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The Search for Neil
Season 2, Episode 12
(32)
TheSearchForNeil
Air date May 3rd, 2020
Written by Semaj5nodrog4
Episode guide
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Peter Sam and the Lost Engine
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Mother Mavis
The Search for Neil is the twelfth episode of the second season of the Many Adventures on the Island of Sodor.

Plot

It was a busy morning at the Blue Mountain Quarry. The little engines were bustling about pushing and pulling trucks of slate and gravel up and down the quarry. Skarloey, Rheneas, and Luke were busy shunting trains of slate around on the ground level.

"Phew, well that takes care of that," chuffed Rheneas.

"Yep it sure does," chuffed Luke. "There seems to be more slate than usual today. I wonder why that is."

"Well, as long as it's keeping us busy, I'm perfectly fine with that," puffed Skarloey. "Nothing's too much for us little engines to handle."

"Right you are, Skarloey," agreed Rheneas.

"Couldn't have said it better myself," added Luke.

Just then they saw Samson backing up to a train of slate. "Good morning narrow gauge engines," he greeted proudly.

"Hello Samson," replied the little engines.

"How are you doing today?" asked Luke.

"Doing quite well actually, young Luke," said Samson. "I've been tasked to take this train of slate to the Mainland for Sir Topham Hatt and to make sure it arrives on time."

"Very good Samson," said Skarloey. "Umm, just out of curiosity, where's Bradford? Aren't you taking him with you?"

"Oh yes, I am," replied Samson. "He's just back there getting into place."

The little engines were confused. Then they heard a commotion happening behind them. It was Paxton and Bradford. The former was shunting the latter to the end of Samson's train.

"Easy does it, young Paxton. Don't shove me into those trucks now, you hear? According to the rulebook, biffing and bashing is the most common way for accidents to happen, so let's not start one now," advised Bradford.

"Uh, sure. Whatever you say Bradford," chuffed Paxton, thinking Bradford was being a little silly.

Soon Bradford was coupled up to Samson's train and they were ready to go.

"Alright Bradford," called Samson. "Ready when you are."

"Good, the same to you old friend," Bradford called back.

"Well everyone," Samson said to the little engines, "it was nice catching up with all of you, but now, Bradford and I must be on our way and…"

"Oy Samson!" barked Bradford. "Save the chit chat for later. We got a schedule to keep, you know. Now let's see some pumping in those pistons. Come on! Hup, hup, hup, move it, move it, move it!"

"Oh right, sorry Bradford. Bye everyone," said Samson, and he hurried on his way out of the quarry.

The other engines laughed. "Ah Samson," chuckled Rheneas. "Always quite the entertainer."

"Yes, especially whenever he brings Bradford," added Luke.

"And what's funny is he doesn't even realize just how entertaining he is," laughed Paxton. "You'd think by now he would realize…" But before he finished, he and the two engines noticed Skarloey. He seemed concerned.

"Uh Skarloey?" asked Rheneas. "Are you alright?"

"Hmm? Oh yes, I'm fine, Rheneas," replied Skarloey. "I was just thinking about something."

"Oh? What is it?" asked Rheneas.

"Well…" began Skarloey. "I couldn't help looking at Samson and he reminded me of someone I knew a long time ago."

Rheneas was puzzled. "Who would that be?"

Skarloey paused. "Do you remember Neil by any chance?"

Rheneas surprised. "You mean that boxy little engine that brought you to the railway back when you first arrived?"

"Yes that's the one," said Skarloey.

"Yes I remember him," chuffed Rheneas, "but how does Samson remind you of him? Neil was kind and friendly and not a big showoff like Mr. Ego, and…"

"No, no, it's not the personality that reminded me," huffed Skarloey. "It's Samson's shape. They both look fairly similar with their rather boxy shapes and cab less…well, cabs."

"Mmm, that is true," said Rheneas thoughtfully. "They do look similar in a few ways. So I could see why you thought of him."

Paxton and Luke were puzzled. "Um, who are you two talking about?" asked Luke.

