The Tall Controller has arranged for an Open
Day Weekend Gala, and to prepare the grass and bushes have to be cut. Unfortunately, the flail mower has broken down, and
Fred is called upon to take over the duties of manually cutting the hedges and grass with the old cutting device, much to
his annoyance. When that cutter also fails the workers have to resort to cutting the overgrowth by hand, but even this goes
wrong when a workman accidentally cuts through the signaling and telephone cables. In the end Fred is forced much longer than
he anticipated, and his grumbling only invokes the teasing of the other engines in the shed that night.
The Open Day has officially begun, and the
engines are paired up to haul special double-headed trains. Ivo Hugh is particularly pleased when he is selected to take a
photographic run-through train with Duke that evening. Although Duke is concerned about two young men who appear to be eating
in the train, Ivo Hugh ignores his worries, stating “a little spill” wouldn’t causes problems. However his
words come back to haunt him when he is taking on water; his fireman overfills his tank and causes water to slosh down his
sides. The passengers claim it is a perfect “photo opportunity”, leaving Ivo Hugh very red-faced!
Sir Handel teases Ivo Hugh mercilessly in
the shed that evening; so much so that he doesn’t even hear the Tall Controllers plans for the next day! He receives
a rude shock to find himself being prepared early to take out a special “amateur” driver before any passengers
arrive, and becomes instantly skeptical of the “amateur’s” abilities. However, the visitor gives him a pleasant
surprise when he uses his controls smoothly, and Sir Handel’s mood begins to lift. Unfortunately, his stiff regulator
causes a roll-back at a station, and Rusty is there to see all. When Sir Handel returns to the bottoms station Ivo Hugh is
there waiting for him…
THE PLOT THICKENS...
To finish off the Open Day the Tall
Controller organises a “Murder Mystery” themed train, with a group of actors hired to play out the event on Rheneas
and Skarloey’s final train of the evening. A short delay at the bottom station holds the group up for several minutes,
but before long the story is being played out at the first station. Unfortunately the lead actor has gone missing, and the
two engines roll back down the line to find him walking along the sleepers out of breath and very cross. They apologise for
leaving him behind before taking him back to join his fellow actors. The show is a rousing success, and the Tall Controller
hails the Open Day Weekend Gala a triumph in the shed that night, much to the joy of all the engines.