ERS 209 - Tales from Crovan's Gate

ERS 209 -Tales From Crovan's Gate - Christopher

Donald’s absence has been noted and mentioned since ERS #198, but now this volume puts Donald’s little arc to rest, as well as giving ERS #203 a decent conclusion, too. Despite the title of the volume, not all the stories took place at the Works – but as I couldn’t think of a better alternative, the name stuck in the end.

This story picks up from Pegasus’ failure from the last ERS volume. Earlier drafts of this volume had intended to develop him at first, until it was decided that Pegasus should be left as he is for now. So I rewrote the story to help develop Rollo instead – where he is brought in as company for Pegasus whilst awaiting for his own repairs (which are properly explained in ERS #217) and chatters away nineteen to the dozen, enough to occupy Pegasus’ mind from more gloomy subjects...

This storyline has quite the history behind it – Simon and Loey Machan came up with the idea when they first wrote Sammie’s introduction volume, but it ended up being dropped. And yet it was subtly mentioned in ERS #136. Here, I decided to finally write the full story of what happened when Sammie and Dilworth first arrived on Sodor...
Retold by Wendell to Rollo and Donald (who is undergoing his overhaul at last), he remembers when Dilworth and Sammie were undergoing tests and trials in the Workshops. All seemed to go well until Dilworth accidentally ran away from the Testing Plant, bumped into Sammie’s tender and pushed it into the Traverser Pit! And Sammie, to her own embarrassment, was forced to rescue him without her tender...but from that silly incident, the two engines become good friends.

Donald’s overhaul is finally complete, and he is delighted to be back in service. On his first proper run, Wendell is attached to the train as a Pilot Engine in case Donald should need extra help. But as it turns out, it’s Wendell that needs help when he fails suddenly on Gordon’s Hill! However, Donald is able to keep the train going as far as Edward’s Station, and BoCo takes over from Wendell to help Donald to finish his journey home, where all his friends are waiting with a big welcome.

Not long after, Gordon returns home from his Railtours with a grand party at the Big Station. Pegasus is mended in time to join in the celebrations, but he’s secretly a little sad that he missed out on travelling on the Mainland as intended. Sensing the young engine’s feelings, Gordon reminds Pegasus that Railtours are not always fun. He recalls an incident when, during one such run, someone stopped the train, believing that a small child may have fallen from one of the carriage windows...thankfully, the “child” turns out to be a large toy instead, dropped by accident!
This story was inspired by a funny incident that took place on a Swansea-bound high-speed train. All traffic between Cardiff and Newport was halted until the “body” was found...which turned out to be a large Bart Simpson plush toy!!