Market Day is the ninth story of volume four.
|Season 4B, Episode 9 (85)|
|Air date||29 May 2022|
Mark of Distinction
Percy's New Dome
One evening, Toby met James at the Junction.
"Good evening Toby," said James. "I see you brought the post as well."
"Yes indeed. I'll shunt it into the siding for Bear to collect," replied Toby. "Afterwards, I'm going to need a good night's rest."
"Why's that?" asked James.
"Tomorrow is market day, so it's going to be really busy," explained Toby.
"Of course. I remember now," said James.
"Nowadays, I just handle a few small things like taking the workmen to work and the occasional stone deliveries to Ffarquhar."
"We had busy market days back on our old tramway in East Anglia though," chimed in Henrietta.
"Ah yes, very true," sighed Toby.
"Sorry I can't stop to listen," said James. "I have to go now. See you tomorrow!"
James puffed away. Toby stood at the platform before going off to the sheds.
"It is a shame I can't help out the way I used to on market day," Toby told Henrietta.
"Never mind Toby, there's still plenty for you to do," replied Henrietta.
"You're always the one that keeps calm and makes sure everyone stays on track," added Victoria.
"Well with Thomas, Percy, and Mavis around, I certainly have to!" chuckled Toby. "But you're right. I say we get some sleep now."
"Good night Toby," called Henrietta and Victoria.
Then the three went happily to sleep.
The next morning, Toby woke up bright and early. The sky was dark and cloudy but Toby didn't mind. He knew it was going to be very busy.
Up at Ffarquhar, Thomas, Percy, and Jessie were also getting ready. Liza had come in early to give them all a good polish.
"You must all look your best for today," said Liza, as she scrubbed Percy's dome.
"Wait, what's going on again?" asked Percy.
"It's market day, silly," laughed Thomas.
"Oh, right. That means I'll be stuck delivering produce to the Harbour."
"And I'm going to be running up and down the line with Annie and Clarabel packed with people going to the festival at the station by the river," said Thomas.
"I guess that means I'll handle the stone trains today," Jessie said to Liza.
"Which I am most thankful for," put in Percy. "We couldn't do it without you, Jessie."
"Market day needs all five of you in order to run smoothly," said Liza, as she clambered down from Percy's foot-plate. "Anyways, don't you all look so smart. It might be one of the best jobs I've ever done."
"Thank you Liza. Now I better go fetch Annie and Clarabel," said Thomas.
Thomas soon found that the station was already crowded with passengers.
"I'd act surprised, but now it seems like just another typical market day," said Annie.
"I guess we better enjoy it while it lasts," said Clarabel.
"Just wait till we get to the Junction though. There's bound to be even more passengers there," said Thomas.
Down at the Junction, James had just arrived with a full train.
"Normally, I'd be continuing along with my regular stopping train, but the Fat Controller told me to wait for Percy here," said James. "I suppose it's produce to take to other parts of the Main Line," he added.
Back at Ffarquhar, after Thomas left, Percy puffed towards the station by the river for the first batch of produce. Once he arrived, his trucks were quickly loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers.
"This load must get to Ballahoo as quickly as possible," said the Stationmaster.
"That's far away," said Percy.
"You'll be taking it down to the Junction for James to deliver," explained the Stationmaster. "Once you're done, come back here for another lot."
"I will!" whistled Percy.
Once all his trucks were loaded, Percy puffed away. He stopped at Toryreck to let Thomas pass.
"The train is packed!" called Thomas as he passed Percy.
Finally, Percy puffed into the Junction where James was already waiting.
"I was starting to wonder where you were," huffed James.
"I made it here just fine. The produce is fresh so you see about getting it all the way to Ballahoo without any trouble," said Percy.
"I'll be there in a flash," chortled James.
But then there was trouble. James's fire had been kept low whilst waiting for Percy. His Fireman tried to build his fire but James kept loosing steam.
"I reckon a good amount of movement should get the fire burning fiercely," said the Fireman, grimly.
