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“Oh, the indignity!”
― Gordon's original catchphrase[src]

Gordon is a big blue tender engine who lives and works on the Island of Sodor, and is the North Western Railway's number 4 engine.

Biography

When Thomas first arrived on Sodor, Gordon often looked down on him as well as Edward. However, he would soon find he needed help from Edward to be his banker after he got stuck on a hill with a train of trucks. He also needed Edward and Henry to pull his passenger train after he broke his safety valve in front of Henry's Tunnel.

Gordon often found Thomas very annoying for whistling rudely at him, so he taught him a lesson by bringing him along with his express train before he could be uncoupled. Thomas usually fetched the coaches for him, but then Thomas left the yard when he was given a branch line and Gordon, along with Henry and James, became infuriated when they soon found that they had to fetch their own coaches. After the big engines had several mishaps (one of which involved Gordon having to pull his train backwards), Gordon proposed that they all go on strike; they would only pull their coaches if another engine fetched them. Edward was the only engine left and since he was a tender engine and that Gordon proposed that tender engines do not shunt, they started to discriminate against Edward until the Fat Controller decided to leave them in the shed until they learnt the error of their ways.

After Gordon, Henry and James saw how silly they were, the Fat Controller let them out, reminding them to behave and bought a tank engine named Percy to help fetch their coaches. Gordon almost had a run-in accident with Percy who had carelessly stood on the Main Line. After Percy ran away backwards and stopped in a pile of dirt, Gordon helped him out. Gordon was still arrogant and insulted Henry for the way he whistled. However, he ate his own words when his whistle jammed and he went running down the main line whistling continuously. He did not stop until a fitter climbed up and knocked his whistle in place.

Eventually, he was called upon to pull a special goods train, much to his disgust. To get out of pulling the train, he tried to jam the turntable, but he could not stop himself and ran into a ditch. After he was rescued from the ditch, the Fat Controller banned Gordon from pulling the express for nearly an entire year until he proved himself a Really Useful Engine. Instead, James took the express in the big engine's stead. Gordon warned James about his hill being slippery prior to James' run. James did not listen and despite his best efforts could not get the express over the hill. After teasing James for not listening to him, Gordon pushing from behind managed to help James over the slippery hill. Eventually, when Thomas fell down a mine, Gordon came to his rescue. The two soon formed an alliance. Shortly afterwards, the Fat Controller rewarded him by allowing him to pull Queen Elizabeth II's Royal Train when she came to visit Sodor.

Later, when Diesel arrived on trial and was having trouble moving some old trucks, he accused Duck by making rumours about him giving Gordon a bad nickname, "Galloping Sausage". As a result, Gordon, Henry and James began to turn against Duck by forbidding him from the shed. However, when the truth came out that Duck had not made the nicknames, they began to feel very silly about jumping to conclusions before knowing the true story.

Later on, Gordon complained about BoCo - the new diesel - going on the main line, because the diesel only works on Edward's Branch Line. He claimed that the Fat Controller would never agree and states that branch lines are vulgar. That night, Gordon's crew mistakenly believed that the passenger with a green hat was the guard waving his green flag. As a result, Gordon left with the majority of the passengers, the luggage and the guard stranded on the platform. Everyone was surprised, but the surprise quickly gave way to anger. This made Gordon so embarrassed, he brought his train back down to the big station as Edward was already late with his train. But the signalman at the junction was not told about the change. Because of this, Edward was sent to the main line and Gordon was sent down to Edward's branch line. He spent the night at Brendam and was teased by Bill and Ben of being a lot of old iron that should be scrapped. BoCo stopped them and Gordon gained respect for him.

During City of Truro's visit, Gordon heard that the famous engine had reached 100 miles an hour and believed that he could reach that speed. This resulted in him losing his dome on the viaduct. Not long afterwards, Gordon felt devastated to hear that steam engines were being scrapped on the Mainland. He also notched his brother at Brendam, though Gordon did not know who he was at the time.

