It was a Generic Holiday on the Other Railway. Bernard the Bus was working harder than ever before trying
to steal the railway's passengers. He had even -shudder- lowered his prices.
All the engines were busy too.
Now that Cromwell was at the Works they had to do some actual work to cover his trains. The Big Fat Station was packed. No
sooner had one train started than another was filled with people waiting to get as far away from the Big City Nearby as possible.
and Emma was waiting for their next journey. Near them stood a white bendy bus, but he didn't look grumpy like Bernard. In
fact he seemed positively euphoric. The bendy bus beamed as he gazed at the unhappy passengers.
"Lovely stuff!" he
chirruped. "I'd have brought my kazoo if I'd known. I'd have had a good old-fashioned sing-song or something!"
glad you didn't," said Pip. "You'd have spoiled my ears."
"Poo! Complaining's all you engines live for, taking no notice
of all the lovely things in the world! One of these days," he went on romantically, "railways will rip up their hatred and
prejudices. Cars and coaches will all be your bestest friends ever!"
Emma, having lived on the Other Railway for a
long time now, felt shocked at such an idea. "We know this idiot called Bernard and he's a bus, but he hates the railway.
Sometimes he's forced to work with us, but he'd always want to see it ripped up!"
"Piffle!" laughed the bendy bus.
"I know Bernard. He's too big a grumpy-guts to see the little joys in life!"
Pip and Emma tried to take no notice as
the bendy bus trundled happily away.
"Rail and road!" he cheered, "Rail and road in perfect harmony!"
bus is mental," the twins thought as he trundled away.
At the junction Pip and Emma told Bowler all about the bendy bus.
"I call him Blokey," he chuckled, "He's painted
bright white and shouts 'Peace and love'. Ruddy hippy."
But next time they met, Bowler wasn't laughing.
friend has come," he said. "He's white and sickeningly merry too. He's taking Blokey's passenger's home, so's to leave him
free to visit Cromwell at the Works."
"But he can't," objected Emma. "We've not had time to visit him yet! He'll make
us look bad!"
"Blokey bets he can get there before anyone."
"Rubbish!" said Pip. "We're High-Speed Trains. Outrunning
people is what we do best."
Bowler looked more anxious than usual. "Yes, but Blokey says he knows a short cut. Or he
has a sore butt. I don't know, I was trying to block out his horrid singing."
That evening Pip and Emma raced towards the Works.
"Cromwell?" called Pip. "We're sorry we haven't been to visit
you yet! Generic holiday and all that! We've brought a gift basket! Wait a minute, what's that?"
"Look!" trilled Emma.
"Look at Blokey! He's a squeaky Steamie Sympathiser!"
Blokey had already beaten them there. He was coupled to a long
trailer, on top of which sat a terrified Cromwell.
Blokey turned to leave. They could now see his other side. It read
'Property of HiT Entertainment'.
"Toodle-oo, friends!" he sang as he trundled away.
"Come on!" growled Pip,
"let's see what he's up to!"
The twins set off in hot pursuit. The coaches chattered crossly. "The silly young twit,
we'll waste our nice basket!"
Pip and Emma wanted to pay Blokey out, but they weren't sure how. Preferably something
involving a chainsaw and the Complete Works of Charles Dickens.
Then, far ahead, Pip and Emma saw a man waving
a red flag. That meant "For God's sake, stop right bloody now or we'll all die!"
The line here crosses a narrow bridge
made from old tins. Pip and Emma came as close as they could.
Blokey was dangling over the side, his front half swinging
under the bridge. Cromwell's trailer sat precariously close to the edge.
"So this was Blokey's shortcut - the railway
itself!" chuckled Emma.
"He tricked us!" shouted the coaches. "He told the other coaches Cromwell was a communist,
but we knew better. Communists aren't nearly as shiny and clean as he is!"
"Did he now?" said Pip. "So who are you
then, Blokey, really?"
"I know him from Sodor," Cromwell explained, "he was one of the other new characters due to
appear in the next series. He must've been sent here to find me, but how did he know I was here?"
"Our Controller received
a call from his lovely informant," said Blokey. "He's been following you ever since you escaped."
Emma. "What informant?"
"Mr Bottomsly?!" cried Cromwell.
"That's right," said Blokey
brightly. "While you were in our spiffy new Steamworks, our workmen brainwashed your tender into working for us. Really keen,
"You forced my own tender to betray me? You fiends!" gasped Cromwell.
"You rotters!" snapped Pip.
can a tender use the telephone?" asked Emma.
The Drivers examined the bridge. "It's risky, but we must help Cromwell.
Without him, the Thin Git's new merchandising line will be doomed."
"Merchandising is urgant!" agreed Pip and Emma.
twins slowly and carefully pulled Cromwell's trailer away from the bridge.
"Would you mind stopping please?" asked
Blokely politely. "It might collapse all over me."
"That'd serve you right for being a sneaky b*****d," said Pip, but
the bridge didn't collapse.
Until after they left.
The twins made good time (only thirty minutes late today) and none of the passengers caught their trains, but Cromwell
was safe and secure. He was sent back to the Works under police protection and soon returned to the Main Line feeling better
The Thin Git arranged a "detox clinic" for Mr Bottomsly. He is now his own tender again, though he still
has a problem keeping his gas in.
The railway's new merchandising line was a big success. Cromwell's model sold like
hot cakes, despite rumous of his 'real-working tender' being toxic. In the Thin Git's own words, "you pay for cheap foreign
labour, you get cheap foreign labour".
HiT Entertainment gave up trying to retrieve Cromwell, owing to expenses and
laziness. They decided to replace him with yet another generic six-wheeled saddletank engine.
Blokey had to stay because
no-one would fix him, but he never learned sense. He sang songs and twittered on about Love Thy Railway till no-one could
stand to go near him.
He's a holiday home now, in a field beside the railway. If he still sings and chatters he can
do no harm. The holidaying trainspotters never listen to him anyway!