"But we can't even move ourselves," commented the Driver.
Percy overheard this.
"Is there anything I could do to help?" asked the little green engine.
James's Driver and Fireman glanced at each other. "I don't see why not."
Percy wasted no time in buffering up in front of James and as soon as the Guard blew his whistle, he steamed away.
"I can't believe this is happening," groaned James.
Percy just chuckled as he heaved the heavy train into motion.
Up at the Quarry, Mavis was preparing for a busy day but saw no-one at chute.
"Where's all the slate?" she asked the Foreman.
The Foreman turned around, surprised.
"Hullo Mavis, what brings you here?" he asked.
Mavis was confused. "It's - it's time for work. There's bound to plenty of slate trucks to take down to the Harbour."
"Of course. Usually, there is," said the Foreman. "But today is different you see. That's why there's no slate today."
"No slate today?"
"Exactly! Listen, it's Market day, and the Fat Controller has asked for your help."
"Yes. You are need down at the station by the river. Plenty of fresh produce to take to other parts of the branch line."
"I'm on my way!"
Mavis trundled cheerily away. She was glad to be able to help on Market day.
As she passed Ffarquhar, she saw Thomas arrive with a full train.
"Annie and Clarabel are packed!" whistled Thomas. "And there's still people waiting to go to the festival."
At the station by the river, Mavis met up with Jessie.
"I heard Percy was called away, so now we're in charge of taking produce to other parts of the line," said Jessie.
"This should be easy then," said Mavis. "We'll make these deliveries in no time."
With that, the two engines began their deliveries of fruit along the line.
When Jessie reached the Harbour, she found trucks over all the place.
"Percy never organises, does he?" she thought. "I suppose I'll have to do it myself."
"No need for that," called a voice. It was Terence. "I'll handle it for you with no troubles."
"Of course. It is market day. You'll be needed elsewhere."
Jessie puffed away to collect the next batch of fruit.
Meanwhile, Percy was working hard. Luckily for him, James now had a good lot of steam, and together they pressed on.
Presently, they approached Gordon's Hill. James knew that the train would be hard to pull up the hill.
"We should stop and ask Jenna to help us," called James.
"Nonsense. We've no time to waste," replied Percy.
Jenna was ready and waiting at Edward's station when Percy and James rattled through.
"Was that Percy and James that just came through?" asked Edward.
"I think so," said Jenna. "Anyways, sometimes I don't know why I bother waiting here if engines just pass through. Of course, that's until the hill proves to be too much for them, and then it's me who saves the day."
"You've grown quite used to it, haven't you."
"I guess I have."
"You do enjoy being the one that saves the day though," observed Edward.
"I most certainly do!" laughed Jenna.
Meanwhile, Percy and James battled up the hill. Percy was puffing with all his might but James was loosing steam again. Percy pulled and pulled till his wheels ached but the train was too heavy.
"We have to go back!" called James.
Reluctantly, Percy agreed.
Jenna met them as they reversed back into the station.
"For a moment there, I really thought you would manage," said Jenna. "Never mind though, just whistle when you're ready."
It wasn't long before the two engines had built up enough steam again. Then, with Jenna's help, they forced the heavy train up the hill. Once at Maron, the gradient was easier. They whistled 'thanks' to Jenna then continued along their way to Ballahoo.
Back at Ffarquhar, Liza ran back into the shed. Toby was alone in the shed.
"Finally, time for some lunch," she sighed as she sat down on a box to eat.
"It looks very busy out there," observed Toby.
"It is," said Liza. "It's bound to get even busier especially in the evening."
"I remember days like these back in East Anglia," said Toby, remembering.
"You can go on. I'm listening," smiled Liza.
"I figured," chuckled Toby. "Anyways, you've probably heard about the time I moved forty-eight trucks of strawberries but there was another time I was taking a bull to another farm. I remember the farmers spent ages trying to get the bull into his wagon."
"I remember he came and sniffed at me," interrupted Henrietta. "That was most uncomfortable."
"I also recall that one time, it rained heavily on Market day," continued Toby. "Many farmers had to work against the weather to get their goods where they wanted to go. As the years passed, lorries began to take over my work, but one year when it rained, all the farmers came to me. They knew I was more reliable than any lorry around even with the pouring rain. I hadn't enough trucks to fit all the produce so we loaded into Henrietta!"
"I guess it wasn't so bad," said Henrietta. "It was fresh fruit after all."
"You still smelled like oranges, bananas, and strawberries for weeks though," put in Toby.
"Still - not the worst thing in the world," replied Henrietta.
Liza laughed and then Toby continued:
"I also remember one busy market day that Henrietta was packed. There were so many people the Guard hadn't any room for himself. So, we were at the station when Driver and I thought the Guard had blown his whistle. We started off only to hear the Guard's whistle again. This time though, we saw a red flag. It wasn't until later that I realised that we almost left him behind."
"I reckon some noise or distraction had you all thinking it was the Guard's whistle," said Liza.
"Exactly," murmured Toby.
"I did warn him though," said Henrietta.
"She kind of did," chuckled Toby.
Before she knew left, lunch was over, and Liza had to get back to work.
She went back to the station to find it crowded. Lots of people still wanted to go to the station by the river for the festival.
"This is what happens when less than half of the residents own a car," the Stationmaster told Liza. "Now, Thomas won't be back for another hour. Was Toby in the shed with his coaches?"
"Yes, he's there."
"Then he'll have to take everyone there."
Liza ran back to the sheds and told Toby the news.
"See, we are needed after all," said Henrietta.
"It feels good to be out and about again," said Toby, as he puffed over the platform. Everyone scrambled in and soon, Toby was on his way.
Toby trundled along happily. Henrietta and Victoria ran smoothly behind. As he approached the tunnel, he heard something strange.
"That almost sounded like a sheep," he thought to himself.
However, he soon forgot all about that when he reached the station by the river. The festival was close by and music could be heard from the station. Everyone rushed to join in the celebration.
Suddenly, a farmer pushed his way through the crowd.
"Hullo farmer. What's the matter?" asked Toby.
"I've lost one of my sheep. I must find her," he told Toby.
"Hmm, I thought I heard something near the tunnel. Perhaps your sheep ran off there," said Toby.
Toby's Driver checked with the Stationmaster and Signalman.
"Thomas has been delayed, so we can go back up the line," said the Driver.
Quickly, Toby and the farmer headed up the line. Toby was now at the mouth of the tunnel. The farmer's sheep-dog jumped down and quickly caught a scent. The farmer and his dog returned shortly with the lost sheep.
"Thank goodness I found her," grinned the farmer. "Thank you Toby for your help."
"My pleasure," replied Toby.
Soon, they were all back at the station. More passengers were waiting. They talking amongst themselves.
"Thomas should have been there by now," they murmured.
Further down the line, Thomas had been halted at the Junction.
Thomas's passengers weren't so pleased about this either.
Finally, the Stationmaster came up.
"Bertie is stuck in the mud just near the level-crossing. He had to swerve to avoid hitting a careless lorry. Now, Terence will help him, but you get his passengers to the station by the river," explained the Stationmaster.
"I'm on my way!" whistled Thomas, and he started to the rescue.
At the level-crossing, he met Terence, Bertie, along with all the passengers.
"Hullo Bertie. I've come to take your passengers. Are you all right?"
"Just a bit filthy, that's all," grinned Bertie.
"You'll need a good washdown back at the bus depot," chuckled Terence.
"Thanks for helping me out Terence."
"No problem. Now, I best get back to the Harbour. I promised Mavis and Jessie I'd help them with the shunting."
"I'll get your passengers to their destination safely," promised Thomas.
Back at the station by the river, the schedule had been re-arranged. Toby would take everyone back up to Ffarquhar whilst Thomas would resume his journey back down the line.
Finally, Thomas puffed in.
"You're reasonably late," teased Toby.
"I was held up at the Junction," explained Thomas.
"I figured something was up - down here of course!" continued Toby. "Now, I'll take everyone up to Ffarquhar."
"Quite right," interrupted the Stationmaster and he explained the changes to Thomas's Driver.
"No time to run round then," said Thomas.
Soon, everything was ready. Thomas and Toby were soon on their way.
Meanwhile, out on the Main Line, Percy was hoping to make up for lost time.
"Don't pull so hard Percy or you'll run out of coal!" whistled James.
"I'm doing my best!" replied Percy.
The yellow signal appeared ahead. James knew that to get to Ballahoo, trains must be switched down the Norramby line. Trains go past the Works then to the right to the town of Ballahoo instead of going through Henry's Tunnel.
"Surely we must be reaching Henry's Tunnel now," said Percy.
"We won't be going through Henry's Tunnel today," said James.
"You must be remembering wrong. The line splits off just past the Works."
Little did they know that the points had been incorrectly set. Percy and James veered left past the Works.
"That's Henry's Tunnel up ahead," called Percy.
"Darn it. We're going the wrong way," grumbled James.
They reached Vicarstown instead. Emily was surprised to see them.
"Percy, what a nice surprise. What brings you here?"
"Well this train was meant to go to Ballahoo," explained James.
"Switched down the wrong line, no doubt," said Emily.
"Yes indeed," said Percy. "Anyways, it is very nice to see you Emily. How's the work over here?"
"It's wonderful. I run the Norramby Branch Line which runs to Ballahoo so I know my way around here," said Emily.
"Today is Market day on the Ffarquhar Branch. I would be helping out there but James needed my help too."
"Hmm, so that's why everyone was talking about getting fresh fruit today."
"Yes. We have plenty of fresh fruit here," said Percy.
"Well, I hope you can get it there," said Emily.
"So do I," said James.
Just then, Percy and James's Drivers returned.
"Everything had been sorted out now. Let's turn round and get the train there."
Then there was trouble.
"We've hardly any coal," said Percy's Fireman.
"Don't worry," said James. "I'll get the train there then you can take on coal at the Works station."
"Thank you James," said Percy, gratefully.
So James slowly heaved the heavy train into motion. He whistled goodbye to Emily then headed down the line. It was hard work pulling all the trucks and Percy but James didn't give up and soon, they reached Ballahoo. Everyone was glad to see them.
Afterwards, James and Percy headed home.
"Thanks for helping me James," said Percy.
"It was the least I could do," said James. "I have to admit today was rather fun."
"You haven't had enough market days!" chuckled Percy.
Then, James and Percy headed back home.
By now, the sun was setting and many people headed home for the day.
Mavis and Jessie had delivered all the produce to the Harbour and stations.
"It really wasn't so hard," said Jessie.
"Well, when you know what you're doing and you have some help at the Harbour, it seems easy," said Mavis. "Thanks again Terence."
"Of course. Anytime!" said Terence.
"The trucks were a bit troublesome but then again, that always happens," said Jessie. "Let's get back to the sheds now."
So, Jessie and Mavis headed up to Ffarquhar.
Meanwhile, Thomas was also heading up the line with the last train of the day. Finally, he came to a stop at Ffarquhar.
"Finally, some well deserved rest," said Thomas to Annie and Clarabel.
"I agree. Very well deserved," said Annie.
Over at the sheds, Liza was giving everyone a good hose-down.
"You all deserve it after such a busy day," she told them.
By night-time, everyone was back in the shed - tired, but pleased with the day's events. Liza was also about to head home.
"Hey Liza, how would you like a recap of the day's events?" asked Toby.
"You know I like keeping up to date on all the Branch Line events," chuckled Liza.
"Come along then."
As the stars shone on the sky above, the engines had fun telling Liza all about this one, busy, eventful market day.
- Annie and Clarabel
- Henry (mentioned)
- Bear (mentioned)
- This story weaves together several simultaneous and concurrent plots to form the story.