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Recap / Thomas And Friends S 1 E 24 Off The Rails
aka: Thomas The Tank Engine S 1 E 24 Off The Rails

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U.S. Title: Gordon Takes a Dip

Air date: January 8th, 1985

Adapted from: Gordon the Big Engine, "Off the Rails"
Silly Ol' Gordon fell in a ditch.

One morning, Gordon is resting his eyes at the station while bragging to himself just how important he is. Henry suddenly pulls up and wakes Gordon rudely. Gordon is very cross, believing that an engine who has never had an accident should be respected. Percy arrives and innocently asks if jammed whistles and burst safety valves count as accidents. Gordon denies it and tells Percy that those sorts of high spirits could happen to any engine, not like Henry who came off the rails.

When Henry is about to take the express, Gordon reminds him "not to come off the rails today", making Henry angry. When he leaves, Gordon tries to go back to sleep, but then his driver wakes him telling him that they have been asked to pull a special goods train. Gordon, who is already in a bad mood, refuses to take trucks, as he would rather take coaches.


Gordon's fire is unable to burn fast enough, so Edward comes to push him to the turntable to be turned around. Gordon complains the whole way and Edward rebukes him as they reach the turntable. By now, the movement has gotten Gordon's fire burning nicely and making steam.

As the turntables turns, Gordon is angry that he is willing to do anything that stops him from taking the special regardless of the consequences. When the table moves halfway round, he moves forward in an attempt to jam it like last time. However Gordon is unable to stop and slides down the unused rails into a ditch. Gordon shouts for someone to get him out, however his crew refuses and angrily tells him that he is stuck.

In his office, the Fat Controller is called and told everything that has happened. Seeing Gordon from his window, he arranges to have Edward take the special train and leave Gordon where he is for now. Meanwhile, some little boys come by and start to tease Gordon with a rhyme, leaving him humiliated.


Gordon stays in the ditch for hours and no rescue team comes until late at night. After extensive work preparing sleepers to keep him out of the mud, he is pulled out from the ditch by James and Henry.

Afterwards, a filthy and disgraced Gordon crawls back to the shed, sad and all the wiser for his experience.

Tropes featured in the episode:

  • Berserk Button: Gordon had his pressed when he finds out that he was appointed to take a special goods train.
    Gordon: Trucks?! PAH!!
  • Bittersweet Ending: Despite being rescued by James from the ditch accident, Gordon sadly learns his lesson for his stubbornness.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • In the UK version, Henry calls Gordon "fat face", but in the US, it was "lazybones". Most likely due to the fact that "fat face" is considered offensive towards overweight and obese people.
    • While The Fat Controller was talking on the phone, he says in the UK version "Leave him where he is. We haven't time to bother with him now.", whereas in the US versions, he says "Leave him where he is. We'll get him out later."
  • Call-Back:
    • One, Percy asks Gordon about his accidents such as the jammed whistle and the burst safety valve. Gordon claims that it can happen to any engine. Then, Gordon mockingly reminds Henry of his accident with The Flying Kipper and hopes that he "keep on the rails" when pulling the express.
    • In addition Henry waking up and teasing Gordon while he sleeps at a siding, much akin to how Thomas did in the first episode (he even refers to Gordon as "lazybones" as Thomas did in the US dub).
  • Downer Ending: Despite being pulled out of the ditch, Gordon sadly puffs into the shed feeling ashamed of his behavior.
  • The Freelance Shame Squad: A group of boys were singing a song to mock Gordon falling into a ditch.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: Gordon falls into a ditch and can't get out. It only took James and Henry to pull him out.
  • "The Hero Sucks" Song: The boys sing a song for Gordon.
    Boys: Silly old Gordon fell in the ditch, fell in the ditch, fell in the ditch. Silly old Gordon fell in the ditch, all on a Monday morning.
  • Immune to Slapstick: Defied. Gordon boasts having never suffered a proper accident (under Percy's query, he doesn't count jammed whistles or getting stuck up hills as accidents). This turned out to be only Tempting Fate however as he crashes into a ditch shortly afterwards.
  • Insulted Awake: Gordon was cross when Henry awaken him through his whistling and calling him "fat face"/"lazybones".
    Gordon: What a cheek! That Henry is too big for his wheels! Fancy, speaking to me like that! Me, who has never had an accident!
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Gordon falling in a ditch was a result for his stubbornness to pull trucks.
  • Narcissist: Gordon.
    Gordon: Sometimes, it's really tiring to be such a large and splendid engine. One does have to keep up appearances or so.
  • Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: This happens when The Fat Controller is telephoned by Gordon's crew members about Gordon's accident in the ditch.
  • Stubborn Mule: Gordon who didn't want to pull any trucks.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gordon's driver and fireman gave one to him after falling into a ditch.
    "Not a hope. You're stuck, you silly great engine. Don't you understand that?"

Alternative Title(s): Thomas The Tank Engine S 1 E 24 Off The Rails


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