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A Better View for Gordon

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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Step Into Reading book.
"Well, Gordon, I knew you wanted a panoramic view, but this is NOT the way to achieve it."
— The Fat Controller
A Better View for Gordon

David Mitton


Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Britt Allcroft
David Mitton
David Maidment


Michael Angelis (UK)
Alec Baldwin (US)

Air date

September 16th,
1998 (UK)
November 25th,
1998 (AUS)
January 13th,
1999 (US)

Previous episode

Horrid Lorry

Next episode

Lady Hatt's
Birthday Party

A Better View for Gordon is the third episode of the fifth season.


One morning, Gordon is complaining, which makes James cross. James asks why Gordon complains all the time, and Gordon tells him that he's a big engine, and that he shall complain whenever he wants, and he then tells James that he's just a small engine with ideas above his station, and that one day he'll show them just what a big engine can really do.

Later, Gordon is ordered by The Fat Controller to pull an empty express train to Kirk Ronan to test the new station building. Along the way, he begins to feel sick. His driver tells him that he must go to the works when his pipes are clogged. Gordon soon arrives at the station. He's impressed, but his mood soon changes when in front of him is a blank wall and a set of buffers. Gordon is bored by the blank plaster wall in front of his buffers, and says that important engines should have a panoramic view so that people could see him.

On the return journey, Gordon tries to build up speed, but he then breaks down and comes to a complete stop in a siding. Gordon's driver tells him that something inside of him is broken, and that he'll have to go to the works. When James arrives to collect his coaches, he tells Gordon that he was too puffed up in his smokebox and it serves him right.

Gordon is repaired in time for the opening of the new station, but when he approaches Kirk Ronan, neither the driver and fireman can apply his brakes. Something had jammed and Gordon loses control and crashes through the wall. The Fat Controller tells him that he knew he wanted a panoramic view, but it was not the way to achieve it.

Upon his return from the Works, Gordon arrives back at the station for it's second official opening, and this time he arrives safely. Gordon is delighted to discover the broken wall has been turned into a panoramic window. The Fat Controller tells him that it's here to stay, and he trusts that he'll always see through it from the safety of his own rails.




  • The Hindi narration of this episode credits Michael Angelis as the narrator.
  • Gordon's crash at Kirk Ronan was inspired by the Gare Montparnasse crash of 1895.
  • This is the first episode to be written with three writers.


  • In the beginning, one of Gordon's buffers is crooked.
  • When Gordon leaves for Kirk Ronan, his crew and the Fat Controller are still standing there.
  • When Gordon approaches Kirk Ronan, he lets off steam. In the next shot, it has disappeared and he lets off more steam.
  • The title card of the Norwegian narration says "Let's Have a Race" by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell".
  • In the shot of James asking "Why are you complaining all the time", a man is standing next to him on his right (viewer's left). However when Gordon calls him a small red engine, the man has disappeared. Then the next shot of James angry, he has reappeared.


  • James: Why are you complaining all the time?
  • Gordon: Because, I'm a big blue engine and I know everything, I shall complain whenever I want. You're just a small red engine with ideas above your station.
  • Percy: I can't see any, where are they?
  • Gordon: Any what?
  • Percy: Ideas above the station, the sky is empty.
  • James: Like your smokebox, Percy.
  • Gordon: One day I'll show you just what a big engine can really do!
  • Percy: So what can a big engine really do?
  • Gordon: Not speak to silly little green engines for a start.
  • Gordon: Sick? Me? Never!


In other languages

Language Name Meaning
Spanish Mejoras para Gordon Improvements for Gordon
Norwegian Et bedre syn for Gordon A Better View for Gordon
Japanese ゴードンのまど Gordon's Window
Polish Lepszy Widok dla Gabrysia Better View for Gordon


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