ERS 46 - Diesel Engines

ERS 46 - Diesel Engines - Christopher

While some may argue that this volume focuses more on the Ffarquhar Engines than the actual diesels, it proved to be just the beginning of two major developments later on in the Library. The expansion of Thomas's Line and a new Diesel bought for the quarry to work alongside Mavis.

Work on Thomas's Branch Line has expanded vastly over the years with more stone and passengers than ever. Thomas becomes very conceited when a group of Enthusiasts come to visit, but Daisy is not happy when they accidentally remind her of her bull incident – next to the Dining Car brought especially for the visitors. But when Thomas falls ill, Daisy swiftly steps in to save the day and get the Enthusiasts home, even acting as a Dining Car herself!

Mavis is overworked at the quarry, so her Manager promises to bring a bigger engine to help with the stone traffic. However it's Toby's turn to fall ill, so in a fast turnaround Percy is drafted in his place on the tramway. But for safety regulations, while on Toby's line, Percy has to wear cowcatchers and sideplates! Thomas thinks it a huge joke until Percy's cowcatchers manages to prevent a sticky situation.

Toby returns to work, just as the new engine arrives. His name is “Lucky”, a powerful but unhappy Class 14 Diesel – unhappy because he claims to be jinxed. Bad things always happen wherever he's sent. This seems to be correct when a trial run with the trucks goes terribly wrong, and he is sent to the Works in disgrace. But the Manager has other ideas...

It was this story, alongside co-writer and friend Doug, that we saw through together the development of “Lucky” based on pure facts of his class and our own imagination. Rather than “jinxed”, the Quarry Manager realises that poor maintenance was the cause behind the accidents; and a major overhaul has made the new Diesel a happier and more laid-back engine, improving his work ethic ten-fold. As such, Mavis suggests a new name to officially mark his fresh start - “Ted”, as the Class 14s were fondly nicknamed “Teddy Bears” following a comment by Swindon Works foreman George Cole – “We've built the Great Bear (being the GWR 111 locomotive), now we're going to build a Teddy Bear!”