"Oh, an engine that Rheneas and I worked with a long time ago who worked on the standard gauge railway," explained Skarloey, and he began telling them all about Neil. "This was ages ago, back when our railway was just opening and we were just arriving. I was the first to arrive by ship and when I was loaded onto a flatbed, I saw a very odd-looking, boxy engine sitting in front of me. His name was Neil, an engine who regularly worked at the seaside, and I thought he looked very ugly indeed, but once we talked, I found out he was actually a very kind and friendly engine and we became friends. He helped me get to the railway and when I began work, he gave me some helpful advice. He even helped me become the engine I am today, for you may not know it, but I was a pretty cheeky and childish engine when I first arrived and..."

"You?" interrupted Paxton. "How can that be? You don't seem like you were ever like that."

"Oh he was," chuckled Rheneas, "and some say he still is childish to this day."

"I thought some people say the same thing about you too, Rheneas," added Luke puzzledly. Rheneas scoffed.

"Well anyway," huffed Skarloey. "I was cheeky and immature and got myself into trouble many times. So much, the manager at that time covered me with a tarp and left me in the shed. I was miserable, but Neil would come over and tell me what I could do to be a better engine and what would happen if I refused. I thought about all the things he said and I had to admit he was right. So when the manager let me out of the shed again, I worked hard to be a better engine. I still got into trouble here and there, as Rheneas can tell you too, but over time, I learned to be a wiser and really useful engine and I had to thank Neil for everything he taught me."

Paxton and Luke were fascinated. "Wow, he sounds like he was a good friend to you, Skarloey," chuffed Paxton.

"Oh he certainly was, Paxton. A very good friend indeed," replied Skarloey.

"But whatever happened to him?" asked Luke. "Is he still around?"

Skarloey and Rheneas frowned and looked mournfully at each other. "Well unfortunately," replied Skarloey, "we don't know what happened to Neil. Over time, more engines were coming to the standard gauge railway and they were bigger and stronger than him. They proved to be more useful than him as well and eventually, he and a few other engines working with him at that time were taken out of service. Some were preserved, but others were sadly…" he gulped. "…scrapped." Luke and Paxton shuddered.

"Yes it was not good for some of those older engines," sighed Rheneas, "and unfortunately, none of our managers ever told us what happened to Neil. We'd like to think he was saved, but since this was decades ago and we haven't heard anything since, we're not sure he made it."

"Oh dear, what a shame," puffed Paxton. "I'm sorry to hear about your friend, Skarloey. I would like to think he's still around."

"So would I, Paxton," said Skarloey, "but sometimes, not every engine is very lucky and they cannot be saved."

"Um excuse me, everyone," called Owen from above. "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation, but you might be wrong about that, Skarloey."

Skarloey was puzzled. "What do you mean, Owen?"

"Well, what I mean is," began Owen, "engines have been found all over the place and been rescued and are working once again lately. Now I know for a fact that here on Sodor, it's become a rather monthly thing. So your friend might still be around and hiding somewhere on this island."

The engines paused thoughtfully. "Hmm, well like we said Owen," chuffed Rheneas. "Neil was taken out of service many decades ago. The chances of us finding him now are highly unlikely."

"Well, now hold on a minute there, Rheneas," puffed Rusty, who had been overhearing. "Owen might have a point. Many engines have been found around the island lately and many times in the past. Think about it, I found Stepney."

"That's right," chuffed Luke, "and I found Bertram."

"And Peter Sam found Proteus," added Paxton.

"And I believe Thomas found Hiro and Glynn," added Owen. Skarloey and Rheneas looked at each other.

"So that's quite a few engines that have been saved," said Rusty, "and some of them were out of service years ago too and yet, they're working again as well. So if that many engines were found, then I think chances of finding Neil are likely after all."

The engines paused for a moment. "You know, they do a point, Skarloey," chuffed Rheneas. "I didn't think of it before, but that is a rather large amount of engines that were found. Plus, we never knew what happened to Neil once he was taken out of service, so if luck would have it, he might just be hiding somewhere on this island, just waiting to be rescued."

Skarloey thought for a moment. "Hmm, you all are making some valid points," he said thoughtfully, "and it is true that engines have been found hiding in the remote areas of the island and are back in service again, and no one knows what happen to Neil…" He paused impressively, then he smiled. "…so I say we should do it."

The engines were surprised. "Uh, do what, Skarloey?" asked Luke.

"Let's form a search party and go look for Neil. He's bound to be somewhere and we can't let him down," replied Skarloey.

