Tales From The Other Railway



The saga comes to a somewhat satisfying conclusion where 'the author' is honoured by his subject-matter!

A few days later, the Thin Git called a meeting of the engines.

"You have all heard," he announced, "of the Author."

"Isn't he the one who writes all those horrid things about us?" ventured Diesel.

"Well done, Diesel," agreed the Thin Git. "Sadly, that arrogant tw*t is the only person willing to do the job, but next year it is five years since he started writing those rubbish so-called 'stories' and making us look bad. Well, more bad than we already are, anyway."

He paused to cough up some phlegm.

"To mark this suspicious occasion-" he went on.

"Wot's auspicious?" rumbled Bert, and hoped the Thin Git had heard him. But he wished he hadn't.

"What's suspicious, Arry, is why I haven't had you melted down into paperclips yet," explained the Thin Git. "To mark this...er...not-nice occasion, I have arranged for a bust on the Author to take place here in a few days. We will invite him here under the pretence of throwing him a surprise birthday party."

"Excuse me, sir," piped in Derek, "but I don't believe it is his birthday yet."

"That's what makes it a surprise, you ponce," growled the Thin Git. "Now, your duties will be adjusted so that you can all help me get petty revenge on a person who we all hate, but keep around here anyway. Sir Topham will be there to kick off the bust before he makes a very special announcement."

The engines tried to hide their devastation. They were certain they knew what that announcement would be - the sale of Pip and Emma and, consequently, the Other Railway.

Sometime later, the Thin Git spoke to Spamcan.

"I have an important job for you," he said. "Cromwell says that Mr Bottomsly has been feeling stuffed up this last week. I want you to take his tender to the Works right away, so he can be ready for the bust. I imagine his arsenal of smells will be most useful against the Author."

Spamcan rumbled off grimly. He felt even more miserable when he began the journey back from the Works with Mr Bottomsly trailing behind, his tubes hastily de-clogged.

But on the way back, Spamcan saw Pip and Emma whooshing past at a junction. The Stout Gentleman was bringing them back to the Other Railway for the bust on the Author.

It was then that Spamcan had a rare but brilliant idea. Just as he had passed through Bowler's Hole, there was a rumble...and an enormous 'BELCH'. Spamcan's Driver looked back in alarm. Mr Bottomsly had let one rip, and part of the tunnel had collapsed behind them. The Railway to the magical land where dreams come true was completely cut off!

Spamcan stopped at the next signal-box, and his Driver told the Signalman to forget about what had happened.

Later the Thin Git sent Arry, Bert and BoZo to help repair the tunnel, but until it was mended no trains could reach the Island of Sodor from the Other Railway.

"And no engines can get onto the Island either," pointed out Old Stuck-Up. "Pip and Emma are stuck on this side of the tunnel, and they can't be shipped off to Sodor if they're trapped here. Excelsior, foul Spamcan!"

In the Yard, the engines were excited too.

"This really is a great day for deviousness," said Diesel, "but what if someone manages to get through?"

"Don't worry," soothed his Driver. "Scrappy and his buddies are using the tunnel as a landfill and making the blockage even worse. No-one getting through that anytime soon."

The Thin Git gave orders to carry on as usual, but all trains to the Island of Sodor had to stop before Bowler's Hole. Bernard brought them passengers, but Old Stuck-Up ran away and left them at the platform, just to be safe.

Meanwhile, Bert had a smaller problem.

"Why is everyone bothered about a little statue?" he asked Arry one day.

Arry was annoyed.

"Statue?" he asked. "What do you mean, ‘statue’?"

"Well," explained Bert, "the Thin Git said we was gonna get ourselves a bust."

"What bust?"

"Of the Author, silly sod," said Bert, impatiently. "Dunno why we're buyin' one, though. 'E's' a proper ugly fella."

Diesel, listening nearby, groaned. "The Author isn't getting a bust," he sneered. "We're going to bust him up for being a cheeky b*****d who writes mean and only slightly untrue stories about us."

