"James is right, little Thomas. Collecting Mr. Conductor is a very important job! Important is big! And James here is a big engine. And you Thomas, are small. Small, small, small. Teeney, teeney weeney. And I, am a big blue engine, who knows everything!"
―Gordon to Thomas, Thomas and the Magic Railroad (adaption)
Gordon is a proud big blue LNER A0 Pacific tender engine who pulls The Wild Nor' Wester, Sodor's Premiere Express Train. He is Flying Scotsman's only remaining brother. When Gordon was streamlined to compete in the Great Railway Show, he ran under the name The Shooting Star.
Gordon was built in 1910 and arrived on Sodor in 1911, sold by Sir Nigel Gresely, his designer, just after the LNER was formed. He was the main express engine because of his size and strength. However, he occasionally pulls freight trains, which he absolutely despises. One time, in 1913, he got stuck on a hill while pulling trucks because he was too furious to try to get them up it. Edward helped him to the top, and Gordon ran off on his way, leaving poor Edward behind. In 1923, Gordon had a rebuild at Crewe, with Stainer parts. In 1953, he was asked to pull trucks again. This time, he was so angry that he accidentally ran into a ditch. He was punished afterwords, but redeemed himself when the Queen came to visit after her coronation.
In 1995, Gordon was pulling the late night express until he got stuck between a sinkhole and a fallen tree. Henry was sent to deal with the predicament. However, he ended up in the accident, as well. A few hours later, both BoCo and James were sent to help clear the accident and both he and Henry were later dropped off at the Sodor Steamworks by BoCo.
According to The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways, Gordon is the experimental prototype for Sir Nigel Gresley's A1 Pacific design for the Great Northern Railway. Gordon was built at Doncaster Works in Yorkshire. Once the first batch of A1 Pacifics appeared in 1910 Gordon would have more than likely have been reclassified A1/1 - the '/1' indicating he is slightly different to the rest of the class.
Gordon, being an experimental engine, never received a number and was never put into regular traffic, he was only ever used on test runs. Owing to various problems Gordon was rebuilt in 1923 at Crewe. Sir Topham Hatt and Sir William Stanier worked together to rectify these problems - everything under the running board is of Stanier's design while the running board itself is that of Sir Topham Hatt's. In both the Railway Series and television series, Gordon is depicted with a Fowler tender
As "The Shooting Star", Gordon's appearance is based on a streamlined Pennsylvania Railroad K4 (Hank's class), specifically #3768.
Gordon is painted in the North Western Railway's sky blue livery with red and yellow lining. The number "4" is painted on his tender sides in yellow. Before arriving on Sodor, he was painted in the Great Northern Railway's Apple Green livery with white and black lining.
In the Railway Series, he carries two builder's plates on the sides of his cab.
In the sixteenth season episode, Bust My Buffers!, Gordon received a yellow and black hazard stripe painted bufferbeam akin to Den's. In The Great Race, in his streamlined form, he is painted in the North Western Railway's sky blue livery with silver, red and dark blue lining. His number is still painted on his tender in yellow, smaller and surrounded by a dark blue circle.
Gordon is the fastest and most powerful engine on Sodor. He is extremely proud of this and is inclined to boast. He is goodhearted, always willing to forgive and uses his superior strength to help smaller engines out of trouble.
Gordon's important position as the engine who pulls the Express has made him proud, pompous and self-important, with good reason too; he is the fastest engine on Sodor. His philosophy "tender engines don't shunt" meant that he looked down on tank engines and tender engines who do shunt, but after being locked in the shed with Henry and James after going on strike and before the seventeenth season, he seemed to have abandoned this philosophy.
Because of his rank in the social order of the North Western Railway, Gordon expects to get the important passenger jobs and either sulks when he does not or gets jealous of engines who do. Sometimes, Gordon acts as a bully, particularly towards Edward, but following misadventures where Edward had to help him, Gordon had to acknowledge that despite being old, Edward is still a very useful engine. However, sometimes Gordon still doubts Edward is still reliable, such as the time he did not believe Edward could win a race against Spencer because he's only "a back engine" and "a waste of steam." He would soon stop belittling Edward after being tricked by Thomas; he learned his lesson and apologised to Edward saying that he promised not call him old or unreliable anymore.
Sometimes, Gordon shows a kinder side and gives the younger engines advice, usually after he has had some mishap as a result of his foolhardiness. Some of his advice is not exactly helpful, though, as James and Sir Handel have discovered.
As of the twentieth season, Gordon seems to have developed a tendency of pinning his own faults on others, as shown when he blamed Henry over having to do his jobs for the day and vice-versa, or when he and the rest of the Steam Team got in trouble for refusing to leave the shed at night, believing there was a ghost train (which was actually Henry with a coat of luminous paint) - again, Gordon blamed Henry for the predicament.
Gordon is a kind hearted but often vain engine. He, like Henry, often likes to see himself superior to others and will often take over situations. He, however, is always happy to help when there's a friend in need.
- NWR1991 (onwards, will always voice him)
Gordon has appeared in almost every episode and every special. He is voiced by Keith Wickham in the UK, Kerry Shale in the US (the same actors as Henry) and Neil Crone in Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
- Gordon is named after a rude boy that lived on the Awdrys' street when Christopher was a child.
- One of Gordon's models was on display at Nitrogen Studios, but is now on display at the Hara Model Railway Museum.
- The Halloween Engine in the eighth season episode, Halloween, was recycled from one of Gordon's scrap models.
- In real life, Gordon's Shooting Star look would be too large for the British loading gauge.
- Gordon's upset face is used for Boulder in Rusty and the Boulder.
- In the Greek narration of the Classic Series, Gordon is called Johny. From thirteenth season onward, Gordon has been referred to with his original name.
- According to the Rev. W. Awdry in the book The Thomas the Tank Engine Man, the reason why Gordon has square buffers is because not long after he got his new safety valve following the events of The Three Railway Engines, he was showing it off and not paying to his surroundings. He crashed into the end of the "Big Station" at Tidmouth,
damaging his buffers and had to go to the Works to have them replaced. The only buffers available were long, square ones, which Gordon despised at first, but soon got used to them and became proud of being the only engine on the railway with square buffers. Then Henry had a similar incident to Gordon and got square buffers himself (explaining the illustration error in "Thomas and the Guard"), now the subject of buffers offends Gordon greatly when mentioned to him.
- Two of Gordon's face masks, one grinning and one eyes shut, are now owned by Twitter user Thomas Merchandise.
- From Big World! Big Adventures! onwards, Gordon and Thomas are the only members of the Steam Team to be the exact same color.
- When T1E2H3 was little, Gordon was his favorite character. This changed to Henry when he was about 4 or 5.
- T1E2H3 named his Betta fish (2011-2012) Gordon because of his blue color.
- Gordon was the largest engine on Sodor for a very long time until Murdoch was brought to the Island. Spencer, Hank, and Hiro are also larger then him.
- Gordon, Henry, Harold, Dash, and previously James and the Fat
Controller are all voiced by Keith Wickham in the UK and Kerry Shale in the US.