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. When Gordon was streamlined to compete in the Great Railway Show, he ran under the name The Shooting Star.
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.
- Season 100 - Geoffrey's Real, Toby and Philip (mentioned), Henry the Warrior, Trouble with Brakevans, Samson's Waste Dump (mentioned), Jealous James, Spencer the Show-Off, The Crashing Kipper, The Lost Letters (cameo), The Christmas Engines, Duncan's Dilemma (cameo), Henry in the Darkness, and Sidney Helps Out (cameo)
- Neil Crone (Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Keith Wickham (UK; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Kerry Shale (US; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Kenji Utsumi (Japan; first - eighth seasons)
- Kenta Miyake (Japan; Calling All Engines! onwards)
- Bernard Demory (France and French speaking Canada; sixth season onwards; excluding eight-twelfth seasons)
- Michel Lasorne (France and French speaking Canada; eighth - twelfth seasons)
- Øyvind Borgemoen Lyse (Norway; Hero of the Rails - Tale of the Brave)
- Norbert Gescher (Germany; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Tetje Mierendorf (Germany; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Jürgen Holdorf (Germany; Audio Books only)
- Gerardo Reyero (Latin America; Thomas and the Magic Railroad; TV Version)
- Dafnis Fernández (Latin America; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Leo Richardson (The Netherlands)
- Sławomir Pacek (Poland; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Miłogost Reczek (Poland; Samson at Your Service and Emily Saves the World only)
- Danny Segev (Israel; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Nir Ron (Israel)
- João Carlos Guerra (Brazil)
- Salvador Serrano (Spain)
- Pasi Ruohonen (Finland; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Vladimir Antonik (Russia; thirteenth - sixteenth seasons)
- Denis Bespalyy (Russia; King of the Railway onwards)
- Gordon is named after a rude boy that lived on the Awdrys' street when Christopher was a child.
- In Tender Engines, it is revealed that him and Flying Scotsman are the last of their kind.
- 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 tall for the British Loading Gauge
- Gordon's upset face is used for Boulder in Rusty and the Boulder.
- As of the CGI television series, Gordon's catchphrases are "Oh, the indignity!" and "Express coming through!"
- Gordon has gone through numerous modifications throughout the television series. These include:
- Season 4:
- His brake pipe is facing downward.
- He uses Duck's whistle sound in nearly all of his roles.
- 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 wheels became larger and moved forward, joining to his driving wheel chassis.
- Season 8:
- His eyebrows become thinner and arch more.
- Season 10:
- His cylinders, which appeared to be broken, were fixed.
- The riveting on his buffer beam dissapears.
- His eyebrows change shape completely.
- Season 12
- The lining on the cab side of his tender was removed.
- Hero of the Rails:
- He lost facial detail; wrinkles on his forehead when cross or worried.
- He became slightly bigger.
- Season 13:
- The middle sections of his driving wheels are painted black.
- Season 17:
- He gained a permanent head lamp and tail lamp.
- His wheels are fully blue again.
- The Adventure Begins:
- His side rods become silver.
- Season 4: