|This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the coloring book or the Buzz Book.|
- “Silly old Gordon fell in a ditch, fell in a ditch, fell in a ditch. Silly old Gordon fell in a ditch. All on a Monday morning.”
- ―The boys singing rudely at Gordon.
Off the Rails, retitled Gordon Takes a Dip in American releases, is the twenty-fourth episode of the first series.
One morning, Gordon is resting at the station. Henry suddenly pulls up and wakes Gordon rudely. Gordon is very cross, believing that an engine who has never had an accident should be respected. Percy arrives next and innocently asks if jammed whistles and burst safety valves count as accidents. Gordon denies it, saying that they might happen to any engine which is much different from when Henry came off the rails.
It is Henry's day to take the Express. As he prepares to leave, Gordon reminds him keep on the rails, much to his annoyance. When Henry leaves, Gordon tries to go back to sleep, but is awakened by his driver, who tells him that they have been asked to pull a special train. Gordon asks if the special is coaches or trucks. When the driver tells him it is trucks, Gordon becomes angry at the idea.
Gordon's fire is slow to start, so Edward comes to push him to the turntable to be turned around. Gordon complains the whole way and Edward rebukes him as they reach the turntable. By now, the movement has gotten Gordon's fire burning nicely and making steam. By now Gordon is so cross that he is willing to do anything to get out of taking the special regardless of the consequences. When the table is halfway round, Gordon moves forward in an attempt to jam it as he has done before, but is unable to stop and slides down some old unused rails into a marshy ditch. Gordon shouts for someone to get him out, but his crew sternly rebuke him and tell him that he is stuck.
In his office, the Fat Controller receives a phone call from Gordon's crew who tell him all about what happened. Upon seeing Gordon from his window, he orders to have Edward take the special train and leave Gordon where he is for now. Meanwhile, some little boys come by, see Gordon's predicament and tease him with a rhyme, leaving him humiliated.
Gordon stays in the ditch all day and the rescue team does not come until late at night. The work crews remove his tender, lift him up with the Breakdown Train and make a road of sleepers under his wheels to keep him from the mud. Strong cables are fastened to his tender hitch and he is pulled out from the ditch by James and Henry. Afterwards, a filthy and disgraced Gordon crawls back to the shed, much sadder and wiser for his experience.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Little Boys
- James (does not speak)
- Troublesome Trucks (do not speak)
- Märklin Engine (cameo)
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Gordon the Big Engine.
- The telephone conversation is a sped up version of the conversation between the policeman and the Fat Controller in 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 early American viewers would not understand the "jammed whistles" line.
- 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 on the left. This is believed to be the Märklin engine.
- 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.
- In its original broadcast, this episode was paired with Down the Mine with the latter being shown first. However, early VHS releases have it paired with Dirty Objects, as do Norwegian and Swedish broadcasts.
- This is the only Series 1 episode in which Henry doesn't appear in his old shape, even through stock footage.
- In the opening scene, Gordon's front bogie wheels are slightly derailed and his buffers are crooked.
- In a close-up of Percy, his coupling chain is up, but in the next shot it is suddenly dangling downward.
- Gordon's tender is derailed when Percy puffs up.
- When Henry is getting ready to take the express, Gordon's driver has blu-tak under his feet.
- When Gordon snaps "Trucks?! Pah!" a piece of hair is visible by his right eye.
- In the close-up of Gordon on the turntable, a large gap is visible through his left eye.
- When the boys sing the camera shakes.
- When Gordon is getting pulled out of the ditch, his bufferbeam hits is wooden post.
- In a rare picture, several workmen have blu-tak on their feet.
- James' drive wheels move slightly then stop when he pulls Gordon out of the ditch.
- The narrator states Henry and James rescued Gordon: however James is the only one seen.
- Due to portions of the script being taken word for word from the original book, the narrator says Gordon had strong ropes fastened to his back end, but the close up of James reveals it to be a chain.
- In the long shots of James during Gordon's rescue, he has the rescue cable Gordon used in Percy Runs Away and later in Down the Mine attached to his middle lamp iron, but in the close-up, he has a chain attached to his front coupling hook instead. However, when Gordon is on the turntable, James has the rescue cable on him again.
- When Gordon says "I won't go, I won't go," there is steam coming from his funnel, even though it was said that his fire would not burn right away.
- In Ringo Starr's US narration, when Gordon and his driver are talking about the special train, there is an echo in the background. This is audio from the UK version.
- Throughout the episode, Henry's top feed is positioned between his first and second boiler bands, instead of his second and third.
- Buzz Books - Gordon Off the Rails
- Ladybird Books - Edward, Gordon and Henry and Gordon Off the Rails
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