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Thomas and Friends Gordon: The History & Stories

Gordon, also known as Gordon the Big Engine, is a prominent character in the beloved Railway Series the Reverend W. Awdry created. First introduced in the book "The Three Railway Engines" in 1945, Gordon quickly became a fan favorite due to his impressive size and remarkable speed. He has since appeared in numerous books, television series, movies, and other media adaptations, captivating the hearts of children and adults alike.

Railway Series Gordon


Gordon, an iconic 4-6-2 tender engine, was originally built in 1920-1921 at Doncaster Works as an experimental prototype for Sir Nigel Gresley's A1 Pacific design for the Great Northern Railway. However, due to design flaws, Gordon was kept under wraps and never entered regular traffic or received an official GNR number. He served as an experimental engine until the issues were resolved, and the first batch of Pacifics appeared in 1922/23.

In 1923, Gordon was sold to the North Western Railway, along with a spare boiler and firebox. On the Island of Sodor, Gordon's role primarily revolves around the Main Line, where he pulls fast and stops trains. He was famously known as the engine who pulled the Wild Nor' Wester until he was succeeded by Pip and Emma in 2011.

Gordon has encountered various adventures throughout his railway career and learned valuable lessons. In his early years on the railway, he often displayed arrogance and looked down upon smaller engines like Edward and Thomas. However, he soon realized the importance of teamwork and learned to appreciate the assistance of his fellow engines.

Gordon's distinctive personality is characterized by pride, pompousness, and self-importance. As the fastest steam engine on Sodor, he takes great pride in his speed and frequently boasts about it. Nevertheless, behind his veneer of arrogance, Gordon has a good heart and is always willing to forgive others. His superior strength and power are often utilized to help smaller engines in need.

Railway Series Gordon

Technical Details

Gordon is based on the GNR Class A1 Pacific prototype, as designed by Sir Nigel Gresley. However, after facing technical difficulties, Gordon underwent a significant rebuild in 1939 at Crewe. The rebuild was a collaborative effort between Sir Topham Hatt and Sir William Stanier.

Gordon's middle piston and conjugated valve gear were removed during the rebuild, and his original eight-wheel tender was replaced with a Fowler tender. The rebuilt version of Gordon features a two-cylinder chassis designed by Sir Topham Hatt, while the running board and other components below it reflect Stanier's design.

In terms of appearance, Gordon sports the standard blue livery of the North Western Railway, adorned with red and yellow lining. His number, "4," is prominently displayed on his tender in yellow with a red outline. Gordon's running board is black, complemented by red buffer beams and valences.

With his impressive top speed of 105 mph (169 kph), Gordon remains a symbol of strength, speed, and reliability on the North Western Railway.

Railway Series Gordon


Gordon's significant role as the engine responsible for pulling the Express has shaped his personality over the years. He is known for being proud, pompous, and arrogant, often displaying a sense of superiority due to his speed and status as the fastest engine on Sodor. His self-importance sometimes leads him to look down upon smaller engines like Thomas or Percy.

Despite his flaws, Gordon does possess redeeming qualities. He has a good heart and is willing to forgive others, especially after they have received their comeuppance or he has had his retribution. His superior strength and power are often put to good use when helping other engines in need, showcasing his willingness to lend a hand when necessary.

Gordon's disdain for goods trains is a well-known aspect of his personality. He believes his role should be limited to pulling coaches and considers freight duties beneath him. Due to his position in the social order of the North Western Railway, Gordon expects to be assigned essential passenger jobs. When he doesn't receive the assignments he desires, he tends to sulk or become jealous of other engines who do.

Notable Appearances

Throughout the Railway Series, Gordon has made numerous memorable appearances, solidifying his place as a critical character in the stories. Some of his notable adventures include:

  • "Edward's Day Out" (cameo): In one of his earliest appearances, Gordon makes a brief cameo as Edward pulls him out of a ditch when he gets stuck on a hill with a train of trucks.

