I remember when I first wrote Quinten's volume for the ERS Library after taking a fondness for the Q1 Engines;
despite being powerful and reliable locomotives, surviving long after the Modernisation Plan was in full swing, their absurd
appearance earned them the nickname “ugly ducklings”, which seemed rather harsh in my view. Beauty is only steel
deep, after all!
The original book proved to be very popular with members and Staff, as Quinten struggles with his confidence
over his unusual boxy-shape. All the same, during the overhaul, I decided to completely revamp it, keeping in touch with reality
and stamping out old ground already covered. The sole surviving Q1 engine is now preserved at the National Railway Museum
in York, which now acts as the basis for Quinten; in my view they are one and the same. You may also notice the odd occurrence
of water throughout this volume, which I joke of officially marking a “clean start” for this book!
THE LOAN STRANGER
James is sent to the Works
for major work on his boiler. There he meets Quinten, who remembers James's visit from “Wartime Engines”. The
two strike up conversation and quickly become friends, Quinten explaining that he was sent here for minor repairs before returning
to the museum (the timeline set here, when the Museum's own Q1 was still running it also served fondly on the Bluebell Railway,
when its boiler ticket would eventually run out). But when James's repairs take longer than expected, the Fat Controller grants
permission from Quinten's Owners to allow him to help the other engines during has stay.
Now fully mended, Quinten sets to work on Sodor.
He quickly earns the trust of Henry and Gordon, who marvel over his performance and history, but aren't so sure that he could
go fast with his boxy-shape. Quinten soon proves this as he makes a fast run to the hill with a goods train...unfortunately,
Henry is taking on water at Wellsworth from a standpipe when the water column there develops a terrible leak, forming a puddle
on the Main Line. As expected, Quinten accidentally gives Henry a soaking, but at least the green engine respects the standpipe's
use for giving him a quick wash down afterwards!
Quinten feels so confident during his stay that he forgets about being shy of his appearance
and starts to enjoy himself...allowing his paintwork to get grubbier and grubbier. Even so he remains vigilant, which proves
very useful when, while shunting, he is dragged through the coach-wash by some silly coaches and manages to avoid an incident.
On the plus side, Quinten manages to get cleaned up, anyway!
This was based from true fact, with thanks to Ryan for researching
and suggestion this story: because of their unusual shaped-boiler, the Q1 locomotives were able to run through the carriage
wash quite easily to save time.
stay comes to an end when James returns from the Works and the others are sorry to see him go. But Quinten still has one more
adventure before leaving – a careless cleaner drops his soap into Gordon's tender tank, which plays havoc with his water
pressure during his run. So Quinten gets the chance to pull the Express for Gordon on his way home. Although it is not the
last time our “ugly duckling” would visit Sodor...
The basis from this story came from a true story when a
fitter's mate taught a cocky Driver a lesson by putting a handful of soap into the tender tank. As a result, the soap dissolved,
spread over the firebox and tubes, and caused the engine to stall for want of steam.