Tales From The Other Railway

The Rock 'n' Roll Horror Picture Show

The Rock 'n' Roll Horror Show

A death metal concert and an engine who's terrified of everything... nothing can go wrong, surely?

Scarface was glad when his detention was finally over. He had grown bored of sitting around all day and wanted to bully the trucks again.

Peter Fonda burst his brake-pipe with excitement to see him again. He told Scarface all the news as the workmen fixed him up.

"I see you've met Smokey," he said brightly.

"Yeah," said Scarface, "annoying li'l bugger. He's keen, though. Means less work for us, I s'pose."

"Well, it would," said Peter Fonda, "if Dinsdale didn't keep messing everything up."

Scarface raised an eyebrow. "Who is Dinsdale?"

"He came as a spare engine to share Smokey's jobs," replied Peter Fonda, "he was built by the War Department, but he was such a shy worker that they never used him. Mr Personal said they was all too happy to give him to us."

"Ex-army, eh? Is he well 'ard?"

"He's a big fellow and I'm sure he means harm, but he's nervous and jumpy. He frets and squeaks and scarpers around. His Driver calls it 'being a big wet Jessie'."

"I get it," groaned Scarface. Just what they needed - Private Parts' old drinking buddy.

That afternoon Scarface was delivering a train of scaffolding to Smokey and the workmen. The railway looked very different from when he was imprisoned. All along the line he kept spying large riot barriers and tacky T-shirt stands being erected beside the track.

"You know," he said to Smokey at the end of the line, "if I couldn't see your horrid fumes hovering over the yard on my way in, I'd think I was on a different railway. I feel like I'm puffing through Glastonbury!"

Smokey laughed, "That's because you are! Well, almost. Mr Personal's just convinced the local death metal band to play a gig on our railway. He said 'let's pump the line so full of drunken drop-outs people will think we're a Glaswegian job centre!' So we have. And they will. Even though we're not. If you get my meaning."

Scarface said nothing. He was resisting the urge to bump Smokey into the nearest T-shirt stand.

"There's still one problem," warned Smokey, "the gig is going to be very noisy. The neighbours won't like it, particularly not Dinsdale. He's frightened by just about anything. Look at him right now."

Suddenly a streak of bright yellow shot into the yard with extra building material. There, quivering among the trucks, was what appeared to be an enormous metal tortoise. This, Scarface assumed, was Dinsdale.

"Silly thing," said Smokey, "he's must've seen another rabbit. I do hope he calms down for the gig. Mr Personal shouldn't like his passengers hurt."

"What about me?" squeaked Dinsdale from the sidings. "I-I'm a former soldier of Her M-Majesty's army and I t-t-take no p-prisoners! Speak up! P-p-please?"



"Scarface!" scolded Smokey, "please don't do that."

Scarface finished laughing, then he and Smokey told Dinsdale about the gig.

"P-P-Pah!" Dinsdale scoffed unconvincingly. "I-I'm n-n-not afraid. A little bit of m-music isn't going to scare a-an old veteran l-like me. It's you sm-smelly civilians who ought t-to take care."

Scarface and Smokey weren't sure if this was meant to be hurtful or not, so they decided to ignore it.

Dinsdale wobbled about the yard, then he clattered quickly back to the station. Well, quickly by his standards, anyway. A squirrel ran in front of him near the toxic lake and it took the best part of an hour to revive him after he fainted.

It was early evening by the time Dinsdale reached the station. Bernard the Bus was already there waiting for him, packed to the brim with intoxicated students and rowdy metalheads. Private Parts sat in the car park next to him. The band had hired him to drop fake blood and rubber bones over the audience for the opening number.

"Yer late!" snapped Bernard. "Dese feckin' stoners aren't gonna move t'emselves, y'know!"

"I kn-know!" stammered Dinsdale. "It's those sm-smelly civilians' fault! Smokey and Sc-carface try to l-l-lecture me on r-rock c-concerts, and then g-go off l-leaving me t-to find my c-coaches all on my own. T-Twice I thought the w-water t-tower was a rogue Russian t-tank!"

"Aw, ye poor ol' dear," Bernard said mockingly, "dat's almost as bad as me not havin' a drink fer nearly t'ree hours 'cos me connection was late. Oh wait, NO, IT ISN'T!"

"Pish and tush!" barked Private Parts. "You ordinary folk don't know anything about real warfare! Danger lurks round every corner, even off the battlefield! Why, only last week, a Japanese robot fellow landed in our airfield and tried to jam an octopus in my moustache! Hah, but I soon sent him packing! And his silly robot too!"

Dinsdale was filled with apprehension. He didn't know that Private Parts was a senile old fart who couldn't tell a German battleship from an ice-cream van.

"Constant vigilance, constant vigilance," squeaked Dinsdale as he reluctantly scuttled off to the gig. He climbed the hill sluggishly.

"Hurry up, boy!" snapped his Driver. "We're already missing the support act!"

Soon they were near the gig. Dinsdale was terrified.

"Something'll happen, something'll happen! S-Silly civilians, p-poor old me!"

And he shook and he shuddered to a standstill, several yards from the station.

"Come on, boy," called his Driver, "they're about to start!"

But it was too late.



The noise of the opening chord echoed over the hills. Dinsdale nearly fell to pieces.

"CHURCHILL'S PANTS!" he screeched, "Sod your old rock band! I'm getting out of here!"

And he did too.

Private Parts was hovering over the crowd with his fake blood and bones at the ready. He heard Dinsdale's shriek and saw the yellow diesel running for his life in the opposite direction.

"Gadzooks!" he exclaimed. "The enemy's after young Dinsdale! Have at you, you squid-weilding samurai! You'll not have my moustache again!"

"No, boy!" cried his Pilot, "put that bomb back! Launch the props, the props!"

"Take this, robot swine! GERONIMOOOOOOO!"

Luckily for the audience, the bomb was a dud. Private Parts had't been allowed to carry live ammunition since his dishonourable discharge.

Unluckily for the band, the bomb crashed straight through the stage and caused it to implode in on itself. The audience, realising this wasn't part of the show, began to riot and stormed the remains of the stage. Beer and teeth flew everywhere!

It took the other engines several hours to find Dinsdale. They found him quivering in the carriage shed, while the passengers sat trapped in their coaches. Mr Personal felt thankful for buying all those child-locks.

Scarface had to drag Dinsdale and his train all the way to the concert, but by then everyone had already been arrested. The passengers were even more furious than usual. They told everyone what an 'EPIC FAILWAY' it was and went home to Twitter even more people. Which is bloody modern.

That night the Wee B*****d spoke to Dinsdale.

"No concert means no cash!"

"N-No c-cash means n-no c-concert," Dinsdale muttered to himself.

He still has a lot of nerve, doesn't he?


 Tales From The Other Railway - Series 4 / Story 5
Based on Rock 'n' Roll - Written by The Rev. W. Awdry