PLANS & PROBLEMS
With the idea of a ‘Vintage
Vehicle Rally’ announced, Buzz feels slightly left out; after all, diesels don’t qualify! First visitors to arrive
are Red Dragon and George from the Road Museum, who are arguing over which is the stronger. However news that Duke’s
lorry has broken down causes a bigger problem, until Buzz suggests the two squabbling steam engines rescue the old engine.
Duke is saved, but unfortunately it doesn’t stop George and Red Dragon’s bickering! Whether a steam engine has
ever been hauled on a low-loader by a traction engine or a steam roller is questionable, but not impossible.
MUD & MOTORS
Partially devised so as to give
the character Roland the Rolls Royce a return to the series, this like all the other chapters in this volume sets out to use
as large a cast of road vehicles as possible. Bottom, the MSHR’s Range Rover is honoured to be an exhibit at the Rally,
but not so Roland. The muddy field and smelly exhausts of other vehicles bring out his snooty side, and he takes his frustration
out on poor old Caroline. When a guest misses the special train on the Mid-Sodor line, Bottom volunteers to take her by road.
When Roland rudely remarks he should do the job, Bottom doesn’t stop him, knowing full well the road to the top station
is a bumpy, pot-holed lane full of mud!
TANTRUMS & TRACTORS
The lorry race is based on one 01Salty
personally witnessed, and in turn the ploughing match was something I’d witnessed. The combination of the two I think
works well, both being competitions. We meet new characters Foden the steam lorry and Geoffrey and Arnold the ploughing engines
here, as well as welcoming Guinevere the Sentinel lorry and Shane the tractor back to the series. Both Shane and Foden are
convinced they will win their respective competitions, but when Foden attempts to cheat by cutting a corner, he becomes bogged
down in the recently ploughed field, blocking Shane’s path in the process!
BUSES & BANDSTANDS
One idea that was mentioned during the planning of this volume was
the return of Bulgy, but I didn’t want to detract from the main event of the rally, so that little titbit was saved
until last… if and when Bulgy makes his ERS debut, I can’t say, but I suspect others have plans on the back burner
for that one! On th final day of the Rally, Red Dragon gets stuck in mud, and in attempting a rescue George backs into a bandstand.
Foden helps redeem himself by forming a temporary platform with Guinevere, and Terence and Trevor discuss the implications
of ‘saving the big red bus’…!