ERS 178 - Mountain Engines in Crisis

ERS 178 - Mountain Engines in Crisis - Ryan

Summaries by SuperEngine999

Ryan had intentions of creating a new character for the Mountain Railway, which would be foreshadowed in this volume. The engine in question was intentionally left in the dark until further ideas can be thought of - leaving plenty of time to develop new stories for the new arrival coming to Sodor in the distant future.


Reports of a theft from the Mid-Sodor Railway Museum reaches the Mountain line, and Betty is shocked to hear it’s Bottom the land rover. Police are searching for the thieves, but can’t find them anywhere. On her next run up the mountain, Betty spies headlights ahead - which turns out to be Bottom! The thieves turn out to be volunteers from the Heritage Railway, who had driven Bottom up the railway line under cover of darkness for a lark, but ended up stranded by the strong winds. Poor Bottom is left at the top of the mountain for days until the railway decide to him down on the ‘Truck’. Bottom is more than happy to be given a rest afterwards.
This was yet another "strange but true" story where a man drove his 4x4 up Mount Snowdon by way of the Snowdon Railway as part of his "50 things to do before I die" list…

The issue of coal is brought up by the Manager, forcing him to look for alternative means of fuel. Culdee is converted as an oil-burner to see if it would make a difference in his performance, leading to much teasing from the other engines. When bad coal arrives from abroad a few weeks later, the steam engines find the yellow smog unpleasant - and Ernest suffers worst of all when melted ash crates a pool of lava in his firebox which puts out his fire.
Based on an incident involving open-cast mined coal on the Snowdon Mountain Railway which caused similar problems with SMR No.2.

News comes that the Manger is looking to buy a new steam engine, but the engines are confused as to why he’s not buying a diesel. He and the CME travel to Switzerland to see a new oil-burning engine in practice. The two ride with the Workshop Manager, Mr Reeves, who details the advantages to his engine. He runs away with himself when he says the engine can tackle fast speeds on steep lines, only to fall into trouble when the automatic brakes seize up, and they have to reverse and start again.

With the Manager delayed in returning from abroad, the engines are left annoyed at the idea of being converted to oil. With more news of the new engine being ‘the future’, Ernest insists on not running any more trains until he’s been heard. When he asks of the Manager’s intentions, he explains how he has recently been searching for a new coal source for the engines, explaining that none of the other engines will be converted. Ernest realises how silly he has been…