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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Step Into Reading book or the Philippines DVD.

“What a boring view! Important engines like me should have a panoramic view, where I can see people and people can see me!”
―Gordon complaining about Kirk Ronan station

A Better View for Gordon is the third episode of the fifth series. It aired back to back with Gordon and the Gremlin on Storytime with Thomas in the US.


One morning, Gordon is complaining. This is annoying James, who asks why the blue express engine complains all the time. Gordon replies that he is a big engine that knows everything and shall complain whenever he wants, while James is just a small red engine with ideas above his station. He also states that one day he will show just what a big engine can really do, and also insults Percy for asking what a big engine can really do.

Later, Gordon is ordered by the Fat Controller to pull an empty express train to Kirk Ronan for a dress rehearsal to test the new station building. At first, he refuses to do it since Henry usually likes idling in stations, but the Fat Controller does not care and tells him to do as he is told. But while along the way, he begins to feel sick. His fireman tells him that he should go to the Works as his pipes are clogged. Gordon soon arrives at the new station. He is impressed but is disappointed when in front of him is a blank wall and a huge set of buffers. Gordon remarks the "view" to be boring and says that important engines should have a panoramic view so that people can see him but is relieved when it is time for his return journey.

On the return journey, Gordon tries to build up speed, but he breaks down and comes to a complete stop in a siding. His fireman tells him that something inside of him is broken and that he is in dire need of repairs at the Works. When James arrives to collect his coaches, he tells Gordon that he was too puffed up in his smokebox and it serves him right.

''Well, Gordon, I know you wanted a panoramic view, but this is not the way to achieve it!''

When Gordon is repaired a few days later, he is still boasting and claims he is the finest engine on the Island of Sodor, and probably the world. He then leaves for the official opening of Kirk Ronan with the Fat Controller riding in the cab with his crew. When he approaches the station however, there is trouble; his crew are unable to apply his brakes due to an unknown jam. His driver reduces steam, but Gordon is still going too fast to stop in time and crashes through the back of the station, completely destroying the wall and suffering damage to his buffers and front undercarriage. His crew and The Fat Controller are injured from the impact and arrive onboard a scissor lift, where the Fat Controller tells Gordon that he knew he wanted a panoramic view, but that breaking through the wall is not the way to achieve it.

Upon his second return from the Works, Gordon arrives back at the station for its second official opening and this time he arrives safely. Gordon is delighted to discover the broken wall has been turned into a panoramic window, affectionately named, "Gordon's View." The Fat Controller tells him that it is here to stay, and he trusts that he will always see through it from the safety of his own rails. Gordon heartily agrees.




  • Gordon's crash at Kirk Ronan was inspired by the Gare Montparnasse derailment in Paris, France. On 22nd October 1895, the Granville-Paris Express ran through the buffer stop, across the station concourse, and crashed through the station wall, landing in the Place de Rennes below. This event was also depicted in the 2007 novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret and its 2011 film adaptation Hugo. David Maidment showed the production team a poster of the disaster. A small picture of the real-life incident can be seen in the Thomas & Friends Exhibition at Drayton Manor at Bluff's Cove in the waiting room.
  • In the shot of Kirk Ronan before Gordon crashes, a fake wall is used for Gordon to crash through.
  • The barrel that the Fat Controller is standing on when he is talking to Gordon near the beginning is the "Best Quality Diesel Oil" barrel from the fourth series episode, Bowled Out.
  • This episode aired on television in the US exactly one year after airing on television in the UK.
  • This episode marks one of the few appearances of Gordon's sulky face from the first series.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of The Quarry Master, not counting a mentioned appearance in the seventh series episode, Bill, Ben and Fergus.
  • This episode marks the first of several things:
    • The first appearance of Kirk Ronan station in the television series, replacing Knapford for the fifth series.
    • The first and only episode to have human characters sustain injuries during a locomotive crash, with Gordon's fireman breaking his arm and the Fat Controller getting a black eye. This is the second episode to have human injuries in a crash, the first being Horrid Lorry.
    • The first appearance of Gordon's unused second series astonished face.
    • The first appearance of Gordon's wincing face.


