Tales From The Other Railway

Cromwell the Jet Turbine Engine

Cromwell and Mr Bottomsly go on a high-speed, but flatulent, adventure...

Cromwell is a very proud gas-turbine engine, and a first-class arsehole. He's the fastest engine (at least in his own mind) on the Other Railway and loves speeding across the line with Mr Bottomsly's wind blowing across his face.


Actually, he doesn't love that part. That's just me. Tee hee.


"You've broken the record again!" said his Driver one morning, as Cromwell pulled into the Big Fat Station. "Thirty lawsuits for whiplash on one trip! I told you not to go 'turbo' again!"


"As if we have anything worth suing over!" chortled Cromwell. "Face it, I'm the fastest, once and always!"


Not all the engines were impressed, and by all, I mean everyone who has ever lived.


"Speed isn't everything," said Pip sensibly.


"But being reliable and useful and super-special awesome is," said Emma.


"You lady engines will never understand," snorted Cromwell, "because you'll never have the sheer oceans of testosterone flowing through your tanks like me."


"That's a laugh!" scoffed Pip. "You can't pull three coaches without moaning about a hernia! Mrs Cruelly's more butch than you are!"


"At least Mrs Cruelly doesn't have a great wobbly yellow bumblebee bottom dragging behind her all the time! Oh wait, that's your sister - or is it? It's so hard to tell sometimes!"




Before the twins could tear him a new Mr Bottomsly, the Thin Git arrived with news of an especially special special for Cromwell.


"I want you to collect an old rocketship I won from the North Korean ambassador on poker night and take it as far away from the airfield as possible," he said. "The air and space museum are offering fifty quid and a deluxe copy of Moonraker for a safe delivery, and I don't want Private Parts thinking we're trying to build a Communist superweapon or something."


"What's a Communist?" asked Bert, bashing his head against Cromwell's coaches and wondering why they weren't getting shunted.


"How should I know?" said the Thin Git. "Do I look like I can grow a beard? What I do know is that that rocket is a piece of junk and more volatile than Derek on curry night! It's bloody powerful! So move it, posho!"



Cromwell didn't like doing especially special specials for the Thin Git. It makes him feel like everybody else, but secretly he was devising a plan to show the girls just how awesome he was.


Cromwell arrived at the docks, disgusted to see the North Korean rocket. It was rusty and ancient, and Cromwell had never seen anything like it, though Farmer Giles' pig manure silo came close.


Cromwell just couldn't wait to kick off his master plan, but Cheeky the Crane was taking his time. The dock workers' beer supply had run out and he was having to work completely sober for the first time in weeks.


"Hurry up!" huffed Cromwell, as the rocket was lowered onto his flatbed. "This is an especially special special!"


Cheeky did not like being told what to do, especially when he had a hangover. He became so cheeky that he was careless with his hook, just as Cromwell had planned.


As Cheeky swung his arm around to shoo Cromwell off, the gas-turbine engine jerked backwards into the arm's way. The hook slapped Mr Bottomsly and Mr Bottomsly's fiery belch lit the rocketship, and the rocketship began to rumble. The rumbling got louder and louder and louder.


"Way hay!" said Cheeky.


Before he could say anything else, the rocketship was rocketing Cromwell up the track.




"OOOOOOOH!" said Cromwell.


The Driver would have tried to put on the brakes, had he and the Fireman not been sent hurtling into the sea by the rocketship's launch.




The Stationmaster called ahead. Or should that be behind? He called somewhere, anyway.


"Clear the lines! It's a runaway train! Yes, I know it's not Runaway Tuesday! Just do something, man!"


Signals were changed and points were switched. A pity the train had already thundered past all of them.


Cromwell had never been so terrified. He flew over Bowler and rocketed under Stuck-Up and raced through Derek's trucks full of lemon juice and sandpaper before leaving the rails completely.


The engines were amused. They had never seen an engine fly before, not without powerful drugs or making the Drivers change their pocket TVs over to Chuggington.


Bernard the Bus was excited when he saw Cromwell flying Bottomsly-first above the track. He hadn't picked a fight with one of the engines all day.


"Wanna belchin' contest, Crapwell?" burbled Bernard. "Nothin' beats a bus at belchin'! Go on! You go first!"




"...Never moind. Feckin' show-off."


No-one had ever seen an engine go so fast before, and certainly not in such a silly manner. Pip and Emma certainly hadn't; in fact, they still had no idea that Cromwell was racing over the Main Line towards them.


"We are the fastest!" said Pip proudly.


"And the best!" added Emma excitedly.


"Hi, Cromwell!"


"Bye, Cromwell!"


"And nicest, Emma! Don't forget ni-"


"...Wait a mo!"


Pip and Emma could not believe what they had seen. They laughed so hard they nearly started flying themselves.


At last the rocketship ran out of fuel and Cromwell was back under his own power.


Unfortunately he was now several miles above sea level.


Cromwell plummeted back through the air and burst explosively a few yards away from the Big Fat Station.


Pip and Emma inspected the smouldering wreck as they pulled in. Thanks to the years of asbestos ingrained in his frames, Cromwell was still mostly in tack.


"Sorry for you nearly being blown to smithereens, Cromwell," said Emma.


"Yeah, we'd have done it for you if you'd only asked," put in Pip.


"Blown up? I didn't notice!" Cromwell huffed. "You didn't notice the fastest engine on the Other Railway?"


"Yes, you are the fastest!" said Pip.


Cromwell beamed smugly.


"Yes, sir, I've never seen an engine completely and utterly fail to deliver a train in such a short amount of time. You're a wreck, the rocket's a wreck, you're back where you started, the Thin Git won't get his money or his Moonraker DVD and judging from the gunfire off in the direction of the airfield, I think you might have delivered the rocketship to Private Parts instead.


"That was the single fastest f***-up in the history of the Other Railway. Well done."


Cromwell's obscenities were masked by the remaining pieces of rocket raining down on his head.


Emma felt a little sorry for Cromwell (About 0.01%, to be exact. That's right, I know maths). "Cromwell doesn't have to go as fast as a rocketship. He's a jet-turbine engine."


"True, Emma," replied Pip. "He doesn't need the Koreans to be a superfast, showboating arsehole."


The twins grinned.


"He's already there!" they tooted, and Pip and Emma purred away as Private Parts whirred over the horizon towards the seething remains of Cromwell.


"Have at ye, you scurvy, smelly pinko infiltrator! TALLY-HOOOOO!"


"Oh, fu-"







Tales From The Other Railway - Series 6 / Story 10
Based on Thomas the Jet Engine - Written by Ross Hastings / Story by David Mitton