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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 Donald talks about high-speed engines 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 slippery rails and the water in his boiler surges forwards, rendering him incapable of ceasing to create steam. Donald takes him back to the shed after he runs out of steam and Henry takes over the express. The rails Gordon was running on were damaged with scratched grooves and had to be replaced. That night, Gordon's mishap became 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 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, trying to make amends, is rushing at his hill when 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 has to go to his train, leaving Gordon in suspense.

Gordon Proves His Point

Gordon is at Barrow-in-Furness when a porter asks him to take a train of enthusiasts up to Carlisle. The Fat Controller gives his consent, and two powercars called Pip and Emma take the Express back to Tidmouth. Pip's cooling system is faulty, but Emma is in order. James, who is taking a stopping train, is asked to help Pip and Emma after Emma breaks down. At Tidmouth, the Fat Controller thanks James and asks him to make Pip and Emma welcome. When Gordon returns, the Fat Controller forgives him for his smokescreen 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 new 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 very 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 again in the annual story, "Percy's Passengers".
  • This book marks a few things for BoCo:
    • His face is fully yellow.
    • He has a face at each end.
    • His final speaking role in The Railway Series.
  • 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 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 and the first official Bullet Train characters to ever appear in The Railway Series.
  • This book was published two days before the 1987 repeat of The Flying Kipper/Whistles and Sneezes on 9th September 1987

Goofs

  • In the first illustration, Douglas is shown instead of Donald.
  • Barrow is incorrectly depicted as a terminus.
  • In the last illustration of Fire Escape, BoCo's face is on his back.
  • In the last illustration of Gordon Proves His Point, 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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