Tales From The Other Railway

Proud Prats & Queen

Proud Prats & Queen

There's much anticipation over the visit of a famous rock-band, but will it live up to expectations?

Old Stuck-Up the Posh Engine and Diesel the Diesel Shunter growled buffer-to-buffer back home. It had been a busy night at the brewary. First Diesel had bet Stuck-Up that he couldn't drink his own weight in French fuel; then Diesel crashed into the Thin Git's private vat of vodka and Old Stuck-Up had to help drink him out.

"Remember, Diesel," moaned Stuck-Up gruffly, "'once bitten, twice shy'. If I ever even suggest a night out like that again, you push me off a bloody cliff."

"Oh, I'll remember," groaned Diesel, "I just hope the Thin Git never finds out."

As the two engines tooted into the shed, they noticed something unusual. Everywhere they looked they saw street sweepers and painters scurrying all over the yard.

"Down my pint!" said Diesel. "Things are actually being cleaned! What's happening?"

"Shut it!" whispered Arry. "The Thin Git's going to tell us now."

Sir Wyatt Fronts climbed on top of Diesel's cab, his grubby face filled with smugness."

"Ladies, gentlemen and engines, I am honoured to inform you that the most epic rock band in history - Queen themselves - are coming here to visit us."

"QUEEN!" squealed Pip and Emma. "However did you get them?"

The Thin Git grinned. "I just found out that Brian May and I have the same barber and, well, let's just say he doesn't want me telling everyone how he gets his hair so big and girly. Now, on with the preparations!"

The engines wondered who would pull the special train.

"I'm 'too old' to pull important trains," said BoZo grumpily. "Ageist buggers."

"I'm too pissed," moaned Stuck-Up wearily.

"'E'll choose me, o'course," said Spamcan smugly.

"You?" snorted Bowler. "You can't even pull trucks without going deep-sea diving. He'll ask me to pull the train and I'll be polished till my frames gleam!"

Then the snow came. Bowler was resting in the Big Fat Station, trying desperately to keep warm. A window-washer was on a ladder above the line, cleaning the station roof with a hose.

Bowler's fumes blew high into the air. The window-washer couldn't breathe. Both he and the hose fell into the snow, spraying water all over Bowler.


The Thin Git slithered outside to see what all the fuss was about. He revived the window-washer with a hard kick and made him turn off the hose. Poor Bowler was now completely encased in a shell of frozen water.

"Well, you're a pretty picture," sneered the window-washer. "I can see my face in you!"

"You look like an ice cube, Bowler," grumbled the Thin Git. "That won't do for the special train. I must make other arrangements."

As if by magic, Diesel and Old Stuck-Up popped out of the station.

"Please, sir!"

"GAH! Don't do that!" cried the Thin Git. "My heart's not what it used to be! Yes, Stuck-Up?"

"Can we pull the train? Please, please, please with diamonds on top?"

The Thin Git considered.

"Hmm. I suppose you two have been unusually good recently. All right, BoZo will go in front to clear the line - if he wants something to do so bloody badly - Diesel will look after the coaches and Stuck-Up will pull the train."

The two diesels tooted with joy. Bowler's teeth chattered with fury.

The great day came. All the engines worked hard, bringing fanboys to the town. Before long the Big Fat Station was packed with drunken dads and ticket touts. Diesel sorted out their coaches in the yard. It was hard work, not helped by the coaches belting out Bohemian Rhapsody at every opportunity.

At last BoZo spluttered into the station.

"OI-OI! Queen are here!"

Then Old Stuck-Up tooted as he approached the station. Everyone knew that sound and cheered with delight. Old Stuck-Up was spotless and his teeth shone brightly as Queen's train glided into the station. It was a very unusual train. Sandwiched between Stuck-Up and the Brakefather was a single truck covered by a tarpaulin.

"What on earth is this?" asked Cromwell. "Where's the bloody band?"

"Probably under that sheet," whispered Diesel. "They're nothing if not eccentric showmen."

The Thin Git stood to attention and turned to the crowd. "Ladies, gentlemen and engines, please welcome the one and only QUEEN!"

The tarpaulin fell away.

"Greetings, peasants! God save me and all that!"

Everyone stared. Sitting on a flatbed truck was a wrinkled old narrow-gauge diesel. She wore pince-nez spectacles, a tiny tiara and a look of the upmost smugness.

"QUEENIE?" spluttered Diesel. "What are you doing here!?"

"What do you think, dear commoner?" replied Queenie. "I'm your special guest!"

"Like buggery you are!" snapped the Thin Git. "Stuck-Up, you moron! What's she doing here!? Where's Queen!?"

"How the hell should I know?!" protested Stuck-Up. "I did just as you told me! I went to the transfer yard, asked for Queen's train, Mr Personal showed me where it was, the Shunter coupled me up an-"

"W-wait, 'Personal'? Personal showed you where it was!?"

Suddenly everyone froze. The distinctive guitar solo of Don't Stop Me Now could be heard echoing off in the distance. It seemed to come from the hills near the Scarface Railway.

"I say," said Derek, "you don't think there's been a little mix-up, do you?"

The Thin Git's face turned blood red.


"BOO! HISS!" barked Arry and Bert.

"SHUT! UP!" snapped Bowler and Stuck-Up, but Arry and Bert were too angry to care.


"BOO! HISS!" tooted the engines and the crowd quickly joined in.

Realizing a riot wasn't far behind, Queenie swore specially to Diesel who squirted oil in her eyes, then to BoZo who blew steam at her and finally to Old Stuck-Up who dragged her away.

"I've had enough of this," groaned the Thin Git as the crowd began tearing up the station. "I need a drink. NOW."

Diesel and Stuck-Up exchanged nervous looks as the Thin Git called the brewary on his mobile phone.

"Ronnie, it's me. You know what I want. Get it here as soon a-WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT'S ALL GONE? ...DIESEL! STUCK-UP!"

The diesels groaned. No engines ever felt more screwed-over than those on the Other Railway.


Tales From The Other Railway - Series 4 / Story 13
Based on Paint Pots & Queens - Written by The Rev. W. Awdry