During its construction, Gordon took a special test train to Kirk Ronan, however was unimpressed by the lack of a view from the station. On a second run - after he returned from being repaired following a breakdown on the return journey - Gordon was unable to stop and crashed through the station wall. The wall was later repaired, however a large window was installed at the site of the accident called "Gordon's View", providing a panoramic view of the town below.

One year on May Day, Gordon ridiculed Thomas, James, Percy and Murdoch having a Best Dressed Engine competition, not wanting to look silly with decorations. While pulling the Express, a banner blew off of the side of a bridge and onto Gordon's face and stayed there until he reached Knapford. Despite him not intending for it to be decoration, he was declared winner of the competition.

When Spencer first visited Sodor, Gordon warned him to take on water, however was ignored. Spencer later had to be rescued by Gordon and taken to Maron after running out of water on the hill. From this point onwards, Gordon and Spencer developed somewhat of a rivalry.

During one winter, Gordon was asked to teach Percy to pull passenger trains. Gordon soon became boastful and spent more time showing off than teaching Percy, leading him to eventually slide through Kellsthorpe Road and into a snowdrift in a siding.

At one point, Gordon's firebox rattled when it cooled down at night. After being teased for it by the other engines, Gordon decided to make demands of the other engines to make them respect him, including that they whistle whenever they see him as a mark of respect. After Emily opted not to whistle in protest to Gordon's demands, he became so cross that he missed a red signal and crashed into a train of Jam Tankers. Gordon was later taken to the Works to be cleaned out and, while there, had the rattling in his firebox seen to. Upon his return, the other engines were grateful to have him back and they all reconciled.

One spring, Gordon accidentally took on special coal meant for Henry just before attempting a record run with the Express. After seeing Henry struggling later in the day, Gordon forfeited the run just outside of Knapford to go back and help Henry by swapping tenders. Despite not finishing the run, Gordon still held the previous record and was happy to have helped his friend.

Once, while his old bufferbeam was damaged, Gordon had to use a spare bufferbeam from the Dieselworks. Gordon initially disliked the bufferbeam as it was meant for a diesel engine and made him look unusual, but later became more content with it after Thomas reminded him that the bufferbeam would allow him to be useful while his normal one was being repaired.

During the winter, the turntable at Tidmouth Sheds was frozen in place, with only one engine able to sleep in the sheds. Together, the Steam Team decided that Percy would get the berth, as he would be pulling the mail that night and would need a place to sleep when he got back. The remaining engines went and searched for somewhere to sleep. However, Gordon declined all the sheds. After all the other engines had found places to sleep, Gordon took the berth at Tidmouth. When Percy returned, Gordon would not give up his shed. This quickly backfired when work started on the turntable and Gordon was forced to listen. When morning came, the turntable was unfrozen… only to freeze again, away from Gordon’s berth. When the turntable was finally repaired, it was nighttime and Gordon was forced to take Percy’s mail vans.

After Thomas suggested streamlining an engine for the Great Railway Show, the Fat Controller decided to have Gordon sent to the Sodor Steamworks to have streamlined shrouding applied for the Great Race. On the day of the show, Gordon left the Steamworks before his final checks could be completed, resulting in him leaving his safety valve behind. Despite Thomas bringing it to the show, the race began before Thomas got the chance to properly explain the situation to Gordon. As a result, Gordon's boiler burst mid-race and he was disqualified.

After Edward moved out of Tidmouth Sheds and Nia took his place, Gordon was most upset out of all the engines, not helped when Henry suddenly announced he would be moving to Vicarstown Sheds shortly after. Despite his objections, Nia eventually convinced him to accept the change and the two became friends.

Not long after Henry's departure, Rebecca arrived to help Gordon with the Express during busy periods and took Henry's spot. Initially, Gordon was hostile towards her, however later warmed up to her after she defended him in front of his brother, the Flying Scotsman. Since then, the two have kindled a close friendship due to their shared roles as express engines. When Baz and Bernie stole Kenji from the Technology Fair, the duo chased them down, with Gordon ending up derailed at East Maron Junction in a failed attempt to prevent them from escaping to the Sodor Airport.

