This volume picks up where ERSN #2 left off, and
with most of the Peel Godred backstory featured in the novel, this became only the second volume in the standard library following
on from #127 ‘The Electric Engines’. For most of the volume railway incidents give way to character-driven
stories, a move most intentional on my part to help readers get used to the personalities of the various characters.
FLATTERY WILL GET
The newly overhauled
and almost-legendary King Orry settles into life on the branch once more and discovers Kirk has taken a disliking to him.
Kirk’s reason, it has to be said, is partially understandable - Orry’s rebuild has been facilitated by reusing
many components from a scrapped class 87 electric. Orry takes it upon himself to win the young engine round with a charm offensive,
but it backfires spectacularly as Kirk lets the praise go straight to his head.
WEST COAST RETURN
Dane recalls his jaunt onto the Other Railway, a storyline from the Peel
Godred novel. A real life character is introduced in the form of celebrity class 86 ‘Les Ross’, with whom
Dane works for a time. Inspired by a true life event when a rail tour was hauled by a class 90 in place of the booked ‘heritage’
86, Dane takes a train for Les Ross, although Les Ross is soon well enough to take on the return leg of the tour later that
ON MY HANDS
It has long been my intention to write a story for the ERS where the central character
doesn’t actually move, and here it is Maude - also known as "Miserable Maude" - who drives the action forward. Increasingly
bored of being a ‘spare engine’ with nothing to do, Maude is inspired by James to start offering advice- thereby
missing the point James was actually making! When her ‘help’ - which is better described as interference - annoys
the main line engines, they begin to stop listening to her. Ironically, it is James who soon regrets this!
Shen is at the Works, so Kirk is asked to help Maude with the passenger works. Still incredibly
stuck-up following Orry’s failed charm offensive, Kirk brags that he alone keeps the line running, and even tells Gordon
that they’ll have wires to the Other Railway before long as the steam and even the diesel fleets are getting on! Naturally
pride comes before a fall, and Kirk’s comes when he fails to spot he is being wrong-routed at Killdane station until
far too late. He runs beyond the end of the wires, pulling a stanchion down atop him - much to Gordon’s great amusement.