"What? Right now?" asked Rheneas.

"Of course," said Skarloey. "We have plenty of engines working here at the quarry and there's enough on the main line, so we could go looking for him and make him useful again."

"But Skarloey," pondered Rheneas. "I think you're rushing into this too quickly. You don't even know where to look for him. There's several places where he could be hiding. Plus, needn't I remind you that Neil was a standard gauge engine, so we could only look for him where standard and narrow gauge tracks meet."

"Well, I could help with that," chuffed Paxton. "I can go where you two cannot. It'll be no trouble for me. Don't know how much help I could be though since I don't know what he looks like, but if he was a boxy engine, then that should be good enough for me."

"And I could tag along too," added Rusty. "We have a big railway and you would need help with this."

"And I could look around here at the quarry," chipped in Luke. "It's a big area and he might be here."

Skarloey was delighted. "Oh thank you everyone," he said. "I really appreciate you all helping me with this. So what do you say Rheneas? Are you in too?"

Rheneas frowned. "Well…finding a small engine like Neil on this island will be like finding a needle in a haystack…but if these many engines are willing to find him, then it should be no problem. So yes, I'm in."

The engines were delighted. "Splendid!" exclaimed Skarloey. "Now here's what I was thinking. Paxton, you look along the remote areas of your standard gauge line. Rusty, you take some workmen and have them look in some of the hidden areas of the railway. Luke, you continue looking around here, and Rheneas and I will go around looking in places where we believe Neil might have been left. It'll be hard work finding him like Rheneas said, but with all this help we're bound to find our friend. Be sure to ask any engine if they remember seeing a small boxy green engine and hopefully, they can help us. Now without any further ado, let's go find Neil."

"Yes sir," replied the engines, and with that, they all split up and began their search for Neil.

They were soon searching all around Sodor, looking for the lost engine. They knew it was going to be difficult, but they were determined, especially Skarloey.

Rusty had collected some workmen and they were searching around the hills nearby the Bluebell Railway. Unfortunately though, the workmen couldn't find anything that resembled an engine laying around. Rusty was disappointed.

Then Stepney puffed up. "Hello Rusty," he puffed. "What's going on here?"

"The workmen and I are trying to find a lost engine that might be hiding here on Sodor," explained Rusty. "He's a small boxy engine that worked many years ago. Did you happen to see someone like that here on your branchline?"

"Hmm, well…unfortunately no I haven't," replied Stepney. "The only things I've seen around here, as you can probably tell, are just bluebell flowers and trees, but that's it. So I'm sorry, Rusty."

"Oh dear, well thank you anyway, Stepney," sighed Rusty.

"But you're welcome to take some bluebells with you if you want," chuffed Stepney, then a workman sneezed hard and fell into another workman.

"Um, thanks but I think we'll pass on that," chuckled Rusty, and he and Stepney laughed.

Meanwhile, Paxton was searching along the North Western Railway in the hidden areas, particularly around Hiro's old hiding spot.

"If Hiro was left here, then maybe Neil was too," he thought. "Hello," he called out. "Anybody here? A little boxy engine by the name of Neil, perhaps? We have a search party out for you, but don't worry. We just want to make you useful again." But no one answered. Paxton looked carefully and hard, but he couldn't see anybody. "Oh bother, might as well look some other place." Then he headed towards the mainline. Then when got there, Hiro was there.

"Oh hello, Paxton," he said. "What were you doing back there? There's nothing but trees and old tracks on that line."

"Oh I know that now," laughed Paxton. "I was trying to find an engine, maybe you know something about him." Then he told Hiro all about Neil.

"Oh I see," said Hiro. "Well, I'm sorry to say this, Paxton, but I don't know anything about any Neil. He must have started long before I came to Sodor. Maybe you should try asking someone else who's been here longer than me. They might have more information about your friend."

"Okay, Hiro. I guess I will," smiled Paxton. "Thank you for your help though."

"Of course, my friend," called Hiro. "Anytime."

Then Paxton thought. "Uh, except I don't know anyone who might have worked with Neil. Oh wait, Skarloey has! I'll ask him! Oh, but he's the reason I'm looking for Neil. Oh bother." Then Paxton continued on looking.

Back at the Blue Mountain Quarry, Luke was searching everywhere, on the ground floor, up in the cliffs, and in each tunnel, but he couldn't find Neil either. Owen could tell.