  • "Troublesome Trucks" (mentioned): Gordon's interactions with Thomas are highlighted in this story, where he teaches Thomas a lesson by bringing him along with his express train before he can be uncoupled.

  • "Gordon Goes Foreign": Gordon embarks on an international journey, showcasing his role as a reliable engine capable of taking on essential assignments beyond Sodor's borders.

  • "The Fat Controller's Engines": Gordon plays a role in this story, where the big engines, including Gordon, Henry, and James, go on strike to protest against having to fetch their coaches. Their misadventures ultimately lead to a valuable lesson about teamwork and cooperation.

These are just a few examples of Gordon's appearances in the Railway Series, where his character development and interactions with other engines contribute to the rich storytelling of the series.


  • Gordon's square buffers, distinguishing him from other engines, have an interesting backstory. According to the Reverend W. Awdry in his book "The Thomas the Tank Engine Man," Gordon's original buffers were damaged in an accident when he crashed into the end of Tidmouth Station. The only available buffers for replacement were long and square, leading to Gordon becoming the only engine on the railway with square buffers. He eventually grew accustomed to them and took pride in his unique feature.

With his distinctive personality, remarkable speed, and significant contributions to the Railway Series, Gordon continues to captivate readers and fans of all ages. His character adds depth and excitement to the adventures on the Island of Sodor, making him an integral part of the beloved world of "Thomas and Friends."

Gordon: The Proud and Powerful Engine of "Thomas and Friends"

Thomas and Friends Gordon

Introducing Gordon, the Esteemed Express Engine

In the beloved world of "Thomas and Friends," one character stands out as a symbol of speed, power, and prestige. Meet Gordon, the proud and powerful express engine that has captured the hearts of fans around the globe. In this article, we will delve into the intriguing persona of Gordon, exploring his notable traits, significant moments, and enduring impact on the popular children's series.

Thomas and Friends Gordon

Gordon's Personality and Relationships

Gordon's prominent position as the engine that pulls the Express has given him a sense of pride and self-importance. He is known for his pompous demeanor, often looking down upon smaller engines such as Thomas and Percy. His boastful nature, fueled by his recognition as the fastest steam engine on Sodor, has earned him a reputation for being egotistical and stubborn.

However, beneath his lofty exterior lies a good-hearted engine willing to forgive and lend a helping hand. Despite his initial disdain, Gordon has shown moments of compassion and care for his fellow engines. He has come to their aid numerous times, using his superior strength to assist them when they are in trouble.

Gordon's relationships with other characters in the series have added depth to his persona. While he may clash with engines like Thomas and Percy due to their naughty behavior, he has proven to be a reliable friend when they are genuinely in need. His connections with fellow engines, such as Edward and Henry, showcase his evolving understanding and respect for their capabilities, regardless of age or size.

Memorable Moments and Character Development

Throughout the series, Gordon has developed significant character, transforming from a proud and sometimes vengeful engine into a more compassionate and understanding friend. Several pivotal moments have contributed to this growth.

One such instance occurred when Gordon found himself in need of assistance. After initially disregarding the importance of Edward's role, he soon realized the value of teamwork when he became stuck on a hill with a train of trucks. This humbling experience taught Gordon the importance of relying on others and appreciating their contributions.

Another notable event in Gordon's journey was his reflection and redemption after proposing a strike among the big engines. Realizing the error of his ways, Gordon understood the significance of unity and cooperation. In this pivotal moment, he highlighted the growth of his character and his ability to learn from his mistakes.

Gordon's Impact and Legacy

Gordon's character has left a lasting impact on "Thomas and Friends" and its audience. As the personification of speed and power, he has become an iconic figure within the series. His distinctive blue color, sleek design, and powerful presence on the tracks have made him a fan favorite.