Personality

Gordon's important position as the engine who pulls the Express has made him proud, pompous, arrogant, stubborn, prideful and self-important, with a good reason too; he is the fastest steam engine on Sodor. He is extremely proud of this and is inclined to boast. But despite his pompousness, he is goodhearted, always willing to forgive and uses his superior strength to help smaller engines out of trouble. Though he is also vengeful and will plot retribution if he feels he has been sufficiently slighted, as mentioned before he is happy to forgive especially after he has either had his retribution or the individual has received some other comeuppance. He also has a great hatred of goods trains and believes that he should only pull coaches. Because of his rank in the social order of the North Western Railway, Gordon expects to get the important passenger jobs, and either sulks when he does not get what he wants or gets jealous of engines who do.

Gordon is rude and egotistical more often than not, especially towards smaller engines like Thomas or Percy. Despite this, he has helped them on a few occasions and cares about them. However, one incident temporarily ended his acquaintanceship with Thomas. He can also be rude to older and weaker engines like Edward. But following misadventures where Edward had to help him, Gordon readily acknowledged that (despite being old) Edward is still a very useful engine. However, Gordon still sometimes doubts Edward is still reliable; he did not believe Edward could win a race against Spencer as he is only a "back engine" and a "waste of steam" and even outright saying he was worthless and calling for him to be scrapped. He soon stopped belittling Edward for good after being tricked by Thomas; he learnt his lesson and apologised to Edward, saying that he promised not to call him old or unreliable anymore. Despite the way that he mistreats Edward sometimes, deep down, Gordon cares a great deal about him and the other engines on the railway. This was especially shown when he was very upset after he learnt that Edward and Henry moved out of Tidmouth Sheds to sleep elsewhere for their own reasons, thus indicating how much he missed them. He appears to have a hard time accepting change, but with help from his friends (and Nia), he can pull through it.

Sometimes, Gordon shows a kinder side and gives the engines some advice, usually after he has had some mishap as a result of his foolhardiness. Some of his advice is not exactly helpful or honest, though, as James, Percy and Sir Handel have discovered. This side resurfaced once Rebecca joined the North Western Railway. But this time, Gordon realised that he was wrong to do so, especially when he ended up smashing through a set of buffers. With Edward gone, Gordon has often found himself acting as the other engines' father figure. His pompous attitude often makes this a difficult role, but he eventually matured enough to give some meaningful advice that helps others. Ever since the tenth series, there have been moments where he’s not minded pulling goods trains (including when Rebecca arrived).

Since the twentieth series, Gordon has developed a tendency to pin his faults on others. This was shown when he blamed Henry for having to do his jobs for the day and vice-versa, even though his lateness was what led to the change in the first place. When he and the rest of the Steam Team got in trouble for refusing to leave the shed at night, believing there was a ghost train about (which was actually Henry with a coat of luminous paint), he once again blamed Henry unfairly for the predicament.

Despite being labelled as one of Sir Topham Hatt's more sensible engines, he can act senseless if prompted, which is quite often. Because of his reputation, he has a fear of being found out and often tries to refrain from acting less than serious. Much like James, Gordon can be highly opinionated on an engine's character; he remained mistrustful of Sonny due to his role in Kenji's runaway and the theft of the plans for Ruth's Hover-Car despite Sonny having switched sides, due to the well-tank engine being owned by the crooks in the first place. Eventually, he learned from Thomas that he did not mean to be involved, but he still refused to believe that Sonny left the lifestyle of a thief until much later. Gordon is also very posh and egotistical, claiming engines wearing decorations for the best-dressed contest make him look ridiculous and Thomas to be undignified wearing a monkey costume, while others saw him as funny-looking. Despite this, he does have moral standards, as he chose to give Henry his special coal back instead of using it to break his speed record.

