ERS 199 - Diesels of the Arlesdale Railway

ERS 199 - Diesels of the Arlesdale Railway - Ian

Continuing a short time after #197, this volume formed the middle of the Arlesdale Trilogy released at the end of 2014. Although some details mirror those of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway following their workshop fire, it is in no way a true like for like representation of events.


There are troubling times following the Workshop fire. Rex, dismantled at the time of the fire, is stored away in bits at the back of the carriage shed while Bert and Mike are sent away for repairs. Jock is left feeling terrible for their plight, but Ivan sees this as a chance for the diesel fleet to really show what they can do. Meanwhile, the retired Sir Stephen Hatt telephones with news - has he come up with a way to help out the Arlesdale Railway in its hour of need?



The R&ER had a number of visiting engines during their period with only one working steam engine, and that is reflected here as Delilah is sent home on a lorry that has just delivered new guest engine Rockland Broad! Shamelessly based on the real engine 'Wroxham Broad' from the Mid-Norfolk Railway, the big tank engine settles in well but unintentionally causes concern amongst the resident engines. The railway has never had a tank engine before but the Blisters soon learn how wrong it is to judge a book by its cover.



Ivan has seen little action since his excellent introduction some years ago and it was always my intention to give him a chapter of his own in this trilogy. Here, still determined to be seen as the saviour of the railway in difficult circumstances, he finds himself working with the elderly Bassett and in a temper damages his engine badly enough to be withdrawn. This was taken from straight from a mechanical fault suffered by Ivan's 'Ratty' counterpart which layed the engine out of traffic for some time.



This story was inspired by my most recent trip to the R&ER, as their diesel 'Perkins' was in charge of the last train of the day and then appeared to spend the night at the top station in the open with its short rake of carriages. This seemed perfect for Frank, who following his only RWS story seems to have calmed a little throughout the ERS. Here, visitor Rockland helps reassure his new friend when the diesel finds himself nervous about regular passenger duties, in what turned out to be an excellent way to flesh out Rockland's 'seemingly simple' character too.