Tales From The Other Railway

Children of the Trams

Children Of The Trams

Ever wondered how all those dozens of children got to the Island of Sodor so that the Fat Controller could throw some parties?  Read on...

It was nearly summertime on the Other Railway. All the engines were working very hard, which made them very angry. Even more so than usual. You see, life in the Big City Nearby is very dirty, very stressful and overall as much fun as taking a bath in a snake pit. So, at every oppertunity for a holiday, the citizens pack their bags and evacuate the town for as long as they can. Even if it means using the Other Railway.

One morning, the engines were relaxing at the sheds. The sun beamed down happily as they looked out onto the empty yard.

"Well, that's it," beamed Bowler. "Everyone's gone now."

"Alone at last," purred Diesel. "Nothing to do for three weeks but sit here and get our buffers tanned."

"Peace and quiet," agreed Spamcan. Everyone sighed contently. However, their slobbing was suddenly interrupted when they saw their drivers rushing towards them.

"Rise and shine, you lot!" shouted one. "We've got work to do!"

"What're you talking about!?" spluttered Old Stuck-Up. "And what're you doing here!? You're supposed to be on holiday too!"

"Not anymore!" called another. "Now, come on! We've got trains to pull!"

"There must be some mistake!" protested Derek. "The schedule clearly says that we-"

"Well, the schedule's out the window!" said his driver. "Now, come on! To work!"

It took a full half hour before any of the engines would move, but a few persuasive words (mainly relating to bodily harm) got them going. The diesels roared angrily to the Big Fat Station and found the place overrun with...

"Children!" gasped Bowler.

Yes, children. Short, loud, rude, snot-nosed children. Everywhere. They were running around the platforms, jumping in trucks, destroying the offices, skipping along the bridges and throwing a weedy man in a pinstripe suit around like a ragdoll.

"It's the Thin Git!" exclaimed Old Stuck-Up. "Sir, what the hell's going on here!?"

"The children!" cried the Thin Git as he landed in front of them. "The adults all went for the holidays, but they left their bloody children behind for some peace and quiet!" Suddenly, the kids caught on to the diesels' presence. Dozens swarmed in their direction and began clambering all over them.

"Get off!" growled Spamcan. "Watch the paintjob!"

"They're in my cab! They're in my cab!" squealed Bowler.

"What do we do, then, sir?" asked Derek as one child began picking his nose for him.

"The only thing we can do!" replied the Thin Git. "Keep them entertained! That's all they live for! And if we don't..."

The diesels looked nervously at each other. It looked as though their holiday had come to an very abrupt end.

The next few days were a living nightmare for the engines. From dawn 'till dusk, they ran up and down the line desperately trying to keep the children happy. Diesel had to shunt trucks of toys for the toy shop in the Big Fat Station. He didn't even know there was a toy shop there before. Old Stuck-Up took them to football matches and kiddy concerts that made his metaphorical ears ache. Bowler was reduced to pulling tankers of ice cream and milkshakes (and he was lactose-intolerant too). Spamcan hauled fairground rides and crooked carnival folk on tours of the railway. And poor old Derek was in charge of seaside runs, the blazing sun causing him to overheat in double quick time. Twice, he actually caught fire. It was quite impressive.

One night, the engines decided they had finally had enough.

"If I see one more Beanie Baby - just one more - I think I'll explode!" roared Diesel. "Something has to be done!"

"What?" called a deafened Old Stuck-Up.

"I agree!" sniffed Bowler. "My allergies are going haywire delivering those fatty dairy products for those brats!"

"You think all that's bad?" snorted Spamcan. "Try lugging a roller-coaster around while a bearded lady's giving you the eye!"

"So hot...so hot..." moaned a half-melted Derek.

"Then, it's agreed," said Diesel. "Tomorrow, we shall unite as one and get rid of those troublesome toddlers once and for all!"

"But how?" inquired Spamcan. "We're completely outnumbered. There's only five of us and about ten thousand of them last time I checked. We'd be flattened in a frontal assault."

Diesel grinned. "Who said anything about attacking?" he said. "We're going to beat them with our brains."

"What?" cried Old Stuck-Up.

"Achoo!" sneezed Bowler.

"That beard..." shuddered Spamcan.

"So hot..." whimpered Derek.

"Well, maybe just 'brain' singular," grumbled the shunter.

Early next morning, Diesel explained his plan to the other engines, their crews and the Thin Git. They all agreed and set to work at once. By the time the children arrived at the Big Fat Station, the longest line of coaches they had ever seen had been set up at the Big Fat Station. All five engines headed the megatrain and - perhaps most unusual of all - they were smiling.

"Hello!" tooted Bowler. "Splendid to see you all!"

"Because you've all been such wonderful guests..." said Old Stuck-Up.

"We're taking you all to the harbour for an extra special surprise!" continued Derek.

"All aboard!" called Diesel and Spamcan.

Too young, stupid and greedy to even consider something wrong with the picture, the children swarmed into the coaches. When every last child was aboard, the cavalcade set off. It was a hard journey, even with five engines. The coaches were extremely heavy and the children's wild antics inside caused them to shake violently. Occasionally, they'd even pop out the windows and bombard the diesels with anything they could get their grubby little hands on. But the engines didn't mind. They knew that soon it would all be over.

At last, they reached the harbour. An enormous ocean liner was waiting for them at the station.

"OK, everybody out!" bellowed Spamcan. "Your surprise or whatever's in that thing! Go! Go!"

Like wildebeast, the children stampeded from the coaches and onboard the ship. When the last one scurried inside, the harbourmaster bolted the door shut and yelled to the captain. With a long low toot, the liner slowly pulled out from the docks and sailed off into the horizon.

"It worked! It worked!" the engines cheered and tooted triumphantly.

"Good riddence to bad rubbish," scoffed Diesel.

"Well done indeed, Diesel!" said the Thin Git. "But where was it you sent them, anyway?"

The shunter smirked. "Oh, I think they'll like it."

And that's how children become the dominant species on the Island of Sodor.

Tales From The Other Railway - Series 1 / Story 6
Original Story Written by Professor Vengeance