Don't Be Late!
Season 3, Episode 17
Air date October 17th, 2014
Written by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Directed by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Episode guide
The Seaside Ghost


Madge is a lorry who often works with the Skarloey Railway. She delivers engines to places that are closer by road. Madge often acts like a motherly figure to the narrow gauge engines, mostly the younger engines. "Come along Sir Handel, you simply must go to the Washdown this instant!" "Ugh... fine." But the Skarloey Railway had been having problems lately. There was a mudslide near the junction to the Blue Mountain Quarry and a couple of tracks were blocked off. 

The Thin Controller came to see the engines onboard Madge. "I'm sure you've heard about the landslide," he said worriedly, "Jack and Alfie are doing the best they can to get the mud off the tracks, but the rails are completely blocked. We'll have to use the road." Duke grumbled quietly to himself as the Thin Controller continued. "Madge here will be transporting you to the quarry and back." Madge grinned broadly. "Yes sir, and ready for action!" The Thin Controller hopped off Madge and Madge drove away. Sir Handel wasn't so sure however. "Sir, do you realize that Madge is late with most of her deliveries?" What Sir Handel said was true; Madge was often late, but the reason was debateable among the engines. Sir Handel, Duncan, and surprisingly Duke thought she was too slow while Skarloey and Peter Sam thought it was the schedule. The Thin Controller sighed. "I know Sir Handel, but we really have no other options." Sir Handel sulked as he puffed away to get his passengers.

Later that day, Duncan needed to go to the Blue Mountain Quarry. "Come on, come on!" he grumbled as he sat on a trailer at the road by Skarloey Station, "I need to get there! I'm going to be late!" Just then Madge drove up, panting. "Sorry Duncan, I had to-" "Yeah, I know, some lame excuse. Just get me to the quarry and be done with it." Madge was hurt, but decided to not be more late than she already was. Her driver attached the trailer to Madge and she drove away to the quarry. The road to the Blue Mountain Quarry was steep and Madge had a hard time driving up to the top of the hill, especially with Duncan's weight. "Hurry up!" scowled Duncan. "I can't!" wailed Madge. She, at last, got to the top of the hill but had to go slowly so the chains wouldn't break and Duncan wouldn't topple off the trailer. "Bother," grumbled Duncan as he saw the quarry in the distance, "I'm late." Madge drove into the quarry. Luke was rushed off his wheels. "What took you Duncan?" he cried furiously as Duncan was unloaded and put onto the rails. "It wasn't my fault Luke," huffed Duncan, "Madge was late again." Luke then got cross with Madge. "Madge, you simply must go faster. This quarry has to be in business you know." "I know..." said Madge sadly. "I need more trucks!" called Owen, "Come on Duncan!" and Duncan puffed up to the upper level to Owen. Madge felt very sad.

When Madge got back to Skarloey, she saw Duke with some empty trucks in a siding. Duke seethed crossly when he saw Madge; he had taken a dislike to Madge ever since she arrived. "Hello Duke. Ready to be of service." she offered. Duke sighed, "Just get me to the quarry on time." Madge gulped ."O-o-of course Duke." and Duke was loaded onto Madge's trailer. "Oof," Madge groaned; Duke was even heavier than Duncan. "Oh come on!" grumbled Duke, "Lets just get this over with." Madge drove away as quickly as she could. As Madge drove along, she saw Jack and Alfie working hard to scoop up the mud. "Mud, glorious mud!" Alfie cheered and he threw some mud into the air. "Alfie, be careful!" warned Jack. "Sorry... Heh heh..." The mud flew up into the air and went right onto the road. "Oh no!" cried Madge and she swerved to avoid the mud. "Come on, stop being so slow," scowled Duke. Madge sighed and raced down the hill. Her driver applied the brakes so they wouldn't go too fast, but Duke was furious. "I'm now late! But I guess that's expected, isn't it?" Madge was very hurt indeed as they arrived at the quarry. The Thin Controller was there waiting, tapping his foot crossly. "Madge... I'd like a word." Madge gulped as Duke was unloaded. "I don't really understand it Madge, but you're constantly late all the time! I'm afraid we'll just have to send you to the shed until you learn how to be really useful." Madge was shocked. "But sir? How will the engines get to the quarry?" "Jack and Alfie should be finished by tonight... I don't want to talk anymore." and the Thin Controller walked away. Madge and her driver were very sad. "Sorry, ol' girl." sighed the driver, "I guess it's the end of the road for us..." Madge sadly drove away to her shed. "It's not my fault," she thought, "It's just that I'm so busy. But the Thin Controller won't listen..."

