A Temporary Fix
It had been some time since Victor's incident. James had been doing good, but he was needed to take trains on the main line. Since Misty Island was in a quiet period, so Ferdinand could be spared.
The climax came into the harbour and was filled in by Norman on how the harbour project was and were things were.
"All that needs doing is shunting, and moving of heavily loaded wagons," Norman said, "and you're the smallest and strongest locomotive on the Fat Controller's fleet."
Ferdinand was most pleased by that comment. He worked hard shunting wagons for trains. He even arranged the Flying Kipper and brought it forward for Henry. Everyone was amazed at the strength the little logging locomotive showed.
He helped move some trucks of cement into a siding out of the way. As he shunted trucks about, he saw Paxton struggling to move a line of empty trucks. They had been playing up all day and weren't going to give in.
"You can't move us," they jeered.
"I'll move you or bust!" Paxton roared, his driver revving the engine.
Then it happened.
Several minor booms sounded then a rather large muffled explosion and thick black smoke billowed out from the little Gronk's air vents. His engine had blown and he was now a dead engine. Ferdinand grunted in disgust and rolled violently backwards and banged several coal trucks into each other, causing them to cry out in pain.
"Next time, I won't be so kind," he snarled, a menacing look in his eyes.
The trucks promised to behave themselves. However, there was the issue of moving Paxton to the works. Ferdinand was moved over to Paxton and once he had been coupled up, he shunted the Gronk away to the nearest siding.
"Where were those trucks bound for?" the Climax Class C asked the 08 shunter.
"Blue Mountain Quarry," he replied. "Luke won't be around as he doesn't know you and well."
"Tell me about Luke," Ferdinand said.
"Well," said Paxton, "Around the time Skarloey and Rheneas had arrived on the Skarloey Railway, Luke had also arrived. He was brought in to be the Narrow Gauge Quarry pilot engine. During his time there, the workmen had taken a dislike to him, as he was purchased from an Irish Narrow Gauge railway instead of a Welsh Narrow Gauge railway. Luke was built at Fletcher Jennings Co., the same place as Skarloey and Rheneas, but had been shipped to South Africa for a spell before transferring to Ireland. After his usefulness was used up, he was put up for sale, with the alternate being scrap. He was purchased by a Mr. Bobby, who had worked with Skarloey and Rheneas.
During his time at Blue Mountain Quarry, men would dawdle when loading his trucks or pretend to couple him to the trucks or uncouple the trucks when they were loaded onto Owen's platforms. All it did was make their controller very angry with Luke and his crew, which was the workmen's plans.
One day though, they carried it too far. They had been blasting and Rheneas was due for repairs soon. The men had blasted in the wrong place, at the face of a cliff that sits near the bridge that crosses over the main blondin that transport big blocks of slate to the stone cutters.
The blast and shockwaves had destroyed the bridge and Rheneas, who was bringing trucks down to be swapped with Luke's empties had lost control of the trucks and they shot through barriers that were placed on the rails and plunged through the bridge and onto a flat wagon that had been collecting block slate to take to another stone cutter's shed near Vicarstown.
Suffice it to say that the quarry had been shut down and Luke locked in one of the engine sheds there, leaving Skarloey and Rheneas to run the line until the arrivals of Peter Sam, Sir Handel, Duncan, Rusty, the return of Freddie and the rediscovery of Smudger, Bertram, Duke and Proteus.
Once the quarry had been reopened, many different engines have been working there. If I were you, I'd watch out for the Sodor Ironworks grease boxes that are now working there. They've been trying to get Luke to cause a majour accident to do two things. One is to get the quarry shut down for good and the second is to scrap Luke."
"That's it," Ferdinand snarled.
"They told the trucks to play up while they carry out the evil deeds," Paxton said.
Unbeknownst to both of them, the Fat Controller heard everything.
"Ferdinand, take me to the quarry," he said.
Ferdinand's crew agreed and once the train was arranged, the Fat Controller climbed into the brake-van and Ferdinand huffed away. Ferdinand was in a foul mood the journey. He wanted to give 'Arry and Bert a piece of his mind.
When they arrived, the two Ironworks shunters were hassling Luke. Where the standard gauge lines and narrow gauge lines cross, the two shunters had shunted their trucks across the crossings, blocking his forward path, then on the cross track behind Luke's brake-van, Bert shunted some trucks, effectively trapping the little Wren on a stretch of line.
"Oi, Bert, fetch a crane and a well wagon. We'll take this little iron wretch for scrap," 'Arry chortled.
However, Ferdinand stood on the points, thus blocking Bert from getting a crane. Bert buffered up to Ferdinand and tried to shunt him, but couldn't move him. A shunter uncoupled Ferdinand from his trucks once Rhydyn arrived and was coupled to the train.
Ferdinand shoved Bert forward. Bert's driver was shocked by the jolt and after he left the cab, Ferdinand rolled back and bumped Bert, even harder. From the brake-van stepped the Fat Controller and he came to see the mess.
"This is what I get from my Ironworks diesels?" the stout gentleman barked.
The two diesel shunters tried to weasel out of it, but it failed. The Fat Controller ordered them to move the waggons and to leave the quarry immediately. Once all the trucks were shunted away, the two diesels oiled away and Ferdinand set to work shunting the trucks.
"Sorry about that, Sir," said Ferdinand.
"I've been receiving complaints about them," he said, "But what Paxton told you sealed their fates. From now on, they are no longer allowed out of the Ironworks unless it's for a delivery in which I can't spare another engine."
Ferdinand was pleased and even more pleased when he heard that Splatter and Dodge would be working at Blue Mountain quarry.
"At least some good came from my 'temporary fix' of the problems," Ferdinand chuckled.
His driver agreed and once he was coupled to a line of loaded trucks and Rhydyn had added a brake-van to the train, the Fat Controller boarded the van and he set off for the harbour.
As he trundled backwards into the sunset, he reflected on how useful engines get called 'Really Useful Engines'.
"I still have a long way to go to get that praise," he thought as he steamed through the inky black night and into the floodlight illuminated harbour. The Fat Controller went home and Ferdinand went to the sheds that he shared with the other shunters for a well earned rest.