The Duke and Duchess of Boxford are visiting the island with Spencer. When Spencer boasts about being faster, shiner and stronger than Thomas, Thomas vows to prove him wrong. Thomas tries to go faster than Spencer, but takes a bend too fast and has to break hard. He tries to be shinier than Spencer, but his work soon makes him dustier than ever. Finally he tries to be stronger and pulls too many tucks up Gordon's Hill. He slides all the way to the bottom and feels very silly. The next day, an emergency calls the Duke back to the mainland. Spencer's boiler is cold, but Thomas is raring to take the Duke. This time its Spencer's turn to feel silly! James is delighted to be taking the Mayor of Sodor to the Festival of Lights at the Scottish Castle. Thomas, Emily and Percy are allowed to go to the Festival too, but have lots of jobs to do first. They ask James to help them, but he refuses, heading off to get clean at the wash-down. Thomas, Emily and Percy each puff past in turn. Unless James helps them with their jobs, they may miss the Festival. But James is determined to stay clean for his grand entrance. But on his way to collect the Mayor, Sir Topham Hatt tells James that Thomas, Emily and Percy will miss the opening of the Festival, including his grand entrance. James' entrance won't be grand, with none of his friends there to see it. So James helps his friends with each of their jobs, even though he gets covered with coal dust, sand and smelly fish. And he has no time to wash before collecting the Mayor. But Sir Topham Hatt is delighted with James, all that mess and grime proves what a thoughtful and hard-working engine he is.