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Too Many Trucks is the thirteenth story of the first volume.

Too Many Trucks
Season X, Episode 13
Air date 1 August 2019
Written by MainLineEngines
Directed by MainLineEngines
Episode guide
Blown Away
Saving Edward


It was a busy day at Anopha Quarry. Mavis and Toby were working hard, taking loaded stone trucks down to Ffarquhar. Soon, a long train was waiting to go to the Harbour.

Jessie puffed in. She had to take the stone trucks to the Harbour.

"My, that's a long train," she observed.

"Yes," agreed Mavis, "and there's more coming later."

"In that case, I'll need some help taking them down to the Harbour."

"Really? You're the strongest engine on the Branch."

"Even I have my limits. Plus, I want to avoid any incidents."

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, well, that's a long story, but the point is I'm not taking that many trucks by myself."

"Well, we could see if Percy's available. If not, I'll help you, and Toby can take care of things up at the Quarry."

So it was arranged. Percy arrived to help Jessie take the trucks to the Harbour.

"Thank goodness you're here," said Jessie.

"No problem," replied Percy. "Although I'm surprised you aren't taking all of them. I'm sure I've seen you pull a lot more."

"Not this much!"

It was hard work, but at last, all the stone was delivered.

Jessie and Percy were soon back at Ffarquhar with Mavis and Toby.

"That was one of the biggest orders I've ever seen," sighed Toby.

"Quite so," agreed Mavis, "but Jessie, I still don't understand why you even wanted help."

"Well, as I mentioned, there is a story to that," replied Jessie.

So, the other listened to Jessie's story.

"It happened when I was working at East Moors," explained Jessie. "I worked with seventeen other engines. I was the youngest, and was still learning the ways of the Steelworks. My job consisted of taking loaded ladle trucks up a slope to the Tip, where molten slag was dumped into the sea. A spectacular sight really. Anyways, one of the things I did that my sisters didn't was I usually pushed more trucks than allowed to the Tip. The limit was eight but I sometimes took up thirteen. I felt like I could manage the load, and since work had to be done, the Manager allowed it.

"Even so, my sisters often told me to stop taking beyond the limit of trucks."

"Those trucks always look for a chance to play tricks."

"They're filled with molten slag which could melt your wheels."

"I'll be fine," Jessie assured her sisters.

"There came a time where several of my sisters needed repairs, so another engine came to help us. Her name was Lucy, she was a bit smaller than me, and I was tasked with showing her around. First, I showed her around the Steelworks. Then, we did a great deal of shunting.

"Sometimes, other engines come for deliveries of steel. At other times, we're allowed to take the trucks out on the line," Jessie explained to Lucy.

"Got it," replied Lucy. "Perhaps we could double-head a train of steel."

"Perhaps! But now, we've got shunting."

"Lucy and I shunted for the next hour.

"All right, you've got the hang of shunting here. Now, I'll show you the Tip."

"What's that?"

"I'll show you."

"I collected eight ladle trucks to demonstrate Lucy the procedure.

"Once all the slag had been emptied, I brought the trucks back down.

"All finished."

"All right. So, is eight the maximum amount of trucks allowed?"

"Yes. Although, I will admit, I sometimes take up thirteen. You probably shouldn't do that."

"I'm sure I can push just as much as you," replied Lucy.


"Of course. Just wait and see!"

"So, Lucy collected ten ladle trucks and began to climb the slope to the Tip.

"But, I could tell she was struggling. 'I better go and help her', I thought. But it was too much for Lucy. Before I could do anything, her Driver and Fireman jumped clear and she slid down the slope out of control, forced on by the heavy ladle trucks. Finally, she was diverted into a siding. She crashed into the buffers and slag poured everywhere, including over Lucy."

"Oh dear," cut in Percy. "What happened?"

"Well, the cause of the accident was determined to be exceeding the limit of trucks allowed. As for Lucy, she was scrapped due to major damages. As for me, I never exceeded the limit ever again - even at busy times and my sisters often reminded me of Lucy."

"Well, rules are there for a reason," said Toby, firmly.


"I'm sorry for Lucy, but I'm glad you didn't find out the hard way," added Mavis.

"I suppose. Although, I do feel a bit guilty because I kind of got her to take that many trucks," replied Jessie.

"You were much younger back then. Now, you know to follow the rules and you know have much you can handle," soothed Toby.

"Thanks Toby," smiled Jessie. "And I know this story doesn't really have a happy ending, but at least I learned a lesson."

Percy, Toby, and Mavis had to agree.




  • This story is based off a real-life incident in November of 1954 involving LNER J88 No. 68341 which lost control on a steep bank outside Kirkcaldy Harbour after carrying nineteen trucks - seven trucks over the limit. The engine fell into the sea and was later scrapped.
  • The story takes place in 1937.