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The Re-opening is the fourth story of volume three.

The Re-opening
Season X, Episode 54
Air date 21 February 2021
Written by MainLineEngines
Directed by MainLineEngines
Episode guide
The Goods Train
Change in the Air


The Arlesdale Railway had been closed due to major repairs to the line. It took several months of hard work and now, the railway could begin operations again.

Rex, Mike, Bert, and Jock the miniature-gauge steam engines were all getting ready for a day of work.

"Finally we're going back to work," chuffed Mike. "I don't think I would have lasted even one more day stuck in the shed with Rex."

"I figured you'd say that," replied Rex. "Ah well, at least we had some good laughs whilst we were in the shed."

"Yeah, lots of laughs," chuckled Bert.

"Now, you can get back to pulling coaches," put in Rex.

"Nonsense! I'm fine with the ballast trucks, thank you very much," retorted Mike.

"Well you never know when we might need help with passengers," said Jock.

"Eh, you'll be fine."

"You are quite popular though," said Rex, thoughtfully.

"It wouldn't be such a bad idea to have you pull passenger trains," added Jock.

"For all I know, Jock is the most popular," said Mike, firmly.

"All right, all right! Stop arguing over popularity and focus on the day of work you have ahead," grumbled Frank, who was passing by.

The other engines just laughed.

"Jock, you have the first train and your coaches are waiting at the platform," said Frank.

"Thank you," said Jock and he puffed out of the shed and backed onto the coaches."

There were lots of passengers waiting. Then Oliver arrived.

"Hullo Jock," said Oliver. "Great to see you again. Many people have come. They are excited that the railway is open again."

Indeed many passengers walked over the footbridge to the miniature railway platform.

"It's great to be back," replied Jock. "I didn't expect so many people."

"They have been asking for a while when you would re-open," said Oliver.

"I understand," muttered Jock.

The Small Controller came to see what was happening.

"We will have to add more coaches to the train," he told Jock's Driver.

"That might be a little bit too much for me," said Jock, anxiously. "There are already a lot of coaches."

"Then you will have to pull the train with someone else," said the Small Controller and he hurried to the shed.

Rex, Mike and Bert had noticed the large number of people.

"That probably means extra trains," said Bert.

"Or more coaches," said Rex.

Mike didn't really care and Rex knew that.

"Hullo Rex, Mike and Bert," said the Small Controller. "I know you are looking forward to getting back to work."

"We are!"

"Good to hear that. Now, I need one of you to double-head this train with Jock."

"I'm still building up steam," said Rex.

"And I have a train to take after Jock's," said Bert.

"I have to collect ballast," said Mike.

"Well one of us has to go," said Bert.

"As I mentioned, I am still not ready," said Rex.

"Mike is ready to go," said Bert.

"Wait a minute. No. I'm not double-heading with Jock," Mike grumbled.

"Oh come on, it's just one passenger train," put in Rex.

"Come on Mike. I know passengers isn't your favourite job but at least you get a chance to be Really Useful," said the Small Controller.

"All right, all right, I'll do it," grumbled Mike and he puffed away.

"Don't look so gloomy though!" chuckled Rex.

Mike was still cross as he was coupled up.

"That Rex. He was probably pretending to have trouble getting steam up," he thought to himself. "We'll get even."

As soon as the Guard blew the whistle, Mike started off.

"Easy there!" called Jock. "It's not a race. Besides, we want to avoid any inconveniences if you know what I mean."

Mike didn't care. He just wanted to get the job over with. He sulked as they puffed through the valley. The passengers were having a wonderful time but not Mike.

"The rails are a lot smoother," said Jock.

"I suppose so," grumbled Mike. "I should be pulling ballast trucks and not all these passengers."

Jock decided not to say anything else.

They reached the end of the line safely. Mike continued to grumble as he was turned 'round ready for the return journey.

"Come on Mike. What's the matter?" asked Jock. "I know pulling passengers isn't your favourite job but if it makes you feel better, you really are popular with the passengers!" he chuckled.

Mike chuckled a bit.

"Honestly, I'm just cross with Rex," Mike said.

"Why's that?" asked Jock.

"I'm certain he wasn't having trouble getting steam up," said Mike firmly.

"You do know that he has had trouble with his steam-pipe in the past," reminded Jock.

"In the past. Usually, I am up for a bit of banter, but that just went too far."

Jock didn't agree but he didn't know what to say.

Meanwhile, Rex had collected trucks of ballast and was on his way to Arlesburgh. The train was long and heavy and he felt short of steam so he stopped at the Green for a rest.

The Driver was concerned.

"Mike and Jock will be coming down the line any minute," he said.

"I just can't get steam up," sighed Rex.

"It must be your steam-pipe again," replied the Driver.

Up at Arlesdale, Mike and Jock heard what had happened to Rex.

"From what I hear, his steam-pipe failed," said the Stationmaster.

"Is that so?" asked Mike.

"Yes," replied the Stationmaster. "Frank can get Rex home but there's a ballast train to take."

"I can take that easily," puffed Mike.

"I still need help with this train," put in Jock.

"Oh, right."

"Unless we pull the two trains together," suggested Jock.

Their Drivers were skeptic at first but the two engines were sure they could do it and so it was arranged.

The ballast train was waiting on the loop. Mike and Jock stopped at the Green. Mike ran ahead to collect the ballast train and pushed the trucks into position so Jock could be coupled up. Soon, everything was ready.

"I'm ready!" whistled Mike from the front.

"So I am!" replied Jock, in between the trucks and coaches.

Slowly, the long train began to move. It wasn't easy. The ballast trucks were heavy and so were the coaches but the engines didn't give up. They were soon puffing through the woods. The passengers cheered them on. Mike and Jock heard nothing. They were working hard to keep the train moving. Finally, they could see Arlesburgh. Gently, they stopped at the platform. Excited passengers crowded the platform before rushing to Duck's train. Mike and Jock were tired but happy to have done a good job. The Small Controller was pleased too.

"Well done you two. You both have proved that we really are a Useful Railway," he smiled. "You can have a rest before your next train."

Rex was already in the shed as the others puffed in.

"Great job you two," cheered Rex.

"It was no problem at all," replied Jock.

"Yeah. After all, you really did break down," added Mike.

"Hopefully I'll be repaired soon," said Rex.

"You see, I kind of thought you pretending to have problems," put in Mike, sheepishly.

"What? I would never do that," replied Rex. "I know we joke around a lot but I know the Small Controller always wants us in good working order, so I don't like to fake any problems."

"I was cross about having to pull passengers too," said Mike.

"But hey, you did get to pull ballast and passengers," laughed Rex.

"And now, I'm more popular than ever!" chortled Mike.

"All right, don't get too ahead of yourself," retorted Rex. "We just opened up again."

"And you've broken down already," put in Mike.

"Ha ha. Like you've never broken down."

"Not as often as you!"

Despite all their arguing, both Rex and Mike were glad to be working again. Rex was soon repaired and both engines continue to do their work alongside the others on the Small Railway.