Thomas and the Storyteller is the seventh story of volume four.
|Thomas and the Storyteller|
|Season 4B, Episode 7 (83)|
|Air date||15 May 2022|
|Written by||Abi Grant (original)
Edward and the Special Train
Mark of Distinction
One day, Liza went into Ffarquhar Sheds and found Toby there.
"I've been taken out of service temporarily," explained Toby. "I suppose it's about time for a visit to the Works."
"If you do get sent to the Works, you wouldn't be travelling alone would you?" asked Liza.
"Not since the time I ran out of water and got stranded on the Main Line," replied Toby. "Nowadays, one of the big engines helps me to the Works. Invariably, it ends up being Henry or James. I've no doubt they make a great deal about it but in the end, it's really the Fat Controller's decision."
Just then, Thomas puffed into the sheds.
"Somtimes, I wish I could go beyond Ffarquhar, just to see more of the Island, and have more stories to tell."
"You should travel along with me," puffed Thomas. "I can show you the rest of the wonderful sights along the line."
"That would be wonderful," said Liza. "I have a day off on Wednesday and I'm sure my parents would be okay with it. In the meantime, I better get back to the station." She ran off, excitedly.
A few days later, Liza came bright and early to the station. She was carrying her camera with her. Thomas's Driver invited her into the cab. Thomas was almost ready to go when the Stationmaster came up.
"Since Toby was unable to take the milk last night, you must take it to the dairy."
Thomas went to fetch the milk vans from the siding and then came back to the station to couple up to Annie and Clarabel. By the time he set off, he was running late. Thomas hurried along the line, trying to make up for lost time.
"Steady Thomas!" called Annie and Clarabel.
Liza had to steady herself in the cab.
"He's not very smooth when travelling at higher speeds," said the Driver, grimly, and he eased Thomas's brakes on.
"Sorry Liza," apologised Thomas. "I was trying to make up for lost time."
"That's all right," she replied. "Just keep steady."
At the Junction, Henry was already waiting for Thomas.
"Morning Thomas. What took you so long this time?" asked Henry.
"Good morning to you too," huffed Thomas. "I just had to take the milk, that's all. Besides, I'm not that late."
Liza stepped out from the cab.
"Anyways, meet Liza, she helps us out at Ffarquhar, and today, I'm showing her just how exciting my branch line is."
"Hullo Liza," said Henry. "I don't suppose you know who I am."
"Of course I recognise you Henry," said Liza.
"Yeah, she knows more about us than you think," put in Thomas.
"I do admire all of you," said Liza.
"I'm just glad people are still interested in steam engines," said Henry.
Liza talked with Henry for a while before Thomas had some news for her.
"Today's your lucky day. I am making a special excursion down to the Big Station," said Thomas. "I would've told you earlier but I forgot after the late start."
"That sounds wonderful," said Liza.
In no time at all, the Guard blew his whistle and Thomas set off towards the Big Station. They stopped just outside the station. From there, the hustle and bustle of the station could be seen.
Liza was in awe. "It's been a long time since I've seen something like that."
"It's certainly different from the more tranquil ambient of Ffarquhar," agreed Thomas. "It's even a bit too noisy for my liking but at least I'll get to catch up on all the news around here."
Gordon, James, Duck, Donald, and Daisy were at the platform when Thomas arrived.
"Look, he's here," said Donald.
"Yes I'm here," said Thomas. "Now, before anything else, I would like to introduce Liza to all of you."
Liza stepped down from the cab and talked briefly to each of the engines.
"So she's the one that helps out at the station," said Gordon.
"Yes, that's me," said Liza.
"How's everything going on the Branch Line?" asked Daisy.
"Well, Percy and I are doing are best. Jessie comes and helps us out whenever she can and Mavis is handling the slate trucks with ease."
"What about Toby?" asked Daisy.
"I think he has to go to the Works soon. He hasn't been out in the past few days."
"Ye ken what that means," chuckled Donald, looking over at James.
"Not that. Don't remind me," groaned James.
"Come on James. This happens once a year. You should be used to it," laughed Duck.
"Once a year is too much for me," huffed James.
"You see, whenever Toby has to go to the Works, either James or Henry have to take him there," Gordon explained to Liza.
"It's not exactly his favourite job," put in Thomas.
"Of course it isn't nor is it very easy," said James.
"Look on the bright side James," said Thomas. "If anything exciting happens, just let my friend Liza know, she's a fantastic writer and storyteller."
"I don't mean to brag, but I do like telling stories especially about all of the engines here on Sodor," said Liza.
"Well, I guess I'll keep you updated," said James. "I wouldn't mind being the star of the story."
"Unless the star ends up being Toby," teased Donald. "The wee engine would completely overshadow ye!"
"I guess we'll see what happens," huffed James. "Now, I better get going. My passengers wouldn't want to be late."
One by one, the engines set off except Thomas. He was waiting for the return journey to Ffarquhar.
"I hope you enjoyed speaking to all the other engines," said Thomas.
"It was certainly a pleasure," said Liza. "Now, I'm going to take a look around. The station is just so big and there's lots to see."
"The return journey leaves in thirty minutes," called Thomas's Driver.
"I'll be back by then!" replied Liza.
Before she knew it, thirty minutes had passed, and Thomas was almost ready to depart.
"Where's Liza?" asked Thomas, anxiously. "She hasn't come back yet."
Thomas nor Annie and Clarabel could see Liza amongst the crowd of people.
"We can't wait much longer," said the Guard.
Liza was pushing her way through the crowd.