"Any luck with finding your friend, Luke?" He asked when Luke came up next to him.

"No unfortunately not, Owen," replied Luke. "I checked every tunnel, but he's not in any of them. Can you see anything that might resemble a boxy engine from where you can see?"

"Hmm, let me have a look," chuffed Owen, and he looked all across the quarry. He looked to the left, then to the right, and left and right again, but nothing. "Huh, sorry Luke, but I can't see anything or anybody that resembles that engine, but if I find him, I'll let you know."

"Thanks Owen, I'm sure Skarloey would appreciate that," smiled Luke, then they went back to work.

Meanwhile, Skarloey and Rheneas were checking along the line near Crovan's Gate. "Are you sure he would be around here?" Rheneas asked Skarloey. "We pass by Crovan's Gate all the time and we never saw anything that resembled Neil."

"True, but this is where we would see him all the time back in the day," said Skarloey. "He might have been left along the side of the track and we just didn't notice after all these years."

"Well, I guess you're right about that," chuffed Rheneas, so they looked closely to the side of the tracks in the trees. They looked hard, but couldn't see anything boxy or resembled an engine, and they soon arrived at Crovan's Gate station.

"Oh well, we tried, but I didn't see any boxy engine," puffed Rheneas. "Did you?"

"No," moaned Skarloey. "Not even something boxy."

Just then, Freddie came puffing up with a train of coal. "Hello you two," he said. "Why the long faces? Are you out of coal? I got plenty here for you."

"No, no Freddie, we got plenty of coal, thank you," said Skarloey.

"We're trying to find an old friend of ours," explained Rheneas. "Maybe you can help us." Then he and Skarloey told Freddie about Neil.

"Hmm, well I know I've heard of Neil, but that's pretty much it," replied Freddie. "I don't know too many other details about him, and I doubt he's hiding out at the coal mines, but you're welcomed to check there if you want. Also, try checking in some of the disused areas as well. I heard engines are always found there. Maybe you'll have some luck with that."

Skarloey and Rheneas sighed. "Thanks Freddie, we will," they puffed, and they set off again.

Freddie was confused. "Hmm, that was a strange response. They acted like they already knew that. Oh well, never mind. Hopefully they find their friend." Then he set off back to work.

All afternoon, the engine's search grew more and more difficult for them. They looked in every place they could find and asked anyone they came across if they ever remembered Neil, but none of them were having any luck. They were beginning to worry.

They were even becoming desperate, such as Rusty and Paxton looking at the Vicarstown Good Depot.

Rusty gulped. "Any luck finding anything, Paxton?" he called as he waited anxiously by the entrance.

"Um, well uh, the workmen and I did find something boxy," called Paxton, "but…" as he rolled up with a flatbed with a damaged box on it. "…I don't think it's Neil." Rusty groaned.

Then Luke was looking high up in the cliffs of the quarry. "Hello! Any boxy engines up here?" And he whistled loudly, which then caused a small rockslide. "Whoa!" exclaimed Luke as he quickly backed out of the way. "Huh, I guess not," he muttered.

Meanwhile, Skarloey and Rheneas were checking at Bertram's Mine. The two engines had searched through all of the tunnels, but ended up meeting back at the station.

"Well, any luck finding your friend?" asked Bertram.

"No," sighed the two engines.

"Just several dark tunnels with no engine hiding in them," added Rheneas.

"Mmm, well sorry I couldn't be much help," said Bertram. "Like Freddie, I only heard about Neil, but that's it. I don't know too many other details about him. It's funny, you would think after all the stories I tell, I would have one about him." Bertram chuckled slightly, but Skarloey and Rheneas just frowned. "Ahem, but I guess that's not a laughing matter right now. Sorry you two."

"It's alright, Bertram," said Skarloey. "We know you're trying to help."

Just then Duke came puffing in with some visitors. "Hello everyone," he said, then he saw Skarloey and Rheneas looking glum. "Oh dear, I take it your search for Neil isn't going so well?"

"Not at all, Duke," sighed Skarloey. "We checked everywhere, but no sign of him. I'm beginning to worry."

"Hmm, well I wish I could help," said Duke, "but I don't know too many details about him either." Then Duke had an idea. "Though I think someone at Ulfstead Castle might know something."