  • The title card of the Norwegian narrator says: "Let's Have a Race by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell."
  • When James is talking to Gordon at the siding, James' dome is scratched.
  • When Gordon passes Wellsworth the Footbridge is in the wrong place.
  • When Gordon arrives at Kirk Ronan for the first time, studio equipment can be seen in the upper left-hand corner.
  • When Gordon was boasting on the turntable, his left buffer is crooked and Duck's eyes were misaligned.
  • When Gordon's crew attempts to apply his brakes, a wire can be seen out the cab window.
  • Just before Gordon crashes into the wall, his tender buffers are crooked.
  • The Hindi narration of this episode credits Michael Angelis as the narrator.
  • In the Czech dub, the line "He likes idling in stations" is said by the Fat Controller instead of Gordon.
  • In a close-up of James, his whistle is crooked.
  • When the crew are trying to put on the brakes and reduce the steam, the fireman has blond hair, and the driver has brown hair. But when they and the Fat Controller come to see Gordon on an elevator, both of them have brown hair. The error also occurs with James' crew in the first series episode, James and the Coaches.
  • The studio is reflected on Gordon's paintwork when he approaches Kirk Ronan for its second official opening.
  • The Korean telvision airing of this episode featured a glitch, when Gordon arrives at Kirk Ronan, a black screen appeared, the VHS and DVD releases showed the scene with no glitch, however.


  • Narrator: Gordon was feeling grumpy, this was making James cross.
  • James: Why are you complaining all the time?
  • Gordon: Because I'm a big blue engine and I know everything. I shall complain whenever I want! You're just a small red engine with ideas above your station!
  • Percy: I can't see any, where are they?
  • Gordon: Any what?
  • Percy: "Ideas above the station", the sky is empty!
  • James: Like your smoke box, Percy!
  • Gordon: One day I'll show you just what a big engine can really do!
  • Percy: So what can a big engine really do?
  • Gordon: Not speak to silly little green engines for a start.


  • The Fat ControllerGordon, you'll be making one stop today with an empty express to test our new station. You can make up time afterwards.
  • Gordon: Why can't Henry do it? He likes idling at stations.
  • The Fat Controller: You will do as you are told.


  • Gordon: (about his speed) Come on! Come on! I can go faster than this! Sick, me?! Never!


  • James: (after Gordon breaks down) Well, well, well, so much for knowing about everything! You got too puffed-up in the boiler, so it serves you right!


  • (after the crash)
  • Gordon: Help me please!
  • (later, The Fat Controller arrives on a scissor lift)
  • The Fat Controller: Well, Gordon, I know you wanted a panoramic view, but this is not the way to achieve it!
  • GordonYes, sir. Sorry, sir.


  • (last lines)
  • The Fat ControllerYour panoramic view is here to stay. I trust you will always see through it, from the safety of your own rails.
  • NarratorGordon heartily agreed.


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Uma Visão Melhor Para Gordon
Chinese Mandarin 更清楚地了解高登
Czech Panoráma pro Gordona
Danish En Bedre Udsigt for Gordon
Dutch Een Beter Uitzicht voor Gordon
French Une Meilleure Vue pour Gordon
German Schöne Aussicht für Gordon
Greek Ο Τζόνι και η πανοραμική θέα
Hungarian Jobb Kilátás Gordonnak
Italian Aria di Guai
Japanese ゴードンのまど
Korean 잘난 척 대장, 고든
Latin American Spanish Mejoras para Gordon
Norwegian Et Bedre Syn for Gordon
Polish Lepszy Widok dla Gordona (Original)
Lepszy Widok dla Gabrysia (Alternate)
Romanian O Viziune mai Bună pentru Gordon
Russian Гордону лучше видно
Slovenian Lepši Razgled za Gorazda
Swedish Bättre Utsikt för Gordon

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