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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the colouring book or the Buzz Book.

“That Henry is too big for his wheels! Imagine, speaking to me like that! Me, who has never had an accident!"
"Aren't jammed whistles and burst safety valves accidents?"
"No, indeed! High spirits! Might happen to any engine. But to come off the rails like Henry did, well, I ask you, is it/that right? Is it decent?”
―Gordon and Percy

Off the Rails, retitled Gordon Takes a Dip in American releases, is the twenty-fourth (twenty-fifth in original broadcast order) episode of the first series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book Gordon the Big Engine.


One morning, Gordon is resting in a siding when Henry pulls up and whistles at him. Gordon is very cross, believing that an engine like him who has never had an accident should be respected. Then Percy arrives and asks Gordon if burst safety valves and jammed whistles count as accidents. Gordon denies it, saying that those things could happen to any engine, unlike Henry who came off the rails.

As Henry prepares to leave with the Express, Gordon warns him to keep on the rails, much to Henry's annoyance. After Henry leaves, Gordon tries to go back to sleep, but is soon awakened by his driver, who tells him that they have to pull a special goods train. Gordon is cross at this news, as he would rather take coaches.

Gordon's fire is unable to burn right away, so Edward has to push him to the turntable. The movement gets Gordon's fire burning nicely and making lots of steam. When the table is halfway round, Gordon moves forward in an attempt to jam it, but is unable to stop and slides down some old rails into a marshy ditch. Gordon yells for his driver and fireman to get him out, but they refuse.

"You're stuck, you silly great engine; don't you understand that?"

In his office, the Fat Controller receives a phone call from Gordon's crew telling him all that has happened. Seeing Gordon from his window, he tells them to have Edward take the special train instead and leave Gordon where he is for now. Meanwhile, some little boys see Gordon's predicament and tease him with a rhyme, much to Gordon's annoyance.

Gordon stays in the ditch until late at night when a rescue team finally comes. After removing his tender, they lift him and prepare a road of sleepers to keep his wheels out of the mud, then cables are hooked up to his back end and he is pulled out of the ditch by James and Henry. Gordon slinks into the shed, much sadder and wiser after his experience.




  • During the scene where the Fat Controller is talking on the phone, the phone chatter heard on the other end is actually sped-up dialogue from Thomas in Trouble.
  • According to the boys' song, the events of this episode take place on a Monday.
  • In the US, this episode aired before Whistles and Sneezes, so American viewers would not understand the "jammed whistles" line until George Carlin narrated the aforementioned episode in 1991.
  • A scrap model of Thomas can be seen beside the ditch.
  • When Gordon is shown being lifted from the ditch, an engine's lights can be seen passing to the left; this is the unspecified Märklin engine.
  • In George Carlin's narration, the boys' song "Silly Old Gordon Fell in the Ditch" has the same tune as the Mother Goose rhyme "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush". The song is sung in the same way in the Railway Stories audio version of the original book, which was narrated by Johnny Morris. In both of Ringo Starr's narration, however, the song uses a different tune.
  • In its original 1985 UK broadcast, this episode was paired up with Down the Mine. However, early VHS releases had it paired up with Dirty Objects, as do Norwegian and Swedish broadcasts.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Knapford Sheds until the seventh series episode Something Fishy.
    • It is also the final appearance of Knapford Sheds in its original roundhouse design.


  • In the opening scene, Gordon's front bogie wheels are misaligned and his buffers are crooked.
  • In the close-up of Percy, his coupling chain is up, but in the next shot it is suddenly dangling downwards.
  • When Henry pulls up to Gordon with his goods train, Gordon's right trailing wheel is derailed.
  • Gordon's tender is derailed when Percy puffs up to him.
  • When Henry is getting ready to take the express, Gordon's driver has Blu Tack on his feet.
  • When Henry leaves with the express, Gordon can be seen on the siding besides him, but in the very next scene, Gordon suddenly changes position to the goods platform where Henry left.
  • When Gordon says "Trucks? Pah!", a piece of hair is visible by his right eye.
  • When Edward is pushing Gordon to the turntable, there is steam coming out of his funnel, even though it is said that his fire was slow to start.
  • In the close-up of Gordon on the turntable, a large gap is visible through his left eye.
  • When the boys tease Gordon, the camera shakes.
  • It is said that James and Henry helped to rescue Gordon, but only James is present.
  • In the long shots of James during Gordon's rescue, he has the rescue cable Gordon uses in Percy Runs Away and Down the Mine attached to his middle lamp iron, but in a close-up, he has a chain attached to his front coupling hook instead.
  • When Gordon is being pulled out of the ditch, his buffer beam hits a wooden post.
  • In the final shot of Gordon, the lighting makes it look like daytime, even though the scene takes place at night.
  • The little boys say "All on a Monday morning!" despite the episode broadcasting on a Tuesday.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Albanian Jashtë shinavë
Brazilian Portuguese Gordon, o Sabotador
Chinese Mandarin 脱轨
Croatian Izvan Tračnica
Czech Mimo Koleje
Danish Den Store Afsporing
Dutch Van de Rails Af
Finnish Kiskot Putoaminen
French Le Déraillement
German Entgleist
Hebrew מחוץ למסילה
Hungarian A Vonatsilkás
Italian La Locomotiva Brontolona
Japanese ゴードンみぞにはまる
Korean 도랑에 빠진 고든
Latin American Spanish El Plan de Gordon
Norwegian Ut av Sporet
Polish Wypadek (Original)
Wykolejenie (Alternate)
Romanian Pe Langă Linie
Romansh Gordi fa il bogn
Russian Падение Гордона (Original)
Крушение поезда (Alternate)
Serbian Van Šina
Slovak Mimo Koľaj
Slovenian Gorazd Iztiri
Swedish Ur Spår
Ukrainian Зійшов з рейок
Welsh Cadw ar y Cledrau

Home Media Releases






DVD Boxsets




Latin America

DVD Boxsets







  • The Flying Kipper





  • Thomas the Tank Engine 3



DVD Packs





  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4