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The Christmas Wall is the twenty-sixth and final story of volume three.

The Christmas Wall
Season X, Episode 76
TheChristmasWall.png
Air date 25 December 2021
Written by MainLineEngines
Directed by MainLineEngines
Episode guide
Previous
Edward, James, and the Snow
Next
As the Deer Longs

Plot

One December morning, just two days before Christmas, the Big Station was busier than ever. Passengers rushed to their train whilst packages and parcels were loaded into post vans.

Jessie had just brought some coaches to the platform.

"You know it's almost Christmas when the station is busy," she grinned.

"Is it always this busy at Christmas?" asked Pug.

"In the years I have been on Sodor, it does get very busy," said Jessie.

"It's true," said Norman. "Many passengers are visiting their families and getting each other Christmas presents."

"Well, it's good that people can be together for Christmas," said Pug.

Just then, Henry backed onto his coaches.

"Thanks for fetching my coaches Jessie," said Henry. "I hope there aren't any delays at the Junction."

"Well, we have to do our best during these busy times," said Bear, as he backed onto the post vans which were filled with letters and parcels ready to go to the post depot.

Then Duck arrived with his coaches Alice and Mirabel.

"Well, we just have a few more days to get through, and then we can enjoy Christmas," said Duck.

"I'm not going to lie, I am looking forward to it," said Henry.

"So am I," shivered Daisy, as she purred in. "This cold weather just doesn't agree with me."

"She says that in the summer too!" laughed Ryan, as he passed by.

"Oh, that Ryan," chuckled Daisy. "Technically he's right but I reserve the right to complain."

"Well, as Duck said, it's almost Christmas, so we just have to do our best and push through," said Oliver, who was waiting with Isabel and Dulcie.

Then Henry's Guard blew the whistle.

"In the meantime, you'd better get going," called Jessie.

"Indeed. See you later!" said Henry and he puffed away.

Over at Vicarstown, the engines were busy too.

Emily kept busy on the Norramby Branch Line taking passengers up and down the line. Meanwhile, Dodger kept busy shunting coal trucks and filling trucks with coal for Molly to take to the stations.

Molly was waiting at the station for a train of coal trucks. Diesel had brought some coaches to the platform when Paxton arrived with some slate trucks.

"That's a long line of slate you have there," observed Diesel.

"I know," said Paxton. "The narrow guage engines are very busy with passengers on their railway and at the quarry."

"There's always more work at this time of the year," said Diesel.

"That's true, but at least there's plenty of Christmas lights and decorations to look at," said Paxton.

Molly had heard everything and she was thinking: "I better take advantage of this moment of rest 'cause once Dodger brings my coal trucks, I'm going to rushed off my wheels for the rest of the day."

When Dodger brought her trucks to the station, she set off towards the Big Station. As expected, the day was very busy. Molly rushed up and down the line delivering coal to all the stations and then collecting the empty trucks and taking them back to Vicarstown.

At the end of the day, she was exhausted.

"All I want is a good night's rest," she sighed. "Thank goodness that Christmas Day is almost here, so I can get some proper rest."

Emily and Dodger were already in the shed.

"There were so many passengers today that extra trains had to be scheduled," Emily was saying.

"Lots of work here too. I had to help out in the yard on top of shunting and filling up coal trucks," said Dodger. "How was your day Molly?"

"Very busy," she said, flatly.

"I can see you're tired," observed Dodger.

"Well, I was delivering coal all day long," continued Molly.

Presently, David reversed into the shed.

"You're late," teased Dodger.

"I know," chuckled David. "I was held up the Works station. The weather is getting really cold, and some points got jammed. Luckily for me, I had a goods train but poor Peter Sam had passengers and they complained about the hold up."

"Some passengers tend to complain," grinned Dodger.

"As long as we do our best, it will be fine," said Emily. "Besides, they will have to understand that there are things beyond our control."

Molly barely paid any attention. She was exhausted but she thought a great deal about what her friends had said.

"So many delays, complaining, and extra work," she thought to herself. "It just gets in the way of truly enjoying Christmas. Surely, I shouldn't have to be this worried. After all, it's Christmas."

The next morning, she woke up feeling a lot better.

"Another busy day ahead of us," murmured Dodger.

"Indeed," said Molly, "but that's no trouble for us. After all, the best part is Christmas Day when we get the whole day to ourselves, and all of this extra work becomes a thing of the past."

"I suppose that's true," said Dodger.

"In fact, I've realised that I just need to relax, and ignore anything that brings me down. So, I'm just going to focus on my work and nothing more."

Dodger was slightly confused by what she meant by that but then Molly asked him: "Do you think you can cover my deliveries to the Works station and then down to Norramby. Just so I can have time to collect the empty trucks and bring them back here."

