At a point in time where I was struggling to rewrite this particular volume, Stuart
and I got together to discuss ideas for his Mountain Engines volume, where he passed me real life incidents from the Snowdon
Mountain Railway, which were ripe for Railway Series adaptation. Most of my own
stories for this volume were trite, and were bound for the scrap heap, so I was grateful to Stuart when he allowed me to adapt
some of the ideas he had put forward. The rest is history!
PRIDE COMES BEFORE A FAIL
This is the first instance of having the Mountain Railway stepping into modernity. Norman and Betty become the railway’s first Diesel locomotive traction, along
with Vermat, a Diesel Rail-car. Norman takes great pleasure in being the first
of the new Diesels to go up the mountain, ridiculing the steam engines for being ‘out of date’. However, when problems are encountered with his hydraulics and Norman can no longer manage to push the
train up the Mountain, he returns to the station quite shame-faced and disappointed he didn’t make the ‘big impression’
he had initially hoped for!
Betty, the other Diesel, adapts to life on the Mountain Railway more readily than Norman
has and begins working ‘The Truck’, transporting materials up the Mountain to mend the Summit Hotel. But one day, she overhears Culdee and Wilfred comparing Norman’s incident to that of Godred’s. Betty begins to worry about encountering the same troubles as Norman and fears for
her own safety. This is made worse when she is rostered to work a night shift
to the summit under cover of darkness. She bravely makes her way up the hill,
but as she makes the final ascent to the Summit, she stops suddenly after hearing a shrieking whistle echo across the wind. The Guard then knocks on the Driver’s door and congratulates him – but
the Driver is bewildered as to why. The coach had derailed, and the Guard was
about to act when the train stopped anyway. No-one could quite explain who blew
the whistle, but Betty is convinced that Godred is out there somewhere looking out for the safety of the other engines...
This story is based on a real life incident from 1987, which could have proven fatal.
WILFRED AND THE ‘SLEDGE’
This is another story of something that actually happened on the Snowdon Mountain Railway,
which took place in 1957. A group of children decided to take some slate and
use them as sledges on the railway line. The same incident takes place here during
the mending of the Summit Hotel’s roof, with Wilfred sent up the mountain to collect the injured party in lieu of the
Mountain Rescue team’s path being blocked by flood-water.
TRAPPED AT THE TOP