Whenever he meets and talks with Henry and James, Gordon is usually the one who directs the conversation and makes the decisions, making him the leader of sorts of the three big engines. He is always quick to place the blame of any errors on someone else, though while his pride prevents it quite often, Gordon will give credit where it is due, especially after moments of guilt.

Technical Details

Basis

Like in The Railway Series, Gordon is an A1 Pacific for the Great Northern Railway, built at Doncaster Works in Yorkshire.

Gordon's streamlined form as the Shooting Star is based on a streamlined Pennsylvania Railroad K4 (Hank's basis), more specifically #3768. The K4s were, incidentally, the inspiration for what ended up becoming the design of the boilers on Gordon's basis, the Gresley A1s.

Livery

Gordon is painted in NWR cerulean with red lining on his cab, splashers, tender, cylinders and boiler and yellow lining around his windows. His number (4) is painted on his tender in yellow with a red outline. He has a white running board with red bufferbeams and valences.

In the sixteenth series episode, Bust My Buffers!, while his buffer beam was being repaired, Gordon received a spare diesel bufferbeam similar to Den's. The bufferbeam was painted in yellow and black hazard stripes.

In his streamlined form as the Shooting Star, Gordon is cerulean with red, silver and dark blue stripes which wrap around his body. His number is encircled by a red circle with a dark blue background. He also has a star emblem on the shrouding just above his cylinders, which is silver with a while outline.

Before coming to the Island of Sodor, Gordon was originally painted green.[7] In a magazine file fact, Gordon was incorrectly painted in NWR green similar to Henry.

Appearances

Thomas & Friends

Specials

Music Videos

Learning Segments

Videos

Magazine Stories

Gordon also appears in the magazine stories, A Long Way Up!, A Special Story about Steam, Arthur and Emily, Back-to-Front, Bricks and Tunnels, Fish and Fog!, Flying James, Gordon and Edward, Gordon the Town Engine, Henry's Secret, High-Speed Henry, Leaves on the Line, Lots of Luggage, Mighty Magnet!, Picture Posters, Really Useful Edward, Rushing Around, Squeaky Wheels, Steaming!, Steaming Along!, Stolen Apples, The Big Ship, The Cloud Factory! and The Runaway Percy.

Annual Stories

Books

My Thomas Story Library


Audio Stories

Video Games

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Official Description

From Official Website:[1]

Gordon the Big Express Engine No.4: Gordon is the senior member of the engine family, the fastest and most powerful of Sir Topham Hatt's string- and he knows it. He's goodhearted though and always willing to forgive and use his superior strength to help smaller engines out of trouble.


Historical Note: Gordon's design is based loosely around a Gresley Liner A3 4-6-2, of which 'The Flying Scotsman' is an example.

From Official Website:[2][3]

Gordon: Gordon is the senior member of the engine family, the fastest and most powerful of Sir Topham Hatt's string - and he knows it. He's goodhearted, though, and always willing to forgive, and use his superior strength to help smaller engines out of trouble.


Fun Fact: When the Queen visited the Island, it was Gordon that Sir Topham Hatt turned to, to take the Queen around Sodor.

From Official Website:[4]

Gordon: Gordon is the No. 4 blue engine who pulls the express. As the senior member of the engine family, he is the fastest and most powerful of Sir Topham Hatt's team - and he knows it. He's goodhearted, always willing to forgive, and uses his superior strength to help smaller engines out of trouble.


Fun Fact: When the Queen visited the Island of Sodor, Sir Topham Hatt asked Gordon to take her around. Gordon is based on a Gresley Liner A3 4-6-2 engine.

Songs

Audio Files

Themes

First used Last used Composers Theme Song
Series 1 Series 2 Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
Series 3
Series 5 Series 7
Series 8 Series 12 Robert Hartshorne
Series 14 Series 16

Whistles

First used Last used Sound Effect
Series 1 The Sodor Springtime Parade
First used Last used Sound Effect
Hero of the Rails Series 24

In the first series episode Whistles and Sneezes, Gordon has a broken whistle.

