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Beyond Southampton Docks is the fourth episode of The Dark Days of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Plot

(Thomas narrates this episode)

It was now the June of 1914, so summer had rolled around.

While there was plenty of passengers, there was also a large amount of goods from all over London, Brighton, and the South Coast. Goods came everyday here, but sometimes the bigger engines did not have time, so my brothers would ocassionally take goods train up to London Bridge Station. They never allowed me to go, as I was still young and needed to learn the ways.

"How is it up there?" I asked my brothers one night.

"It well, the station is very busy one of the eighteen London terminals," No. 101 said.

"Lots of passengers and goods too," No. 100 added.

"I should like to go one day," I said quietly.

I got my wish sooner than expected.

There were so many goods arriving from ship and engines that No. 102 and No. 103 were having difficulties keeping up. No. 101 had just taken a goods train up to London, and No. 100 was not at work, because his Driver had fallen ill. I was loading a set of trucks and waited for the engine to come.

"Five minutes late," my Driver said looking at his watch.

The Dock Manager came up.

"Please move the trucks in the passing siding to allow No. 102 and No. 103 to load their trucks."

I did so and ten minutes passed.

The Dock Manager came to see us.

"The engine coming has been delayed by a another goods run."

"What will we do?" my Fireman asked.

"They said that No. 104, your going to have to do it."

"What? Me, pull trucks beyond Southampton Docks," I asked excitedly.

"Yes, quick now and run 'round."

I was excited.

I quickly fetched a brake van, coupled it up and was on the way.

"We don't want to go, we don't want to go!" screamed the silly trucks.

I ignored them.

I passed the enterance and whistled happily.

"No one has seen me up here before," I thought.

People waved as I passed and I whistled.

I was going well, but suddenly,

"Red signal, bother!" I thought.

I stopped, bumping the trucks, and started again with a bump.

Unknown to me, I had left nearly half of the train behind.

I reached the station, to find the stationmaster waving a red flag.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Where's your brake van?"

"It is at the end of the train?" I retorted.

My Fireman looked back.

"When we bumped we must've broken a coupling," he explained.

"Well, let's go back."

"Be quick then," the stationmaster told us.

I quickly backed down the line to the trucks, coupled them, then turned onto the passing siding to let a passenger train by and no one had to know what had happened.

I often went up to London after that, but I never left a single truck again.

Characters

  • Thomas
  • No. 100
  • No. 101
  • No. 102 (non-speaking role)
  • No. 103 (non-speaking role)
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