Thomas in Charge is the tenth story of volume three.
|Thomas in Charge|
|Season 3X, Episode 10 (60)|
|Air date||16 May 2021|
Toby and the Lorries
Toby had gone to the Works to be mended which meant that Thomas and Percy were left to work on the Branch Line.
"We're going to have a lot more work," said Thomas, one morning.
"Nothing I can't handle," replied Percy. "I fancy some extra work."
"Of course. You're the one that should take care," replied Percy.
"What do you mean?" asked Thomas.
"Sometimes you get too puffed in your smokebox and that leads you to trouble," explained Percy
"Nonsense!" huffed Thomas.
"But it's true," insisted Percy. "Like when your Driver told you that you manage without him as a joke and then what happened? You ended crashing into the Stationmaster's house."
"Huh, like you've never had an accident."
"I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that you can get too puffed up in your smokebox."
"Well at least I'm always trying my best," retorted Thomas. "You've had numerous accidents due to carelessness. Not that I'm complaining. After all, your 'woolly bear' always gives me a good laugh."
"So I have had my fair share of accidents but it weren't for me, you wouldn't have any fond memories on this line so you should at least appreciate that I actually contribute to the Branch Line," argued Percy. "In fact, if it weren't for Toby, Jessie and I, who knows where you'd be!"
"I like to think that I'd be fine by myself," said Thomas crossly.
"Huh, I highly doubt that."
Thomas decided to say no more. He puffed crossly away to collect Annie and Clarabel.
"Come along, come along," he grumbled to the coaches.
"He's in a bad mood," whispered Annie to Clarabel.
"Already?" asked Clarabel.
"I can hear you," interrupted Thomas.
"Well, we didn't want to bother you," said Annie.
"Would like to talk about what's bothering you?" asked Clarabel.
"No thanks. I'll be fine."
Thomas puffed into the station. Liza was there.
"Good morning Thomas," she said. "Lots of work for you today. Well, that's what happens when Toby is away."
Thomas wasn't really paying attention to her.
"Sorry, did you say something?" he asked.
"I was . . ."
"Oh, excuse him," cut in Annie. "He has other things on his mind."
"I see," said Liza. "Hopefully, you can concentrate on your work then."
"I know, I know. I'm a bit cross but I'll get over it," said Thomas.
"Good to hear," said Liza. Then she walked away.
Soon it was time for Thomas to leave. He started off immediately.
He was still thinking about his conversation with Percy when he arrived at Junction. James was already there.
"Hey James," replied Thomas, flatly.
"Is something bothering you?" asked James.
Then Thomas explained.
"You have had your share of mishaps in the past," laughed James, "but don't let his comments get to you. There's a reason you're still working on your Branch Line."
"I suppose you're right," huffed Thomas. "I was just cross in the moment. Besides, there really is no-one better than I to run this line and the Fat Controller knows that."
"Well, at least you're feeling better," replied James. "Now I'll be off!"
James puffed away.
Thomas departed a few minutes. He felt a lot better now.
Meanwhile, Percy had collected a stone train from Mavis and then went to the Harbour. He was still thinking about the morning conversation with Thomas as he shunted the trucks about the Harbour.
"It's a good thing I am here to handle the goods work," he boasted to the trucks. "Otherwise, Thomas would be overworked. The poor thing obviously couldn't run the Branch Line by himself."
The trucks were used to Percy's gloating but presently began to get tired of hearing him.
"I think times like this require us to bring him down-to-earth," whispered the trucks. They began making a plan.
Percy was too busy boasting to notice the trucks making their plan. He collected some empty trucks and headed back to Ffarquhar. The trucks ran smoothly until they approached the station. They giggled to each other but Percy paid no attention. Presently, the Driver began to put on the brakes. That was the signal for the trucks.
"On! On! On! On!" they laughed and bumped into Percy!
Percy's Driver and Fireman were knocked over in the cab and before they realised it, they were heading into the yard.
Percy saw the sheds ahead.
"Oh no!" he cried and shut his eyes.
Suddenly, he swerved onto a siding and crashed straight into some trucks full of stone.
No-one was hurt but Percy had come off the rails and his buffers had been badly damaged.
Thomas was at the station when Liza ran up.
"Thomas, we need your help in the yard."
"What's going on?"
"Percy had an accident."
Thomas puffed over and couldn't help laughing.
