The Goods Train is the third story of volume three.
|The Goods Train|
|Season X, Episode 53|
|Air date||14 February 2021|
The Back of the Train
Every afternoon, David takes the pick-up goods train starting at the Big Station, then stopping at stations to pick up and set down trucks before reaching the end of the line where another engine takes them to places in England.
One evening, after finishing his job, David puffed into the sheds. Molly and Dodger were already there.
"Good evening David," said Dodger. "How was your day?"
"It went well," replied David, flatly. "Nothing out of the ordinary."
"Is something the matter?" asked Molly. "You don't look so cheerful."
"Well lately, I have been getting bored of the pick-up goods," said David. "I have done it for so long now that it's become rather stale. I do miss the fast goods I used to take back at Leicester."
"I understand," said Molly. "I sometimes miss the Expresses back in the Eastern Region. Although, nowadays, I'm not so suited for the Express."
"But David is still one of the best goods engines out there," put in Dodger. "Perhaps you should tell your Driver and see if anything could be done."
"Perhaps," sighed David. "For now, I need to get some rest. I'll be heading out early tomorrow. Good night Molly, Dodger."
David fell fast asleep. Molly and Dodger remained concerned.
The next day, David was in the sheds at the Big Station. His crew was about to head out for lunch when the Fat Controller walked in.
"Ah! Hold on a minute," he called to David's Driver and Fireman.
"Hullo Sir," said the Driver. "We were just going to lunch."
"Yes, before that, I want to inform you that there is now a fast goods train after the two evening services. I figured David would be the most capable for the job."
"Fast goods, eh. How does that sound, old boy?" asked the Driver.
"That sounds wonderful. I will do my best Sir!" replied David.
"I knew you'd be up for the job. You'll do fine," smiled the Fat Controller then he walked away.
"Well, what do you know about that?" chuckled the Fireman.
"It's certainly a nice change," said David.
"Indeed," agreed the Driver. "Get some rest now. We'll be back later."
David's crew walked away.
David waited and waited. He was looking forward to the fast goods.
At last, his crew returned and soon, he was puffing out the sheds to collect his trucks. Jessie shunted them into place and as soon as the Guard blew his whistle, David puffed away.
He was making excellent time. Signals showed green as he passed and before he knew it, he was at Barrow-in-Furness where another engine was waiting to take the train.
David ran back to Vicarstown and was surprised to see James in the sheds along with his friends.
"Hey James. Great to see you. What brings you here?"
"Oh, good evening David. It's good you ask why I'm here since it is your fault," said James.
"What do you mean?" asked David.
"Well, now that you're in charge of the fast goods, I am stuck with your regular pick-up goods," explained James.
"And I did not like the change."
"Never mind James, you'll get used to it," said David.
"Rubbish. I have never liked the pick-up goods and I never will," retorted James.
"Well, I was growing tired of the pick-up goods," replied David.
"Hmpf! Well I am not sticking with the slow goods," snorted James.
"I really enjoyed the fast goods though. I wouldn't want to trade it for anything," said David.
"But you're the only engine who can take the pick-up goods," protested James.
"Nonsense James. You're perfectly capable of doing it," said David, encouragingly.
"But I'm not as good as you," moaned James.
"After a few runs, you'll soon be an expert," said David.
"All right," cut in Molly. "That's enough you two."
"Molly please, explain to him that I can't pull the slow goods," pleaded James.
"I would if you had better arguments," replied Molly.
"Besides, you have pulled pick-ups goods before," put in Dodger.
"Several times in fact," said Molly.
"Fine! It's no use arguing with you three," grumbled James.
"Now we can all go to sleep!" chuckled Dodger.
"Good night then," said Molly.
The engines were soon fast asleep.
"I shan't be stuck on the slow goods," James said to himself. "They'll see."
The next morning, David headed out very early. He was gone by the time the others woke up.
"Where did David go?" asked James.
"I think he had an early job to do," yawned Dodger.
"Is he working on Edward's line?"
"Not sure," said Dodger. "All I know is that there's plenty of work for me at the Coal Mines."
Unbeknownst to the others, James was planning a way to get out of pulling the pick-up goods.
For days, he tried to avoid taking the pick-ups goods. He tried to delay his other jobs so that he wouldn't be there to take the goods when it was time but that didn't work.
David continued to enjoy pulling the fast goods which made James very cross. This led to various arguments between the two engines. Then one night at Vicarstown, David had some news for James and the other engines.