"Sure. Anything for you," replied Dodger.

"Thanks Dodger. You're a good friend indeed," said Molly. Then she puffed away to fill up with water.

Meanwhile, as Dodger shunted Molly's trucks, he was still confused over Molly's attitude towards Christmas.

"She's usually always happy, and even says so," he thought. "I better ask her if she's okay."

As Molly was coupled up, Dodger called out to her: "Hey Molly, are you feeling all right?"

"I'm fine, Dodger," Molly called back. "In fact, for the first time in a long time, I can truly appreciate Christmas."

"If you say so," replied Dodger.

Soon Molly was on the Main Line with the trucks rattling behind her.

Her Driver noticed something. "Usually she'd be singing Christmas carols by now," he told the Fireman.

"No need for that," interrupted Molly. "I need to concentrate on my work."

Both Driver and Fireman were surprised.

Presently, she reached the Junction. The signal was red so she had to stop. The Stationmaster came up. "There's something wrong with the signals, so we're going to have to flag you through," he explained.

"No worries. Do what you have to," replied Molly.

Thomas was also there with Annie and Clarabel.

"All my passengers are going to be cross if they're late," he told her.

"Cheer up Thomas," said Molly. "I know you want to do your best, but there's no sense worrying over things out of our control."

"I guess you have a point. Maybe I can make up for lost time."

"As long as you maintain an acceptable speed," said Annie.

"Otherwise you'll have us bouncing like peas in a frying pan back here," put in Clarabel.

"I always mind my speed!" laughed Thomas.

Then the Stationmaster came back with a green flag in hand.

"All right Molly, let's get you through the station."

Molly blew her whistle, then she was guided through the station, and finally she reached the Big Station. Gordon and James were waiting at the station when she arrived.

"Hullo Molly," called Gordon. "Did you have a nice journey?"

"As a matter of fact Gordon, I did," replied Molly. "There was little delay at the Junction but other than that, everything was fine."

"I hope I don't get delayed," grumbled James.

"Ah never mind James, delays are bound to happen at this of the year," replied Molly. "Besides, it's Christmas, and we should all enjoy the festivities."

"You know, we'll be having a Christmas carol party here," said James.

"I'm sure you'd like to join," said Gordon.

"I'll have to think about it," replied Molly. "Right now, I have empty trucks to pick up and take back to Vicarstown."

"We'll see you around then," said Gordon.

"Certainly," said Molly, and she puffed away.

"I don't know about you but I noticed something a little bit different about her," said Gordon.

"I thought so too," huffed James.

Molly was on her way back to Vicarstown. She was at the Junction when she stopped yet again.

"Another delay? I wonder what's wrong this time," she wondered.

She soon found out that a snow drift was blocking the line.

Percy was waiting at the Junction too, and he was worried.

"I heard Donald and Douglas are at the other end of the line," cried Percy. "This is bound to cause some delays."

"Perhaps," began Molly. "In the meantime, I'm just going to take the time to relax and not worry."

"I wish I could rest, but I have to collect the post train at Ffarquhar. There's lots of letter and parcels that have to go to the post depot."

"All in good time Percy," soothed Molly.

Percy was shocked at the way Molly was acting. Once he was at Ffarquhar, he told the other engines about Molly.

"She acted the same way when I saw her earlier," said Thomas.

"It seems like she's lost all her Christmas spirit," sighed Henrietta.

"I'm sure there's an explanation for that," said Toby.

"An explanation for what?" interrupted Liza.

"For Molly's changing attitude towards Christmas," explained Percy.

"She's usually so cheery and bright," said Thomas. "Especially at Christmastime."

"Well, one things for certain," said Mavis. "This years Christmas miracle is that both of you agreed on something!"

Toby laughed till his side-plates rattled.

"It's good to see them worrying about someone else," chuckled Liza. "Back to Molly though, I think she'll be all right. She might be feeling down but if there's someone that's always there for her, it's Dodger."

"Yeah, the two of them are really close," said Percy.

"I wonder why," put in Mavis.

"You really don't know," said Liza. "Well, Dodger and Molly knew each other before coming to Sodor."

"You really do learn something new every day," said Henrietta.

"That on top of Thomas and Percy's once in a blue moon agreement," chuckled Toby. "Make it last till the new year!"

"I can't guarantee it," grinned Thomas.

"Well I could," boasted Percy. "However, I have a goods train to take to the Harbour."

Percy puffed away and the engines went back to work.

As Liza had predicated, Dodger was concerned for Molly. He was talking to David about her.

"It was odd I tell you. She acted as if Christmas was just so bland and unappealing. I mean, it's Christmas!"

"She loves this time of the year, and you know that better than anyone else," agreed David.