"Well, well, well, so much for knowing about everything. You got too puffed up and now you had yet another accident. If it weren't for you, the railway might actually have money."
"Shut up Thomas. I'll be back. Besides, now that I need repairs, you're going to be running the Branch by yourself. And then we'll see who's laughing. I reckon you won't last even five minutes."
"Rubbish. I can certainly run this Branch by myself even if it's just one day," retorted Thomas.
"Whatever," scoffed Percy. "Just help me back onto the rails."
"All right. Fine."
Secretly though, Thomas was a little worried that he would now be running the Branch Line single-handedly.
That night, he helped Percy to the Junction where James was waiting.
"Hullo again Thomas. I see you've brought Percy."
"Yes indeed. No work for him I'm afraid."
"Huh, so I guess now you're going to be running the Branch Line."
"Yes, but don't worry, I'll be fine."
"Sez you," muttered Percy.
Thomas ignored Percy and shunted him behind James. Then, he headed back to Ffarquhar.
Liza was there and she helped Thomas's Driver and Fireman with the end of the day duties.
"We're heading off now. Get a good nights rest," said Thomas's Driver. "We have a busy day tomorrow."
"I will," said Thomas.
Presently, Thomas was alone in the shed.
"It's so peaceful and quiet," he said to himself. "Ah, it's been a long time since I have been here alone." He was enjoying the quietness. "I can get some proper rest before a hard and long day of work tomorrow."
With that, he closed his eyes and fell fast asleep.
It was still dark the next morning when the firelighter came and started the fire in Thomas's firebox.
Thomas was awake by the time his Fireman arrived.
"Did you get a good night's rest?" asked the Fireman.
"I certainly did," answered Thomas.
"I wonder if it's because no-one else was around."
"I will admit that is the main reason."
Then, Thomas's Driver arrived. "All right. Let's get to work, shall we."
Thomas fetched Annie and Clarabel and brought them to the platform where the milk van was already waiting.
"You've got extra jobs today so just do your best," advised Liza.
"I will do my best," said Thomas, and he waited to start.
At last, he was on his way to the dairy. He delivered the milk and then made his way to the Junction. There, he had to wait for James. Thomas waited and waited but James didn't come. Five minutes passed then ten and then fifteen.
"He is unusually late," puffed Thomas, anxiously.
"I'm sure there's a reason for that," said the Driver.
Then the Stationmaster came up.
"Some of the signals at the Big Station failed and so, many train have been delayed including James's. He's on his way now," explained the Stationmaster.
Finally, James arrived.
"Sorry about the delay," he panted. "I came as quickly as I could."
"I understand James," replied Thomas. "I hope I can make up time," he thought to himself.
As soon as the Guard blew his whistle, Thomas puffed away.
"Come along, come along," he called to Annie and Clarabel.
"We're right behind you," they answered.
Unfortunately for Thomas, he had to stop at Toryreck to pick up a goods train that Mavis had brought up from the Harbour. Thomas quickly marshalled the trucks in front of Annie and Clarabel. Then, as soon he could, he started off.
Presently, they were nearing the station by the river. Thomas was still hurrying and as a result, they almost overran the platform. The Driver applied the brakes just in time. Some of the trucks bumped into each other.
"That could have been a little smoother," they groaned.
Thomas was too busy waiting for the passengers to climb on board.
Once the passengers were all on board, Thomas quickly puffed away.
"Careful Thomas!" cried Annie. "You're bouncing the passengers around."
"Sorry. I'm just trying to make up for lost time."
"We know. We know," sighed Clarabel.
However, none of them realised that Thomas's sudden start had made the couplings loose. They had just passed Hackenbeck when Annie started to hear a rattle.
"I wonder what that could be," she wondered.
"Thomas is going much too fast for one," said Clarabel.
"Indeed," agreed Annie. "He must be rattling the couplings."
"Thomas! Slow down!" they cried.
But Thomas was hurrying and didn't listen.
Then there was trouble. There was a slight bump in the track and one of the couplings came loose. Annie, Clarabel, and some trucks were left behind. The Guard blew his whistle and the passengers shouted but it was no use. Thomas just kept going.
Finally, Thomas could see Ffarquhar.
"At last!" he said.
Liza was on the platform.
"Thomas, where . . ."
"I know I'm late but hopefully I can start the next train on time," interrupted Thomas.
