This story was loosely based on an illustration from
a Thomas Noisy Book (illustrated by Owain Bell especially for merchandising in the '90's), which showed Edward and James double-heading
a passenger train and sparks flying from Edward's funnel onto the lineside. Although a very short 1-page story, it was just
the inspiration I needed to start off this volume. However, it is worthy to note that lineside fires were a common problem
for railways in reality, especially in the hottest of summers.
So we start off with the engines having to use low-grade
coal while they await fresh supplies from the Mainland. And whilst helping Douglas up Gordon's Hill, the hard work clears
Edward's stuffy smokebox, which also sets fire to the grass close by...
COUPLING GEARS & BRAKE BLOCKS
With the steam engines failing due to the bad coal, it
leaves more work for the Diesels. BoCo is already tired out running extra duties, until one afternoon Edward kindly offers
to double-head his next train to Wellsworth. Unfortunately, no one notices that BoCo's coupling gear is loosening until it
finally comes off on the downhill run. Worse still, Edward's brakeblocks jam and is in danger of being struck by BoCo's heavy
train – as luck would have it, he managed to stop in the passing loop, still allowing BoCo a clear run through to safety...although
the incident has put both engines out of action for a while.
Once again, the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway comes up with more inspiration for
another fun story. With BoCo and Edward being mended, Donald and Douglas help to look after Edward's Line, but find it difficult
with Bill and Ben playing tricks on them. One rainy day, though, the China Clay engines get a shock when they see what looks
like a crocodile lurking on the marsh near “The Drain”...but when Douglas and his Driver go to investigate, they
get the last laugh when they discover the “crocodile” is nothing more than an inflatable pool toy!
incident happened in 1943 when a stuffed crocodile, stolen from the museum by schoolboys, was found dumped in the nearby rivers
– which no doubt must have caused a stir from the villagers!
STUBBORN AS A MULE
Things on the railway slowly return to normal – the fresh coal
has arrived and Edward and BoCo return to service just in time for the Vicar of Wellsworth's Village Fete. Among the festivities
is a competition for the best kept animals between Brendam's Dairy Farm Cows and Farmer Crowe's donkey, Camomile.
cattle wagon delivering Camomile runs off the road, where she breaks free and stalls on the crossing near Wellsworth. Edward
turns up to save the day just as an Indignant Bus starts to lock horns with the stubborn animal, and safely takes Camomile
the rest of the way in his goods train...although the bus starts to feel like a donkey now when the story quickly spreads!