"I know," sighed Dodger. "Perhaps something else is bothering her. I just have to find out."

Then Dodger puffed away.

Back at the Junction, Terence the Tractor had come to help clear the line of snow.

"The line is all clear. As always, you can count on me," said Terence.

"Thank you Terence," smiled Molly. "Now I can get these empty trucks to Vicarstown." Then she puffed away.

"Well, I still have more snow to clear," sighed Terence.

"I imagine some of the roads are blocked," tooted Bertie.

"I'll have them cleared in no time."

"Take your time. I'm not due to leave until Thomas arrives."

Meanwhile, Molly had reached Edward's station and stopped to collect some empty trucks. Edward and BoCo were in the yard.

"Hullo Molly," said Edward. "Jenna will be here any minute with your trucks."

"Thank you Edward."

"By the way, I heard there was snow blocking the line back at the Junction."

"There was snow but fortunately, Terence came to clear the line," said Molly. "I expect you're excited for Christmas."

"Yes indeed. Even Bill and Ben are excited," puffed Edward.

"Personally, I am looking forward to Christmas and being able to rest after such a busy time."

"I think we all deserve some good rest!" chuckled BoCo.

Presently, Jenna arrived with Molly's trucks.

"Would you like some help up the hill?" she asked.

"Thank you Jenna. That would be lovely."

With Jenna's help, she was soon on her way to Vicarstown.

Dodger was still looking for Molly as he took some coal trucks to the Works station. He left the trucks to Victor and the Works Diesel and as he passed by the narrow gauge engine sheds, he asked them: "Have any of you seen Molly?"

"She passed by this morning," said Peter Sam. "I haven't seen her since then."

"Of course not," grumbled Duncan. "You've been working all day."

"Ah never mind him Dodger," chuckled Rheneas. "He still has one more train due."

"Look on the bright side Duncan," tooted Rusty. "Soon you'll get some rest at last."

"And at least you're not on quarry duty like Sir Handel is," laughed Ivo Hugh.

"Yeah," grinned Skarloey. "I can't believe he accidentally voluneteered himself to work at the quarry."

"Falcon isn't exactly the brightest," put in Duke. "Stuart and I should know."

"It's true!" laughed Peter Sam.

"I guess it could be worse," interrupted Duncan. "Poor Luke has to deal with Falcon."

"Clearly a lot happens on your railway," laughed Dodger. "I need to stop by here more often."

"Feel free to come by anytime," replied Rheneas.

Suddenly, Dodger's thoughts were interrupted as Donald and Douglas puffed by. They had just cleared some snow beyond Kellsthorpe Road.

"That was a deep drift Douggie. One of the thickest I'd ever seen!"

"Aye Donal'. It's a guid thin' all the trains are running normally noo."

"Indeed. I heard there wuz one at the Junction too and several trains were delayed including Molly."

"So the line was blocked by snow over at the Junction?" asked Dodger.

"Och, yes," replied Douglas. "We heard it wuz cleared by Terence."

"That's good to hear," said Dodger. "Hopefully Molly is on her way now."

It wasn't long before Molly rattled by. She whistled "hullo" to Dodger.

"There she is. I have to go talk to her," and as soon as he could, he puffed back to Vicarstown.

When Molly arrived at the station, she saw Diesel and Paxton at the station as well as another train of coal trucks.

"There you are!" called Diesel. "You're a bit late but don't worry, I can take your trucks to the yard, and Paxton can shunt your next train."

Diesel hurried off with Molly's trucks just as Dodger was puffing into the station. However, the signal outside the station was red.

"Darn it," thought Dodger. "This signal better hurry up and turn green otherwise I won't get to talk to her."

Paxton shunted Molly's trucks behind her and she was coupled up. The Guard blew the whistle and Molly puffed away.

"Sorry I can't stop!" called Molly as she passed him. "I'll see you later!"

"Great. I lost my opportunity," he sighed.

"Never mind," soothed his Driver. "The day is almost done, and soon we'll all be off to enjoy Christmas."

Relunctantly, Dodger puffed back to work.

For the rest of the day, the two engines kept very busy. Dodger helped Diesel and Paxton in the yard, and took coal trucks down to Norramby.

"The villagers need coal to get through this frosty weather," said Emily.

Dodger murmured in agreement.

Meanwhile, Molly delivered her trucks to the Big Station. She waited as the trucks were emptied into the coal hopper. By now, the sun had gone down and all the engines were returning to the shed after a long day of hard work.

"At last, some much needed rest," said James.

"Like you needed any more rest," teasted Henry.

Jessie, Norman, and Pug were finishing up work in the yard.

"There's just one more train due," said Norman.