Only used Sound Effect
Whistles and Sneezes

In the first series episode Down the Mine and the ninth series episode Thomas and the Birthday Picnic, Gordon has a modified version of his whistle.

First used Last used Sound Effect
Down the Mine Thomas and the Birthday Picnic

In Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Gordon has Thomas’ whistle in said film, but at a step lower in pitch.

Only used Sound Effect
Thomas and the Magic Railroad

In the ninth series episode Respect for Gordon Gordon has a lower-pitched version of his whistle.

Only used Sound Effect
Respect for Gordon

In the sixteenth series episode Thomas and the Sounds of Sodor, Gordon has another lower-pitched version of his whistle.

First used Last used Sound Effect
Thomas and the Sounds of Sodor Thomas and the Sounds of Sodor

In The Great Discovery, Gordon makes a low sound on his whistle.

Only used Sound Effect
The Great Discovery

Trivia

  • In the Greek dub of the model series, Gordon is called Johnny (Τζονί). From the thirteenth series onwards, Gordon has been referred to with his original name.
  • From the twenty-second series onwards, Gordon is the only member of the Steam Team to originate from the first book in The Railway Series. He and Thomas are also the only current members to share the same livery.
  • Gordon, Henry, Thomas and James are the only engines to appear in every special. The latter three, however, are the only ones to have at least one line of dialogue in every special, as Gordon does not have dialogue in Blue Mountain Mystery.
  • In the magazines' The Fat Controller's Engine Fact File, it is stated that Gordon and Spencer are cousins, most likely due to the fact that their real life basis's were both built by Sir Nigel Gresley. This was never mentioned in the show, however; Spencer simply refers to Gordon as a friend.
    • In another magazine, Sir Topham Hatt revealed that Gordon pulls the express, six times a day, except for on Friday's when he makes a second trip in the morning. On the other days of the week however, Gordon pulls the express twice in the morning, and four times in the afternoons.
  • Gordon is the only engine in the franchise to have suffered a boiler explosion, experiencing a partial one in The Great Race.
  • In 2014, Gordon and Rosie's whistle sounds at Drayton Manor Theme Park were accidentally swapped when they changed shed berths with each other.
  • Gordon's whistle was sourced Talyllyn Railway steam locomotive, Sir Haydn, which is the basis of Sir Handel. In fact, it can be heard from in the Sesame Street kiddie ride Big Bird's Express Kiddie Ride.
  • Gordon has been written to be a certain age a few times during the series.
    • During the sixth series, Gordon was written to be four years old.[8]
    • Between the eighth and twelfth series, Gordon was written to be six years old.[9]

Quotes

“Oh, the indignity!"
"Express coming through!”
― Two of Gordon's original catchphrases throughout the series.
“Hello, I'm Gordon and I'm the number 4 blue engine. I'm the fastest and best and I pull the express.”
― Gordon's website audio
“A goods train! A goods train! A goods train! The shame of it! The shame of it! Oh, the shame of it!”
― Edward and Gordon
“Down a mine, is he? Ha, ha, ha! What a joke!”
― Down the Mine
“Important is big. James is a big engine, mm? You, Thomas, are small. Small, small, small, teeny-weeny-weeny. And I, I'm a big blue engine who knows everything. Muhahah!”
― Thomas and the Magic Railroad
“When Gordon smiles, it changes his whole face. Hehehe. It is most interesting!”
Hiro talking about Gordon, "Hero of the Rails"
“Yes Thomas, we know each other, this is my brother, they call him the Flying Scotsman”
― Gordon introducing Thomas to Flying Scotsman, "The Great Race"
“I'm not going anywhere! I'm going to stay here forever and ever.”
― Gordon to Nia, Forever and Ever, twenty-second series
“Pull yourself together, Big G.”
― Gordon Gets the Giggles

Video

See also

References



--- Dropped | * 1991-1994 maps only | ** 2014 map only

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