ERS 52 - Hard Working Little Engines

ERS 52 - Hard Working Little Engines - Chris

Original volume by Benpennock.
Storylines and additional edits by Ryan & Christopher



An ex-MOD engine arrives to help with development of the new quarry (near Rheneas Station) and his penchant for Army discipline proves unpopular all round. By chance, Skarloey spots No. 33's new whistle hasn't been fitted properly. He comes up with a plan which leaves the passengers feeling rather damp and No.33 in disgrace...


A similar incident occured during Flying Scotsman's tour of North America in 1969.


The railway has started using a new coal, which results in poor steaming. Gradually, the engine crews learn to cope, but a Relief Driver isn’t quite so careful - leaving Rheneas stranded with a bad fire at the loop. Luckily, Peter Sam is close by and together they manage to keep things running... The Talyllyn tried out Polish coal in 1997, though their main problem seems to have been reducing the large lumps to a suitable size. Then, in 2006, a train hauled by Dolgoch ran out of water due to a combination of a clinkered fire and bad driving. Having reached Brynglas loop, trains were swapped in a similar manner with Tom Rolt. Dolgoch was helped home by diesel Bryn Eglwys.


Poor Rusty suffers a broken axle, meaning the remaining engines must take care of the Maintenance Trains. It's Duncan's turn first, and on top of the extra work, he soon has much more to grumble about when he encounters a damaged tree in the woods... Merseysider had a broken axle replaced as recently as 2009, while the main body of the story is based on a Talyllyn anecdote from a decade earlier: Sir Haydn collided with a tree branch following a night of storms, breaking off part of the whistle fittings, denting the cab roof and smashing the fireman's side spectacle glass.


No. 33 softens a little on the Skarloey Railway and continues to help the other engines finish work at the Slate Quarry. Despite initial resentment at No. 33 being allowed pull a special visitor's train, it's soon forgotten amidst all the excitement of the Grand Opening. Later, The Thin Controller awards 33 with an “army honour” of a proper name - though it's not until a visit from the Fat Clergyman, weeks later, that a suitable name is decided upon...