Moreover, Gordon's story teaches valuable life lessons to young viewers. His journey from arrogance to humility emphasizes the importance of valuing the contributions of others, embracing teamwork, and learning from one's mistakes. Gordon's character is a source of inspiration, encouraging viewers to be compassionate, understanding, and willing to grow and change. Gordon's Adventures and Enduring Legacy

Gordon's Noteworthy Adventures

Throughout his journey on the Island of Sodor, Gordon has embarked on numerous adventures that have solidified his place in the hearts of "Thomas and Friends" fans. Let's explore some of his most noteworthy escapades.

One of Gordon's early adventures involved a run-in with Percy, a cheeky green engine. When Percy carelessly stood on the Main Line, Gordon had to rescue him and help him out of a pile of dirt. This experience taught Gordon the importance of lending a helping hand, even to those he might consider beneath him.

Another remarkable moment in Gordon's life was when he was called upon to pull Queen Elizabeth II's Royal Train during her visit to Sodor. This prestigious assignment was a testament to Gordon's reliability and earned him well-deserved recognition for his exceptional service.

Gordon's character growth was evident when he formed a close alliance with Thomas after coming to his rescue when Thomas fell a mine. This newfound friendship showcased Gordon's capacity for compassion and support, transcending his initial pride and arrogance.

Gordon's Enduring Legacy

Gordon's character has left a lasting legacy within the "Thomas and Friends world." His transformation from an egotistical and proud engine to a compassionate and understanding friend has resonated with audiences of all ages. The lessons learned through Gordon's experiences have provided valuable insights into the importance of humility, teamwork, and personal growth.

Furthermore, Gordon's iconic status as the fastest steam engine on Sodor has made him a symbol of power and prestige within the series. His sleek design, distinctive blue color, and commanding presence continue to captivate fans, making him one of the franchise's most recognized and beloved characters.

Gordon's character has also inspired countless merchandise, including toys, books, and clothing, allowing children to bring the excitement and adventures of "Thomas and Friends" into their lives. His enduring popularity has solidified his place as a cherished figure in both young and old fans' hearts.

Thomas and Friends Gordon

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Gordon in "Thomas and Friends"

1. What locomotive is Gordon based on? Gordon is based on the GNR Class A1 Pacific prototype, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley for the Great Northern Railway. However, he underwent a significant rebuild in 1939 at Crewe, which altered some of his technical features.

2. What is Gordon's personality in Thomas and Friends? Gordon is known for his pride, pompousness, and self-importance. As the fastest steam engine on Sodor, he takes great pride in his speed and often boasts about it. Despite this, he has a good heart and is willing to forgive others, showcasing his compassion and helpful nature.

3. Are Thomas and Gordon friends? Yes, despite occasional clashes, Thomas and Gordon have formed a close alliance over time. Gordon has shown compassion and support for Thomas on various occasions, transcending his initial pride and arrogance. They have become friends who can rely on each other when needed.

4. What is Gordon like in Thomas the Tank Engine? In "Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends," Gordon is portrayed as a symbol of speed, power, and prestige. He holds a prominent position as the engine responsible for pulling the Express on the North Western Railway. Initially arrogant, Gordon learns valuable lessons about teamwork, humility, and the importance of valuing others' contributions throughout the series. His character development makes him a beloved figure among fans of all ages.



Gordon's journey in "Thomas and Friends" showcases the transformation of a proud and powerful engine into a compassionate and understanding friend. Through memorable adventures and character development, Gordon teaches valuable life lessons about humility, teamwork, and personal growth.

As an iconic figure within the series, Gordon's legacy endures through his representation of speed, power, and prestige. His impact on the hearts of fans and his role as a source of inspiration and entertainment cements his place as a beloved character in the world of "Thomas and Friends."

So, the next time you see Gordon racing along the tracks of Sodor, remember the lessons he has taught us about compassion, understanding, and the power of personal growth. Gordon's story serves as a reminder that even the proudest engines can learn to be humble and that true friendship knows no bounds.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through the remarkable character of Gordon in "Thomas and Friends." May his adventures continue to inspire and entertain generations to come.

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