That's My Coach is a story written by Loco123456.
That’s My Coach
Written By: Greg Wetzel
Inspired by a real event: http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docsummary.php?docID=7042
There is a coach named “Old Slow Coach”. Even though she isn’t slow, she is old, but still really useful. Thomas and Percy had saved her from scrap long ago. She was converted for a time to allow workmen to sleep in her while their hut was being rebuilt after it had caught fire. But presently, the hut is now rebuilt and Old Slow Coach was converted back into being able to carry passengers like the other coaches. However, she was barely used. This made her very upset.
One day Sir Topham Hatt came to see her.
“I’ve heard that you have been feeling sad due to hardly being used,” he said kindly. “So I’ve made arrangements for you to work on Thomas’ branchline, carrying passengers with Annie and Clarabel.”
“Oh thank you Sir,” smiled Old Slow Coach. “When will I start?”
“Right now actually,” said Thomas cheerfully as he buffered up to her.
“Excellent!” Cheered Old Slow Coach.
Sir Topham Hatt watched happily as Thomas took Old Slow Coach to the station to start work.
Annie and Clarabel were pleased to have another coach working with them.
“With you being bigger than us,” said Clarabel cheerfully, “you’ll be able to help out when it’s extremely busy.”
“And when it isn’t,” added Annie. “Even when we’re not working the summer peak period timetable, we still have lots of passengers.”
“Well, I’m glad to be really useful again,” said Old Slow Coach. “I’m pleased to see my company is wanted.”
“Indeed it is,” agreed Annie and Clarabel.
Percy was waiting at a red signal at Toryreck Junction. He was on his way to Knapford Harbour with some uranium trucks from the Toryreck Mine. As he waited for the signal to change to green, he heard Thomas’ whistle. His eyes went from staring at the signal to watching Thomas pass by under a green signal.
“Old Slow Coach?! What are you doing at the back of Thomas’ train,” asked Percy in amazement as she clattered by.
“I’m now working on the branchline,” yelled Old Slow Coach as she went onwards into the distance with Thomas’ train.
On the way to Knapford Harbour, Percy was thinking about how Old Slow Coach had stated she now worked on the branchline.
“I could use her to help out with my workmen’s trains,” he thought.
Workmen’s trains are strictly for transporting workers who work at the factories, farms, dairy, mine, and other businesses to and from their job. And with it being summer, there were more workers than usual, for some worked seasonally, alongside those who work year-round. The thought of having assistance from Old Slow Coach made Percy more and more excited.
“Besides,” he concluded, “I haven’t worked with her since Mrs. Kyndley’s daughter got married.”
When he returned to Ffarquhar Sheds that evening, he told Thomas about his idea.
“But Old Slow Coach was given to me,” protested Thomas. “Not you.”
“But surely Annie and Clarabel are able to cope with lots of passengers for just one or journies per day,” argued Percy.
“While they can cope,” said Thomas thoughtfully, “they still need another coach to work with them to make it possible. Old Slow Coach is just the coach I need.”
“Thomas,” said Percy, who was starting to get frustrated, “you’ve allowed me to pull Annie and Clarabel before. Why can’t I use Old Slow Coach for workmen’s trains? She’d be extra useful you know. That’d cheer her up, as we both know how upset she gets when she feels useless.”
“I’ve already stated my opinion,” said Thomas firmly. “Old Slow Coach works with me. End of story.”
And before Percy could say anything, Thomas left the sheds for his nighttime passenger run.
“I’ll show Thomas that I can use Old Slow Coach too,” thought Percy angrily, as he began to make a plan.
The morning workmen’s train leaves at four in the morning. As Percy was gathering coaches to start his journey down to Knapford, he spotted Old Slow Coach fast asleep in the carriage shed.
“Oh,” whispered Percy in delight. “Now’s my chance!”
So he shunted some coaches to the platform and then came back into the yard to fetch Old Slow Coach.
“Time for work already,” yawned Old Slow Coach as Percy began to take her over to Ffarquhar Station.
“Indeed it is,” announced Percy.
Old Slow Coach woke wide-eyed when she heard Percy’s voice.
“Percy. Why are you pulling me?”
“You’re to help me take workmen to their workplaces,” said Percy cheerfully. “Sir Topham Hatt’s orders.”
“Alright then. If you say so,” said Old Slow Coach, who was content with whatever work she did. However, she didn’t know that Percy sometimes lies to get his way.
Thomas’ first passenger run down to Knapford was at seven o’ clock. As he went to the carriage sheds to fetch Annie and Clarabel, he was surprised to see that Old Slow Coach wasn’t there.
“Have either of you seen Old Slow Coach,” asked Thomas.
“Not since last night Thomas,” replied the coaches.
As Thomas shunted them to Ffarquhar Station, he kept thinking about where Old Slow Coach might have gone. Then, a thought struck him.
“Maybe Percy’s taken her to use for his workmen’s train,” he thought, letting off steam angrily.
As passengers boarded Annie and Clarabel, it was clear that not everyone could fit inside the two.
“Come along Thomas,” said his Driver sternly. “We must fetch extra coaches.”
“Extra coaches! Extra coaches!” Pouted Thomas as he went back to the yard.
Because Thomas had to shunt extra coaches to accommodate for the huge amount of passengers, he left Ffarquhar twenty-five minutes late.
