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“Speed's nothing to me. Why, one of my Doncaster cousins went at 126 miles an hour.”
―Gordon

Gordon the High-Speed Engine is the thirty-first book of The Railway Series.

Foreword

Dear Friends,
Over here on the Other Railway we are used to High-Speed Trains, and know how useful they can be. But when Gordon first heard of them he began boasting about how fast he could go. He should have known better, because he only landed himself in disgrace and made the Fat Controller cross. These stories tell how hard Gordon worked to redeem himself and make the Fat Controller think again.
The Author

Stories

High-Speed Gordon

Gordon is jealous when he hears about the high-speed engines on the Other Railway and boasts that he can go faster. Gordon sets out to prove his superior speed capabilities when he takes the Express, but he slips on the rails and the water in his boiler surges forward, rendering him incapable of ceasing to create steam. Donald takes him back to the shed after he runs out of steam and Henry takes charge of the Express. That night, Gordon's mishap becomes quite a joke.

Smokescreen

Gordon feels stuffed up and sneezes at Wellsworth, spraying soot all over a party of wedding guests. The Fat Controller delays a visit to the mainland to apologise to the wedding party. Afterwards, Gordon steams past and some ashes fall onto the Fat Controller's top hat. When Gordon gets home, an inspector tells him that he will be disciplined when the Fat Controller returns.

Fire Escape

Gordon tries to rectify his mistakes, but when they reach a hill, a firebar collapses. Thinking quickly, the driver tells the fireman to put a large piece of coal over the hole. Gordon manages to struggle to a loop, and BoCo comes to help. The Fat Controller thanks BoCo and is about to say something to Gordon when he leaves to go to his train, leaving Gordon in suspense.

Gordon Proves His Point

At Barrow-in-Furness, a porter asks Gordon to take a train of enthusiasts up to Carlisle. The Fat Controller agrees, and two powercars called Pip and Emma take the Express back to Tidmouth. James helps them to get there after Emma breaks down. When Gordon returns, the Fat Controller forgives him for his incident with the wedding party and tells him that the ashes came from an ashtray being emptied by a steward. Gordon takes the passengers home.

Characters

High-Speed Gordon

Smokescreen

Fire Escape

  • Gordon
  • James
  • Sir Stephen Topham Hatt III
  • BoCo (does not speak)
  • 31120 (cameo)
  • Edward (mentioned)

Gordon Proves His Point

  • James
  • Gordon
  • Douglas
  • Emma
  • Sir Stephen Topham Hatt III
  • Pip (does not speak)
  • 10751 (not named; does not speak)
  • Henry (cameo)
  • Duck (cameo)
  • Donald (cameo)
  • BoCo (cameo)

Locations

High-Speed Gordon

Smokescreen

Fire Escape

  • Island of Sodor
    • Tidmouth Sheds
    • Gordon's Hill
    • Knapford (mentioned)
    • Wellsworth (mentioned)
    • The Works (mentioned)
  • The Mainland

Gordon Proves His Point

Trivia

  • This is the first book to include the refurbished Tidmouth Sheds.
  • After writing this book, Christopher Awdry was able to retire from his job at the Inland Revenue and write full-time.
  • The cover illustration is similar to the second illustration of Edward, Gordon and Henry.
  • In Smokescreen, a reference to the story Henry's Sneeze is made.
  • Gordon's trip to Carlisle is mentioned in the annual story Percy's Passengers.
  • From this book onward, BoCo's face is fully yellow.
  • This is the last book in The Railway Series where Gordon appears in all four stories.
  • The events of this book take place in 1986.
  • This book was published six days after The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways.
  • Smokescreen is based on a real event when wedding guests were indirectly showered with soot from an engine's funnel at the Bluebell Railway.
  • Fire Escape is based on a real event that occurred on the Lickey Incline, south of Birmingham.
  • This book marks the first appearance of Pip and Emma, who are the first official high-speed rail characters to appear in The Railway Series.

Goofs

  • In the first illustration, Donald has Douglas's tender.
  • In the last illustration of Fire Escape, BoCo's face is situated at his back end.
  • In Gordon Proves His Point:
    • Barrow is incorrectly depicted as a terminus.
    • In the last illustration, Douglas's running board extends past his smokebox and his cab is too small.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Korean 고속 기관차, 고든

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