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“Well, Gordon, you wanted to show Salty a thing or two and you've certainly done that. You've shown him how silly it is to ignore 'go slow' signs!”
―Sir Topham Hatt scolding Gordon

Gordon Takes a Tumble is the seventeenth episode of the sixth season.


None of the engines feels more important than Gordon. Salty rolls up teasing Gordon that pulling trucks is a silly job for an express engine. Gordon brags that it would not be dignified for an express engine to pull trucks. Gordon explained what it means to Percy, but Salty interrupted, saying that it means someone is too big for his buffers and Gordon puffed furiously away.

Later that night, the Docks is packed with trucks due to the fog covering the Island of Sodor causing confusion and delay. The Fat Controller came to the sheds and ordered Henry, Thomas and Percy to go to the Docks and Gordon to take the trucks somewhere where they will not be in the way, much to Gordon's shock. Gordon was waiting impatiently for his trucks, to show Salty how an express engine pulls trucks. Salty teased him again, but this time Gordon ignored him.

The next day as Gordon is puffing along the mainline, a signalman leaves the points onto an old, rickety branch line. The signalman sees Gordon going to the branch line, knowing that the express engines cannot go there, but it is too late. The branch line is weak and rusty and even has a "go slow" sign to warn trains, but Gordon ignores the sign and goes even faster. The old rails cannot hold his weight as Gordon tumbles off the tracks and ends up in a field. He ploughs through a dirt mound, a pile of tires and barrels (losing his tender in the process) and a barn, and finally halts in front of a scarecrow. Gordon felt very undignified wondering what the Fat Controller would say. The Fat Controller arrives and chews Gordon out, saying that he has only succeeded in showing Salty how silly it is to ignore "go slow" signs.

Gordon was repaired and returned back for work, but is still sad with himself. Thomas cheers him up by saying that everyone makes mistakes. James tells Gordon that Salty has apologised for all of his teasing, and Gordon apologises for being too big for his buffers. All three engines give a jolly toot, even Gordon.




  • Stock footage from The Fogman is used.
  • The model of the scarecrow is on display at Drayton Manor at the Thomas and Friends Exhibition.
  • This is one of the six episodes of the sixth season re-narrated by Michael Brandon in the US and Michael Angelis in the UK with music composed by Robert Hartshorne and Ed Welch.
  • The episode was released on The Fogman and Other Stories VHS/DVD a day before airing on TV. This is also the only sixth season episode released directly to home video.
  • This is the third episode, after Cranky Bugs and Middle Engine, where the narrator says, "confusion and delay." However, there were two other episodes, Oliver's Find and Middle Engine, where a character says it, making this the fifth episode to use the phrase overall.
  • The barn Gordon crashes in to is the same one Thomas crashed in to in Bye George!.


  • In the first scene, Clarabel is facing the wrong way.
  • In the shot of Gordon on the old branch line, a cable is attached to his coupling.
  • When Gordon derails, his trailing wheels are slightly coming off.
  • When Gordon's trucks come off the rails, they come off differently in certain shots.
  • As the trucks derail and tumble down the slope, the ground bounces up and down.
  • A wire is visible pulling Gordon at one point when he derailed.
  • In the first two shots, people are standing to the right of Thomas and Gordon respectively, but in the third shot, they have been replaced by cars.


  • Salty: Pulling trucks/freight cars is a silly job
  • Thomas: Why the rush, Gordon?
  • Gordon: If I must pull trucks/freight cars, then I'll show Salty how an express engine pulls trucks/freight cars.
  • Salty: Careful, Captain. You don't wanna get too big for your buffers.


  • Gordon: (rattles through the junction) That's strange, I'm on the Branch line.
  • Signalman: Oh no! Express trains aren't supposed to go that way!


  • Gordon: (looks at the "go slow" sign) I'm am an express engine, I don't go slow!
  • (he picks up his speed, causing the rails on the branch line to buckle, Gordon and his train derails)
  • Gordon: OHHH, HELP!!! (tumbles off the tracks and into a field, crashing through buildings and debris)


  • The Fat Controller: Well, Gordon, you wanted to show Salty a thing or two, and you've certainly done that. You've shown him how silly it is to ignore "go slow" signs.
  • Gordon: Sorry, Sir.


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