|Quarantine at Ffarquhar|
|Season X, Episode 42|
|Air date||9 August 2020|
Edward's Brass Band
Jessie and the Old Engine
The ongoing pandemic has changed many things for the engines on the Fat Controller's Railway. A previous story touched upon some of the changes on the Main Line. Meanwhile, on Thomas's Branch, both Thomas and Percy have not been out recently. How are they handling the quarantine? Keep reading to find out.
It was a quiet morning at Ffarquhar. Thomas and Percy were in the shed as they had been for quite some time now.
"Great, I woke up," groaned Percy.
"You always say that," replied Thomas.
"Well it bothers me. Once I wake up, I can't fall asleep again so I have to spend hours awake till night falls again."
"You're just a light sleeper."
"And so are you 'cause you are always awake when I am up."
"I actually don't mind passing the hours. I just wish I wasn't stuck here with you."
"Oh, how typical of you to put the blame on me. It's your face I have to look when looking over at the washdown, remembering when after a hard day of work, I'd be getting a good wash."
"And don't you think I miss that because I do and Annie and Clarabel have told me so."
"You know, they're more pleasant to talk to than you. They don't mind some jokes."
"I just wish we were back at work."
"Well, let's face it. We're stuck in here till further notice. We haven't seen our crews in days or weeks because I have lost track of time. Even Jessie hasn't been here recently."
"I really want to go out again."
"And see the world now, huh."
"Just out on my branch line thank you very much. And perhaps you'll just gallivant off to the Big Station."
"I'd get to see James, and man, he's more fun than you."
"Is that so?"
"I tell you something."
Meanwhile, Annie and Clarabel were concerned.
"My, when is this going to end?" whispered Clarabel to Annie.
"They're on the brink of desperation," replied Annie.
"Yeah. It has been getting worse though."
"The days pass and still nothing. Deep inside, they both miss their work."
"True, and they usually resolve their arguments."
Still, the coaches remained worried.
Meanwhile down the road, Liza was at her house getting ready to go down to the station.
"There aren't many trains in operation," Liza told her mother. "Daisy has been around to help with passengers and goods trains are handled by Mavis and Toby. Anyways, I'd best be going."
She walked down the empty road.
"Seems like everyone is inside," she thought. "Thomas and Percy are too. I hope they're all right."
She made it down safely and she approached the shed, she began to hear Thomas and Percy. She came up to them.
"Hey Thomas. Hey Percy."
"Thank goodness you're here," said Percy. "I'm glad to have someone else to talk to."
"Why just you?" asked Thomas. "All you do is talk to others about me. At least let me into the conversation."
"You spoil everything though."
"I do not."
"So," interrupted Liza, "you two have been stuck in here for quite a while now."
"Yes, and every minute I spend here makes me want to move Thomas somewhere else," said Percy. "Why can't you just gallivant off to some other place."
"I can't move by myself you idiot. My fire is out - it has been out for who-knows-how long so obviously I can't move," retorted Thomas. "Besides, I'd like to teleport you away too."
"Teleport? Pah, what a silly word and it doesn't exist."
"Well if it did, I wouldn't hesitate to use it on you. And I want to bring Liza 'cause she is nice."
"Rubbish. If anything, she'd want to go with me. I'm her favourite."
"Your not anyone's favourite."
Thomas and Percy resumed their arguing. Liza went over to the carriage shed without them noticing.
"So much for getting a conversation going," said Liza to Annie and Clarabel. "At least in here it is not so bad."
"You can't hear much but it doesn't sound good at all," agreed Annie.
Then, Liza saw Toby arrive. She went over to the station.
"Hey Liza. Nice to see you again."
"Hullo Toby. Nice to see you as well. I hear you have been working."
"Yeah. The Fat Controller has reduced the amount of engines running."
"So I've heard."
"Daisy and Mavis have been great, but lately Thomas and Percy have been having rather heated arguments."
"Yeah. They're kind of in the middle of one now."
"It wasn't so bad the first few days. They were actually on good terms but with the days passing and they haven't been out, its just bound to make them desperate."
"I tried lightening up the mood but to no avail."
"Perhaps I can help. However long this lasts, I don't want them to have been arguing the whole time."
Toby and Liza headed over to the sheds.
Thomas and Percy were glad to see them.
"Finally, others I can talk to," said Thomas.
"It's always about you, isn't it," retorted Percy.
"All right, all right. Settle down you two," said Toby.
"Fine," said Thomas.
"I'm listening," said Percy.
"I know times are tough and you yearn to be out and about again. So why don't I tell you a story," said Toby
"Is it about your old tramway?" asked Percy.
"Actually, it is about when I first arrived on Sodor."
"Wait, do you mean the one about the policeman?" asked Thomas.
"Exactly," said Toby.
