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Importance is 26th episode of the eighth season.

Story

Smoke billowed from Hank’s funnel while charging down the Main Line with a long coal train. The grins of trickery on the troublesome trucks had faded to faces whose eyes squinted so furiously you’d think they would pop out. The track ahead had a passing loop of a suitcase handle. “Please! May I go ahead of you Hank? I’m running two and a half hours behind with my slow goods train,” said Paxton. “I’m not stopping for you! This is my track and I’m taking it all the way to the Docks!” “Both of our trains have low priorities,” noted Paxton. “How come yours is more important?” “I’m delivering coal everywhere on the Island due to the peak period. That’s why my train has higher priority than yours.” Hank bashed his way into the distance and didn’t stop until he reached Brendam Docks.

Cranes swung round like tops as they loaded cargo onto the backs of flatbeds; workmen would then pin the loads down with chains as if they were prisoners. Shouts of welcomes and goodbyes from the horns of ships echoed as steam engines screamed with their whistles to let others know of their presence. Porter screamed the most-shunting trucks and coaches in the midst of others entering and leaving the Docks isn’t always easy. “Phew! Glad that’s over! Next thing to do; get stone trucks over to the grabble crane.” “Calm down Porter,” said Harvey in a calm voice. “Everything will be done in good time.” “Yet the ships and trains run on a schedule. I can’t keep them-“ Porter stopped moving. His coal bunker only had ink black coal dust. “I’ll lend you some of my coal,” said Harvey. “I’m not going anywhere. Dock Manager’s orders to stay put and unload lorries.” Hank had seen the exchange: he took no notice of it. His mind focused upon getting to the water tower. A line of engines stood on guard for their turn as he sluggishly puffed towards the front. “Stay where you are,” said Bill. “You big budger!” “You’ve got to wait just like the rest of us,” added Ben. Hank tried to get through by charging over the points. The points were against Hank; a nearby workman could sense danger. He rushed forward to throw the switch. Before he or Hank moved Bill charged forward the second the engine in front of him had gone. “This’ll show you not to budge,” said Bill crossly. Hank waited for a long time. After he’d refilled his water bottle of his tank he found a goods train for delivery to Wellsworth. He could tell everyone else around him were still cross.

Hank thumped a sad march on his way. An eye of strawberry red stared him down from a few feet above the ground. Hank stopped. Derek stood with a long face at another red signal at the junction. Tears from the clouds of his eyes slid down his cheeks. “The shunters at all the yards I’ve visited were nasty towards me. I can only go to the sheds now,” wept Derek. Hank wanted to say something-his mouth wouldn’t obey. His mind raced with what had happened all day. First, obviously, the incident at Brendam Docks. Then how rude he’d been to Paxton. Finally the image of Harvey and Porter. Hank understood at last what he had to do to change his ways. “I have a job for you,” he said flatly. “You do? You’re a big strong engine. Why would you need my help with your goods train?” “This goods train is important, just like any other job. The trucks are troublesome and having a back engine would help keep the trucks in line and it would make you a really useful engine.” Derek smiled as wide as a banana.

The two engines spent the whole journey talking and before they reached Wellsworth they were firm friends. Derek and Hank now greet each other while working on the Main Line; they even chat whenever they have time to at the sheds. Most of all, Hank now shares everything; from taking turns at the water tower to others using the same line he’s on.

Characters

Locations

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