Skarloey and Rheneas perked up. "Really? Who?" asked Skarloey.

"I think Glynn might," replied Duke. "He often talks about engines back in his day and he mentioned something about boxy engines working with him. Maybe one of those was Neil and he might have information about him."

Skarloey and Rheneas were excited. "Thank you, very much, Duke," said Skarloey.

"Yes indeed," agreed Rheneas. "We'll go ask Glynn now." Then he and Rheneas raced off for Ulfstead Castle.

"Of course, I only said he 'might' know," muttered Duke to Bertram. "Doesn't mean he will." Bertram only shrugged.

A little later, Skarloey and Rheneas arrived at Ulfstead Castle. They searched for Glynn, but he wasn't in the castle. Then they came to the station outside the castle. Stephen and Millie were there.

"Whoa, whoa, slow down there gentlemen," chuckled Stephen. "This isn't a race track you know. Otherwise, you'd be seeing me racing like the wind right now."

"Oh Stephen, you and your jokes," muttered Millie, then she turned to the other engines. "Anyway, hello Skarloey and Rheneas. What brings you two up here?"

"We were trying to find Glynn," explained Skarloey.

"We have a question for him regarding an engine he might have worked with," added Rheneas. "Do you know where he is?" Just then they heard a whistle.

"Ha, ha, well that was perfect timing," laughed Stephen. "He's right here." Sure enough, there was Glynn coming from the castle up to the platform with some visitors.

"Hello everyone," he puffed. "Oh hello Skarloey. Hello Rheneas, nice to see you two."

"It's nice to see you too, Glynn," said Rheneas.

"Yes, but we have a question for you, if you don't mind," added Skarloey.

"Oh, of course. I'd be happy to answer," said Glynn. "What's your question?"

"Well, we're not sure if you remember him, but…do you remember working with a small boxy green engine named Neil?" asked Skarloey.

"It's because we want to find him and make him useful again," added Rheneas, "but we can't find him anyway and we were told you might know something about him."

Glynn paused. "Oh yes, I remember Neil, alright. He was certainly a very, kind and friendly engine and he and those other engines like him used to work all the time together with me." Then he looked glum. "But unfortunately, once some of those modern engines started arriving, they were put out of service one by one until they were all left on sidings, similar to me."

Skarloey and Rheneas were worried. "Any chance that Neil was left on one of them?" asked Skarloey.

"And he's still on one of them?" added Rheneas.

Glynn really didn't want to answer, but he did. "I'm afraid chances of that are not likely," he sighed. "From what I heard, those boxy engines were found and their parts were used to mend other engine over time until there was nothing left of them. So I hate to say it, but Neil might have gone the way of those engines."

Skarloey was most upset. "Oh dear, that's what I was hoping you weren't going to say," he sighed sadly.

"I'm sorry, Skarloey," puffed Glynn. "I wish I could have given you better news, but that's what happened back in the day. I was lucky to be hidden for all those years. It's a pity that the same couldn't have been said for Neil. Otherwise, I would know where he is." Skarloey and Rheneas were upset.

"We're sorry to hear about to hear about your friend, Skarloey," said Millie.

"Yeah, and you went through all that time and effort to look for him today too," added Stephen. "If he was here today, I'm sure Neil would be very proud of you."

Skarloey smiled slightly. "I know he would, Stephen, but unfortunately, he's not."

The Estate engines frowned. "Is there anything we could do to help?" asked Millie.

"No, I don't think there is," said Skarloey. "I think we'll go now. Good-bye everyone." Then Skarloey started puffing away.

"But thanks for letting us know anyway, Glynn," said Rheneas. "We really do appreciate you letting us know." Then Rheneas followed after Skarloey.

"Hmm, this might be off topic," whispered Stephen to Millie, "but don't you think Glynn and Skarloey sound very alike?"

"Mmm, a little bit, I guess," replied Millie. "Why do you ask?"

"Not sure," said Stephen. "It just sounds like they have the same tone, diction, and well, everything. It's almost like they're voiced by the same person." Millie frowned. "Well, I'm just saying. I never said they are."

Later that day, as the sun was setting, the search party met back at the Blue Mountain Quarry, where Skarloey and Rheneas told everyone the sad news.

