Skarloey Railway Volumes

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ERS Vol. 42 - Evan The Private Engine
Original Volume Written by Evan
Rewritten by Evan & Professor Vengeance

The first Extended Railway Series volume to be written for the V1 Library back in 2003, and one of the last to be completed in the new batch of books for the V2 Overhaul.  This book was completely rewritten and it's place within the timeline was reassigned to the early 1960s, chronicling a part of the canon Railway Series, which was never touched upon fully by the Rev Awdry.

Written by Chris

Part Of The Loop
Many years ago the Thin Controller decided to extend the Skarloey Railway around the Lake to draw in more visitors. To aid in construction he enlists the help of No.1, a privately-owned shunting engine who hasn't worked for a long while. No.1 gets the perfect chance to stretch his wheels, however, when Rusty needs help with his supplies train.

Temporary Inconvenience
Work on the loop line is going well, but Sir Handel is unhappy. He's fed up of his heavy supply runs and wants No.1's shunting duties instead, seeing the job of inherently easy. Following an argument with the Foreman, Sir Handel gets his wish - and almost instantly spills his supplies train all over the Yard! How could any engine clear such a complex mess? No.1 shows him how.

Out Of Action
As the loop line nears completion, No.1 finds his work is leaving him more tired out than ever. Not wanting to let his Owner down with so little left to be done, he and his Driver resolve to say nothing unless something serious happens. Something serious does happen when No.1 has to take one of Rusty's supply trains all along the line and he runs out of steam halfway along. No.1 is rescued and put in his shed, but come the day of the grand opening, he's still nowhere to be seen...

Old & New Alike
Many years later, Duncan is helping to clear the Lakeside Line sidings, which have become old and overgrown. The little engine has been acting worse than ever recently, to the point of having a serious breakdown. Left alone for a long time before being repaired, Duncan is eager to work again and redeem himself. This he does when he clears a mudslide on the hill and discovers an old friend of the Railway buried underneath...

ERS Vol. 52 - Hard Working Little Engines
Original volume by Benpennock
Written by Chris
Storylines and additional edits by Ryan & Christopher

The original volume was written by a member long-since gone from the forum, and so, the task fell to the ERS team to restore it before library re-entry.  At least two of the stories were hugely implausible, so they were thrown out, and the first was given a heavy rewrite so it would actually make sense in reality.  This volume introduces Edwin Richard, the Military Engine.

Written by Chris

Military Engine
An ex-MOD engine arrives to help with development of the new quarry (near Rheneas Station) and his penchant for Army discipline proves unpopular all round. By chance, Skarloey spots No. 33's new whistle hasn't been fitted properly. He comes up with a plan which leaves the passengers feeling rather damp and No.33 in disgrace... A similar incident occured during Flying Scotsman's tour of North America in 1969.

Bad Driving
The railway has started using a new coal, which results in poor steaming. Gradually, the engine crews learn to cope, but a Relief Driver isn’t quite so careful - leaving Rheneas stranded with a bad fire at the loop. Luckily, Peter Sam is close by and together they manage to keep things running... The Talyllyn tried out Polish coal in 1997, though their main problem seems to have been reducing the large lumps to a suitable size. Then, in 2006, a train hauled by Dolgoch ran out of water due to a combination of a clinkered fire and bad driving. Having reached Brynglas loop, trains were swapped in a similar manner with Tom Rolt. Dolgoch was helped home by diesel Bryn Eglwys.

The Works Train
Poor Rusty suffers a broken axle, meaning the remaining engines must take care of the Maintenance Trains. It's Duncan's turn first, and on top of the extra work, he soon has much more to grumble about when he encounters a damaged tree in the woods... Merseysider had a broken axle replaced as recently as 2009, while the main body of the story is based on a Talyllyn anecdote from a decade earlier: Sir Haydn collided with a tree branch following a night of storms, breaking off part of the whistle fittings, denting the cab roof and smashing the fireman's side spectacle glass.

Army Honour
No. 33 softens a little on the Skarloey Railway and continues to help the other engines finish work at the Slate Quarry. Despite initial resentment at No. 33 being allowed pull a special visitor's train, it's soon forgotten amidst all the excitement of the Grand Opening. Later, The Thin Controller awards 33 with an “army honour” of a proper name - though it's not until a visit from the Fat Clergyman, weeks later, that a suitable name is decided upon...