“Must make up time. Must make up time.” Huffed Thomas.
But it was no god. Because he was late, other trains on the branchline were late too. Toby and Henrietta had to wait in the passing loop at Toryreck Junction with quarry-workers.
“You can do it Thomas,” encouraged Toby upon seeing Thomas’ face of despair.
And Stanley was halted at Elsbridge with milk bound for Knapford.
“There’ll be a lot of thirsty people waiting,” grumbled Stanley.
Soon Thomas arrived at Dryaw Station.
“Phew! Thank goodness this is the last station prior to Knapford,” sighed Thomas.
But he hadn’t forgotten about Percy. As he waited for the passengers to get on and off the train, he immediately went to thinking about the matter.
“If he hadn’t taken Old Slow Coach,” thought Thomas angrily, “then Toby, Stanley, and myself wouldn’t be late!”
Just then the guard blew her whistle and waved her green flag.
“PEEP! PEEP! Let’s go! Let’s go!”
“We’re going! We’re going!” Sang Annie and Clarabel in return.
Now, Knapford Station isn’t too far away from Dryaw, so there is no need to speed to the station. However, Thomas was so focused on making up for lost time that he forgot about this. It wasn’t until he was extremely close to platform 2 when he realized his mistake.
“PEEP! PEEP! PEEP! Brakes guard please!” Whistled Thomas frantically.
The Guard put Clarabel’s brakes hard on, but this and Thomas’ own brakes were no good. They squealed through the station, with Thomas still whistling a warning. A signal-man in the signal-box saw Thmas approaching. She immediately put all the signals at “danger,” and diverted Thomas into a siding. But she had forgotten about Nia. Nia was waiting in the siding with a line of empty coaches.
By now, Thomas’ speed had gone down to 5mph due to his and Clarabel’s brakes being on. But it wasn’t enough.
Thomas rammed into the last coach. The wheel-set of the bogie came off the rails. But Thomas, Annie, and Clarabel remained on the rails.
“Sorry Nia!” Called Thomas worriedly. “I hope your passengers are alright.”
“There’s nobody in the coaches Thomas,” replied Nia. “The coaches are empty.”
Thomas let out a sigh of steam in relief as he reversed back to the station. The second he stopped the doors of Annie and Clarabel flung open.
“How uncomfortable of a journey!”
“Stupid engine! He’s lucky he wasn’t going faster than 10mph when we approached the station!”
Now Thomas wasn’t feeling relieved.
“What will Sir Topham Hatt say?”
To his dismay, he wouldn’t find out until evening.
Meanwhile, Percy was having a wonderful day. He was keeping the trucks under control; delivered all the goods on time; and got workers to and from their workplaces without any difficulty. When he collected Old Slow Coach to take with him back to Ffarquhar that evening, he could see she looked upset.
“What’s the matter,” asked Percy.
“I didn’t get to be really useful today,” moaned Old Slow Coach. “If I were with Thomas, I would have been out and about all day long instead of sitting in the carriage sheds here at Knapford Yard.”
While Percy was listening to her, he started to wish he had never taken her in the first place. Just then Stanley arrived. He looked worn out.
“Phew! Thank goodness the day’s over.”
“What’s wrong with you,” asked Percy.
“Thomas. He was partly the reason why I was late with some of my jobs this morning. Took me until late in the afternoon to finally be back on schedule.”
Then Nia came up alongside Percy.
“Thomas had an accident today Percy,” said Nia. “He ran through the station and ran into the back of my empty coaches.”
Percy now felt even worse.
“I’m the one who’s caused all this trouble,” he thought miserably, leaving for Knapford Station with Old Slow Coach.
When Percy got to Ffarquhar Sheds, he saw Sir Topham Hatt talking to Thomas. Thomas was looking ashamed. Percy was arriving as Sir Topham Hatt was finishing up.
“You shall stay in the sheds for a little while,” said Sir Topham Hatt sternly. “Hopefully you’ll be more attentive when you return to work.”
Just as Sir Topham Hatt was turning to go, Percy blurted out;
“It’s not Thomas’ fault!”
Sir Topham Hatt stopped, and walked over to Percy.
“What do you mean ‘it’s not Thomas’ fault’?”
“I’m the one who caused the delay,” continued Percy. He then told Sir Topham Hatt everything.
“Percy the Small Engine! You’re to ask to use coaches or trucks before you run off with them. You shall do Thomas’ work as well as your own.”
“Of course Sir,” sighed Percy.
Sir Topham Hatt then walked away to go home. Thomas looked at Percy in amazement.
“You do know you didn’t have to say anything.”
“Yes. But if I hadn’t taken Old Slow Coach, then you probably wouldn’t have had your accident.”
“And you wouldn’t have taken Old Slow Coach if I hadn’t gotten you cross,” apologized Thomas. “So I say we share Old Slow Coach between ourselves.”
“Thanks Thomas,” smiled Percy, “but Old Slow Coach doesn’t like sitting around too much. I suggest she works primarily with you. I use her only if needed.”
So while Thomas was shut up in the sheds, Percy worked his hardest with doing both his and Thomas’ work. He was pleased when the day came in which Thomas came back to work. And he is also pleased, just like Thomas, that Old Slow Coach finally feels really useful.