"Oh dear," sighed Luke. "That is a shame, Skarloey."

"Yeah, sorry to hear about him," added Paxton, "and to think we went through all that trouble today to find him too. Now it's all for nothing."

"No, Paxton, it wasn't for nothing," objected Rusty. "We worked hard to find Neil and I'm sure if he was here, he would be proud of our efforts. Right Skarloey?"

"Yes he would," replied Skarloey, "but like I told Stephen back at Ulfstead, he's not here now, so frankly, it doesn't matter."

The engines felt down. "Well either way, we are sorry to hear about your friend, Skarloey," said Rusty. "I know we pointed out earlier that engines are found all the time on this island, but I guess not all engines are lucky, like you said earlier too."

"Yes, and it does happen sometimes," added Rheneas. "We just hoped it didn't have to happen to someone that we, or actually Skarloey knew so well. That's all."

"Well, look on the bright side," chuffed Paxton. "At least you still have good memories of Neil that'll last forever." This made Skarloey smile slightly.

Just then, they all heard bickering coming towards them. It was Samson and Bradford again, coming back for more slate. "Come on. Hup! Hup! Hup! Let's go! Let's go! No dragging or slagging," called Bradford.

"Calm down, Bradford," huffed Samson. "We're here now, so you can stop now."

"Oh not yet, Samson," said Bradford. "We still need to get our trucks ready and we must leave before the sun goes down, and we cannot be late like we were earlier."

"What? We were not late," puffed Samson. "We made it on time and you know it. Could have been earlier if you hadn't…"

"Would you two please stop bickering!" scolded Rheneas rather furiously. "Can't you tell we're in the middle of something?"

Samson and Bradford were silent. "Oh, goodness gracious. We're sorry," said Samson. "We didn't know. Is everything alright?"

"Well, not really," sighed Luke.

"You see, we all were trying to find this old engine that Skarloey and Rheneas used to work with," explained Paxton.

"But we searched everywhere and we couldn't find him," added Rusty.

"And we found out a little while ago he was scrapped years ago," finished Rheneas.

"Oh dear, that truly is a shame when that happens," puffed Samson.

"Yes, indeed. A fallen comrade is never good news," added Bradford. "I'm sure he was a good and hardworking engine."

"Oh he was Bradford," said Skarloey. "Neil was a good friend, and a very hard-worker indeed, and…"

"Whoa, whoa, hold on a minute, Skarloey," interrupted Samson. "Pardon me for interrupting, but did you say Neil?"

Skarloey frowned. "Uh, yes I did," he said slowly.

Samson and Bradford looked at each other. "This Neil, would he happen to be a small, rather boxy-looking green engine?" asked Samson.

"And has a very thick Scottish accent?" added Bradford.

Skarloey's eyes widen. "Y-yes, that's him," he answered hopefully. "D-d-do you know anything about him?"

Then Samson and Bradford chuckled. "Know him? Why we see him every day on the Mainland!" burst out Samson.

The engines all gasped. "What?!?!" they all exclaimed in unison.

"Y-y-you mean he's still around?!" gasped Luke.

"Well of course he is," soothed Bradford. "Why else do you think Samson said we see him every day?"

"B-b-but how can that be?!" said Rheneas. "Glynn just told me and Skarloey he was scrapped years ago. He and those other engines had their parts used for other engines until there was nothing left."

"Mmm, well sounds like Glynn didn't have all his facts straight then," said Bradford. "Yes, Neil is definitely still around and active. Maybe not as much as he was back in his day, but he's still good to talk to."

"But in that case, where is he?" asked Skarloey. "Why isn't he here?"

"Oh, that's because he runs a mini railway at a railway museum on the Mainland," explained Samson. "Apparently from what he's told us, he was found on a siding by Sir Topham Hatt and he was too valuable to be scrapped, but he couldn’t mend him, so he wanted him on display instead, but there was none on Sodor, but he found a place for Neil on the Mainland and they happily took him in. Now he works there, and he enjoys it, but he has said he would like to come back to Sodor." Skarloey and the other engines were excited.

"And that he shall," came a voice. It was Mr. Percival, arriving onboard Duke. "Good evening everyone. I heard all about your adventures today and I must say, you all put in a lot of effort to find one engine. Of course, you all should have been working too, but I decided if he meant that much to you, Skarloey, I shall bring Neil back to Sodor."

