Tales From The Other Railway

Two Cabs Good, One Cab Bad!

Two Cabs Good, One Cab Bad!

Old Stuck-Up considers himself God's gift to enginekind, the very image of dignity, pride and awesomeness. Next time he starts prattling on to you about it, just remind him of this embarrassing tale...

Most of the Thin Git's engines grudgingly acknowledged the existance of steam engines. Old Stuck-Up in particular had never liked them.

"They're all right," said Derek. "Just old-fashioned engines like you and me."

"Unfashionable engines, you mean," Old Stuck-Up grunted. "With windows at only one end how can they cope with not looking as gorgeous as myself?"

"Diesel has one cab," remarked Pip, "and he gets on all right, when he can be bothered."

"Diesel's just a little pleb," scoffed Old Stuck-Up. "If a godly engine like me didn't have the brain capacity to cope with more than one cab, what would the universe come to?"

All the engines agreed that Old Stuck-Up was becoming far more stuck-up than usual.

"Making out he's a deity or something," grumbled Spamcan, a working-class engine at heart. "It's disgusting!"

"I knew an engine called Messiah," remarked Bowler. "In the old days at Barrow. Rupert J. Messiah XIV he was. The cleanest engine I'd ever met. Absolutely immaculate, but he didn't w**k around like that."

"Oh, don't tell Old Stuck-Up that," pleased Emma. "Our lives are miserable enough as it is!"

"Exactly," agreed Spamcan, "but who's going to cut his brake pipe for him?"

The engines tried all sorts of ideas - the twins tried stealing his passengers, Spamcan tried knocking coal trucks into him, Bowler tried pushing him down a hill and Derek tried asking him politely to be a little more considerate - but nothing worked. Old Stuck-Up grew so conceited that the others were glad when he was there so they could bombard him with insults.

Even the coaches twittered b*tchily to each other if they thought he was to pull them, and they made d**ned sure that Stuck-Up wouldn't be pulling anyone, if you get my meaning.

One day Old Stuck-Up came to the Shed, fuming with rage.

"Shunting!" he snorted. "Where's Diesel? He should be here for menial tasks like that!"

But Diesel was away rescuing Derek from another breakdown and Spamcan from having crashed into him, so Old Stuck-Up had to do the work himself.

Old Stuck-Up's train had long trucks called autoracks. These are flatbeds with a fold-out second floor, made from disused deckchairs. They are used to carry loud sports cars, outdated tractors and other poorly-assembled heavy machinary.

The shunting should have been easy (at least that's what the foreman claimed), but Old Stuck-Up, who had never pulled a truck in his life, was cross and bumped the trucks.

"Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh bugger!" they cried. Some of them slipped their brakes "on" to spite Stuck-Up, while the sports cars on board blasted exhaust smoke in his face. The weather was damper than ever too, so the shunting took a very long time.

At last Old Stuck-Up had only two trucks to fetch before his train was ready. His buffers were worn and his metaphorical lungs were full of car fumes.

Because of the Hi-Definition television in the signalbox, the signalman always found it hard to pay attention to what was happening outside. Old Stuck-Up's Driver told him that his engine would toot and swear profusely when they had collected all the trucks.

They had almost finished when suddenly Old Stuck-Up heard a loud "TOOT TOOT!" from another engine close by - it was Bowler, collecting some dirty coaches and demanding they be polished before he dare buffer up to them.

The signalman heard him too, and thought it was Old Stuck-Up saying he was ready. He pulled the lever, setting the points for the main line, not taking his eyes off of The Jeffrey Bile Show.

But Old Stuck-Up wasn't ready. The points changed when he was halfway over them; one bogie went one way, but the other diverted towards the main line. Before Old Stuck-Up realised it, he was travelling sideways between the two lines! As if doing the splits wasn't painful enough, a large satellite tower stood right in his path.

"STOP!" squealed the Express engine, but the trucks and sports cars wanted to pay him out and pushed him on. Old Stuck-Up ploughed through the tower and the satellite toppled to the ground with a crash, landing on his big blue bonce!

"That's torn it!" said Old Stuck-Up's Driver, having heroically thrown himself out of the cab just in time, "the Thin Git won't like that!"

He didn't. He swore severely about it, because the satellite provided Sky Television to the signalbox and its loss was inconvenient. The big Chelsea match was on later and the yard staff had put a lot of money on it.

Old Stuck-Up vehemently claimed the accident was not his fault, but he was unusually quiet in the Shed that evening. The others were euphoric.

"I suppose it MUST be difficult to get about with only one cab," whispered a voice, "but to not have the brain capacity to cope with two - that really is something!"

Old Stuck-Up pretended he hadn't heard.


Tales From The Other Railway - Series 2 / Story 4
Based on Crossed Lines - Written by Christopher Awdry