Station Closing is the eighteenth story of volume three.
|Season X, Episode 68|
|Air date||22 August 2021|
The Trouble with Ballast Trucks
Jessie and the Diesel Engines
The Main Line of the North Western Railway had recently changed it terminus to Tidmouth on the west side of the Island after the London, Midland, and Scottish Railway allowed Suddrian trains to run to Barrow-in-Furness. As a result, a bigger station was built at Tidmouth just north of the original Tidmouth station. As a result, this smaller station which used to be the terminus station on the west side became known as Lower Tidmouth and still saw use for stopping trains and on trains coming from Thomas's Branch Line.
However, as time went on, the station began to see less traffic mainly because of the short distance between the Big Station and the Junction.
One day, Thomas stopped at Lower Tidmouth. Very few passengers waited at the platform.
"I remember this station used to be packed all the time," he said to the Stationmaster.
"I know," sighed the Stationmaster, "but times are changing. The opening of the new Tidmouth has directly impacted my station."
"I'm sorry about that," said Thomas. "I wish this station could be bustling again."
Then the Guard's whistle blew and Thomas puffed away.
Later, at the Junction, he met Edward and told him all about it.
"I understand," murmured Edward. "Lower Tidmouth isn't even one of my stops anymore."
"I only go down there every now and then," added Thomas. "We must find a way to increase traffic at Lower Tidmouth. Otherwise, I feel that the station might have to close."
However, neither Thomas nor Edward had any ideas.
The next day, Edward saw Gordon, James, and Henry and told them about Lower Tidmouth.
"It would be shame if the station closed," said Gordon.
"So many good memories with that station," sighed Henry.
"Something must be done," put in James.
"I think that the station just needs more activity, that's all," said Gordon.
"If the station is busier, then it won't have to close," said Edward.
"Exactly," said Gordon.
"Now, how can we make the station busier?" asked James. "Many of our trains don't even stop there."
"Well, except for some of Thomas's trains," said Edward. "I'm sure he'd be glad to give the station a bit more exposure."
"Wait, so we'd be relying on Thomas?" asked Gordon.
"If it helps save the station, then yes," answered Edward.
"Fair enough," replied Gordon.
That afternoon, Edward spoke to Thomas.
"I'll certainly do everything I can," puffed Thomas. "It would be a shame if the station closed."
So whenever Thomas went to Lower Tidmouth, he always emphasised the history of the station.
"This station used to be terminus, so it is a very important station for the Main Line," he would say.
The Stationmaster was pleased with Thomas's efforts.
"You really don't have to do it," he told Thomas. "I've been Stationmaster for a long time now, and at some point, I am going to retire."
"Retire?" asked Thomas.
"Yes, basically stepping down," explained the Stationmaster.
"It'd just be a shame to see the station close," sighed Thomas.
"I know, and I love this station too. That's mainly why I haven't stepped down yet."
Thomas puffed away, but he felt a bit sad. Annie and Clarabel could tell.
"I can't believe that the station closing might be the best thing for him," he sighed.
"Well, sometimes, things reach their natural end," said Annie.
"But we still need to do everything we can to keep the station open," said Thomas.
"Of course," agreed Clarabel. "By running your trains to time, you'll be helping him out."
Thomas felt better now. He became even more determined to keep Lower Tidmouth open.
The months passed and the station seemed to be getting busier. But one day, the Lower Tidmouth Stationmaster had bad news.
"The Railway Board has decided to close Lower Tidmouth Station within a week," he told Thomas.
Thomas was shocked. He couldn't even tell Edward the news.
"Lower Tidmouth is closing," explained Annie.
"I can tell why he's upset them," sighed Edward.
Despite the engines' sadness, they insisted that the station must be given a proper farewell. So on the last day, a celebration was held in honour of the now defunct station.
The Stationmaster formally announced his retirement. He was sad but glad to be able to spend more time with his family.
The Engines understood and respected his decision.
Nowadays, little is left of Lower Tidmouth. The building was converted into a warehouse whilst the platforms remain intact.
Lots of time has passed now since the closure of Lower Tidmouth, but the engines always remembered the station and the memories they have will never be forgotten.
- This story takes place in either 1925 or 1926 after the events of James the Red Engine.
- This story was inspired by a one-off station seen in "James and the Top-Hat" which was only seen in that story and on Awdry's official map, there is no station between Tidmouth and Knapford Junction. The Writer worked with this early inconsistency and devised a possible explanation for the appearance of this station.