When Burnett was a child, he shared a secret about Lady and the Magic Railroad to Tasha, his childhood friend, and promised that he would look after Lady and take Tasha on a ride along the old railroad. When he was older, Burnett married Tasha.
Burnett traveled to the Island of Sodor with Lady, a place he had previously visited. However, Diesel 10 was on the Island, and vowed to destroy Lady. Diesel 10 chased after Lady, and in a desperate attempt to get her to escape, Burnett used up all her coal and pushed her on, but she went too fast and was badly damaged. Burnett survived the ordeal and brought Lady back to Muffle Mountain, where he tried desperately to restore her. Although he had her fixed, Burnett was unable to find the right type of coal to make Lady steam, and was unable to keep his promise to Tasha about giving her a ride. When Tasha died, Burnett became depressed and miserable, and refused to leave the other side of the mountain, even to see his own granddaughter, Lily.
Years later, Lily went to see Burnett, but went to Sodor with Junior, and Burnett and Patch both assumed that she was lost at Shining Time. However, Lily returned from Sodor with a fresh supply of Sudrian coal, which proved to be the right coal to make Lady steam. Burnett traveled to Sodor with Lily and Patch, but when he arrived, Diesel 10, who had returned to the Island, showed up and threatened to destroy Lady once more. Burnett vowed not to make the same mistake as before, and he, Lady and Thomas ran away from Diesel 10. The three succeeded in defeating Diesel 10, and the gold dust was restored. (Film; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
Personality and Traits
Burnett was a depressed and miserable man, and spent most of his time brooding in his workshop in Muffle Mountain. He was so saddened by his failure to make Lady steam and Tasha's death that he refused to leave the mountain, even to see his own granddaughter. However, when Lady was restored to working order, Burnett became more happy and pleasant again.