The engines on the Island of Sodor are good at different things.
Gordon is a very good Express engine, Edward is a very good shunting engine, and Henry is very good at being shut up in Tunnels.
none of them are good at ignoring Thomas when he goes into a rant. He felt sad that he couldn’t pull coaches too, and
grumbled about it. “You’ll get your chance one day,” the other engines told him, secretly wanting to tell
him to “shut the hell up” and get on with his work. But Thomas was still sad that he couldn’t be really
useful and important.
That night, Henry wasn’t feeling well. His Driver had had trouble starting his engine the
day before, and found the ignition key wasn’t working properly. The men worked hard through the night, but they couldn’t
fix the ignition, probably because it didn’t exist, but the writer didn’t realise this.
The next day, the Fat
Controller came to see Henry at Tidmouth Sheds. “This will cause confusion and delay!” he declared. “Henry
is due out with the first train, and if he can’t work then there will be no train this morning and the children will
Thomas was confused, usually Bertie the bus did the school run, and the morning train was filled with grown-ups
going to work.
He puffed across to Knapford station to collect the coaches and brought them to the platform. He wanted
to be really useful and pull the train instead, but the Fat Controller had given the workmen more time to work on Henry’s
Thomas was worried when Henry didn’t arrive at the station. The workmen had managed to fit Gordon with
a new boiler in a matter of days, which in the real world would probably have taken months, so with that kind of skill, fixing
Henry’s ignition should be easy.
The Fat Controller came out of his office, and looked cross. The Driver stopped
him as he tried to leave the station, “Where are you going Sir?”
“I’m going to tell Henry off for
being ill, I told him to be ready in half an hour and he’s not here! He’s got to learn to listen to what he’s
“But Henry is ill Sir,” said Thomas, “may I go?”
“You have other work to
do here,” said the Fat Controller.
“It’s never stopped you sending him on wacky adventures elsewhere
before, boss.” A sarcastic Porter mentioned, who happened to look like a certain Co-Admin and Website owner, as
he walked past. “Some really wacky stuff, I’m still wondering how he never got launched across to Brussels when
you sent him to get that Jet Engine thingy.”
“That hasn’t happened yet I’m afraid, Mr Porter.”
it! Hmm, you never know these days eh? Everyone seems to forget everything! Convenient amnesia I think. That or lack of communication
between these daft new writers. Personally I think myself, there’s a lack of contact between the new writers and the
real bloody world…”
The Fat Controller was getting annoyed, “Really useful porters don’t chit chat…”
terribly sorry Sir, I’ll get on with what I’m doing.”
“He’s nothing but a thorn in my side
that one!” The Fat Controller moaned. The Porter heard this and he was sad; he didn’t like it when people called
him a prick.
“Thomas, you are to take Henry’s train instead of him.”
“Yes Sir!” said
Thomas proudly; he was so excited his axles tingled.
Gordon, who happened to be close-by was sniffy. Mind you, there was
a mild whiff in the air, and everyone was denying all knowledge of where it came from. It smelt like someone had had an Indian
the night before, but that’s beside the point. “Pulling Henry’s train is a big job for a tank engine!”
do my best,” said Thomas and he went to collect his train.
But as Thomas got ready to leave the Station, he didn’t
wait to be coupled to the train and left without the coaches! Everyone was very upset, but Thomas didn’t hear them and
carried on up the track.
Thomas thought he was doing a wonderful job and continued up the line and whistled happily to
the children and grown-ups waving. Really they were waving because he had buggered up his job, but Thomas didn’t know
this. Usually he ran around without coaches or anything anyway on random journeys, so it probably wouldn’t have made
much difference to him if he had noticed!
Thomas soon had to stop at a signal, and the Signalman came to see him. “Thomas,
you have left your coaches behind!”
Thomas looked back, “Cinders and ashes!” he cried, “I’ll
need to go back and fetch them at once.”
And so Thomas made his way back down to Knapford station, feeling very
sad. But when he arrived, the Fat Controller was waiting on the platform and spoke to him severely. “Thomas, you have
caused confusion and delay!”
“Yeah,” called the Porter, “and you left the
coaches behind and p*$$ed the passengers off too! They tried to attack us when you left!”
biffed and bashed us with their umbrellas and bags!
“But you both look OK.”
“Well, luckily, no-one
“It’s lucky for you that the Workmen have fixed Henry’s ignition and he’ll be
back at work tomorrow. They have fitted him with a new engine and everything! You need to be more patient, or is it listening,
I think it might be that you need some help?”
“No boss,” said the Porter, “this week we’re
learning about the importance of friendship this week. So you've got to be extra nice to me and give me a pay-rise!"
was coupled to the train and this time he really pulled it. And the next day, Henry came back to work with his new engine.
that evening, The Fat Controller came to Tidmouth Sheds to see him. “I’m very sorry for leaving the coaches behind
“But you did manage to get them later, although it did make the train over an hour late and I now
have complaints coming out my ears. But you Thomas, are a really useful engine!”
Thomas just beamed with pride. And
the Porter was left reaching for a sick bowl at the sentimental clap-trap!