"That would be Pip and Emma," said Jessie. "You two can go ahead to the sheds. I can fetch the empty trucks for Molly."

"All right then. See you in a little while," said Pug.

Norman and Pug went to the sheds whilst Jessie fetched the empty trucks.

Soon, Molly was ready to go. However, before she could leave the station, she was stopped.

"There's some bad weather on the other side of the Island," explained the Stationmaster. "Pip and Emma can't get throught the snow by themselves so Donald and Douglas will be heading out to clear the line."

Sure enough, with their lamps shining brightly, and snowploughs in front, the Caledonian Twins set to work.

"Come along Molly!" called Donald. "We have wurrk tae do!"

The three engines made their way to Vicarstown. By now, all the stations were closed but the Christmas lights shone brightly in the dark. As they passed Kellsthorpe Road, the first drifts of snow appeared. Donald and Douglas charged them again and again till they forced their way through.

At Vicarstown, Pip and Emma had been halted and many passengers were concerned.

"I hope our train doesn't get cancelled," said Pip.

"I highly doubt that," said Emma. "We'll get through this some way or another."

"I'm sure Donald and Douglas are on their way now," said David.

"You see," said Emma. "The snow is no bother for them."

"I hope so," sighed Pip.

"I hope Molly is on her way too," thought Dodger.

Then, in the distance, the signal turned green, and with their lamps still shining brightly, Donald and Douglas steamed in followed by Molly.

"The line is clear for ye!" called Douglas.

"Donald and Douglas did some excellent work!" cheered Molly.

Everyone thanked the Twins for their work, and then hurried off to board Pip and Emma.

Molly told the other engines all about it. "There were some really deep drifts but these two just didn't give up. It just goes to show that we're Enterprising Engines no matter what the weather. Now, I better take these trucks to the yard."

Dodger followed her to the yard.

"Hey Molly. I'm glad you made it. I've been wanting to talk to you."

"I'm listening."

"Well, I wanted to know what you meant by not worrying about Christmas, and then just acting as if Christmas is bland and unspecial."

"I know Christmas is very special," replied Molly. She paused for a moment. "For a moment there I just felt like I hit a wall and all of a sudden, I felt overwhelmed by all the work and having to go the extra mile to show Christmas spirit. Honestly, the best part of Christmas is just spending it with friends like you."

Dodger thought about it for a moment.

"I understand," he said at last. "You just didn't seem like yourself."

"I get why you were concerned," said Molly. "You really are a good friend indeed."

"Thank you Molly. I couldn't imagine spending Christmas without you, and now, we have one more Christmas together."

"Just think of where we are now compared to our first Christmas together," added Molly.

"It's very different," said Dodger, "but I'm glad we're still friends."

"So am I."

Molly and Dodger went into the sheds. They sat in silence for a while. Then, in the distance they could hear the church bells chiming and the sound of singing Silent Night drifted through the air.

"Merry Christmas Molly."

"Merry Christmas Dodger."

Again there was silence. At last, Molly broke the silence.

"The truth is, I can't completely brush off Christmas. Now that it's just past midnight, I think that calls for some classic Christmas carols."

"It was about time you said that!" laughed Dodger. "What do you what to begin with?"

"Adeste Fideles of course."

"O Come, All Ye Faithful for us non-Latin speakers."

"Just follow my lead," smiled Molly.

[Lyrics for Adéste Fidéles/O Come, All Ye Faithful are provided.]

"Adéste fidéles, læti triumphantes, veníte, veníte in Béthlehem. Natum vidéte regem angelórum.

Veníte adorémus, veníte adorémus, veníte adorémus, Dóminum.

Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation, sing all ye citizens of heav'n above. Glory to God, all glory in the highest;

O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning, Jesus, to thee be all glory giv'n; Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;

O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!"

"That was a good one," said Dodger. "It's a good thing you're here to cover me up!"

"Nonsense. You did fine," chuckled Molly.

Then the other engines came in.

"Now that you're all here, let's keep this going, shall we."

[Hark! the Herald Angels Sing is sung next.]

Everyone - Hark! the herald Angels sing; "Glory to the newborn King; Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled." Joyful, all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies; with angelic hosts proclaim: "Christ is born in Bethlehem."

Hark! the herald Angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King!"

So, as Drivers and Firemen headed home for the night, Molly led the carols in her usual way. Despite everything, she realised that Christmas is still a very special time and she is glad to spend it with her friends.

Characters

Locations

Trivia

  • This story has several inspirations: the title and basic concept is taken from the sixth season of ABC comedy The Middle. Several other elements are based on the Writer's own Christmas traditions.
  • The Writer notes that he made an effort to include most of the cast in this story.
  • This marks the first official appearance of the Works Diesel.
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