The development of the Class 60 Diesels had been rather underplayed before this volume came about
- in particular, Wakefield, who did not play as big a role as Procor or Spartan under Simon Martin's volumes. I saw to it
that Wakefield was given his chance in the spotlight and, at the same time, adding a few other changes in the Main Line roster…
THREE'S A CROWD
The Diesel Engines are finding themselves with
more work than ever, but of the the three Class 60s, Wakefield seems to be suffering worst of all. No amount of time in the
Diesel Depot can mend his technical faults, and Procor fears the worst. When Wakefield finally fails on a goods run, the Fat
Controller and the Chief Engineer decide to put him to better use...
WINSTON HELPS OUT
The development of this
story was an interesting one as the time period of this volume takes place at the same time that the events of ERS #198 occurred,
with even a mention of Donald being sidelined, too – it’s a shame that no one seemed to have made the connection
when it was first published...
The weeks pass, and no news comes of Wakefield. Sammie becomes confident that perhaps the Goods Link might do better with
more steam engines on the fleet, causing friction between her and Dick. But one day, Winston is called away from his ballast
run to take over Sammie’s container train after the big engine suffers a breakdown. And as Winston is certified to run
on the Mainland, he takes the train straight on from Barrow to its intended destination – leaving Sammie feeling rather
OPERATION: GUINEA PIG
this time, poor Wakefield is still in the Workshops, lamenting – he feels sure that he’ll be withdrawn for good.
However, the Fat Controller and the Chief Engineer reassure the situation to him. They have been making careful plans on how
to improve the performance of Wakefield’s class, and they have decided to use him as their “guinea pig”,
which would see him given a complete overhaul to make him stronger and faster than before. And if successful, the same modifications
will be made to Spartan and Procor, too. The other engines are pleased when they hear the news, but Sammie isn’t sure
what to think...
After an unusual heart-to-heart
with Procor of all engines, Sammie starts to question her position on the Goods Link, and wonders if she may be better suited
for other work elsewhere on Sodor...and when the tests on Wakefield’s overhaul all show positive, the Fat Controller
decides to make further changes in the fleet. Sammie will now become a proper mixed-traffic engine, and Winston will take
her place as head of the NW Freight Link – a proposal which both engines happily accept.