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Gordon the High-Speed Engine

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"I'm sorry we can't help, but we are special lightweight coaches."
— Emma
Gordon the High-Speed Engine

Christopher Awdry

Illustrated by

Clive Spong


September 7th,
1987 - present

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Gordon the High-Speed Engine is the thirty-first book of the Railway Series.


Dear Friends,
Over here on the Other Railway we are used to High-Speed Trains, and know how useful they can be. But when Gordon first heard of them he began boasting about how fast he could go. He should have known better, because he only landed himself in disgrace and made the Fat Controller cross. These stories tell how hard Gordon worked to redeem himself and make the Fat Controller think again.
The Author


High-Speed Gordon

Gordon is jealous when Donald talks about high-speed engines and boasts that he can go faster. He sets out to prove it when he takes the Express. Unfortunately, Gordon slips on the slippery rails and the water in his boiler surges forwards, making him unable to stop creating steam even though he can't move forward. Donald takes him back to the shed after he runs out of steam and the rails Gordon was running on are replaced.


Gordon feels "stuffed up" and sneezes at Wellsworth, unfortunately spraying soot onto a party of wedding guests. The Fat Controller delays a visit to the mainland to apologise to the guests, but to wait for another train to get home, when Gordon steams back past and some ashes fall onto his top hat. When Gordon gets home an inspector comes up with a message telling Gordon that he will be disciplined when the Fat Controller returns.

Fire Escape

Gordon, trying to make amends, is rushing at his hill when a firebar collapses. Thinking quickly, the driver tells the fireman to put a large piece of coal over the hole. Gordon manages to struggle to a loop, and BoCo comes to help. The Fat Controller thanks BoCo and is about to say something to Gordon when he has to go to his train, leaving Gordon in suspense.

Gordon Proves His Point

Gordon is at Barrow-in-Furness when a porter asks him to take a train of enthusiasts up to Carlisle. The Fat Controller gives his consent, and two powercars called Pip and Emma take the Express back to Tidmouth. James, who is taking a stopping train, is asked to help Pip and Emma after Pip breaks down. At Tidmouth, the Fat Controller thanks James and asks him to make Pip and Emma welcome. When Gordon returns, the Fat Controller forgives him for his smokescreen and tells him that the ashes came from an ashtray being emptied by a steward. Gordon takes the passengers home.



  • After writing this book, Christopher Awdry was able to retire from his job at the Inland Revenue and write full-time.
  • The cover illustration is very similar to the one in Edward, Gordon and Henry.
  • In "Smokescreen", a reference to "Henry's Sneeze" is made.
  • Gordon's trip to Carlisle was mentioned again in the annual story, Percy's Passengers.
  • This book marks a few things for BoCo:
    • His face is fully yellow.
    • He has a face at each end.
    • His final speaking role in the Railway Series.


  • In the first illustration, Donald has Douglas' tender.


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