"Tomorrow I won't be taking the fast goods."
"Really? Why not?"
"I will be taking the post train at night."
"So that means the Fat Controller will need someone to pull the fast goods."
James was confused.
"The fast goods will now be once a week and I am still the designated engine for that job.
"Surely you could take the slows goods and be back in time to collect the post," suggested James.
"That is a possibility but I'm helping out on Edward's line so I don't think so," replied David.
James was disappointed.
"It simply isn't fair," he grumbled to the others the following morning after David had gone. "He gets all the good jobs and I'm stuck with the boring slow, slow goods."
"His grumbling is fun to listen to," Dodger snickered quietly to Molly.
"Hey! It's not funny!"
"Relax James," smiled Molly. "Just give it time and you'll get used to your new job."
"Huh, I doubt that," said James and then he puffed away in a cloud of steam.
"Well, he's not going to listen. I just know that," said Dodger.
"Probably," agreed Molly. "I just want all this complaining to stop. I guess we can only hope for the best."
Later that day, David was puffing to the Harbour at the Big Station with a long train of china clay trucks.
He was making good time when suddenly he began to feel a pain in his boiler.
"Your injector has failed!" cried his Driver.
"Oh dear. That can't be good," sighed David.
The Fireman damped down his fire and they struggled to the Junction.
Luckily, Jessie was there to help. She helped him to the sheds whilst Donald came to take the trucks to the Harbour.
"Hopefully I'll be ready for tonight," said David.
"The feed-pipe is blocked. We'll soon figure it out," said his Driver.
"In the meantime, I'll have to take over for you on Edward's line," said Douglas. "Not that I mind."
Then Douglas puffed away.
"Maybe it would a good idea to rest tonight," said Duck. "That way, repairs can be carried out properly."
"Then someone else has to take the fast goods," said David.
"I'm very sure James would be more than glad to do that," said Jessie.
"That's fine with me," replied David.
So it was arranged. James was at Vicarstown when he heard the news.
"Finally!" he beamed. "I'll show everyone how good I am."
"Don't get too excited now," chuckled Dodger. "Just stay calm."
"I am clam," interrupted James. "But still excited." Then he puffed away.
"Well I'm glad that worked out," said Molly. "Now James has his opportunity and hopefully things will go back to normal."
Dodger hoped so too.
That evening, James was getting ready to take the fast goods.
"Well, you have your chance at last," said David.
"Yes I do. And if this goes well, maybe I'll take it even more times," said James.
"I wouldn't get so far ahead. It's not an easy job," put in David.
"Nothing I can't manage."
"Of course but still, you'd best mind the trucks."
James remained unconcerned. Then, his Driver returned and he was ready to go.
"All right then. Take care!" called David.
"I've got this, I've got this," thought James as he puffed over the yard where his train was waiting.
The Guard blew his whistle and James started off.
The train was very heavy. It took time to build up speed but once he did, he was running well. The trucks were behaving and they soon came to Gordon's Hill.
"Come on! Come on!" panted James. Finally, the slope was easier and the rest of the way was straight. He puffed into Vicarstown, exhausted but was glad to have done a good job.
Dodger and Molly were already in the shed.
"How did it go?" asked Dodger.
"Just give me a minute," sighed James.
"It's hard work, isn't it?"
"It was a lot harder than I thought and I already knew it was going to be hard," said James.
"I wouldn't worry," said Dodger. "I'm sure that David found it hard the first few times."
"He was probably too excited over pulling the fast goods that he just didn't say that it was hard work," said Molly.
"Perhaps," murmured James and then he went to sleep.
The next day, David was back at work. He saw James at the Works station.
"How did it go last night?" asked David.
"It went well. It was hard work though."
"I understand. I found it hard at first but it brings back a lot of good memories that makes me glad to take the fast goods even though it is hard work," explained David.
"Yeah, I think you can go back to pulling the fast goods. I guess I'll stick with the pick-up goods," said James.
"I won't lie. The pick-up goods does have its advantages. After a while it does get boring though. So here's an idea. We can take turns on pulling the fast goods."
"That sounds great!" agreed James.
"It's settled then."
Nowadays, James and David alternate on the fast goods train. They both do a grand job. They are glad to be Really Useful and glad to be friends.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Donald (does not speak)
- Edward (mentioned)
- Gordon (mentioned)