ERS 168 - A Sudrian Autumn

ERS 168 - A Sudrian Autumn - Ian

 It is a tremendous honour to have work featured in the ERS - to be the writer of the first new volume post-Overhaul is an even greater privilege. It’s also quite daunting too, knowing full well that there is a lot to live up to! Although it is a stand alone volume, it follows the trend set in volume 164 ‘A Sudrian Heat Wave’ - four stories all linked by the time of year.

In the most recent TV series of ‘Thomas and Friends’ (Series 15), an episode based on ‘railway running in fog’ met with much criticism over how inaccurately the issues were portrayed. I’d like to think that this story fares much better! Gordon is delayed due to the fog and Rosie is quick to pass comment. Despite Mavis pointing out that faster trains will lose more time owing to running at cautionary speeds, Rosie fails to heed the advice and continues her teasing. As so often the way pride comes before a fall, with Rosie soon encounters troubles of her own.


I love Dick and Dilworth - they are a wonderful addition to the series and a joy to write for. Dilworth has agreed that he and Dick will take care of the Railhead Treatment Train, despite knowing it is a duty that Dick dislikes owing to it being cold, filthy work. As they hurry across the Island getting dirtier and dirtier, Dick’s patience wares incredibly thin. When James makes some snide remarks Dick finally loses his cool, but doesn’t miss the opportunity to get his own back when they next meet!

We make a rare visit to the Peel Godred line here, with a story that has so many real-life presidents. During a period of poor weather Kirk has a falling out with Patrick the mountain engine. The quarrel escalates to the point that the other engines become wary of their friends. High winds then bring down the overhead power lines, resulting in Kirk coming to a stand and his passengers having to be rescued by bus - something that has happened on many an electric railway. In a twist however we see that Patrick has at least matured over the years a little, as he reveals he got stuck out all night too.


Royalty pay another visit to Sodor, although this time with none of the pomp and ceremony of the previous occasions. Gwen is in an unusually dark mood owing to a Halloween legend, and her telling of it only serves to give Alex an excuse to moan - this time on the subject of ghosts. When Squaddie is informed of ‘special duties’ he and Simon mischievously take the chance to pay a prank on Alex - but Alex isn’t the only one who finds themselves in a scary situation! Using the term ‘ghost train’ as code for the Royal Train had me quite baffled the first time I heard it used - but I’m glad to say I was a lot calmer than poor Alex!