Mark of Distinction is the eighth story of volume four.
|Mark of Distinction|
|Season 4B, Episode 8 (84)|
|Air date||22 May 2022|
Thomas and the Storyteller
One morning, Henry was at the Works being re-fitted with his tender.
"I am very glad to have my own tender back," he said. "The other one just doesn't quite fit me."
"Well, at least you were able to keep working with the alternate tender," said Victor. "I'd say it's a good thing there were some spare tenders lying around."
"Yeah. Though I still can't get over how convenient it was that there were spare tenders lying around all this time. I can't believe Duck never told us about it."
"Well, there's a time and place for everything, and from what I heard, it was a quick solution to an otherwise big problem."
Finally, the workmen finished.
"All right. Let's test it out," said Victor.
The Manager guided Henry out of the Works.
"It's nice to be back out again," said Henry, as he felt the wind breeze against his boiler.
Diesel was in a siding nearby helping with some track maintenance.
"Look at me and my restored tender!" called Henry.
"You and your tender. You almost make me jealous," teased Diesel.
"With such a grand tender, who wouldn't?"
"I know of someone . . ."
After Henry went away, the Works Diesel came up besides Diesel.
"Just look at Henry and his tender, so grand and proud," observed Diesel. "Then all those tender engines go on thinking they're superior to everyone."
"You do have to admit he does look rather grand," said the Works Diesel.
"Perhaps, but I pride myself in that I don't need a tender to look grand."
"Why does it sound like you hate tenders?"
"I don't, but I argue that tenders are not that special. Both diesels and tank engines have proven that tenders are not necessarily that distinction between being really useful or not. All of us are useful engines in our own way. Those tender engines though, have you think otherwise. And furthermore, there seems to be tenders everywhere. Even in the yard taking up space. I sure hope the Fat Controller plans to be rid of them quickly," finished Diesel.
Indeed the Fat Controller was looking into whole tender situation. He was with Duck, Jessie, and Pug in the Yard overseeing the situation.
"Most of these tenders were here when I arrived," explained Duck. "I can only assume that either your grandfather or great-grandfather obtained these tenders from the LMS at some point."
"Perhaps after steam was abolished, these tenders were given to us," added Pug.
"That's also a possibility," agreed Duck.
"I just don't know what to do with them," said the Fat Controller, grimly.
"Well, they could come in handy in case of emergencies," said Jessie. "I think Henry showed us that."
"That is true but they are also taking up a considerable amount of room," said Duck. "We need to move them out."
"Then perhaps we could store them at the Works," suggested Jessie. "There should be plenty of space there."
"That seems to be the most logical thing to do," said the Fat Controller. "I'd have to coordinate with the Works Manager first though. Then we also need to find out how many tenders we have."
So, the three tank engines set to work moving trucks out of the way, and arranging the tenders in line. When a goods train came in, they would clear a siding from any tenders that might be there, and then shunt the trucks in the cleared out siding. By evening, it seemed like they were finished
"I guess there aren't as many as I thought," said Pug.
"It did seem like there'd be more," agreed Jessie.
"Hmm, well, I did remove six from when I played that trick on Henry. I'm honestly not sure where those went. Anyways, at least we know now exactly what we have."
The Fat Controller was very pleased to see the tenders tidily arranged.
"Perfect. Now these can be taken to Crovan's Gate so that they can be stored there in case of emergencies."
On the other side of the Island, Diesel was returning to Vicarstown after a long day of maintenance work.
Molly and Emily were in the shed already. Then Dodger came in hurriedly.
"Slow down Dodger," said Molly.
"Sorry Molly. But I just couldn't wait to tell you what I just found in the Yard."
"Don't tell me - buried treasure," laughed Molly.
"Of course not," replied Dodger. "I can't see it if it's buried."
"I know that! Go on then."
"I will admit though, finding treasure would be nice, but I actually I found more spare tenders."
"More tenders," groaned Diesel.
"Yes indeed. A lot of six tenders but these are rather dirty and filthy."
"I wonder if those are the tenders that Duck used to play a trick on Henry," said Emily.
"They could very well be," murmured Dodger.
"I heard from Jessie that she was clearing out tenders in the Yard at the Big Station," said Molly. "The Fat Controller is in for a surprise," she added.
Indeed, the Fat Controller was not too happy to hear this. But upon learning that these tenders were old, he decided to send them to the smelters.
Despite Diesel's grievances against tenders, even he had to admit that tenders had caused a lot more trouble than anyone ever thought. Fortunately, everything worked out all right. Spare tenders are now kept at the Works in case of emergencies and although no more tenders have been found, Diesel always remains weary of any other tenders lying around.
- This story is a direct continuation of Duck, Henry, and the Tenders from volume two.
- The events of "Tenders for Henry" from Enterprising Engines are once again mentioned.
- The original title for this story was "Another story about Tenders" but was later changed by the Writer to a bit more distinctive.