ERS 225 - Growler & the Electric Engines

ERS 225 – Growler & the Electric Engines - Christopher

In the second Extended Railway Series Novel, 'The Peel Godred Railway', Ian came up with the splendid idea of having Wendell the Works Diesel and Growler act as ‘utility’ engines for the Electric Branch line, after they’ve been fitted with the same ERTMS equipment to enable them to do so. And following Dane’s leave of Sodor, we both felt that a follow up was needed to show how the Electrics were getting on without him. Ian came up with the idea for the first story, and I developed it from there.

The Electric Engines find Wendell and Growler useful if one of them is ill or away, but sometimes Kirk can’t help feeling jealous of the two Diesels – he feels that he can manage fine without them. Then one day, high winds damage the overhead wires over a section of the Electric line. The only way for trains to continue running is to have one of the Diesels pull the Electric Engines through the damaged section. Growler is more than happy to help keep things moving until the wires are mended, much to Kirk’s annoyance.

A few days later, Growler is called to Peel Godred again. This time, poor King Orry is out of service after vandals have thrown a brick through his cab window. The Electrics are appalled, none more so than Growler, who hates vandals. He spends days and days of how to catch them in the act, but he can’t find a way.
Then one afternoon, as he nears Kildane Junction, the same band of vandals try to cause trouble for Growler – until his loud, angry motor sets off every car alarm in the station car park, which attracts the attention of a nearby Police Car. In no time, the vandals have been caught and Growler becomes a hero.

King Orry is soon mended, and Growler returns to the main line. Kirk is proud to be in charge of the goods work again, and boasts of how much knowledge he has gained over how to handle trucks. But he regrets his boasting when he has to take a line of hopper wagons to the top station, who try to cause him grief throughout the journey.
But at Kirk Machen Station, one of the hopper wagons suddenly jump the points, and it rides along the ballast before suddenly rerailing itself again. The Inspector is annoyed and Kirk is left feeling silly. But the incident has done some good, though – the hopper wagons stay very quiet after their near-derailment.
The incident that inspired this story happened at Washwood Heath West Junction in 2015, where a container wagon derailed at a set of points, then “magically” jumped back on the rails at another set!

Maude takes great delight in teasing Kirk for his silly accident, until Abbey tells her to stop. In a bid to cheer Kirk up, Growler tells him a story from when he was young and had worked on the Other Railway. He recalls a time when he pulled his first ‘Merry-Go-Round’ train, which includes a type of hopper wagon that can load and unload coal at various Power Stations without having to stop. In addition to a special device that can control his speed whilst doing so, Growler originally thought this as a rest cure...
...until one day when his Speed Control system fails, and he has to use his full strength to stop the trucks from getting away with him. After that, Growler learns to be extra careful with his trains because “With Great Strength Comes Great Responsibility”.