ERS 72 - Toby's Harbour Days

ERS 72 - Toby's Harbour Days - Christopher

Originally written by Evan and Ryan, he and I collaborated on his book to give it a refresh and meet the same standards as to the new Library style. Suffice to say, it's one of my personal favourite flashback volumes that I have worked on, especially as it was a treat to research more on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway, the original inspiration by the Reverend Awdry himself when he first wrote about Toby.

Major track-work is undergoing at Brendam Harbour, and Toby, being the lightest engine, is sent to help out. He soon wins the friendship of Bill and Ben when he shares many stories of his time working at a Harbour in East Anglia. He also recalls a time when a troublesome tugboat tried to outdo the railway and wound up scuttled in thick fog.
True to fact, the canals were in a poor financial condition then and rivalled against the tramway.

Toby was mentioned to have many brothers in his old harbour – one of these was Jimmy, a kind engine who suffered the wrath of an overbearing Inspector. The Inspector soon got his comeuppance when he failed to properly oversee a shunting procedure and sent Jimmy crashing his trucks into the local brewery, enough to send “Inspector Nag” out on his ear and barred from every pub in the area as a whole!
Although accidents with steam trams are a rare occurrence, Jimmy's accident – based from a 1926 incident at London Bridge – seemed too god to waste.

Toby recalls the sad day when the harbour closed and he and his brothers were trialled to see who would run the new tramway. Toby wins his chance when Marcus, another tram, got too big for his sideplates and derailed on his trial run, and Toby works hard to help clear the mess.
Marcus’ accident was based on an incident at the Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway, when a stream tram lost control on a hill and derailed in a field, where it remained for several days before a rescue was attempted.

At last, work is completed and Toby is preparing to head home. But sharing his past with Bill and Ben makes him wistful for his younger days and yearns to work at the harbour just a bit longer. While resting at Wellsworth one night, however, BoCo accidentally shunts in as part of his goods train and unwittingly gives Toby a “lift” back to Thomas's Junction! After that, Toby is much more respectful for his current home.