Tales From The Other Railway

Better Dead Than Steamie

Guess who's back.  Back again.  Steamie's back.  Warn your friends.

The engines were finding life difficult. Bankrupt retailers from the local high street were living under the viaduct on the Main Line. The retailers needed jobs and would ambush trains with offers of washed windows and Big Issue magazines, but the Thin Git did not want to close the railway while the workmen threw them into the canal, and so removal took a long time.


The engines had to take great care when crossing the viaduct. They had to, but they didn't. As such, they often got into fights with the retailers, and the delays inevitably made them late on their journey to the Yard, where they knew Diesel would be ready to nag the sh*t out of them.


Diesel grew crosser and crosser, which many thought impossible.


"Time's time!" he growled. "Why should I keep my lovely little Steamie-Poo waiting while you troglodytes toss about on viaducts?"


"Don't blame us!" scoffed Bowler. "If we ran over the retailers, they might sue us into the ground, and then you'd have no 'troglodytes' to make fun of anymore! And second, 'lovely little Steamie-Poo'? BLEURGH!"


"At least he can run his trains on time!" retorted Diesel, "Steamie's a better friend than you've ever been!" and he hurried away before Bowler could register how f***ing crazy that sounded.


Steamie wasn't impatient. In fact, he was downright chipper. He was scheduled to shunt all the trucks Diesel collected from the other engines. The Yard Manager found that, instead of Diesel dumping the trucks in a siding as quickly as possible and running away, everyone was kept waiting till he arrived - even longer than usual!


Soon Steamie grew sorry for Diesel.


"Late again, my very chummiest chummy-chum?" he remarked as Diesel grumbled wearily in. "We may be the bestest friends ever, but I thought you wanted your jobs over fast, Diesel. Maybe it's time we went back on The Jeffrey Bile Show. I reckon we could figure out what the problem is with you there!"


Diesel vented noxious gas loudly.


"Bullplop!" he growled fiercely. "I know exactly what the problem is! It's those dim-witted diesels! They arse about on their viaduct and then blame the Thin Git's crack team of hobobusters! It's just an excuse for laziness if you ask me, something I would have no concept of whatsoever!"


And he rumbled away, while Diesel's Driver tried to contain his laughter.



One day Spamcan was later - and more riddled with bullet holes - than ever at the Yard.


"Gerroff my back, Diesel," he wheezed. "Some bloody bank robber held me up at the station, and those slobs on the viaduct made it worse!"


"It's lucky for you I'm a much more tolerant and friendly engine after making up with Steamie," groaned Diesel, "otherwise I'd have told you to piss off and die in a ditch, you ugly, smelly troll."


Before Spamcan could insult him back, Diesel purred importantly away.


"Come along, come alone", he prattled to the trucks. Diesel did their best, but he found that he couldn't save much time, even with the trucks trying to push him down all the hills.


Suddenly Diesel saw Steamie ahead. His boiler was cold and his funnel wasn't smoking.


"What's the matter, My Best Friend Steamie?" asked Diesel. "You should be at the station by now, singing your lovely songs to all the bad little trucks and coaches. You're late!"


"I feel badly," moaned Steamie, melodramatically. "All upset in my tummy-wummy, and Driver says he can't make me better."


"You have a Driver?"


"Well, the voices in my head say they can't make me better," said Steamie. "But ohhh, woe is me! It's your other friends, Diesel! They don't see things the way we do! They're so sad and angry and smelly! I wanted to throw them a jolly party, so we can all be happy merry friends together forever, but their insults have upset me so much that my engine's broken down! Oh, the shame! The shame!"


Steamie gestured to a warehouse deep in the shadows of the Yard. It was old and run down, with a single colourful banner hanging limply over the doors.


"Thank goodness you're late too!" Steamie went on. "Can you take all of your friends to that big warehouse over there? They'll never get to the party otherwise!"




"There'll be free fuel."


"Of course, My Best Friend Steamie!" agreed Diesel. He suddenly felt very sorry for Steamie and promised to get his friends to the Yard at once. Besides, crappy parties beat crappy work any day.


Diesel set off again. Already he felt much more cheerful and in no time at all the whole of the Thin Git's fleet, being dragged behind Diesel, all reached the warehouse safely. The other diesels were incredibly reluctant to follow Diesel at first, but when he told them that there would be free fuel for everyone, they couldn't wait to join the party.


When Diesel shunted all of his friends into the darkened warehouse, Steamie came to thank him.


"I'm sorry they teased you about being an irredeemably horrible lump of scrap iron," said Diesel.


"That's alright," said Steamie. "I'm sorry they were right all along."


A loud clattering suddenly echoed round the warehouse as the doors slammed shut behind the engines. The lights suddenly flickered on, revealing a bubbling pit of molten lead right in the middle of the floor and a sparkling "HAPPY DEATHDAY" banner flapping overhead.


"Steamie?!" Diesel spluttered. "What is this!?"


"Some of the best acting of my career, My Best Friend Diesel," giggled Steamie. "There are times when being so stomach-churningly innocent and cutesy-poo isn't such a bad thing after all! Tee hee hee etc!"


The other engines were furious with Diesel and Steamie, but before they could turn a wheel, workmen in hideous sparkling boiler suits leapt inside their cabs and poured glitter into their gearboxes, clogging them something awful.


The Thin Git's engines were trapped!


"At last," Steamie cackled chaotically, "my lovely squiggly revenge is almost complete! You grumpy goblins are all doomed - doomed, I say - and you've got the king of the miseryguts here to thank for it! Isn't that super-de-duper!?"


"Congratulations, My Best Patsy Diesel! You've just killed all your friends! And you're next! WEEHEE!"



Tales From The Other Railway - Series 6 / Story 8
Based on Better Late Than Never - Written by Christopher Awdry