"I've always heard about it, but what exactly happened?" asked Liza.
"I'll tell you."
Then Toby began.
"I had just arrived on Sodor and I made my way to Ffarquhar. At that point, this shed only had two berths. There was also a blue tank engine there."
"That's me," cut in Thomas. "I told him how I had been expecting him."
"Yes, and then he proceeded to tell me about the Quarry and how to handle trucks," continued Toby.
"But he told me that he knew how to handle trucks," said Thomas. "I wasn't so convinced at that moment."
"I also asked him why he wasn't allowed down the tramway."
"I told Toby that there was this policeman. I won't say exactly what I said, but the point is I wasn't allowed down there without cow-catchers and side-plates and that I wanted to give that policeman a piece of my mind."
"I could tell Thomas was frustrated. After all, he nearly had cow-catchers and side-plates fitted."
Percy and Liza chuckled.
"I might have if it wasn't for Toby," said Thomas. "Though I did feel second-best at that point. As if he was taking away everything from me."
"I could tell," chuckled Toby. "Over the next few days, I'd be taking trucks to and from the Quarry, and he'd say, 'careful there' or 'they'll trick you some way or another.'"
"Then one day, I was nearing the level-crossing when I saw a policeman by the side of the line."
"'That looks like the policeman Thomas was talking about,' I told my Driver."
"'I think it's him', my Driver replied."
"Then, I had an idea. 'Let's pay him out' on behalf of Thomas."
"So as I passed him, I wheeshed steam at him and rang my bell. I'm not sure if he heard what I said, but either way he jumped, hopped onto his bicycle and went away."
"We never heard from him again," said Thomas.
"Yeah. I heard from the village that he got transferred. I heard stories of him giving fines or tickets for the most menial things," said Toby.
"There's even a pub named after you," put in Liza. "Stationmaster says the Fat Controller has been there several times."
"He's a legend around here," added Percy.
"You know, Toby told me what he did that night, and I just laughed and laughed," said Thomas.
"Then you admitted that I was good at handling trucks," chuckled Toby.
"Yeah, and it has been a pleasure to have you on the Branch Line," said Thomas.
"Thank you. It is a pleasure to be here along with Percy, who joined us a few years later," said Toby.
"Then Daisy came along," said Percy.
"And now we have Liza," finished Percy.
"I am glad for everyone that has been part of this line. Without all of you, it just wouldn't be the same," said Thomas. "Even you Percy."
"I'm glad to be here too. And you know what Thomas, there is no-one else I'd rather spend quarantine with."
"Same here. I'm sorry for the arguing."
"I'm sorry too. It just gets lonely and boring in here."
"Somehow, you just have to get through it," said Toby.
"A lot of the other engines are stuck inside," said Liza. "However, this isn't permanent. You will eventually be out and about again. For the meantime, at least you have each other and I will still be around so it won't be that bad."
"Wise words there," said Percy. "Even through her mask."
"Yeah," agreed Thomas. "I hope you can come down more often."
"I definitely will. After all, I do enjoy being around you and it was great to see you again."
"Still, take care yourself," said Toby.
Just then, Toby's Driver and Fireman returned.
"I have to go now," said Toby.
"Until later," said Thomas and Percy.
Toby trundled away.
"You know, Toby really is local celebrity," said Percy, after Toby had gone.
"Almost everyone around here knows him," agreed Thomas.
Liza chuckled. She was glad to see them again and that they were on relatively good terms again.
"I have to go help Stationmaster. Don't start any more arguments," chuckled Liza.
"Oh, we won't," promised Percy.
"There can't be too many arguments," agreed Thomas.
"I mean there will be a few every now and then," said Percy.
"We'll balance it out," said Thomas.
"Good," said Liza. She looked at them rather intensely then turned around, and smiled as she headed to the station.
"Now I have another good story for him," she thought to herself.
A little later, Toby was at the Junction where he met James.
"Hullo Toby. Great to see you again," said James.
"Nice to see you too," replied Toby.
"How are things up at Ffarquhar."
"All is well now."
"That's good. James paused for a moment. "You know, I am glad to still have work during these times."
"Yeah. Being inside for too long can be rough," said Toby.
"Indeed. But hopefully, we'll soon be out again."
"We can only hope."
Then, James's Guard blew the whistle.
"I'd best be going. Till later, Toby!" said James, and soon he was out of sight.
Toby left a few minutes later feeling a lot better about things.
- Annie and Clarabel
- Jessie (mentioned)
- Daisy (mentioned)
- Mavis (mentioned)
- Sir Topham Hatt (mentioned)
- This story is also titled Quarantine II.
- Originally, the story was going to end with a scene of Liza back at her house.
- The Author has mentioned that this story could possibly coincide with Quarantine.