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“Well, Gordon, you wanted to show Salty a thing or two and you've certainly done that. You've shown him how silly it is to ignore 'Go Slow' signs!”
―The Fat Controller scolding Gordon

Gordon Takes a Tumble is the seventeenth episode of the sixth series.


The Fat Controller's engines are proud of how useful they are, and they feel important, but none of them feels more important than Gordon. When Salty rolls up to him, Gordon warns him to not make him all sooty. Salty teases Gordon that he would not know that pulling trucks is a sooty job. Gordon brags that it would not be dignified for an express engine to pull trucks. Gordon attempts to explain what "dignified" means to Percy, but Salty interrupts, saying that it means someone is too big for their buffers and Gordon puffs furiously away.

Later that night, the Docks is packed with trucks due to the fog covering the Island of Sodor causing confusion and delay. The Fat Controller comes to the sheds and orders Henry, Thomas, Percy and Gordon to go to the Docks and with Gordon to take the trucks somewhere where they will not be in the way, much to Gordon's shock. Gordon is waiting impatiently for his trucks, to show Salty how an express engine pulls them. Salty teases him again, saying he shouldn't get too big for his buffers, but this time Gordon ignores him.

The next day, as Gordon is puffing along the main line, a signalman forgets to switch a set of points from an old, rickety branch line. The signalman sees Gordon going to the branch line, knowing that the express trains cannot go there, but it is too late. The old branch line's tracks are weak and rusty and has a sign to warn all trains to "go slow", but Gordon ignores the sign and goes even faster. The old rails start to buckle as they cannot hold Gordon's weight, and he derails and tumbles down a hill with his train. He ploughs through a pile of mulch, a pile of tyres and barrels (losing his tender and leaving it behind in the process) and a barn and finally comes to a halt in a field in front of a scarecrow. No one is injured but Gordon feels very undignified and wonders what the Fat Controller will say. When the Fat Controller arrives, he tells Gordon off that he has only succeeded in showing Salty how silly it is to ignore "go slow" signs, much to Gordon's embarrassment.

Gordon is repaired and returns back to work, but is very unhappy with himself. Thomas cheers him up by saying that everyone makes mistakes. James tells Gordon that Salty has apologised for all of his teasing and Gordon apologises for being "too big for his buffers" and all three engines give a jolly toot.




  • Stock footage from The Fogman is used.
  • The model of the scarecrow is on display at Drayton Manor at the Thomas and Friends Exhibition.
  • This is one of the six episodes of the sixth series re-narrated by Michael Brandon in the US and Michael Angelis in the UK with music composed by Robert Hartshorne.
  • This episode marks the only appearance of The Old Tracks and The Farm Field.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Vans.
  • The episode was released on The Fogman and Other Stories VHS/DVD a day before airing on television. This is also the only sixth series episode released directly to home video.
  • This is the second time an engine pulls a goods train flies off the tracks and crashes through a barn. The first time was the fifth series episode, Bye George! Coincidentally, both are accidently caused by the signalman and use the same barn for the accident.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Gordon's tired face since the second series episode, Wrong Road.


  • In the first scene, Clarabel is facing the wrong way.
  • In the close up of Gordon at the start, both his eyes and buffers are misaligned.
  • After Gordon ignores Salty, he has a lamp, but in the next scene it is gone.
  • In the shot of Gordon on the old branch line, a cable is attached to his coupling.
  • When Gordon derails, his trailing wheels are slightly coming off.
  • When Gordon's trucks come off the rails, they come off differently in certain shots.
  • As the trucks derail and tumble down the slope, the ground bounces up and down.
  • A wire is visible pulling Gordon at one point when he derailed.
  • In the first two shots, people are standing to the right of Thomas and Gordon respectively, but in the third shot, they have been replaced by cars.
  • In the UK re-dub of this episode, the American term "freight cars" is used where the waiting trucks at the docks are shown.
  • The last van on Gordon's train changes between shots. When Gordon leaves the docks, the van is a black NER Van. When Gordon is going down the Main Line and the Branch Line, the van is a dark grey GWR Ventilated Van. When Gordon begins to derail the last van is a Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Van. Finally, when Gordon flies off the tracks, the van is a brown LNER 12 Ton Van.
  • In the separate close ups of Thomas, and James cheering up Gordon, the screen shakes a little bit.
  • When Salty teases Gordon before he leaves the docks with the trucks, the music in the original UK dub fades in later than the original US dub and other international versions.


  • Salty: Pulling trucks is a sooty job.
  • Thomas: Why the rush, Gordon?
  • Gordon: If I must pull trucks, then I'll show Salty how an express engine pulls trucks.
  • Salty: Careful, Captain. You don't wanna get too big for your buffers.


  • Gordon: (rattles through the junction) That's strange, I'm on the branch line.
  • Signalman: Oh no! Express trains aren't supposed to go that way!


  • Gordon: (looks at the "go slow" sign) I'm an express engine, I don't go slow!
  • (He picks up his speed, causing the rails on the branch line to buckle, Gordon and his train derails)
  • Gordon: OHHH, HELP!!! (tumbles off the tracks and into a field, crashing through buildings and debris)


  • The Fat Controller: Well, Gordon, you wanted to show Salty a thing or two and you've certainly done that. You've shown him how silly it is to ignore "go slow" signs.
  • Gordon: Sorry, sir.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Chinese Mandarin 高登遭遇挫折
Czech Gordon Padá
Danish Det Overlegne Lokomotiv
Dutch Gordon Tuimelt Omlaag
Hungarian Gordon Fennhordja az Orrát
Italian Gordon fa un Capitombolo
Japanese すべったゴードン
Korean 고든의 체면
Norwegian Gordon Får seg en Luftetur
Polish Gabryś Dostaje Nauczkę
Romanian Gordon Face o Cadere
Russian Урок для Гордона
Slovenian Gorazd se Prevrne
Swedish Gordon Spärar ur
Welsh Tymbl Gordon

Home Media Releases


DVD Packs



  • Percy's Chocolate Crunch and Other Thomas Adventures

DVD Packs


DVD Packs




DK DVD Boxsets