Gordon the Big Engine is a fictional anthropomorphic tender locomotive in The Railway Series books by Rev. W. Awdry. Gordon is painted blue and carries the number 4. Gordon views himself as the most important engine because he is the biggest (not including Murdoch from Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends) and he pulls the Express. Gordon is one of the central characters in the TV series Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, which is based on the books.
Although he can be boastful, he is hard working and strong, and performs his express duties to the absolute best of his ability. He is also the fastest engine in the Island of Sodor. He is sometimes teased by other engines, particularly the smaller ones, and has been known to have a good-natured rivalry with fellow main line engines Henry and James. Nevertheless, he is also quick to forgive and sometimes gives advice and assistance to other engines. He also has a ready wit.
He is usually the first choice for special trains, and was honoured to pull the Royal Train when Queen Elizabeth II visited Sodor. His great strength means that he is also sometimes called upon for heavy goods trains and rescue operations, but he by far prefers passenger trains. Once, when he was to pull a freight train, he got stuck in a ditch in an attempt to get out of pulling the train.
In the Railway Series book The Eight Famous Engines, Gordon made headlines when he visited London. He has also been to Carlisle when an enthusiasts' special train broke down.
Despite his fame and importance, he can be very competitive. He particularly dislikes being told about engines who are faster than him, and once lost his dome through trying to compete with City of Truro.
He is proud of having been built at Doncaster and his work on the East Coast Main Line in his youth. Therefore, he never misses an opportunity to talk about his Doncaster brothers and cousins from the London and North Eastern Railway. He arrived on Sodor in 1922.
His first appearance in the Railway Series was in Book 1, The Three Railway Engines. The eighth book in the series was dedicated to him, as was the thirty-first.