ERS 219 - Sir Handel On Tour

ERS 219 - Sir Handel On Tour - Stuart

The idea for this volume came from Sir Haydn’s recent tour of the UK in an attempt to raise money for his next overhaul. Needless to say, it was an interesting opportunity to portray Sir Handel in a more positive light for a change.

Sir Handel is feeling overworked and tired, as Duncan is in the works for an overhaul. He soon cheers up when the Thin Controller informs him that he has been invited to attend a gala at the Corris Railway, as a reward for his hard work and as a send-off before his overhaul. However, true to form, Sir Handel becomes conceited – that is, until his low-loader breaks down right in the middle of Crovan’s Gate town, blocking two streets…
The lorry incident was based on one that occurred at Alresford, Hampshire, in 2008, when a low-loader, carrying a Thomas replica home from Holland suffered from failed hydraulics and broke down in the middle of the town. More info here:

Sir Handel eventually arrives at Corris, where he meets their No.7 (known as ‘Kerry’) and their diesel engines, in particular, one known as ‘Willie the Ruston’. At first, Sir Handel is somewhat disdainful of the short route, but warms to it when he starts feeling under the weather again. However, this does not last long as he fails completely with leaking tubes the day before the gala, and cannot be mended in time. Despite being on display, Sir Handel is still unhappy. However, an opportunity for something else soon arises…
This was based partly on Sir Haydn’s last visit to the Corris in 2012, and a burst tube that the engine suffered in 1953.

After Sir Handel’s incident, the Skarloey Railway engines are worried when he doesn’t return. Sir Handel, meanwhile, is invited to take part in a gala on another preserved railway in the town where he was built (actually Loughborough, Leicestershire, home of the Great Central Railway), riding on a flat wagon, just as he used to do in his Mid Sodor days when he used to travel to the Falcon Works for his overhauls, which couldn’t be dealt with at the Mid Sodor’s Workshops. Despite being narrow gauge, not only does he provide visitors with the opportunity to see a piece of the town’s history, but he is also able to put a snooty big engine in his place…
This was a combination of three events – Sir Haydn’s visit to the Great Central Railway (where it acted as a static exhibition in the yard), and also its visits to the West Somerset Railway and Severn Valley Railway, where photographic charters of it being pulled on a flat wagon were run at galas, recalling the days when it – and No.4 – were taken to their respective works for overhauls, which the old Corris Railway’s works couldn’t carry out.

Sir Handel is enjoying his time at Loughborough – however, funds need to be raised for his next overhaul. Having overheard a conversation between Shamus and Scott, the Thin Controller makes plans for him to be sent to a museum on another heritage railway to act as static exhibit, in order to raise the money, and for Sir Handel to act as ambassador for the Skarloey Railway. Sir Handel has trouble warming to the idea at first, but soon does so, despite some of the exhibit engines complaining about having to be moved around for him to be put in place – in particular, one certain ex-military tender engine…
This was based on Sir Haydn’s time as a static exhibit at the Severn Valley Railway’s Engine House museum. As of 2015, it is now back at the Talyllyn Railway, awaiting overhaul.