"I hope I can make it," she thought.
Thomas couldn't wait any longer. He had to leave.
"When we get to the Junction, we'll call back here and make sure she's all right," said the Driver. "Don't worry, we'll get her home if it's the last thing we do."
By the time Liza was back at the platform, Thomas had already left.
"Oh dear," she thought. "This is bad."
Presently, Douglas arrived with a goods train. He noticed her standing at the edge of the platform.
"Hullo there. I'm Douglas. D'ye need any help?"
"Hullo Douglas. My name is Liza. I came down here with Thomas but I missed my train home."
"Dinna fash yersel. I'm sure Thomas knows he left ye behind."
"I suppose I'll just have to wait for the next time now," she sighed.
"Och, I'll tell ye what. Ye could ride up with me to Arlesburgh, collect some ballast trucks, and then, I'll leave ye at the Junction on the way back."
"That would be wonderful."
So Liza climbed aboard Douglas and they set off towards Arlesburgh. They were soon travelling along the 'Little Western'. Liza was having fun. The air was fresh and the sea sparkled in the sunshine. Then, once they reached Arlesburgh she enjoyed meeting the miniature-gauge engines and watching the ballast chute that she was almost forgetting about getting home.
Meanwhile, over at the Junction, the Guard telephoned the Stationmaster at the Big Station.
"I think I saw her climb aboard Douglas and he was headed up to Arlesburgh," said the Stationmaster.
The Guard told Thomas, his crew, and Annie and Clarabel the news.
"Douglas!" exclaimed Thomas. "Now she's further away from home."
"Relax," said the Guard. "He's taking ballast trucks to Edward's station so he'll drop her off here. We'll pick her up on our evening train."
Thomas was still a bit worried but he knew that this was the best way for Liza to get home safely.
Back at Arlesburgh, Douglas's trucks were now loaded.
"I hope you enjoyed our 'chute'," said Rex. "Quite clever if I do say so myself."
"And our smooth, efficient ballast trucks make this job easier than pie," added Mike.
"You always have to add in your own thing, don't you," teased Rex.
"Perhaps you can visit again us some other time," said Jock.
"I hope so," said Liza. "Your line sounds splendid. I do have to get home though. I don't want my parents or even Thomas worrying about me."
"That's all right. Thanks for coming," said Bert. "Get her home safely Douglas."
"Of course I will!" called Douglas.
With that, Douglas steamed away with Liza onboard. It had been arranged that he would drop her off at the Junction. However, as Douglas approached the Junction, he saw the yellow signal indicating 'line clear'.
"That's odd. Surely we'd have to stop," said Douglas.
But the home signal was down. Douglas had to keep going.
When Thomas arrived, he looked for Liza but she wasn't there.
"Now where could she be?" he thought.
Douglas reached Edward's station with Liza still onboard.
"I'm very sorry Liza. I didna ken what happened back there."
"Yon Signalman must have forgotten," said Douglas's Driver.
Liza was even more worried now.
"It's getting late. I have to get back home before it gets dark."
Just then, Edward bustled in.
"Hullo Douglas. How has your day been?"
"Quite busy Edward. But right noo, we have a wee problem. Ye see, Liza here needs to get back to Ffarquhar."
"I just need to get to the Junction. From there, I'm sure one of the Branch Line Engines could take me up to Ffarquhar."
"In a worst case scenario, one of us could go," said Douglas.
"Hmm, well, I'm taking a shuttle service to the Big Station but I'm sure we can make a quick stop at the Junction for you," said Edward.
"Thank you Edward!" said Liza.
So, all was soon arranged. Edward's Driver invited Liza up to the cab, and they were soon at the Junction where Jessie was waiting to take Liza home.
"It's so great to see you," said Jessie. "We've all been worried about you."
"I'm fine thankfully," said Liza. "Thanks for all your help Edward!"
Edward tooted in reply and then puffed away.
"Now let's get you back to Ffarquhar," said Jessie.
Up at Ffarquhar, Thomas was still worried. So were Percy and Toby.
"If she doesn't turn up soon, her parents will also get concerned," said Percy.
Presently, they heard Jessie's whistle and there, stepping out from her cab, to everyone's relief, was Liza.
"You really had us all worried," said Toby.
"It wasn't her fault," said Thomas. "It was mine for leaving your behind at the Junction. I'm sorry I couldn't show more of the Branch Line."
"It wasn't your fault Thomas," replied Liza. "I got distracted myself at the Big Station, and well, you do have a train to run. Thankfully, all the engines helped me and I ended up seeing more of Sodor than I bargained for."
"I suppose you're going to tell us all about it, aren't you," said Percy.
"Well, if you insist I do."
So Liza began. As the rest of the station staff finished their work, they all gathered round to hear Liza's story.
"The day began like any other. Thomas was waiting at the station with Annie and Clarabel. I should've known this wasn't going to be any ordinary day when the Stationmaster told us that the milk had to be taken to the dairy. This caused a slight delay in our connection to the Junction . . . I pushed through crowds of people but Thomas still seemed so far away and before I knew it, he was gone!"
"Man, I wonder what happens next," laughed Percy, quietly.
"And finally, thanks to Edward, I was back at the Junction. Back on familiar territory and with Jessie's help, I finally got back to my home sweet home: Ffarquhar. The place I know the best and I cannot dream of a better place with better friends than right here at Ffarquhar."
- Donald and Douglas
- Annie and Clarabel
- This story is loosely based off the episode of the same name from series eleven of Thomas and Friends.