|Gordon the Big Engine|
|Thomas & Friends character|
|First appearance||The Three Railway Engines (1945)|
|Created by||Rev. W. Awdry|
|Voiced by||Keith Wickham (UK)|
Kerry Shale (US)
Neil Crone (Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
Gordon the Big Engine is a fictional anthropomorphic tender locomotive in The Railway Series books by Reverend Wilbert Vere Awdry and is one of the central characters in the television series Thomas and Friends, which is based on the books. He is painted blue and carries the number 4. Gordon views himself as the most important engine because he is the biggest, fastest, and he pulls the Express.
Gordon was one of the first characters created in The Railway Series, initially to provide a foil for Edward. Inspiration came from watching locomotives at work on the Great Western Railway near the Rev. W. Awdry's childhood home, in particular from the large locomotives that would have to be assisted up the hill. When a story inspired by this was devised for the young Christopher Awdry, the big engine was named Gordon after a bossy child who lived on the same road.
Gordon is believed to be based on a Gresley pacific prototype, which was never built but plans do exist for such a locomotive, as he is a 4-6-2 similar to the Flying Scotsman, an LNER A3 class locomotive. In the book Enterprising Engines, it is stated that the two engines are in fact brothers with the 2016 film The Great Race also noting that the two are brothers. The Rev. Awdry elaborates upon this in The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways. This companion volume to The Railway Series states that Gordon was built as a test locomotive for the Great Northern Railway. When the Great Northern Railway had finished with him, they sold him to the Fat Controller for a knockdown price. Gordon was rebuilt by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway at Crewe Works with new wheels, motion and running plate designed by William Stanier, the Fat Controller's mentor, who was also responsible for Henry's rebuild.
Actually, the reason for this somewhat complicated explanation lies with the early illustrations of the character. The Rev. Awdry constantly sought railway realism in his books, and often argued over the illustrations provided by C. Reginald Dalby, which tended to be inconsistent in terms of scale and accuracy. In an effort to combat this problem, he sent the illustrator a number of photographs of the characters as portrayed on his own model railway. The model of Gordon was converted into an A3 from a Tri-ang model of a 1958 Princess Royal class locomotive. However, the conversion was not perfect and resulted in a severely butchered-up Tri-ang Princess Royal which still retained many of the Princess Royal's features, including the chassis- the driving wheels were not evenly spaced. These errors were carried over into subsequent illustrations. Awdry ended up removing some of the Princess Royal's features such as the chimney and the dome, which were replaced by a LNER Gresley chimney and dome that were fitted on. He then reshaped the Belpaire firebox by filing it down into a tapered LNER A3/A1 Class firebox.
Gordon has appeared in every season in the television series. He has also appeared in the specials Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Calling All Engines, The Great Discovery, Hero of the Rails, Misty Island Rescue, Day of the Diesels, Blue Mountain Mystery (as a cameo), King of the Railway, Tale of the Brave, The Adventure Begins, Thomas & Friends: Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, The Great Race, Journey Beyond Sodor and Big World! Big Adventures!.
For the CGI series, from Hero of the Rails onwards, Gordon is voiced by Kerry Shale in the US and by Keith Wickham (who also voices Edward, Henry, James, Bertie, Harold, The Fat Controller and other characters) in the UK.
In Japan, Kenji Utsumi voiced him from Season 1 to 8. From Calling All Engines onwards, he is voiced by Kenta Miyake.
Gordon is a Steam Team member.
In the film, Gordon's character was very much as it appears in the television series and early books of the Railway Series.
Gordon was voiced by Neil Crone in the film, who also did the voices of Diesel 10 and Splatter.