ERS 129 - Little Engines In The Snow

ERS 129 - Little Engines In The Snow - Christopher

Although I had already written a winter-themed volume, several incidents from the Talyllyn Railway on their dealing with snow somehow seeped into my mind and formed this “filler” volume just for fun.

Mr Hugh the Foreman is deciding on this year's Costume for the yearly Christmas Trains – Father Christmas or Rudolph? Meanwhile, Rusty and Fred are sent up the line to clear a series of thick snowdrifts, where Fred winds up returning home with a snowy beard and a shiny red nose!
Again, true to life, this was based on the Talyllyn Diesels's methods of clearing snow.

Although not based on a particular incident, the Talyllyn's “old lady”, Dolgoch, has been known to have poor braking system in harsh weather conditions. So it was a nice idea for this story – Rheneas slips on icy rails with a heavy train, but manages to regain control safely and calmly, despite overrunning a station or two down the line!

Mr Hugh and Skarloey investigate a treacherous looking mound of snow near Rheneas Station...which finally collapses, trapping them in the cutting. Shamus Terboc arrives with more men to dig them out, and is distraught when he think that Beatrice was caught in the avalanche...but most relieved when it turns out to be an old carriage instead!
On one occasion on the Talyllyn, an avalanche at Quarry Siding blocked the line, which also swept up the original body of a Corris brakevan, which was doing service as a hut. So you can see how easily fooled Shamus had been to see this sight!

The Skarloey Railway closes up early when the snow conditions worsen. Sir Handel grumbles about the snow, but not as much as the noisy, reckless motorbike that arrives during the thaw. However, the motorbike rider comes a cropper when he skids at a farm crossing and lands in a ditch beside the line. Sir Handel's crew sees him and help the rider to the hospital, who is most careful with his motorbike in future. As for Sir Handel, he learns that snow isn't so bad after all.
Once again, the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway provides more storytelling – many cyclists and engine crews remember how troublesome frozen mud can be at certain areas near Upwell, which served as a firm reminder to the unfortunate motorbike rider in this story.