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For other uses, see Gordon (disambiguation).

“Gordon was spotless, and his brass shone. Like Edward, he was decorated with flags, but on his buffer beam he proudly carried the Royal Arms.”
―Describing Gordon when he pulls the Queen's train.

Gordon the Big Engine is the eighth book of the Railway Series.


Dear Ian,
You asked for a book about Gordon. Here it is. Gordon has been naughty, and the Fat Controller was stern with him.

Gordon has now learned his lesson and is a Really Useful Engine again.
The Author


Off the Rails

Gordon is grumpy after being told to take a goods train and his fire is slow, so Edward takes him to the turntable. Gordon attempts to "jam" the table, but instead breaks through a fence and slides into a ditch. Edward takes the special instead and Gordon is left in the ditch until nightfall when Henry and James finally pull him out.


After a long tedious wash-down following his derailment in the ditch, Gordon is forbidden from pulling coaches and told to shunt trucks until he behaves and he begins to order the trucks about. Later, he tries to warn James that the hill is slippery from leaves. James simply laughs, but soon regrets it when the coaches drag him down the hill. Gordon takes pity and helps James up again.

Down the Mine

Thomas teases Gordon for falling into a ditch, and carries on even after Annie and Clarabel rebuke him. Thomas then goes to the Lead Mines to shunt trucks. Thomas concocts a plan to go past a "danger" board and falls through a weak spot in the ground. Gordon, who laughs when he finds out, comes to the rescue and on the way home, the two form an alliance.

Paint Pots and Queens

Elizabeth II is coming to Sodor and Henry brags that he will be chosen to take the Royal Train, but these plans are soon put to rest when Henry disturbs a painter and a paint pot falls onto him. Meanwhile, Thomas and Gordon apologise to the Fat Controller for being silly and he allows Gordon to pull the Royal Train. On the big day, Thomas gets the coaches ready and Edward clears the line in front. The Queen meets all the engines and talks personally to Thomas, Edward and Gordon, but the latter feels proudest of all.




  • One of the illustrations from Paint Pots and Queens was painted by Clive Spong for the 1983 Island of Sodor Map.
  • Down the Mine is based on a real event that took place at Lindal-in-Furness in 1892. Though in this particular event, the collapsing mine hole was miles deep and all that was recovered of the Furness Railway engine, number 115, was its tender.
  • Off the Rails is based on a real event that took place at Lynn on August 8 1952 when an LMS Ivatt Class 4 tender engine, number 43142 fell into a muddy ditch from the turntable.
  • Paint Pots and Queens is based on two events, one where a station painter was unsighted by locomotive smoke in Preston and the other where HM Queen Elizabeth II arrived on a train at Llandrindod Wells in 1952, the year she took the throne, is very reminiscent of the scenes in Sodor the following year, after her Coronation in 1953.
  • The events of the first three stories took place in 1952. The events of Paint Pots and Queens took place in 1953.
  • The events of Paint Pots and Queens were later mentioned by Gordon in the eighteenth season episode of the television seriesEmily Saves the World.
  • The first story, Off the Rails, was adapted along with Down the Mine in 1984 as part of Season 1; Down the Mine served as a test-pilot for the series as test footage is seen in the final episode. Leaves was adapted as The Trouble with Mud in 1991 as part of Season 3 and Paint Pots and Queens was adapted for Season 4 in 1995.
  • In the second illustration of Off the Rails, there is a shop with a sign reading"C.R. DALBY" referring to the artist.
  • Leaves is based on a real event where a train slipped on actual leaves at Bincombe Tunnel.
  • This is the first time in the books that The Railway Series is mentioned. Althrough advertisements for the books are seen in some illustrations in the previous stories.


  • In Off the Rails:
    • In the third illustration, James' wheels are red.
    • In the sixth illustration, Gordon's wheels and wheel splashers appear to be too large.
    • In the final illustration, Gordon, Henry and James' faces disappear.
  • In the seventh illustration of Leaves, James has six coaches and a headlamp on top of his smokebox which is the headcode for local passenger trains instead of express passenger trains, but in the next picture he's pulling five coaches and two headlamps on his left and right lamp irons which are meant for express passenger trains.
  • In the first illustration of Paint Pots and Queens, James is portrayed with a 4-6-0 wheel configuration and the shed support pillar is out of place as it stands in front of Henry’s right buffer. Also in the final illustration, Percy's dome and tank lid are missing.
  • In the original first copy of this book, Wilbert Awdry claimed that the publishers had luckily managed to fix the typo made in Down the Mine. The text read: Thomas squealed crossly at the sound of his brakes were applied. The changes had been fixed in later copies.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Chinese 大个子高登脱轨了
Japanese 大きな機関車ゴードン
Norwegian Thomas og Gordon bli venner


Wedgwood China

Name Released Discontinued Highlights Image
Plate Unknown Unknown

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