ERS 82 - Quarry Engines

ERS 82 - Quarry Engines - Christopher

A special party of visitors visit the railways's quarries, starting out with the Ffarquhar Stone quarry, where Toby demonstrates another tradition from the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway – “fly shunting”, allowing loose-coupled trucks to run on ahead of the engine, or vice-versa, into their respective sidings. Curious, Mavis decides to give it a try in front of the visitors...but at the last moment, her centrifugal governor automatically slams on her brakes, causing the trucks to bump into her! This also happened on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway, which was a common problem for Mavis's class.

The character in this story – Elsie, Toby's Luggage Van – was one of the Rev. W. Awdry's “forgotten” characters, who was part of the Sodor Timeline and the original Ffarquhar model layout, but for reasons unknown was never featured in the Railway Series. I decided to sort that out when penning this next story: newly restored, Elsie is to set out on the Branch Line as part of Toby's Vintage Train, until Toby falls short of steam and is unable to collect her. However, Ted steps in at the last minute to take over the train, finally showing off Elsie to the keen visitors...although Daisy can't help but feel jealous at being upstaged by a Quarryman's Train!

The next stop of the Quarry Tour is the China Clay Workings. Bill and Ben adore visitors but both become overexcited and keen to show off, and wind up in a few sticky situations – Ben becomes covered in wet clay while Bill gets a stray tarpaulin caught beneath his wheels. Fortunately, these still manage to provide interesting photographs, much to the twins' embarrassment!

The last stop is the Skarloey Railway – the visitors learn a lot about the narrow gauge railway's slate history, from the old workings to the new mines near Rheneas Station. And it's here that Rusty reveals his own past when he worked at a slate quarry on the Mainland, until the careless actions of one Diesel (called Uproar) became its downfall after an accident. Sir Handel is convinced that Uproar was scrapped after the line's closure, but Rusty claims otherwise...!
Uproar's accident was similar to a crash on the Cromford and High Peak Railway in 1888, when two wagons broke free from the incline cable and flew over the canal and Midland Main Line before ending up in a field. It also seemed a nice chance to develop Rusty a little further before his arrival on Sodor.