One day Diesel was insulting Spamcan, when Arry and Bert rumbled by. They were pulling a train of heavy
"Oi, Diesel! Stop gossipin' like a girl when there's work to be done - like ours! Take these trucks, will
Later, after duffing them up, Diesel spoke to the twins. "Spamcan and I are old drinking friends, and you and
he have a lot in common, as do we all on this fetid railway."
"Oh yeah?" quizzed Arry.
"Wossat then?" puzzled
"Sodor," said Diesel quietly.
The twins gasped. "Don't mention that
word! We nearly oiled ourselves there!"
"It does the same to Spamcan," replied Diesel. "He was being sent to Sodor,
but the Thin Git took him in after he made a total arse of himself in front of the steamies, and now he's one of the oldest
buggers here. Even so, the Thin Git certainly does need another diesel engine here."
"Yeah, an' quickly," sighed Arry.
"BoZo's all right, but 'ee's as unreliable as Derek."
"I heard that!" cried a hissing cloud of steam nearby.
That night Arry and Bert were still working. They had taken a goods train to a station at a faraway part of Sodor, where
only the steam engines work.
They had just dumped the trucks, ready for their return journey, when -
sounds like a diesel engine!" thought Arry.
"Cor, that was a belter!" thought Bert. "Not as good as mine, though."
"BUUUUURP" came again.
"'Oo's there?" asked Arry.
Bert jumped. Hidden behind a long line of ice cream tankers
was a large red - well, the twins didn't know what he was. At first glance he looked like a steam engine - six coupled drive
wheels, a large tender - but his thin, shabby, box-like body resembled a diesel...
A whisper came. "Oi! Are you a Thin
"Yeah, what of it?"
"Oh thank god for that! I'm Cromwell. I'm escaping to your railway, but I've
run out of fuel and I've no more gas."
"Well, almost no more gas."
"Yeeeah," said Bert, more
than a little bewildered, "but what're you doing?"
"We know that, you nob!" said Arry, "from what?"
Arry and Bert shivered. Then they remembered Diesel's lecture about Spamcan.
"Yeah, all right, we'll
'elp ya," they said at last, "but we want cash. Up front."
Cromwell's Driver reluctantly agreed to the transaction.
Everyone worked fast. They took off Cromwell's side-rods, wrote out false business cards and chalked 'DEFINATELY NOT AN ENGINE'
everywhere they could.
Cromwell was sandwiched between Arry and Bert. "No time to waste! Let's bugger off pronto!"
Cooee!" yelled a passing steam engine. "A lovely diesel engine is escaping! Cooee!"
Arry and Bert growled firmly on.
"AHH, SHUT YER FACE!" they ordered; but they were stopped before they could clear the station throat.
lamp shone on Cromwell. "Aha!" he exclaimed. "A gas-turbine engine with steam outline. You can't take this, I'm afraid."
you blind as well as thick?" said Arry's Driver, flashing a piece of paper with crude crayon writing. "We're from the National
Radiator Bureau, sunshine..."
"...And this radiator," continued Bert's Driver, "is faulty as anything! It's all for
us, see for yourself!"
The Foreman squinted at the crude writing. Cromwell's Driver, clinging to his undercarriage,
hardly dared to breathe.
"Seems in order," said the Foreman merrily, "but it's queer..."
"Who're you calling
'queer'?" snapped the twins' Drivers and promptly punched his lights out.
"Oh, well done!" groaned Arry. "Let's get
the hell out of here!"
With a growl and a roar, the unusual cavalcade scarpered from the scene.
"That was a
near thing!" said Bert.
"I've had worse," smirked Cromwell. "I'm a rare gas-turbine engine. I was recently built on
a drunken bet in a workshop on the mainland. I was doing all right until HiT Entertainment heard about an 'unusual engine'
on the mainland. They were running out of strange engine designs to use in their series, see, so they lifted me from my shed
in my sleep; when I woke up, I was surrounded by singing tank engines!"
"'Ow 'orrible!" shuddered Bert.
not the half of it," Cromwell continued, "do you know what they were going to rename me?"
the Gassy Engine!"
"URGH!" spluttered Arry.
Presently they rumbled over the bridge and on to the Thin Git's
"We're home!" chorused the twins. "They can't catch you now!"
"Tell Mr Bottomsly as well, please."
and Bert were confused, and heard a joyful "BUUUUURP" from Cromwell's tender. They were surprised.
"That's Mr Bottomsly," he said. "He's not very clever. He's always leaking thanks to my shoddy build. HiT did some
work on him after I was captured, but they didn't bother to shut him up - they had this absurd idea that a farting engine
would be somehow amusing."
"You don't say," said the twins, shuddering violently from trying not to laugh.
your traps!" called Arry's Driver. "Here's the Works. We'll dump Cromwell here."
Arry and Bert tried to hard to be
quiet, but the Night Foreman heard their rawkous laughter, and had to be bribed. "I know just the place," he said, and showed
them an empty siding next to the nearby call centre.
Cromwell said "Ta-ra" and "Cheers, mates", and the twins rumbled
The next day Arry and Bert told the other engines all about Cromwell.
"I don't like it," said BoZo, "some psychotic
steamie might skip in, and him there alone, lacking fuel even to fart for help."
"For once, you're right," said Spamcan.
"'Ee won't be safe till the Thin Git knows."
"You two should tell him at once," added Old Stuck-Up.
to the Thin Git?" said the twins. "He'd think we're jumpin' the gun a bit, don't you think?"
"Well, here he is," said
a voice, "now what's all this then?"
"Beg pardon, sir," said Derek, "but we could use another engine about the place."
sir," ventured Old Stuck-Up, "a diesel engine, sir. Not another horrid steamie!"
"I've told you time and again we don't
have the money," said the Thin Git. "I'm afraid that unless one is nicked from another railway, there's little hope..."
sir," burst out Bert, "one has..."
"Yes, indeed, and thanks to you two, he is now at our Works."
Arry, "is there anything y'don't know?"
"Not really," said the Thin Git. "You didn't exactly do a good job of hiding
him. The call centre's right next to my favourite pub; but whatever. Cromwell's crew told me all you did, Arry..."
sir! You couldn't see a great big engine, and him in trouble, and not try to get one over Sodor..."
"More than 'getting
one over Sodor', I fancy. Cromwell is just what we need for our new line of tacky Other Railway merchandice! Those wooden
Derek models kept bursting into flames!"
Everyone cheered, and drank heavily well into the night.
Later that evening, as Cromwell slept soundly in the Works, a Stout Gentleman was having jam and lard for tea when he
received an important telephone call...
"Hello? Ah, it's you...What's that? On t'Other Railway, is he? Well done, my
little mole...No, no, don't bother. You've played your part...Now, stop that! There's no need t'be rude! You've no need t'do
any more. We'll get Cromwell back and I know t'perfect bloke for t'job..."
TO BE CONTINUED...