"It's not that," cut in Liza. "The thing is - you've left Annie and Clarabel behind."
Thomas, his Driver, and Fireman looked back.
"Oh dear!" cried Thomas. "We've left everyone behind. We must go back quickly and get them."
"Indeed," murmured Liza. "Leave the trucks here though."
So Thomas shunted the trucks into the yard then he puffed away to collect Annie and Clarabel.
Everyone was glad to see him.
"I'm very sorry," apologised Thomas. "I was in a hurry."
However, the passengers understood that Thomas had a lot more work.
Thomas brought the train up to Ffarquhar. He was glad of a rest before setting off again.
"It's time for the next train," said Thomas's Driver.
"Already?" asked Thomas, sarcastically. "Today's going to be a long day, isn't it. Hopefully we won't run into more delays."
"And we should really make sure all the couplings are secure," put in Clarabel.
"And mind your speed Thomas."
"Yes, yes. That too," sighed Thomas.
The rest of the day went without any further mishaps. Thomas was very tired but happy when he finished his last journey.
"Ah, right on time," chuckled Bertie. "All the odds were against you but you really made up for the morning incident."
"I will admit, I was a bit nervous at the beginning of my second train but then all the connections were on time and so were you and so, everything turned out fine."
"Good to hear," said Bertie. "I have to head off now. See you tomorrow!"
Bertie tooted goodbye and then Thomas went back to the shed.
Mavis was already there.
"Hullo Mavis. Thanks for taking charge of all the stone trains."
"No problem," replied Mavis. "It was my pleasure."
"I expect you were busy at the Quarry."
"Of course. There's plenty of work right now. You were really busy too from what I heard."
"Yeah. I suppose you heard about my little incident in the morning."
"I did but don't worry, you more than made up for it."
"I did, didn't I? And you know what else? No matter what Percy or anyone else says, I know that I am really useful and I have proven that today."
"Still, I hope Toby and Percy are back soon since it is difficult running the line single-handedly. I know you have your work at the Quarry."
"Well I did hear that Jessie is coming back soon."
"That's good. I could really use her help."
"In the meantime, get a good nights rest," said Mavis.
Then Thomas fell fast asleep.
The next day was very busy for Thomas but he managed to pull all his trains to time.
"I do hope Jessie comes back soon. Or Percy in the worst case scenario," said Thomas.
Then the next morning, Thomas was being warmed up when he heard an unfamiliar whistle. A large purple tank engine puffed up.
"Hullo. I'm Ryan."
"Hullo Ryan. What brings you here?" asked Thomas.
"The Fat Controller sent me to help out for a couple days," explained Ryan.
"I see. Welcome to my branch line then. If I'm not mistaken, you handle the goods on the Harwick line with Daisy."
"By the way, how is Daisy doing?"
"She is doing great work on the line. I don't mean to boast, but we do make a great team."
"Well, glad to hear she's doing okay. Now, you know how to handle trucks, don't you."
So Ryan helped out for the next few days.
Then Jessie returned. Thomas was glad to see her but then, the Fat Controller stepped down.
"Oh no," thought Thomas. "What will he say?"
"Hullo Thomas. I just wanted to check in with you," said the Fat Controller.
"Hullo Sir," replied Thomas, nervously.
"Relax Thomas. You did a great job running the line by yourself despite that little incident."
"He he, yeah . . ."
"I have also heard Percy's comments about you which is why I suggest that we keep that little incident between us and have him think that there were no mishaps."
"He's been in the shed recently and he's made his complaints about your supposed underwhelming performance very clear," said Jessie. "It has becomes rather annoying," she added.
"Then yes, let's keep it a secret," chuckled Thomas.
"And just remember, that you are a Really Useful Engine and if you are still running this branch line, it's because I think you do deserve it," finished the Fat Controller.
"Thank you Sir. I will continue to do my best."
"I know you will."
Then he walked away.
"And now you're back to help, aren't you?" Thomas asked Jessie.
"Of course," she smiled. "I know that you and Percy have your disagreements but like the Fat Controller said, don't worry about what he said. Just keep doing your best."
"I will always do my best," said Thomas then he puffed back to work.
In the end, Percy never found out about Thomas's incident whilst he was away. Percy returned the following week and had to admit that Thomas had done a good job running the line. So, all things went back to normal and Thomas enjoys his work on the Branch Line more than ever.
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Toby (mentioned)