Gordon was built by Sir Nigel Gresley at Doncaster Works in April 1922 as an A1 with a LMS eight wheeled tender and green livery on the Other Railway, but when he arrived on Sodor in mid to later 1922 with a spare boiler and firebox later that year he was painted in the North Western Railway's blue livery. Once the test had been done, he was sold off to the North Western Railway. He was, until 1950, the only engine who could pull the express. However, he caused a lot of trouble when he wanted to.
Gordon is mainly used for passenger duties, pulling the North Western Railway's express, the "Wild Nor' Western", 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 Crovan's Gate for a rebuild. His conjugated valve gear was replaced by a two-cylinder design, he received a new straight smoother running plate (designed by The Fat Controller), a curved foot plate, Stanier under frames, 6'6" driving wheels to his old 6'8" driving wheels, cylinders, squared-off side windows, rectangular buffers and a flush-riveted six-wheeled 3,500 gallon-type Fowler-designed tender with horizontal strips removed and the rivets facing inward rather than outward to replace his standard eight-wheeled horizontal-stripped 5000 Gallon type Gresley tender. The running plate was of Stanier designs, while the footplate was Sir Topham Hatt's own Design.
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, when a locomotive pulling a special express derailed when Departing from Barrow-in-Furness. For this he had to use his correct BR Number- 60100. Gordon did not like the visit, however, as he discovered that London's big station was St. Pancras.
In 1986, Gordon got to visit Carlisle when a diesel taking a Railtour failed. When HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, visited the Island of Sodor, Sir Topham Hatt asked Gordon to take her around. Gordon is given an extra tender for when he travels from Sodor to London.
In 1986, Gordon heard that new diesels on the other railway can go 125mph. Gordon boasted that one of his cousins could go 126mph. However, he soon befriended a high speed express train, who was later purchased by the Fat Controller in 1995 for a faster service to London and back. Despite being closely related to the A4 pacifics, one of them Gordon doesn't get along with too well Spencer.
Since May 2010, Gordon was rebuilt at Sodor Steamworks with a new Doncaster shape, extended and bigger boiler and renewed cab, just like his brother, Flying Scotsman, but he retains his LMS Stanier component and Fowler tender and wears German gold-plated smoke deflectors on special occasions, along with his 2nd tender.
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 after all. 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.
Gordon is not rude, but he is strong, intelligent and fast. He doesn't mind pulling trucks, but won't pull dirty coal trucks or oil tankers. 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 doesn't, 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 isn't exactly honest, though, as James and Sir Handel have discovered. Gordon is friends with Edward, Henry, James and Molly and enemies with Spencer, Diesel and Diesel 10.
According to Sodor "historian" Martin Clutterbuck, Gordon is supposed to be an experimental prototype for Sir Nigel Gresley's A1 "Pacific" design for the GNR, 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, unique square buffers, Stanier two-cylinder motion and Walschaerts valve gear (check the crosshead in two slide bars), and then supplied with a six-wheel LMS Fowler tender in 1939, owning 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 based on an London and North Eastern Railway Gresley Class A3 4-6-2 engine, first built in 1922 and approx. 70 ft long. He is a brother of "London and North Eastern Railway Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman" (whose speed record was 100 mph) who is currently at the National Railway Museum in York. Gordon's whistle is unique from the other engines, because it has a low tone. It also has several slight modifications-Gordon's whistle has a cone-shaped base, and an unrounded cylinder shaped bell. He also has the maximum speed of 90 mph.
Gordon is painted NWR blue with red stripes on his boiler, red lining on the side of his splashers and tender 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 and the number 1469 on his cab sides. He carries two plaques on his splashers that read "Wild Nor' Western".
- Neil Crone (Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Keith Wickham (UK; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Kerry Shale (US; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- けんじ うつみ (Japan; 第1-8シリーズ)
- けんた みやけ (Japan; みんなが一緒に来て！すべての乗り物に乗って onwards)
- Jorge Arvizu (Mexico)
- Gordon's model is currently on display in Canada at Nitrogen Studios.
- Gordon's whistle sounds like one low blast.
- As of the CGI television series, Gordon's catchphrase is "Oh, the Indignity!".