The Prequel Railway Series no.2

Edward the Red Engine

Dear Friends,

I'm sure most of you are fond of Edward. The many drivers and firemen who worked with him have all expressed their fondness for him too. He has always been a kind and friendly engine, but he wasn't always the old wise engine we know today. In those days, he had a different shape and was painted red. He was also very impatient, but he soon learned that some things take time. These stories tell you his early adventures on Sodor.

The Author

Sheep

Edward was a kind red engine who greeted people as he went by, but he was young and often grew impatient. One morning, Edward was looking forward to pull his passenger train in the afternoon. He preferred coaches to trucks, coaches were nice and quiet, but trucks were dirty, silly and noisy.Just then, his driver and fireman arrived early. They lit his fire and waited for Edward to steam up.

"Yous ere early," Edward grumbled.

"We ave ter go collect yon train of sheep frae Cumberland and take it ter Tidmouth," his driver explained

"But what abut yon afternoon train?" asked Edward.

"Yer can take it if yous back in time for it, but they might just ave ter give it ter another engine."

Edward was determined to get back to pulling the afternoon train and started as soon as his driver pulled the lever.

Sheep are very common in Scotland and the North of England, they are useful for their wool which is used to make clothes for the winter. Back in the day, farmers liked to trade their sheep. They would do this by sending the sheep by train. Now that Sodor was linked up to the Mainland by rail, the farmers of Arlesdale wanted to trade sheep as well.

Edward soon arrived in Cumberland and was coupled up to the train of sheep. The sheep were inside trucks with a fence running all the way around the top to prevent the sheep from escaping.

Edward grew impatient, "peep! peep!" he whistled, "hurry up, please!"

The last door was closed, the signal dropped, the guard blew his whistle and Edward started.

"Come on! Come on! Come on!" Edward fussed to the trucks.

The trucks squeaked and groaned as they followed reluctantly behind him. Edward soon gathered speed. He wanted to go as fast as he could. The trucks rattled and swayed and the sheep began to get frightened "Stop! Stop!" cried the trucks, "slow down! slow down!"

But Edward wouldn't listen. Suddenly, they approached a raised signal and Edward had to stop suddenly. The trucks surged into him. Some of their side doors flung wide open and the frightened sheep ran out of the trucks.

The signalman saw the entire thing and shouted to Edward's driver and fireman.

"Oh, bother!" said Edward, "A's sure to miss pulling yon afternoon train now,"

The signalman made sure traffic was halted while the driver, fireman and guard tried to lure the sheep into their trucks. Soon an old black tender engine named Silecroft arrived with his goods train. The farmer and his sheepdog was on board the brake van.

It took them some time, but soon the last sheep boarded the train and they were able to continue. Edward was much more careful with his train from then on. He missed his afternoon train anyway, and Johnson had to take it instead.

The Fat Director spoke severely to Edward next morning. "Time is money," he said, "but if you carry a delicate cargo at lightning speed, then you end up causing delays. You have cost me a great amount of expense, Edward."

"I'm sorry, sir," said Edward.

"I should think so too," said the Fat Director.

For all the Tea and China

All the engines were excited. There was to be a named express service. It was called the 'Wild Nor' Wester.' An engine was to be chosen as the official engine of the service.

Edward, Johnson, and Jennifer were built for pulling coaches and so were the three most likely to be chosen. Jennifer was proud, "it ought to be me," she began, "my class can rival even the engines of the London and North Western."

"Maybe," said Johnson, "but I am more efficient. I have never once slipped while starting a train."

"Oh!" said Jennifer, "and you didn't stick on the hill yesterday I imagine?"

"That's because I was pulling trucks. Stupid, noisy little things, they hold any engine back so."

"Well in any case," said Jennifer rudely, "it shan't be rusty iron-hauler over here."

Edward was indignant, "why not?"

"The Furness Railway engines are vulgar compared to the great efficient designs of the Midland Railway. You even get short of steam on the express."

"Are we wat!" Edward fumed, "I can pull t'express better than yer."

"I doubt it," said Jennifer, "you couldn't beat me for all the tea in China,"

"Deekabout for me tomorrow, an you'll see."

It was Edward's turn to take the express next morning. He had a hard look on his face and was hissing steam fiercely. "Yer look like yer abut t'take on yon track," remarked his driver.

"Jennifer said us Furness engines are vulgar," said Edward, "so A's gaan to run faster than any engine has ever gone an prove her wrong,"

"It's a race then?" his driver pondered,"well a's all for it!"

The people got in, the last door banged, the guard blew his whistle and waved his green flag.

"Peep! Peep!" whistled Edward and stormed out of the station.

"Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!" Edward called to the coaches.

"Trickety trock! Trickety trock!" said the coaches. They clattered over points and gathered speed.

Edward shot off down the line as fast as he could. His side rods were spinning so fast they were a blur, and clouds of smoke billowed from his funnel. The fireman shovelled coal like his life depended on it, and the driver was jumping around having the time of his life, "go on lad!" he called to Edward. They stopped at the next station, then started again when the guard blew his whistle.

He was rocketing down the mainline and the coaches began swaying from side to side. The guard was concerned. He felt rocked about like he was on a ship. The coaches were worried too. "Slow down! Slow down!" they called, but Edward wouldn't listen. He snorted up the hill and rocketed down the other side.

They soon stopped at the station on the end of the line. Edward was panting and feeling very pleased with himself. But then there was trouble. A swarm of angry first class passengers stormed out of the dining car. Their clothes were ruined with tea stains and they were very cross. They made their way to the booking office where they told the staff just what they thought about this railway.

Edward did not feel so pleased with himself anymore, "oh dear," he said to his driver, "we's in trouble now,"

There was worse to come. The waiting staff came off the train, carrying broken pieces of china. Some were tea stained, others had never been used.

One of the waiters came up to Edward waving half a teacup. "You clumsy great engine!" he yelled, "your rough-riding has caused the passengers to spill their drinks all over themselves and has broken half of our brand new china sets!"

At the shed, Jennifer and Johnson laughed at Edward. They made jokes about sheep and china crockery.

"Imagine trying to beat me for all the tea and china," Jennifer muttered.