Madge sat silently in the shed, trying hard not to cry. Suddenly, she heard a puffing noise and Peter Sam came into view with some slate trucks. "Hello, Madge! What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be busy?" Madge gulped. "What's wrong?" asked Peter Sam kindly. "I've been late recently, but it's because I'm too busy. One minute Ive got to take Duncan to the Blue Mountain Quarry, the next I have to take Duke! It's just too much... The Thin Controller punished me and sent me to my shed, and here I am..." Peter Sam said nothing; he was too shocked. "Unbelievable!" he finally said. Madge smiled. "At least somebody's on my side." "I'll tell Skarloey at once." Peter Sam said confidently and he puffed away. Madge smiled slightly with hope. Peter Sam arrived at the mudslide. "Oh no," he groaned. Just then Alfie raced up and scooped up the last bit of mud. Peter Sam whistled and continued on his journey.

Skarloey was at the Blue Mountain Quarry being stern with Paxton. "Paxton, please! Be considerate to Duke!" "I am considerate to him, but he isn't to me!" cried Paxton. "Impenitent scalawag." fumed Duke. Peter Sam puffed in. "Skarloey! Skarloey!" "What is it Peter Sam?" asked Skarloey. "Madge has been shut up in the shed for being late with Duke and Duncan. We must do something!" explained Peter Sam. Skarloey eyed Duke suspiciously. "What? There was traffic," muttered Duke, "I'm only carried because I'm so old." Duncan chuffed over. "And I'm carried because I say so." chortled Duncan. "Well, we've got to tell the Thin Controller." said Peter Sam. Paxton oiled by. "May I suggest a deputation?" "What?" asked Duncan. "A deputation. It's when you tell your controller that something's wrong. I got it from Percy." explained Paxton and he oiled away. There was a long silence. Owen stopped his work to enjoy the quiet. "Wow, the quarry's never quiet..." he thought. He then spoke out loud, breaking the silence. "What's the hold up?" None of the engines answered, but they did get back to work.

That night, Skarloey finally spoke in the shed. "I think we should take Paxton's advice," said Skarloey. Peter Sam and Rheneas whistled in agreement. But Duke didn't agree. "Paxton's young. He doesn't know best," he muttered. "Percy was young and he used the deputation to save some engines," retorted Peter Sam. "Yes. Just because you're young doesn't mean you don't know anything," scolded Skarloey to Duke. Duke snorted and tried to get back to sleep. "So how does this deputation work?" asked Duncan. "We get one of the engines to tell the Thin Controller about Madge!" explained Peter Sam. Yet another long silence. "Well, it's not me," said Duke, breaking the silence. "I would go, but I'm very busy tomorrow." said Skarloey. "I don't wanna..." fumed Duncan. "I have maintenance," said Paul. The engines looked to Peter Sam. "What? Me?! Why me?!" cried Peter Sam in alarm. "Well, what jobs do you have tomorrow?" asked Duke. "Well... tomorrow I'm on quarry detail all day." "Then when the Thin Controller comes for his inspection tomorrow, you'll tell him." decided Skarloey. Peter Sam wasn't happy with this, but he fell asleep anyway.

The next morning, Peter Sam left first to go and tell Madge their plan. Madge was sad in her shed when Peter Sam puffed by. "Hello Madge!" Madge brightened up. "Peter Sam, are you going to-" "Yes, today at the Blue Mountain Quarry," Peter Sam cut in, "We can't have one of our friends in a shed!" Madge was very pleased. "Thank you Peter Sam!" she said. Peter Sam whistled and he chuffed away, still a bit nervous.