ERS Vol. 60 - Peter Sam & The Talyllyn Railway
Written by Ian & Ryan

Although Christopher Awdry did base one story on the Talyllyn Railway, he had never attempted an entire volume. Whether the publishers would have liked it, I very much doubt, but to my mind this volume works well. I find that the occasional volume set away from Sodor makes for a refreshing change.

Written by Ian

The Level Crossing Caper
Written by Ian
Peter Sam, during his stay in Wales, receives a visit from an old friend; Nancy the Guard’s daughter, now all grown up. After enquiring after his adventures, he recalls a near-miss with a digger at a forest crossing. He is cross when a second incident occurs, but is shocked to realise the digger isn’t entirely in the wrong after all. This was based partially on an odd occurrence where the crossing lights at Forestry Crossing on the TR were found to be ‘on’ when no train was in evidence. Oddly, they stopped by themselves and to my knowledge it never occurred again!

Speak For Yourself
Written by Ryan
During the SiF 2008 Holiday in Tywyn, the then-Traffic Manager Mr David Leech recounted this story, which was simply to good a story not to use! Tom Rolt, one of the Talyllyn engines, tells Nancy of an incident with a passenger that Peter Sam would much rather forget! While Peter Sam sleeps in the yard, two young visitors come to see him and get an unexpected surprise when a cleaner working inside his tank pretends to be Peter Sam and has a conversation with them.

Mistaken Identity
Written by Ryan
Both ‘Sir Haydn’ and ‘Edward Thomas’ originally worked on the Corris Railway, and both locomotives have returned to their old home for visits in recent years. This story sees Peter Sam sent to the Corris for a special visit, but on arrival he spots plans for the railway’s ‘new engine’, and becomes convinced that the Corris is to be his permanent new home. The mystery is solved when the Manager reveals they are fund raising to build their new engine.

Peter Sam Goes Home
Written by Ian
In order to raise funds for his overhaul, Peter Sam agrees takes part in a Photographic Charter. He regrets the decision when he discovers his nice new coat of paint isn’t quite what he expected. In 2001, prior to the overhaul of the Talyllyn’s No 4 ‘Edward Thomas’, the locomotive was painted into a fictitious BR black livery, which had the Corris survived into BR ownership the engine may well have worn.

ERS Vol. 61 - Narrow Gauge Problems
Written by Christopher

This volume serves as a flashback of sorts on the Skarloey Railway – during the time when Peter Sam was still the Talyllyn Railway in Wales and when Ivo Hugh was still being built. In fact, as with “Awdry Tradition”, several stories here had been inspired by actual happenings on the Talyllyn itself.

Written by Christopher

Agnes Boils Over
The Skarloey Engines are overworked with Peter Sam away and Rheneas in the Workshops for overhauls. They cheer up when a Famous Writer comes to visit, although this soon changes when Agnes, one of the old coaches, undergoes a bad day, suffering the worst from the holidaymakers, and finally loses her patience where she deliberately derails herself. Needless to say, she does not escape the wrath of the Thin Controller soon afterward!

Diesel Famine
Rusty and Fred both suffer a double dilemma during maintenance work up the line. Rusty's gearbox fails, leaving Fred to come to the rescue. But then Fred breaks down himself trying to rescue him, leaving Edwin Richard to rescue them both and keep the line clear. This was based on separate technical faults with the Talyllyn's own diesels, Midlander and Alf, both combined into one story.

Weeping Sir Handel
Another incident to happen to the Talyllyn's Sir Haydn was put to good use here. Everyone commends on the Famous Writer's works – “words so beautiful they make us weep” – although Sir Handel is far from convinced. Whilst taking a train out to a book reading session, though, Sir Handel weeps in a completely different manner when he develops a leak in his boiler. He is soon mended and returned to service, but not before the others joke about “the engine that wept”!

The Camera Goods
In August 1999, Rheneas's “Twin” Dolgoch hauled a special train minus her cab where visitors take photographs in open trucks of the beautiful surrounding hills. I thought it was a perfect end to this volume where the Skarloey runs a Camera Train of their own – and Rheneas, having just emerged from the Works, is pressed promptly into service for the next train before his cab can be fitted on. Despite this odd sighting, the day goes without anymore faults and the Writer praises the railway for pulling through in the end.

ERS Vol. 79 - Skarloey Railway Engines
Written by Ryan

This volume serves as a flashback of sorts on the Skarloey Railway – during the time when Peter Sam was still the Talyllyn Railway in Wales and when Ivo Hugh was still being built. In fact, as with “Awdry Tradition”, several stories here had been inspired by actual happenings on the Talyllyn itself.

