Tales From The Other Railway

What the Bloody Hell's the Matter With Derek Now?

What the Bloody Hell's the Matter With Derek Now?

Initially, Derek was prone to teething troubles... now he's just so poorly maintained he can't stop breaking down...

(Additional sentences stolen from provided by Ryan.)

It was the end of a busy day. The engines had been forced into working hard. They were pissed and aggravated; except Derek. He was feeling ill. That may not sound important, but given that he can't go a couple hours without breaking down, he was feeling really ill.

"What the bloody hell's the matter with you now, Derek?" Diesel asked that night in the sheds.

"My engine's grumbling," replied Derek.

Diesel snorted. "That's not your engine, that's everyone around you."

"That's not funny!" hissed Derek. "You just don't care!" and he spluttered away.

"Well, of course I don't," muttered Diesel. "That's why I said it."

But Pip and Emma saw that Derek was leaving a puddle of bright blue liquid behind. They were worried and a little nosey, but mostly worried.

The next morning, Sir Wyatt Fronts (better known as the Thin Git) arrived.

"Diesel, Derek and Spamcan," he said, "I want you to collect some nuclear waste and dump it in the Docks!"

"Oh, not the nuclear plant!" groaned Diesel. "My teeth haven't stopped glowing since the last time I was there!"

"Get another charlie to do it!" growled Spamcan. "I like being alive!"

The Thin Git was annoyed. "You collect that waste this instant or I'll dump you two in the Docks instead!"

"Yes, sir," said Diesel and Spamcan grudgingly.

Derek watched the engines growl away. He didn't feel well, but followed anyway. Useful Engines keep their stupid mouths shut.

He was leaving his strange liquid everywhere as he coughed towards the nuclear plant. Pip and Emma rushed by with the Express. When they saw this, they were more worried than ever and smashed straight through Scrappy's cart of grass cuttings at a crossing.

Then Diesel and Spamcan overtook Derek.

"Hurry up, ya green git!" Spamcan tooted.

"I can't go any faster," Derek coughed miserably.

"You're just being a big hypocrite…erm, no, I mean, hippopotomous… no, that’s not right either, erm, oh you’re always sick!" snapped Diesel. "Now hurry up, I want to get this job with as quickly as possible!"

By the time Diesel and Spamcan reached the nuclear plant, Derek was still far behind. They had a cunning plan.

"Oi, you!" said Diesel to the Yard Manager, "We're off! Derek wants to take the train all by himself!"

"He is expendable!" added Spamcan.

The Yard Manager was too busy reading Jordan's biography to listen, but agreed anyway.

Meanwhile, Pip and Emma were gossiping to the Thin Git at the Big Fat Station.

"Please, sir, we're worried about Derek," said Pip. "He's in worse health than ever."

"And he keeps leaving this blue gunk everywhere," added Emma. "It's really icky."

"Derek's ill. Why am I not surprised?" groaned the Thin Git. "Alright, how long's this illness lasted?"

"Two days," said the twins together.

"Look, it's bound to be nothing, so just-" The Thin Git froze. "How long did you say?"

"Two days," repeated the twins.

The Thin Git went very pale. "Oh my god. Derek was at the chemical plant two days ago. The stupid bugger must've refuelled at the refuse pump! He's a walking chemical bomb!"

"But Derek's pulling nuclear waste today!" cried Emma.

"If Derek goes off, he could cause a meltdown!" exclaimed Pip.

"Well, don't just stand there!" wailed the Thin Git. "Go and check on him NOW!"

By the time Derek reached the nuclear plant, Diesel and Spamcan had already left. Waiting for him was a long line of rusty tankers and flimsy lead-lined vans.

"Why did Diesel and Spamcan leave me so many trucks?" moaned Derek. "They know I'm not feeling well."

"Which is why they left you so many trucks," groaned his Driver. "We'll still have to take them."

Derek growled and strained and pulled his long line of melting trucks.

"You can do it, Derek!" encouraged his Driver. "You'd better do it. I don't want to finish my shift with a third eye and tentacles."

But it was no use. Derek ground to a halt, his innards growling loudly.

Coincidentally, Pip and Emma arrived. "Are you alright, Derek?" they asked.

"No," moaned Derek. "I'm stuck and my motor's rumbling jolly fierce!"

Derek's Driver uncoupled the heavy waste trucks while Pip and Emma's Driver drained Derek's tank. The twins changed tracks and then Emma hooked up to Derek.

"Ooooh, thank you, girls," wished Derek, his face now greener than his paint.

Pip, Emma and Derek rumbled into the Docks.

"Well done, Candy and Sugar!" said the Thin Git. The twins rolled their eyes as he spoke to Derek. "You were stupid, Derek! You weren't well, but you still tried to pull all that nuclear waste! You could've obliterated the whole town!"

Diesel and Spamcan felt embarrassed.

"Wasn't our fault," said Diesel sheepishly.

"We didn't think you were sick enough to kill us all!" added Spamcan.

"But he was," said the Thin Git sternly, "and no town means no people, which means no idiots to exploit, which means no money for me, so go back and collect the nuclear waste straight away!"

"Yes, sir," grumbled Diesel and Spamcan.

Soon, Derek was thoroughly cleaned out and back at work.

"You're looking so much better," said Pip when he returned.

"The peak of health," added Emma.

"Well, they've mended my tank, my brakes, my controls, my squeaky wheels," said Derek proudly. "I've never felt better."


Smoke began pouring out of Derek's vents.

"Maybe the Thin Git shouldn't have imported his new parts from Iran," commented Emma.

"Probably not," added Pip.

Poor Derek!


Tales From The Other Railway - Series 2 / Story 3
Based on What's The Matter With Henry? - Written by George Tarry