This was on of those ideas that I had that I agonised over whether it would work or not. Making a brake
van the centre character of a volume was unusual enough; regardless of the fact said brake van had only made a fleeting appearance
in one previous volume. But by making the secondary characters so prominent, they helped ‘bridge the gap’ between
old and new. If I had to choose a favourite from my volumes, I reckon this would be it.
Following her ‘accident’ and subsequent
rebuild for China Clay excursion duties Mary has led a very quiet life; only Bill and Ben ever speak to her and that is usually
only for the chance to tease. When a railtour brings visitors to the SCC Works, the twins allow their excitement and pride
get the better of them, subsequently ignoring Mary’s warning over a fault with some points. They’re greatly abashed
when they learn just how close to disaster they came, a situation that gives Mary the upper hand. Faults with points have
happened all over the World, and the method of ‘Scotch and Clip’ is well practised to ensure trains can negotiate
problem points successfully.
Mary suggests to a line of visiting tankers
that Kaiser should be kicked in touch as soon as possible, before dropping the fireless engine a warning about the visitor’s
intentions. Thinking she’s helped him, Kaiser mentions it to the other engines who are immediately suspicious. When
BoCo later requires a brake van Mary thinks her chance to run again has come, but the trucks are cross with her for the trouble
she caused and cause BoCo to derail her ‘accidentally on purpose’. With the truth out, Mary is once again left
A story of two parts this, starting off at the Wellsworth
end of the line with some of the pitfalls that have befallen banking engines through the years. Jebediah’s sarcasm is
annoying Emmeleia, and she’s furious when he mocks her for slipping to a stand on the hill. Meanwhile Mary once again
tries to stir up trouble, suggesting a ploy to cause Douglas a mischief to the clay wagons; by pushing him beyond the signal
at the junction. Fortunately for Douglas Toad has his suspicions and is able to help prevent a nasty accident by bringing
the train to a stand before running onto the Main Line. When discussion reaches Wellsworth and Jebediah suggests showing Mary
‘who is boss’, it gives Emmeleia an idea how to pay the old crane out!