The engines were delighted, Skarloey most of all. "Do you really mean it, sir?"

"Of course, I do," smiled Mr. Percival. "He'll be arriving in the morning and I'll see to it, he gets a proper greeting, from all of you." The engines were excited. "Now I think it's best that you all head back to your sheds and get a good night's sleep."

"Yes sir," replied the engines. "We will."

"Very good," said Mr. Percival. "In that case, good night to you all." Then he and Duke left.

After he did, the engines talked. "Wow, so Neil's okay after all!" said Luke. "He wasn't scrapped and he's still around!"

"Yes indeed," said Rusty, "and looks like we were right. Engines are found all the time and can be useful again too!"

"Uh, well uh, except, this didn't happen on Sodor though," puffed Paxton.

"Well regardless," chuckled Rheneas. "At least we know that Neil is safe and we'll be seeing him very soon, won't we, Skarloey?"

"Quite so, Rheneas," said Skarloey. "Quite so indeed." And he smiled happily. The engines could tell he was very relieved.

The next morning, all the engines and Paxton were lined up at the engine sheds, ready to greet Neil. They were all excited and wanted to meet him. Skarloey most of all.

"Calm down, you silly engine," chuckled Rheneas. "Samson will arrive with him soon, so keep your funnel on."

"Oh I can't help it, Rheneas," chuffed Skarloey. "Just knowing that Neil is still around and we'll be seeing him again in a little while is exciting."

"I know that," said Rheneas "I'm excited too, but just relax and remember to give a good impression." Just then they all heard a deep-toned whistle.

Then they all saw Samson and Bradford puffing in, with a flatbed and a familiar engine on it. "Ahem, ladies and gentlemen," Samson proudly announced. "It is with great pleasure that I proudly introduce, and reintroduce to some of you,…Neil, the boxy little engine formerly from Sodor!"

Everyone looked and sure enough, there was a small, boxy engine sitting on the flatbed that matched Samson's description. "Och, hello everyone!" Neil called out to the engines. "'Tis a grand honor to be back here on the Island of Sodor."

The engines were impressed. Skarloey beamed happily. "Ah, and is that who I think it is? The wee troublesome little engine that I gave a few tips to back in me day to be a really useful engine?" asked Neil cheekily.

Skarloey blushed. "Ha, ha. Yes it is, Neil. The one and only."

"Ah-ha, I thought it might be," chuckled Neil. "I haven't seen you for ages, Skarloey. I see you got yourself a cab now, much better if you don't mind me saying, and oh look, there's your friend Rheneas. Have you two finally stopped arguing after all these years?"

Skarloey and Rheneas chuckled. "Yes Neil, we've stopped that years ago. Now we are good friends," replied Rheneas. "Not to mention almost as old as you."

"Oh-ho, you think you're as old as me, eh?" chuckled Neil. "Well, catch up a few decades, then you can talk, you cheeky bugger." Skarloey, Rheneas, and the other engines laughed.

Then Mr. Percival came up. "Well, I see you all have met Neil by now and I hope you're getting to know him."

"Oh yes, we are sir," said Luke. "So far, we know he, Skarloey, and Rheneas are good friends and…like to joke around with each other."

"Ha, ha, the wee lad's right sir," agreed Neil. "Just like old times."

"Well I'm happy to hear that, Neil," said Mr. Percival, "and I hope you'll be happy to work back on Sodor again too."

"Oh aye, sir. Very happy indeed," replied Neil. "Sodor was always me home and never wanted to leave it in the first place, and now that you mention it, I believe there is some thanking that needs to be done to a certain engine." He turned to Skarloey. "Skarloey, me wee old friend, I heard all about your and your friends' expedition from yesterday and I must say: if you went through all that trouble just to find me, then you either cracked your smokebox, and you really do care for me."

Skarloey smiled. "Well off course I care about you Neil," he said. "You really helped me turn my life around back when I first started, and as I told many engines here already, if it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't have become the really useful engine I am today. I owe a lot to you, old friend."

"Oh, ho, ho, ho, thank you Skarloey," said Neil, "and you certainly proved to be a really useful engine by going out of your way to find me, so I guess I taught you well. Though, someone should have told you I wasn't here on Sodor. That probably would have made your expedition less stressful."

