Gordon is a big blue express engine. He is Flying Scotsman's only remaining brother, and the cousin of Mallard, Green Arrow, Spencer and The Flying Thistle. Gordon is also one of the fastest and strongest engines on the Island of Sodor, and his main task is to pull "The Wild Nor' Wester", the railway's express train. At times, this leads to him feeling superior.
Gordon was built experimentally by Sir Nigel Gresley at the Great Northern Railway's Doncaster Works in 1922 as the first A1 Pacific, what would become the prototype to the final A1 design. 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 once tried taking a shortcut in order to beat Stanley to Great Waterton, but accidentally crashed into Ben's logs, but luckily, saved Stanley from crashing into them on the track below. When Gordon was given the task of taking the Lion of Sodor to the Duke and Duchess of Boxford's summer house with Ferdinand, he ignored his advice about going slowly over the Fenland, with the result of the statue falling into the muddy marsh. After the statue was cleaned, Gordon let Ferdinand be his front engine and they delivered the statue safely to the summer house. They have since then been good friends. One winter he, along with the rest of the steam team, had to find places to sleep, when the turntable at Tidmouth Sheds was frozen, so he decided to sleep there, in the one accessible berth, resulting in him getting stuck in there the next morning and remaining there for the rest of the day. He has since become a more sensible engine.
Once, he was waiting at Kellsthorpe Station while a workman was painting a telephone box on the other platform. But the man accidentally kicked his paint can onto the track next to Gordon, just as Connor raced through the station, splattering red paint all over Gordon. When Henry saw red spots all over Gordon, he assumed the blue engine had chicken pox.
In Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, Gordon says that Thomas is a silly little engine, making Thomas upset. Thomas wanted to take revenge, but ended up running Gordon's express coaches off the rails. Due to this incident, Thomas was sent away. Later, while he was pulling the express, Thomas nearly collided with him while chasing Sailor John and Skiff.
In The Great Race, Gordon introduces Thomas to his brother, the Flying Scotsman, at Vicarstown and later teases Thomas for wanting to compete in the Great Railway Show, believing that he is too small to compete. Gordon is selected by the Fat Controller to participate in the Great Race and is temporarily streamlined for the event. However, Gordon refuses to undergo the final safety checks and as a result, the workmen forget to attach his safety valve. Thomas brings the new safety valve to the Mainland and tries to warn Gordon, but Gordon competes in the race without it and his boiler explodes when he refuses to heed Thomas and Flying Scotsman's warnings. Gordon has to drop out of the race as a result. After the Great Railway Show is over and all of the foreign engines (bar Ashima) have gone home, Gordon meets up with Flying Scotsman, who admits that his opinion on Sudrian engines has improved significantly since the race.
Gordon is the fastest and most powerful engine on the rails and he knows it. He is extremely proud and 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 usually pulls the Express has made him proud, pompous and self-important, 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 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 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. 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". However Gordon would soon stop bullying Edward after being tricked by Thomas, he learn his lesson after apologises to Edward saying that he promise 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 honest, though, as James and Sir Handel have discovered.
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 the GNR Doncaster Works in Yorkshire.
Once the first batch of A1 pacifics appeared in 1922 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 1939 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.
As "The Shooting Star", Gordon's appearance is based on a streamlined Pennsylvania Railroad K4 (Hank's class), specifically #3768.
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.
In The Great Race, in his streamlined form, he is painted NWR blue with silver, red, and dark blue linings. His number is still painted on his tender in yellow, now smaller and surrounded by a dark blue circle.
- Keith Wickham (UK; Hero of the Rails - Journey Beyond Sodor)
- Colin McFarlane (UK;Twenty First Season onwards)
- Kerry Shale (US; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Dafnis Fernández (Latin America; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- One of Gordon's models was on display at Nitrogen Studios, but is now on display at the Hara Model Railway Museum. Another model is in storage at Drayton Manor.
- As of the CGI television series, Gordon's catchphrase is "Oh, the indignity!"
- Gordon is named after a rude boy that lived on the Awdrys' street when Christopher was a child.
- In the annual story, Galloping Sausage, Gordon is portrayed with a 4-6-4 wheel arrangement.
- The Halloween Engine in the eighth season episode, Halloween, was recycled from one of Gordon's scrap models.
- Gordon went through numerous changes throughout the TV series. These include:
- Season 4:
- His brake pipe is facing downward.
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad:
- His brake pipe is facing upward again
- He gained red lining on the cab side of his tender.
- His rear bogie was joined to his driving wheel chassis.
- Season 8:
- His eyebrows become thinner and arch more.
- Season 10:
- His pistons, which appeared to be broken, were fixed.
- His eyebrows change shape completely.
- Hero of the Rails:
- He lost facial detail; wrinkles on his forehead when cross or worried.
- Season 13:
- The middle sections of his driving wheels are painted black.
- Season 17:
- He gained a head lamp and tail lamp, as requested by Sam Wilkinson.
- His wheels are fully blue again.
- The Adventure Begins:
- His side rods become silver.
- The Great Race:
- He is completely redesigned to be streamlined with a new livery and tender for the race, the streamlined design is made just for the special.
- Season 4:
- "When Gordon smiles, it changes his whole face. He he he. It is most interesting!"
- That made Thomas and Percy laugh.
- Hiro talking about Gordon, "Hero of the Rails."
- The Shooting Star Is Coming Through
- Will You Won't You (performed)
- Be Who You Are And Go Far (performed)
- ERTL (normal and Gold Rail; both discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (normal, talking and limited edition A Better View for Gordon, limited edition discontinued, Battery-Operated)
- Take Along (discontinued normal, metallic, and lights and sounds)
- Interactive Learning Railway (discontinued)
- Limited Edition Collection
- My First Thomas
- Motor Road and Rail (normal, talking and angry; discontinued outside Asia)
- TrackMaster (normal, talking, RC, and greatest moments)
- My Thomas Story Library (discontinued)
- Thomas Engine Collection Series (discontinued)
- Mini Die Cast Collection (normal and with Santa hat; discontinued)
- Departing Now (discontinued)
- Thomas Town (discontinued)
- Capsule Collection
- Take-n-Play (normal, talking, pull back, snowy and shooting star)
- De Agostini (discontinued)
- Trading Cards
- Woody Capsule Series
- Brio (discontinued)
- Wind-up (normal, several different expressions and metallic)
- Pocket Fantasy (discontinued)
- Mega Bloks (discontinued)
- Collectible Railway
- Motorized Railway
- Push Along
- Departing Now
- Boss (with grey express coach; discontinued)
- Padlock and Key
- Switch-On Keychains
- Micro Rubber Engines
- Pico Pico
- Minis (classic, metallic, winter, racers and graffiti; Unknown: Double Bubble)
- Pre-Cut Model Engine Books (discontinued)
- Rail Rollers