The Trouble with Sheep is the eleventh story of the second volume.
|The Trouble with Sheep|
|Season X, Episode 37|
|Air date||31 May 2020|
|Written by|| Christopher Awdry (original)
Thomas's Branch Line gives service to various farms. Farmers can take their goods to the nearest station, and get supplies to where they need to go. Sometimes, their goods are taken to other places on the Island. Percy usually handles the goods train, and at the Junction, the Main Line engines take them to other places. Along with the many farms is plenty of livestock. The farmers always make sure to keep their livestock in their field, otherwise they can cause trouble for the engines out on the track.
One day, Toby the Tram Engine was trundling along the line with Henrietta. He was nearing the station by the river when he heard some noises.
"Do you hear that?" asked Henrietta.
"I do," said Toby. "It sounds like sheep."
Just around the bend, he saw a flock of sheep on the line. But then, they heard a bark, and a dog charged towards the sheep. The sheep jumped and charged towards Toby!
"Whoa!" cried Toby, as the sheep rushed by. "We better get to the station. Thomas will be coming down the line any minute."
At the station by the river, Toby took on water whilst the Guard informed the Stationmaster about the sheep.
"We don't know where they went off to," said the Guard.
"Well, let's keep a look-out for the sheep," said the Stationmaster.
Toby reached Ffarquhar with no further mishaps. In the shed, Thomas was just about to leave for his next train.
"Hey Thomas. Take care with your next train. There's a dog chasing sheep in the valley."
"Huh, that's interesting. No worries. I've got it all under control."
"Is that so?"
"Yeah. It's not the first time we've encountered sheep."
"Yeah, but they can be difficult."
"Nonsense. If I see the dog or sheep, I can just blow some steam, and they'll move off the track."
"I'm sure that is not how it works."
Thomas remained unconcerned as he fetched Annie and Clarabel, and arrived at the platform.
"I take it Toby warned you about the dog and sheep," said Thomas's Driver.
"And as usual, Thomas thinks he know everything," said Annie.
"Whenever that happens, trouble is brewing," replied Clarabel.
"I can hear you," chuckled Thomas. "We'll be fine."
"I hope so," twittered Annie and Clarabel, anxiously.
It felt like ages, but soon the Guard blew the whistle, and Thomas set off.
He reached the station by the river with no problem.
"So far, it is going well," said Thomas.
They had a nice run to the Junction, and were soon on their way back.
Thomas was running well. But then there was trouble. They heard barking and bleating. Then suddenly, the sheep strayed onto the line! Thomas's Driver lept for the brake-handle. Thomas's wheels locked and slid.
"I must stop!" groaned Thomas.
He stopped just in time!
"Phew! That was close," sighed the Driver.
Thomas agreed. But he couldn't start until the line was cleared. He wheeshed some steam. The dog jumped and ran away from Thomas. But the sheep just stayed blocking the line. Thomas blew his whistle but still nothing.
"This is not easy," sighed Thomas.
"If only we had warned you," said Annie.
Thomas said nothing.
"I'm going back to the station," said the Fireman, and he ran off.
"Hopefully we don't have to wait long," said the Driver.
Several minutes later, the Fireman came back with a shepherd and two sheepdogs to take the sheep away. At last, the line was clear.
"Good. Let's get going," said Thomas, eagerly.
Thomas tried to set off again, but he couldn't.
"Now what could be wrong?" asked Thomas.
"The brakes are hard on," replied the Driver.
Then the Guard came up to the cab.
"What's the matter?"
"The brakes won't come off. Go to the signal-box and warn the Signalman that we're blocking the line."
The Guard ran off whilst the Driver got down to inspect Thomas.
Then, he found the problem.
"It seems like your brake-pipe is loose," said the Driver.
He re-attached it then climbed back into the cab.
Thomas advanced slowly forward.
"Hurray! I can go now!" cheered Thomas. "Let's get moving!"
But Clarabel was not so sure.
"Wait a minute, wait a minute," she said.
But Thomas, his Driver, and Fireman were so glad to getting going again that they didn't hear her.
They reached the station by the river. Passengers got on and off the coaches. Some complained about the delays whilst others were amused with what had happened.
Soon, everyone was on board.
Thomas waited for the Guard's whistle.
"We musn't be delayed even more," whistled Thomas.
Clarabel spoke up. "Thomas?"
"I don't think the Guard is here."
"Where could he be then?"
"Well, you know how your brakes weren't working, and the Guard had to go to the signal-box."
"I'm certain we started up before he returned."
Suddenly, everything made sense.
"I was just eager to start off again," sighed Thomas.
Now they had to wait for the Guard to arrive.
"I'm very sorry Mr. Guard," apologised Thomas.
"Well, it wasn't all your fault. It was that dog chasing the sheep onto the line."
Finally, Thomas was able to complete his journey.
"Here at last," tooted Thomas.
"About time you got here," said Bertie. "What happened today?"
"Sheep on the line."
Once all the passengers had got off, Thomas went to the sheds. Toby was there.
"You arrived late," said Toby.
"Yeah. There were some delays."
"First off, you were right about the sheep."
Thomas told Toby what had happened.
"Well then, you know better now, don't you."
Thomas sure hopes to avoid sheep on the line in future.
- This story is based on the 1989 annual story of the same name.
- This is the fourth story released in May which marks the first time four stories were released in one month.