ERS 58 - Brave Mountain Engines

ERS 58 - Brave Mountain Engines - Ryan & Stuart

At a point in time where I was struggling to rewrite this particular volume, Stuart and I got together to discuss ideas for his Mountain Engines volume, where he passed me real life incidents from the Snowdon Mountain Railway, which were ripe for Railway Series adaptation.  Most of my own stories for this volume were trite, and were bound for the scrap heap, so I was grateful to Stuart when he allowed me to adapt some of the ideas he had put forward.  The rest is history!

 

PRIDE COMES BEFORE A FAIL

This is the first instance of having the Mountain Railway stepping into modernity.  Norman and Betty become the railway’s first Diesel locomotive traction, along with Vermat, a Diesel Rail-car.  Norman takes great pleasure in being the first of the new Diesels to go up the mountain, ridiculing the steam engines for being ‘out of date’.  However, when problems are encountered with his hydraulics and Norman can no longer manage to push the train up the Mountain, he returns to the station quite shame-faced and disappointed he didn’t make the ‘big impression’ he had initially hoped for!

 

GODRED’S GHOST

Betty, the other Diesel, adapts to life on the Mountain Railway more readily than Norman has and begins working ‘The Truck’, transporting materials up the Mountain to mend the Summit Hotel.  But one day, she overhears Culdee and Wilfred comparing Norman’s incident to that of Godred’s.  Betty begins to worry about encountering the same troubles as Norman and fears for her own safety.  This is made worse when she is rostered to work a night shift to the summit under cover of darkness.  She bravely makes her way up the hill, but as she makes the final ascent to the Summit, she stops suddenly after hearing a shrieking whistle echo across the wind.  The Guard then knocks on the Driver’s door and congratulates him – but the Driver is bewildered as to why.  The coach had derailed, and the Guard was about to act when the train stopped anyway.  No-one could quite explain who blew the whistle, but Betty is convinced that Godred is out there somewhere looking out for the safety of the other engines... This story is based on a real life incident from 1987, which could have proven fatal.

 

WILFRED AND THE ‘SLEDGE’

This is another story of something that actually happened on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, which took place in 1957.  A group of children decided to take some slate and use them as sledges on the railway line.  The same incident takes place here during the mending of the Summit Hotel’s roof, with Wilfred sent up the mountain to collect the injured party in lieu of the Mountain Rescue team’s path being blocked by flood-water.

 

TRAPPED AT THE TOP

This story is significantly toned down from the original incident which inspired it.  In 1987, a plane crashed into the side of Snowdon Mountain, leaving 120 passengers stranded at the Summit station as the Mountain Railway’s services were severely disrupted.  In this story, we merely have a lorry tipping over and blocking the railway.  To make matters worse, a heavy gale is due to blow through the valley, which hampers Patrick’s efforts to get his passengers down the mountain.