Gerald, nicknamed Gator due to his unusual alligator-like shape, is a large green tank engine who lives and works on a railway in a faraway country. He once came to visit the Island of Sodor, and became close friends with Percy while he was there.
Gator lives in a country far away from Sodor, and works on a railway which climbs up the steep incline and into the villages high up in the mountains. Though he is used to working on mountain railways, Gator had a fear of heights, which sometimes intervened with his work. Once, Gator was given the task of delivering important supplies to the mountain village, but when he approached a viaduct, he became too scared to cross. In the end, Gator decided to be braved and went across the bridge, safely making it to the village.
Gator was brought to the North Western Railway under unknown circumstances, and began doing goods work on the line. However, on one misty day, Percy mistook his shadowy shape in the fog as a monster and ran away from him. When Gator arrived at Brendam Docks, he reassured the other engines that he was not a monster and told them that he was only a visiting engine, and that he was waiting for a ship to take him back to his home country.
Unfortunately, Gator ended up missing his ship, so to pass the time, he was sent to the Little Western to take Oliver's train to Brendam Docks after he had broken down. However, during the journey, his lamp began having troubles, much to the concern of Toad. When Gator stopped at a junction to have his lamp fixed, James mistook him for a monster and ran away, derailing at the Fenland Track. After making sure that James was alright, Gator continued on his journey until his lamp went out again. After arguing with him about this, Gator abandoned Toad and left, but soon noticed that he needed him after all. After Toad gave him one of his spare lamps, Gator finished the job in time.
During his visit to Sodor, Gator formed a particularly close bond with Percy, who was becoming much more distant from Thomas and was becoming too scared to stay on Sodor, but sadly told him that he could not stay on Sodor for much longer and that he would be leaving soon. On the night that he was leaving, Gator was surprised to find out that Percy wanted to go with him to his home railway, but told him that running away from his problems was not the best solution and convinced him to stay on Sodor. Percy got off the ship, but Gator's ship was once again delayed when Thomas believed that Percy was on board and made Cranky stop it, causing him to break in the process. The next morning, Gator finally managed to leave Sodor, and bid an emotional farewell to Percy. (TVS; Tale of the Brave/Toad's Bright Idea)
Months after he had left, Percy was still upset about Gator leaving and kept thinking about him, until it was suggested that he work harder to try and forget about him. After Percy lost his trucks in Ulfstead Mine, he remembered what Gator told him about being brave and managed to rescue the trucks, realizing that thinking about Gator could also make him happy. (TVS; Missing Gator)
Gator later returned to Sodor around Christmastime along with an important delivery of rock salt, but the dock manager did not know where the rock salt was needed as his papers were smudged and asked Gator if he could find out where the train needed to be delivered, which he gladly agreed to do. While he did this, Gator tried to find Percy, but neither engine could find each-other and each thought that one had forgotten about the other. Gator returned to Brendam Docks with the train of rock salt, where he finally reunited with Percy; however, he was covered in rock salt after Percy ran into his trucks. (TVS; Long Lost Friend)
Personality and Traits
Gator is incredibly brave and wise, and retains a calm, grounded demeanour. He enjoys telling other engines stories of his railway, and longs to travel out at sea and visit new countries and railways. During his visit to Sodor, he formed a close friendship with Percy, who was upset when he found out that he had to leave Sodor after a while.
Despite working in such high, steep areas, Gator is afraid of heights and once refused to cross a viaduct due to how high up the bridge was. Gator can also be rather stubborn and sometimes refuses to listen to advice, as shown when he abandoned Toad after the two had a dispute over whether or not Gator should have his lamp fixed or not, despite the latter knowing it was dangerous to not have both a working lamp and brake van.
Gator is based on the Colombian Steam Motor tank engines. Four of these engines were built at the Sentinel Waggon Works in Shrewsbury, England, and were first shipped to Belgium for testing until they were shipped off to work at Colombia. Very little is known about these engines, and they were all scrapped. Gator is modified so that he can work on British standard gauge railways; he is fitted with buffers, screwlink couplings and brakepipes, and is scaled up from 3'3½" (meter gauge) to 4'8½" (standard gauge).
Gator is painted in a two-tone green livery. The top portion of him is a light shade of green, while the lower section is much darker. A red line runs through the two shades of green, and he is also painted in gold lining. His bufferbeams and running board are both painted red, while his funnel, filler cap and bogeys are painted black. He carries a gold nameplate that reads "Gator" on each side of him.
- It is currently unknown why Gator came to Sodor during the events of Tale of the Brave and why he returned to the island in Long Lost Friend. It can be assumed that he was either brought to Sodor for repairs or because the Fat Controller needed an extra engine to help out with work on the railway.
- Gator is the second engine to be known better by his nickname rather than his real one, the first one being Duck. Coincidentally, both of their nicknames come from animals.
- Despite the fact that his real name is Gerald, his nameplate still reads "Gator".
- Gator uses the same whistle sound as Charlie at a much lower pitch. When the Tale of the Brave mini-site was still up, however, he had a much different whistle sound.