- “James, I think trucks like to be useful, rather than clean!”
- ―Thomas teasing James
Thomas is initially jealous when he sees that James has received brand new trucks, but is soon delighted when told his trucks are too old to use and he will have to use new ones.
Thomas and James become competitive about keeping their trucks clean, but at the quarry the trucks bump forward and get covered in dust. Thomas orders his trucks to behave, but they ignore him and get Thomas and themselves showered in coal.
James laughs that Thomas will never win, but Thomas realises that if he uses his old trucks he will not have to worry about getting them dirty. Thomas collects some coal and sets off, but on the way a coupling breaks and Thomas goes ahead of the trucks. He stops too soon, and the trucks crash into him and are smashed to pieces, flinging coal everywhere.
Harvey and the workmen clear up the mess, Thomas collects his new trucks and has the coal loaded into them, and arrives at Brendam without the trucks making any trouble. James gloats his victory, but then is hit by a falling crate of melons. Thomas tells James that trucks prefer to be useful than clean, and the trucks giggle in agreement.
- Bill and Ben
- Troublesome Trucks
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Dockyard Manager
- Harvey (does not speak)
- Cranky (does not speak)
- Edward (cameo)
- Henry (cameo)
- Gordon (cameo)
- Big Mickey (faceless, cameo)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Brendam Docks
- Sodor Shipping Company
- Anopha Quarry
- Mavis' Shed
- Shen Valley
- The Coaling Plant
- Knapford Yards
- Gordon's Hill
- The Washdown
- Going by production order, this is the sixteenth episode of the ninth series.
- In the US and UK, this episode is paired with Toby Had a Little Lamb and Duncan and the Old Mine.
- This episode marked the only appearances of a few things:
- The only appearance to have Thomas and James' new trucks to date.
- The only time in the series where Harvey is seen with his claw to date. It also appeared in the tenth series Learning Segment, Right Sized Engine for the Job.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Bill and Ben in the New Series, not counting stock footage from a deleted scene of Thomas to the Rescue. However, this is Bill's only appearance in season nine and their first appearances since the seventh series episode, Bill, Ben and Fergus.
- This episode marks Bill's only appearance in Series 9.
- When Thomas is shunting his old trucks at the start of the episode, the narrator says he's at the yard. This is incorrect, as Thomas is actually shown to be at Brendam Docks.
- Both Thomas and James' trucks switch between having and not having faces throughout the episode.
- When Thomas and James meet at the washdown, they have swapped trucks.
- The sound heard when Thomas applied the brakes appears to be telling that Thomas wheels are slipping while his siderods are brake-on, even though Thomas brakes normally.
- When Thomas collects his new trucks, the background to the left (perspective right) appears to be misplaced and tilted.
- When the melon crate falls on James, his trucks are shown be messy too, even though the crate is only shown to hit James and not them.
- Take Along (discontinued)
- Books - Percy and the Spirit of the Island of Sodor
- Magazine Stories - Truck Trouble!
- Lionel Trains (coming soon)