Bert thought. It looked like a lot of work.

"Oh!" he said, at last. "That's all right then."

"I just hope that everyfink goes to plan," put in Arry.

But a few days later, the Thin Git finally got wise to the engines' game and announced that the tunnel was nowhere near completion. Arry, Bert and BoZo had deliberately dawdled to ensure Pip and Emma couldn't leave the Other Railway. The Inspectors had worked through the day spying on the engines while they slept on the job, and Spamcan was made to come barging through the rubble as punishment for causing the mess in the first place.

Later, once the tunnel had been completely cleared, Diesel pulled Spamcan clear with the breakdown train and took him back to the sheds, where the Stout Gentleman and the other engines were waiting. The Thin Git spoke severely to Spamcan about the accident, and threatened to give him a bath if he ever did it again.

"Will Pip and Emma be leaving now?" asked Diesel glumly.

"What in buggery makes you think that?" said the Thin Git.

The other engines glared, but Diesel decided to squeal like a rat.

"Because the engines think the Fat Git is here to see if they can be taken away to Sodor forever and ever," he replied, and he explained all about the Homeless Person.

The Thin Git laughed.

"Har har! Well, the engines are bloody morons and you shouldn't listen to Homeless People, Diesel. That great tub of lard isn't buying Pip and Emma from me, he's renting them.

"Do you have any idea how frustrating it is trying to run a modern railway with senile old coffee pots that break down or wander off to chase butterflies at the drop of a hat? Even old-fashioned fossils like Sir Topham have a love for the sleek, new and efficient, way deep down.

"That's why I've been hiring Pip and Emma out to him these past few days, so that he can indulge himself in train rides that don't last for six months or get abruptly delayed due to the engine chasing balloons or something."

Diesel raised an eyebrow. "So, you've turned your High-Speed Express service into a High-Speed Escort service?"

"In a way, yes!" said the Thin Git. "In fact, I've struck a little deal with ol' Topsy here. Anytime he feels the need for speed in something that wasn't built in 1833, he slips a few notes under my table and I let him ride around in Pip and Emma for a few days. If anyone asks why they keep spending so much time together, he'll say he bought them at a flea market and only brings them out of the shed for 'special occasions'.

“He gets his comfy time, I get his money, and Pip and Emma get to spend a few days somewhere that doesn’t look like a total sh*thole. Everybody wins."

"So does this mean you haven't sold Pip and Emma to Sodor, sir?" asked Derek.

"Of course not!" laughed the Thin Git. "I'm not stupid enough to sell off my only bargaining chips with the PC Brigade!"

"Told you so!" piped up Bowler, receiving a prompt bumping from Arry.

"And what's more," said the Stout Gentleman, "that tunnel rock will be perfect for the children's annual rock and gravel party back on Sodor when I get back; found by accident and rumour, you might say."

Everyone chuckled weakly, and hastily went back to work.

At last, the bust on the Author was ready. The engines waited anxiously as Pip and Emma arrived, and the first person off the train was the Author himself. The Thin Git greeted him with several custard pies to the face, and after a short round of painfully loud horns and terribly foul smells from the engines, the Author was pushed into a vat of compost, courtesy of Scrappy.

The Author scrambled back onto the ground and ran to the exit door, revealing a perfectly naked Stout Gentleman blocking the way.

"MY EYES!" he cried, and skidding on a trail of grease, straight back into the manure.

"It seems that my stories," said the Author, "that people read about your Railway are completely and utterly true! This place is absolutely horrid and I doubt there will never be anything like it anywhere!"

The Author made several rude gestures and leapt out of the nearest window, to a chorus of toots and laughter. It was the happiest everyone had felt for many days.

The Stout Gentleman still uses Pip and Emma to zip across his private island, but all the Other Railway Engines know that Pip and Emma aren't running away from them. They are, in their way, just being very wh*rish.


Tales From The Other Railway - Series 5 / Story 10
Based on Centenary - Written by Christopher Awdry