Written by Ryan

When Fred is cross about shunting slate wagons in the yard, Skarloey tells him about the old days when the trucks used to descend by gravity... and why the practice no longer applies, following an accident where the trucks spun out of control and spilled their loads all over the Main Line!  The incident is based on one from the Talyllyn Railway where a train of loaded slate wagons rolling from Pendre to Wharf Station lost control and hurtled onto the Cambrian Main Line.

Old & Ivo Hugh
Ivo Hugh teases Rheneas about being old, and boasts about his own strength and ability.  However, one wet morning, Rheneas decides to teach Ivo Hugh a lesson - and the young engine soon comes undone when he's faced with slippery rails and an inability to grip.  Rheneas takes over the train and manages to puff away with ease - much to the dismay of the younger, stronger engine.  This story is based on an incident from a Ffestiniog Railway VHS tape, where the locomotive Linda was failing to grip on the wet rails and had to be rescued by Mountaineer, who headed the train in her place.

On Miliarty Service
Edwin Richard is continually making attempts to get into the MOD base up at the old Quarry, wishing to make links with the Army people based there.  His opportunity to work with the Army comes when the Thin Controller introduces him to Sergeant Murphy of the Sodor Light Infantry, who wishes to enlist him for a special feature at their 'Engines Of War' event.  All goes well on the day until Edwin Richard derails on the demonstration line and lands in the mud - being re-railed by Rod The Caterpillar Crane.  This incident was based on the various locomotive derailments incurred on the front line during World War One.

Fred & The UFO
Fred is spooked when he sees and hears a mysterious engine fly past him and over the viaduct on a dark winter's night.  At first, no-one believes him, but then reports begin to filter through about the mysterious UFO being spotted by others as well... All is revealed when the UFO springs up again and crashes down the line - it's really just Mr Hugh testing the Flying Bedstead, an inspection trolley being sent over to the Mid Sodor Heritage Railway.  This incident was based on one from the Talyllyn Railway, where a 'ghost engine' was thought to haunt the line.  However, it turned out to simply be a man on a makeshift trolley using the railway as a shortcut to get down to one of the pubs in the valley after the engines had stopped running for the day!

ERS Vol. 88 - Maintenance Engines
Written by Ian

Originally written as a volume for Your Own Railway Series Style Stories, this book was promoted to the official ERS Library, albeit with some changes, to fill the slot that Scott the Little Diesel was due to fill, prior to it being dropped.

Written by Ian

Fred’s Rest Cure
Fred complains bitterly about being over-worked, despite the arrival of new diesel Scott. When the line is closed for repairs, Fred gets to rest like the steam engines when his Driver accidentally leaves him parked on the wrong side of the track repairs, leaving the surly diesel marooned for a week. This is based on a true incident, although the Talyllyn’s No 9 ‘Alf’ was in fact left on the ‘other side’ for more sensible reasons!

The Early Bird
Ivo Hugh, fed up of being stuck in the works during overhaul (during which he has parted company with his wheels) exclaims a desire to get back to work. Duke tells a story of Falcon, who was so impatient one morning with the first train, that he left every station early and consequently left all the passengers behind! This story is loosely based on an incident recounted to me by a retired railway Guard living in the vicinity of the ‘Central Wales’ or ‘Heart of Wales’ railway line. In the 1950’s a Guard allowed a train he was working to depart from two stations nearly ten minutes early, having not realised that his watch was set fast. The train was eventually stopped by a signalman, who was rather surprised by the early running! As the gentleman told me, a number of letters arrived soon afterwards asking what had happened to the train that morning, and a visit to the Manager’s Office soon followed!
This one is an adaptation of a true Talyllyn incident; the ‘true’ story can be read in the delightful book ‘The Talyllyn Railway’, written by J.I.C.Boyd. Skarloey remembers a time during the lean years when, having been repaired enough to return to service, two boys who find they have missed their train home climb aboard his footplate and use him to get themselves part way up the line before derailing him. Although Rheneas’ has a nasty shock on finding his friend stranded up the line, it does cause a degree of amusement.
Over and Out
Army troops have arrived for a track-laying exercise on the Skarloey Railway, something which has occurred on many an occasion over the years on the Talyllyn. The importance of being the chosen to assist the visitors goes straight to Sir Handel’s smoke box. Meanwhile two new first class coaches, the bossy Penny and the hen-pecked Rhydian, arrive. Sir Handel takes an instant dislike to them, calling them ‘vans’. The Army exercise isn’t a great success, and when Sir Handel inadvertently tips up Penny, the pompous engine finally gets his comeuppance.

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