The engines chuckled. "Ha, ha, yes that would have been helpful," agreed Skarloey.

"But either way," said Mr. Percival, "at least Neil was found and he will be back in service in no time. I hope you all be nice to him and treat him with respect."

"Yes sir," replied the engines.

"Oh but sir," asked Rheneas. "Where will Neil be working?"

"Well, I haven't quite decided on that just yet," said Mr. Percival, "but I was thinking he could work at Ulfstead Castle and help with taking visitors, and also catch up with Glynn."

"Oh Glynn's still here?" exclaimed Neil. "Oh wonderful, oh yes I would love to catch up with him too sir and…" Then he noticed Skarloey frowning. Then Neil had an idea. "Uh sir, if it's alright with you, I could work at the castle, but when it's not busy, maybe there's a sea port that I could work at and do odd jobs? I actually rather prefer that, and I want to be close to me old friends too." Skarloey perked up.

"Hmm, alright Neil, tell you what: we have a wharf down near Crovan's Gate that could use an extra standard gauge engine every now and then, so whenever there's no work at Ulfstead Castle, you can work there too," said Mr. Percival.

"Oh thank you sir," said Neil. "This sounds perfect. I cannot wait to get started."

"Excellent," said Mr. Percival. "Now I must be off and make the arrangements. Good day everyone and I'll see you later."

"Good-bye," called the engines, then Mr. Percival left.

"Um, say Neil," said Paxton. "If you don't mind, I think I speak for many of us when I say, we would like to know more about you and your adventures before you go to get repaired." The engines agreed.

"Oh ho, well I guess I could spare a few minutes," said Neil. "I got plenty of stories, you know. Which would you like to hear? Stories about me time here on Sodor teaching Skarloey and Rheneas? Or stories about me time working at the railway museum? All are entertaining and…"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on Neil," interrupted Bradford. "Technically, you, Samson, and I have been sitting on the mainline for a while and blocking traffic. It's best that we get moving to the Steamworks and not cause confusion and…"

"Och give it a rest, Bradford!" huffed Neil. "I already heard enough back on the Mainland from you, you know? Besides, I thought you told all that stuff to Samson here, or have you forgotten which boxy green engine you're talking to again?" The other engines chuckled.

Samson frowned. "Oh not this again. I'm not even that boxy," he muttered quietly.

"Oh ho, well I guess you got me there Neil," chuckled Bradford. "Alright, I guess waiting a little while longer wouldn't hurt. Go ahead then."

"Thank you," said Neil, then he turned to the other engines and began telling them all his stories, with everyone greatly interested, especially Skarloey.

Soon after a few days of restoration, Neil was as good as new and ready for work, and just as he wanted, Mr. Percival had arranged his work schedule for Ulfstead Castle and the wharf. He works hard taking visitors around the castle, as well as catching up with Glynn and getting to know the other engines, and works hard at the wharf as well shunting trucks with Arthur when he needs help. Neil is a happy engine indeed once again and is very please to be working on Sodor and being a really useful engine. But nothing makes him happier than working with his good friend, Skarloey once again, and they both hope that Neil never leaves Sodor again, or gets lost sends him and the other engines on another island-wide expedition again!

Characters

Locations

Trivia

  • Numerous references to episodes/specials from this series and the television series are made in this episode:
    • Rusty mentions the events of the fourth season episode, Rusty to the Rescue.
    • Luke mentions the events of Luke's Lucky Find from the previous season.
    • Paxton mentions the events of the previous episode.
    • Owen mentions the events of the television series special, Hero of the Rails, and the twentieth season episode, The Christmas Coffeepot.
  • Skarloey also mentions the events of the Railway Series book, Very Old Engines, when telling the engines about Neil.
    • Flashbacks to the events are used in this episode as well.
  • Two inside jokes to the television series are made in this episode:
    • Stephen’s line about Glynn and Skarloey sounding the same is a reference to Keith Wickham as he voices both characters (and he uses nearly the same voice for them as well).
    • People thinking Skarloey and Rheneas are still childish is a reference to the ninth through twelfth seasons as the two engines were incorrectly depicted as behaving like children when they were supposed to be old and wise during that era.
      • This was eventually corrected in the television series special, Blue Mountain Mystery.

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