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The Disused Siding is the twenty-second story of volume three.

The Disused Siding
Season X, Episode 72
TheDisusedSiding.png
Air date 31 October 2021
Written by MainLineEngines
Directed by MainLineEngines
Episode guide
Previous
Last Day at the Steelworks
Next
Molly and the Empty Trucks

Plot

It was a dark night at the Coal Mines. Dodger was finishing his work before heading back to the station. Fog was coming down but Dodger didn't mind. He shunted the trucks into place with ease. Today however, he found that all the sidings were full and there were still more trucks to shunt. He went down every track, but there seemed to no more room.

Suddenly, through the mist, he spotted another track.

"That siding would be perfect to put these trucks," he said. "I can't believe I've never noticed this siding," he muttered.

However, the trucks did not want to be moved.

"We can't go in there!" the trucks protested.

"Come on," grumbled Dodger, "it'll just be one night."

Dodger had to force them into the siding.

"You'll pay for this Dodger!" they shouted.

"Rubbish. You're being paranoid for nothing," scoffed Dodger.

Finally, all the work was done, and Dodger puffed back home.

His friends were already in the shed when he arrived.

"Sorry I'm late, but I had some extra work today the Mines. I'm glad to say that all the trucks are in order - including some that didn't want to be moved," said Dodger.

"The trucks are always complaining," put in Molly.

"True. Anyways, there's plenty of orders tomorrow, so I'm sure they'll be moved," added Dodger.

With that, Dodger went to sleep.

The next morning, he puffed out of the shed, and met James at the station.

"Hey James, what brings you here?"

"The Fat Controller sent me to fetch some coal trucks."

"Huh, and I thought you were waiting for your coaches," teased Dodger.

"Well, besides the messiness of coal, it's not so bad," replied James.

"Then just wait a few minutes. I'll be back!"

Dodger ran back to the Mines and found that the Manager was waiting for him.

"Listen up, there's two order to fulfil right now, so we'll need thirty-six trucks total," explained the Manager.

"I have a line of twenty and one of sixteen ready and waiting."

Dodger went to fetch them but as he shunted them into place, he noticed something odd.

"Is it just me or does the yard seem emptier?" asked Dodger. "I mean, I remember shunting a lot of trucks yesterday and now, a lot of them seem to be gone."

"Perhaps someone came in here during the night," replied his Driver.

The Manager saw that Dodger had his thirty-six trucks in line.

"Good," he said. "Get those to the station then come back here for more. There's a lot of orders to fulfil."

"Yeah, but it also seems that we have trucks missing."

"Huh, that's weird," replied the Manager. "I'll check the cameras. Perhaps it was just a mix-up or something. You get going with those trucks."

"I will."

Dodger puffed away and delivered his trucks to the station. James took some to the Big Station whilst Molly took the rest to Edward's Branch Line.

When Dodger returned to the Mines, the Manager had some news for him.

"So I checked the cameras and it seems like there was no suspicious activity last night," said the Manager.

"Bother, I was hoping it was just a mix-up," grumbled Dodger. "Now we have missing coal trucks."

"I'll see if there's any that have been left at other yards and then get Molly to collect them," said the Manager, and he hurried into his office.

"I just hope we can complete our orders with the trucks we have right now," sighed Dodger.

Everything went fine till evening when there was just one more big order to complete.

"I can't believe this is happening. I only have five trucks. Just five! How can that be?" grumbled Dodger. "And I've every corner of this place and I can't find any more trucks. And to top it all off, that siding that I used to store some trucks yesterday seems to have just . . . vanished . . .," he finished.

Fortunately, at that moment, Molly puffed in with some empty trucks.

"I heard you needed more trucks," she said.

"Yes, thank you Molly. You saved me," he said gratefully.

By the time Dodger finished his work, it was getting dark.

"I don't know why but after this whole missing trucks ordeal, I just want to get the heck out of here," he said to his Driver.

"I know the circumstances are a bit, erm, suspicious, but let's just stay calm and focus on the job. Perhaps we even miscounted the amount of trucks beforehand," replied his Driver.

"I thought about that, but I'm sure I had counted correctly and you know my mathematics are never off."

"Well for a steam locomotives, they are impressive," chuckled the Driver.

"Hey, you have to learn somehow," chuckled Dodger. "But seriously, we should get going now."

"Right after the coal chute in loaded," reminded the Driver.

So Dodger waited till the chute was full. Then he pulled the loaded trucks into a siding. By now it was dark, and fog was coming down again. Once again, through the fog, he could see the siding he had seen yesterday. There seemed to some sort of light coming from the siding.

"I'm not going near that," he said quietly.

So once he was uncoupled from the trucks, he puffed back to Vicarstown.

He was about to go into the sheds when he met Donald and Douglas.

"Hey, what brings you here?" asked Dodger.

"Och, we're takin' a late night guids train," said Donald.

"Lots of trucks came from the Other Railway," added Douglas.

The Stationmaster came up.

"All that is missing is the coal trucks," he said.

Dodger was surprised. "Coal trucks? What coal trucks? Oh dear, I must have forgotten them."

"Well, we canna go without them," said Donald.

"I'll just have to go back to the Mines," stuttered Dodger.

Donald and Douglas could see that he was nervous.

"What's the matter with ye?" asked Douglas. "I've never seen ye like this before."

"It's just that strange things have been happening at the Mines," explained Dodger.

"What sort of things?" asked Donald.

"Well, lots of trucks have disappeared," continued Dodger. "And it all seems to happen at night which is why I'm very weary of going back."

Dodger sighed. He felt his wheels wobbling.

"I can't let a few suspicious things scare me," he said at last. "I'm going back for those coal trucks."

"That's more like him!" exclaimed Douglas.

Dodger was soon at the Mines and quickly arranged the trucks.

"All right. Let's get the heck out of here," puffed Dodger.

He was just about to leave when he spotted something strange through the fog.

"Those trucks, "observed Dodger, "are moving by themselves."

His wheels felt wobbly again.

"And they're coming towards us! Let's get out of here!"

Dodger raced all the way back to the station. He was relieved when he was finally under the canopy.

"Ye're back!" cheered Donald and Douglas.

"Yes, I'm back, and I just want to get a good nights rest and forget all these weird things that have been going on," replied Dodger.

So once Dodger shunted the trucks into place, he puffed back to the sheds. His friends were already asleep. His Driver and Fireman left for the night but Dodger was still awake.

"I don't know what I say," he sighed, "but I hope I never see it again." With a sigh, he fell asleep.

The next morning when Dodger awoke David and Emily had already left, so he was alone with Molly in the shed.

"You came back late last night," she said.

"Yeah. I had to collect some more trucks from the Mines," replied Dodger. "I'm not going to lie. Things got very strange last night."

"What happened?"

"I was collecting my trucks when I thought I saw some trucks coming towards me. They seemed to be moving by themselves so I just rushed out of there as fast as I could."

"Huh, that is strange."

"This all started when I discovered that siding," continued Dodger. "I don't know what to expect next."

"You can only hope for the best," replied Molly. "Anyways, you had live the threat of air-strikes so I think you're more than prepared for anything."

"I know, but it's still kind of scary," sighed Dodger. "But you're right, I can handle anything - especially if I have you."

So, despite some uncertainty about the future, Dodger puffed to work.

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