ERS 148 - Daphne the Deltic Diesel

ERS 148 - Daphne the Deltic Diesel - Ian

Over the years there have been many suggestions about introducing a human ‘villain’. Such an idea would never work in the RWS/ERS for a number of reasons, but it did inspire me to introduce a character here who could at least come into conflict with the engines.

A new Inspector has started work on Sodor, but the engines don’t like him. Referring to the engines by their numbers instead of their names, coupled with a rather brusque manner, wins him few friends. Eventually Daphne, never one to stay quiet for long, snaps and berates him for his attitude. Delighted with her apparent victory she dismisses Winston’s claim that she has only made things worse. Her pride soon vanishes however when poor railhead conditions see her slide through Kellsthorpe station and come to a stand on the level crossing. Such incidents have occurred many times in history, one example being at Wem, Shropshire, where the level crossing is closed to road traffic even when a stopping train is due, just in case.


This is one of those ‘That can’t possibly be true!’ stories, but such an incident did happen with a Driver and a Manager who had taken a dislike to one another in the 1970’s. The set up and subsequent error were exactly as described in the story. When the Inspector accuses Daphne of breaking a speed limit on the line between the Hoo Bridge and Henry’s Tunnel, she and her Driver protest their innocence. Daphne is horrified when her friends doubt her innocence, and in the end it is down to the Fat Controller to solve the mystery; travelling in the rear cab, the Inspector was taking the speed limits of the opposite track.

Gordon fails with the Express and has to be rescued by Daphne. While waiting for a road from Barrow to the Works, Daphne recalls her early years on the Eastern Region. From the gradual decline of steam and the original cockiness of the Deltic engines, to the time Daphne (then known as D9010) had to be rescued following her own failure. Befriending the steam engines, in particular an A4 Pacific by the name of Kingfisher, she came to realise that even the mightly Deltics would face the same fate one day. When mentioning that the class referred to each other by their numbers, it reminds Gordon of the Inspector, something that gives Daphne food for thought.
This story gave chance to look a little at D9010, whom Daphne is based upon. Such details as mentioned in the story are true to the locomotive, including the steam engine rescue which occurred in 1964.

It has been a long time since the RWS/ERS featured a ‘Happy ever after at Christmas’ story, so I make no apology for including one here. A few years ago, the first train on the Central Wales line on 27th December did indeed collide with a snowman on Knucklus Viaduct! Damage to the train was severe enough to seethe service cancelled, although luckily Daphne doesn’t suffer quite the same indignity. However, having collided with a snowman built on the line near Balladrine, Daphne grounds to a halt with a damaged brake pipe. The Inspector, travelling on her train, repairs the damage with a roll of wrapping paper, a fix which proves good enough to see Daphne to Wellsworth where she can be aided by BoCo for the rest of the journey. A truce between the Inspector and the engines comes just in time for Christmas, and all ends happily.