When the final Railway Series book, RWS #42 “Thomas and his Friends”, was published
back in 2011, many readers felt it rather odd at how Gordon would suddenly give up his position on the Express to Pip and
Emma. I decided to rectify that with a more believable storyline which would explain how and why. It’s another ERS volume
that I’m very proud of as it helped me to get through a rough patch in my life when I really needed it.
POOR OLD ENGINE
Gordon has been feeling bitter and angry
for some time, and no one knows why. Whilst hurrying with the Express one day, in a bid to make up lost time, he suffers a
“hot box” and is stranded near a bridge. People gather to see him and remark “Poor Old Engine”
over and over until Wendell arrives to take him to the Works. The reason for Gordon’s grumpy behaviour begins to show
– he realises he hasn’t had a “hot box” since his last overhaul (ERS #44)...
GORDON SLOWS DOWN
When Gordon returns to work, he has suddenly
gone from grumpy to forlorn, to the point where he can’t get a good run with the Express. The Fat Controller decides
to put Gordon on Stopping Trains with Robert until he feels better. But it takes gentle cajoling from Edward for Gordon to
finally open up – he’s getting old and there’s nothing he can do about it. Edward reminds him that there’s
nothing wrong with growing old, and that taking things more slowly will do him a world of good. Gordon considers this, and
he suddenly begins feeling much better about life.
PASSING THE BUCK
To the astonishment of the Big Engines,
Robert reveals that Gordon doesn’t really want to pull Expresses anymore – he seems more content with Local or
Commuter trains. They soon begin to wonder (and then argue over) who should be next in line for the Express. Henry
and Sodor Castle are more than willing, yet Daphne and Winston remind them that Diesels would be better at keeping the Fat
Henry is determined to show up Sodor Castle when he next gets to pull the Express. But he gets over-confident and overshoots
a signal at the Works Station – causing a lot of trouble and delay as a result. The following day, Sodor Castle has
no problems with pulling the Express – but at Barrow, the Diesel intended to take the train to London fails, and Sodor
Castle cannot leave until a replacement is called up. This gives the Fat Controller a lot to think about...