to the workshop. But James is still trying not to get dirty. He does not notice a pipe stretched across in front of the boat. The Queen of Sodor crashes through the pipe, sending sludge all over the boat and the tracks. However, James stops in time and manages to stay clean. Soon the mess is cleared up and James puffs on his way, finally reaching the workshop clean and shiny.
When James returns to the sheds, Gordon is surprised to see him still clean. Then Percy arrives and moans that his whistle is clogged with dust again. He warns James to watch out and blows hard. Dust goes everywhere and covers James. Thomas teases him by telling him that now he is the one who needs a wash. But James insists that he is still a splendid engine.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Dockyard Manager
- The Queen of Sodor (does not speak)
- Henry (cameo)
- Mavis (cameo)
- 'Arry and Bert (cameo)
- Salty (cameo)
- Annie and Clarabel (cameo)
- Butch (cameo)
- Oliver (stock footage cameo)
- Skarloey (stock footage cameo)
- Toad (stock footage cameo)
- The Mayor of Sodor (mentioned)
- Brendam Docks
- Rolf's Castle
- Suddery Castle
- The Smelter's Yard
- Tidmouth Sheds
- The Windmill
- Tidmouth Tunnel (stock footage)
- Crovan's Gate (stock footage)
- Hawin Croka Canal (mentioned)
- Anopha Quarry (mentioned)
- The Works (mentioned)
- Going by production order, this is the sixth episode of the seventh season.
- Stock footage from Oliver Owns Up and Four Little Engines is used, as is mirrored stock footage from James and the Red Balloon.
- Toad's scrap model from Escape can be seen when James enters the smelter's yard as well as City of Truro, Donald and Douglas' scrap models.
- The first appearance of Crovan's Gate since the fourth season episode, Bowled Out.
- This episode came out on the same day as Thomas' Snowy Surprise got released on the US DVD and VHS.
- In a rare still, James is in Duck's place at Tidmouth Sheds at the end.
- This episode marked the last of a few things:
- Duck's last speaking role until the twelfth season episode, Excellent Emily, along with his only speaking role in the seventh season.
- The last appearances of the special express coaches to date.
- The last appearance of Crovan's Gate until the eighteenth season episode, Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger and it's only appearance in the seventh season
- This episode marks the only appearance of the Queen of Sodor to date.
- When the barge crashes through the pipe, during the facial shots of James, he appears to be beside a cement base supporting the pipes. But in back-end shots, he is several centimetres from the base.
- As the stock footage from James and the Red Balloon is mirrored, James' number 5 is reversed.
- When James returns to the sheds, Henry can be seen next to Gordon, but in the shot of Gordon when he asks James how he managed to stay so clean, Henry disappears for the rest of the episode.
- The Queen of Sodor loses her funnel and wheelhouse as she reaches the smelter's shed.
- In the final scene, both Thomas' and Duck's eyes are wonky.
- When Gordon passes under the bridge and says "Show off," the first coach in his train slightly shakes.
- Sir Topham Hatt says that the Queen of Sodor was at the canal, but she was really at Brendam. Also, Sir Topham Hatt says that the Queen of Sodor needed to go to the works, but James takes her to the smelter's.
- When James passes Suddery Castle, his face is missing.
- Since stock footage is used, Skarloey has his brass ring around his funnel, and he looks cross when the narrator says "They are happiest when the Fat Controller gives them important work to do," Annie and Clarabel are in their old orange-brown liveries, Tidmouth Tunnel appears in its original design and the lake next to the tunnel is bigger.
- Books - James and the Queen of Sodor