Bio in the Railway Series
Gordon was built experimentally by Sir Nigel Gresley at Doncaster Works between 1920 and 1922 as an "A0" Pacific. When Gresley was finished using Gordon for designing his A1 Pacifics, he sold Gordon, along with a spare boiler and firebox, to the North Western Railway.
Gordon is mainly used for passenger duties, pulling the North Western Railway's express, the Wild Nor' Wester, but has occasionally pulled goods trains. He has been known to run into ditches and stop on hills to get out of doing these jobs, as he believes that these are below him.
In 1939, Gordon went to Crewe for a rebuild. His conjugated valve gear was replaced by a two-cylinder chassis (designed by the Fat Controller), he received a smoother running plate, Stanier underframes wheels, cylinders, squared-off side windows, rectangular buffers, and a Fowler tender.
Gordon has become famous after his adventures: In 1953 he pulled Queen Elizabeth II's royal train and in 1956 he traveled to London, where he was lauded by a large crowd. Gordon did not like the visit, however, as he discovered that London's big station was St. Pancras. Then, in 1986, Gordon got to visit Carlisle when a Diesel taking a Railtour failed.
In 2011, he was dismissed from pulling the express regularly to Barrow due to the purchase of Pip and Emma. He likes this, because he can do two trips a day instead of one and he does not have to hurry.
Bio in the Television Series
Gordon has to date been the fastest engine on Sodor, but has sometimes had accidents, due to him trying to show off. In the fifth season, his brakes were not working, and could not stop, in result of him crashing through the Kirk Ronan Station wall. Also, in the sixth season, he ignored Salty's advice about going slow while pulling trucks, in result of him speeding down a rickety old branch line, and tumbling into a field. Though he has proven to not be too big for his wheels, and be useful instead, like when Spencer first arrived on Sodor, he gave him advice about taking on water before going to Maron Station, in result, he ran out of water on Gordon's Hill, and Gordon had to pull him there.
Thomas & the Magic Railroad
In the film, Gordon complained to Thomas, who was late and Thomas retorted that Gordon was being bossy and told him that he had to find Mr. Conductor, who was coming to visit Sodor to look after the North Western Railway while Sir Topham Hatt was taking a holiday. He thought Mr. Conductor was not needed until Diesel 10 sped through Thomas and Gordon at Killaban by. Later, he, James and Thomas argued about who should have taken Mr. Conductor and retorted that James is a big engine and Thomas is a small blue engine.
Gordon's important position as the engine who usually pulls the Express has made him proud, pompous and arrogant, with good reason too; he is the strongest engine on Sodor. Gordon's 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, he seems to have abandoned this philosophy.
Because of his rank in the social order of the North Western Railway, Gordon expects to get the important jobs and either sulks when he does not, or gets jealous of those 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.
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 honest, though, as James and Sir Handel have discovered.
According to Sudrian "historian" Martin Clutterbuck, Gordon is supposed to be an experimental prototype for Sir Nigel Gresley's A1 Pacific design for the Great Northern Railway - the so-called "A0". Gordon was then built at Doncaster Works, Yorkshire, and tested against a similar NER Pacific in 1923. Gordon, being an experimental engine, never received a number, and was later rebuilt at Crewe with LMS underparts and a six-wheel tender, owing to various problems. Gordon has since been rebuilt below the footplate according to Stanier designs, his running plate being Sir Topham Hatt's own design.
Gordon is painted NWR blue with NWR red-and-yellow lining and the number "4" painted on his tender sides in yellow. Before arriving on Sodor, he was painted Doncaster green with white and black lining.
In the Railway Series, he carries two builder's plates on the sides of his cab.
- Gordon is named after a rude boy that lived on the Awdrys' street when Christopher was a child.
- The official website inaccurately states that Gordon is a "Liner" (LNER) A3 Pacific like his brother, Flying scotsman.
- Since Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Gordon's rear bogie has been joined to his driving wheel chassis.
- 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.
- Gordon has went through several aesthetic changes in the television series:
- Season 4:
- His brake pipe is facing downward.
- He shares the same whistle sound as Duck in nearly all of his roles.
- The eyebrows on his first shocked face are thickened.
- Season 5:
- He regained his old whistle sound, excluding "Bye George!".
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad:
- His brake pipe is facing upward again.
- He gained red lining on the cab side of his tender.
- His trailing wheels became larger and moved forward, joining to his driving wheel chassis.
- The wonky eyebrow on his second shocked face is corrected.
- Season 6:
- The lining on his pistons was moved slightly inwards.
- Season 4: