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Molly and the Empty Trucks is the twenty-third story of volume three.

Molly and the Empty Trucks
Season X, Episode 73
Air date 15 November 2021
Written by MainLineEngines
Directed by MainLineEngines
Episode guide
The Disused Siding
A Bad Lot of Coal


Every afternoon, Molly brings all the empty coal trucks back to Vicarstown.

One evening, she was shunting the trucks into the siding when she saw David there. He had just brought in his goods train.

"Hey Molly, what's the matter? You look a bit down."

"Hey David, I was just thinking about these empty trucks. I realised that I always do the same thing every single evening. There's empty trucks to collect at the same stations, and it's become very repetitive."

"I understand," replied David. "I felt the same way with the pick-up goods but then the fast goods came along, and it's been a welcome addition." He paused for a moment. "Perhaps you just need some variety."

"I know. I think you're lucky in that your trucks carry goods. Mine are all empty."

"True, but you know it's important to get the empty trucks back here especially since Dodger keeps a close eye on the number of trucks," added David.

"Yeah, I needn't worry him," said Molly, "I suppose it's best if I just stick to routine for now. I'll come up with something."

With that, the two friends went to the sheds to rest.

The following morning, Molly kept busy taking coal trucks from station to station.

It was just past noon, and Molly had delivered some trucks to Edward's station. The coal had been unloaded, and Molly was waiting to go back to Vicarstown. Then she had a thought.

"What if we took these empty trucks back to Vicarstown now?" Molly asked her driver. "It would save time later on."

"I don't see why not," replied the driver.

The trucks grumbled amongst themselves.

"We're too tired to move," they complained.

"Come on Molly, give us time to rest!" they pleaded.

"Nonsense. Come along now," puffed Molly.

"This is great because now I'll have a non-stop journey in the evening. That will be lovely," she thought to herself.

Meanwhile, David had collected a train of china clay from Brendam Docks, and was waiting for Jenna to help him up the hill.

Presently, Edward bustled in.

"Hullo David, I see you have some china clay there," called Edward.

"Yes indeed. Thankfully, it was ready and waiting when I got to Brendam. No tricks from you-know-who," chuckled David.

Then Jenna fussed in.

"All right, I'm here. Let's get you up the hill. Then I have go find those empty trucks 'cause Molly has to collect them in the evening."

"Are they missing?" asked Edward.

"I think so. I can't find them anywhere," replied Jenna.

"Hmm, I think that perhaps Molly already took them back," interrupted David.

"D'you think so?" asked Jenna.

"Yeah," continued David. "Just yesterday, she was telling me about the empty trucks and how she was growing kind of bored."

"I guess she decided to do something different," said Edward.

"Exactly," agreed David.

"Well tell her she's still more than welcome to leave her trucks here. I know I'm usually not that generously but she is really nice, unlike some others," grinned Jenna.

"I thought I was nice to you!" laughed David.

"Oh, sure," said Jenna. "If you say so."

Later that evening, Molly was at Tidmouth getting ready to take back the empty trucks she had brought.

"I am quite excited," she said to Henry.

"More than usual?" he asked.

"You see, I already took back some empty trucks so I have a non-stop journey to Vicarstown."

"That does sound nice," agreed Henry. "Have a good journey then."

Molly puffed away and found her trucks ready in the yard.

She passed the Junction and was making good time. Presently, she approached Edward's station. The trucks were prepared to stop but Molly kept going.

"Hey!" called the trucks. "We missed the station."

"There's no stopping today!" Molly called back. "I've already delivered the other trucks, so it's straight to Vicarstown now."

The trucks relunctantly follwed.

Molly crossed the Viaduct and passed Killdane. She was nearing Kellsthorpe Road. Before the station, there is a bend on the line. Molly was going a bit faster than usual and the bend came nearer and nearer. Too late, she realised that the track curved, and she was going too fast. Some of the trucks flew off the track and laid in the bushes beside the line.

"Oh dear, now I'll be delayed," she thought.

Edward arrived with Rocky to put the trucks back on the track.

"I was going faster than usual," explained Molly.

"It's probably because you had less trucks than usual," said Edward.

"Yeah, I should have been more careful."

"That's all right. Now you know for next time."

After the trucks were back on the track, Molly was a lot more careful the rest of the journey and she made it to Vicarstown safely. All the trucks were relieved.

"We almost achieved flight," giggled the trucks.

Molly left them and went to the shed. Emily and Dodger were already there. She told them all about her day.

"It didn't go as smoothly as I expected," finished Molly.

"Well, it's good to try things differently," said Emily.

"Either way, thanks for getting the trucks back 'cause I will need them tomorrow," said Dodger, gratefully.

"No problem," replied Molly. "In the end, it was good to try something different for once. By the way, where is David?"

"He had another job to do," said Emily. "That's all he told us."

"Okay then. Get a good nights rest."

The next morning, Molly was filling up with coal when David arrived.

"So how'd the whole change go?" he asked.

"A lot different from what I expected," chuckled Molly and she explained what had happened.

"How's it going to work today then?"

"Hmm, not sure. It depends I guess. At least now I know that I can take some trucks back during the day. That might be helpful in future."

Then Dodger bustled in with a train of coal trucks.

"Well, I appreciate you bringing back all the trucks, and as long as I have trucks to fill with coal, I'm content," he said.

"You know I'll always help you," laughed Molly. "Now I best be on my way with this line of coal trucks."

And with that, she puffed away to make her deliveries.




  • The Writer has mentioned that he originally considered having David and Molly swap jobs.
  • This is only the second story in volume three to not air on a Sunday. Change in the Air was also released on a Monday.