At the Blue Mountain Quarry, Merrick was loading trucks for Luke. "Almost there... Hooray, now I can go to sleep." yawned Merrick and he closed his eyes, and started to snore. "Thanks Merrick," whistled Luke, "and hello Peter Sam!" "Hi Luke..." sighed Peter Sam. Luke puffed down to the lower level of the quarry and eyed Peter Sam. "What is it?" asked Luke. "None of your business..." grumbled Peter Sam and he huffed away. Luke was hurt. "Peter Sam never talks like that," he said to Owen. "I wouldn't worry about it Luke. After all, he's probably just grumpy." said Owen. Peter Sam's driver looked to his watch. "The Thin Controller always comes at around 7:00 P.M. We'll tell him then," he said. "That's twelve hours..." gulped Peter Sam, "Oh dear..." "Stop being such a worry wheels, Stuart," scowled Duke, "Just get to work." "Granpuff, you know I'm not Stuart anymore. I'm Peter Sam now." "Whatever..." 

All day Peter Sam shunted trucks for Owen and Merrick, and brought them down to the lower level for Paxton. But he was so lost in his worry that he biffed some trucks into some buffers. "Ouch!" cried the trucks. "Be more careful," scolded a workman, "or you'll cause an accident." "Sorry," said Peter Sam sheepishly. Paxton was worried for Peter Sam. "What is it?" he asked. Peter Sam jumped and looked over. "Uh... nothing." "It's that deputation I told you about, isn't it?" "Yeah... I was chosen and I'm worried." Paxton smiled. "Don't worry about it! You should be fine." and Paxton oiled away, tooting his horn. Peter Sam sighed and shunted some more trucks.

Soon evening came and the Thin Controller arrived for his inspection. "Hmm, everything seems to be in order. Good job Paul." He walked over to Peter Sam. "Hello Peter Sam, working hard I see." "Yes sir," said Peter Sam, a bit worried. "What's wrong? I can tell you're a bit worried about something. You can tell me," said the Thin Controller kindly. Peter Sam took a big puff and started to talk. "It's this deputation sir. The engines put me in charge of it sir, and... it's about Madge." The Thin Controller's face turned into an expression of disgust, but stayed quiet. "It's just... We don't think it's fair she's in the shed." "Most of us don't think so," snorted Duke. Peter Sam glared and continued, "The schedule has been tight lately and the road is very steep. I don't think it's her fault. I'm sorry if I caused any trouble sir." The Thin Controller thought deeply about Peter Sam's words. "Hmm... I have a lot to think about. Thank you Peter Sam." and he walked to his bike. 

That night in the shed, the Thin Controller came to see the engines. "I understand you all have been having a deputation." "Yes sir," said Rusty. Sir Handel rolled his eyes. "Well, I thought about it and I believe... that you engines are right." Skarloey, Rheneas, Peter Sam, and Rusty honked their horns and blew their whistles. "Madge will be back to work tomorrow," continued the Thin Controller, "I have been mighty selfish lately. See you in the morning," and the Thin Controller biked away. "You're all a bunch of saps..." grumbled Duncan. Everyone just ignored him.

Madge sighed. "I hope somebody comes soon." Her driver was in the shed, drinking cocoa. "It should be alright." he said hopefully, but even he felt a bit down in the dumps. Suddenly the Thin Controller biked up. Madge felt dread and happiness at the same time as the Thin Controller got off his bike. "Hello Madge." "Hello sir," said Madge nervously. "Madge, I'm terribly sorry for what I did. I didn't realize the circumstances and I was very selfish indeed. I'll change your timetable so you'll be on time." "Really sir?" asked Madge happily. "Of course," grinned the Thin Controller. Madge beamed proudly.

These days Madge works all the time, but her schedule is now changed so she can be on time, as well as being a Really Useful Lorry. 


  • Paxton
  • Skarloey
  • Sir Handel
  • Peter Sam
  • Rusty
  • Duncan
  • Duke
  • Luke
  • Paul
  • Jack
  • Alfie
  • Madge
  • Owen
  • Merrick
  • The Thin Controller
  • Rheneas (does not speak)
  • Bertram (cameo)
  • Freddie (cameo)
  • Cora (cameo)
  • Max and Monty (cameo)
  • Percy (mentioned)


  • A reference to the second season episode The Deputation is made.
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