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"James' Branchline Experience" is the twenty-fifth episode of the tenth season.

Story

Suddery Junction: Evening


(We see Douglas puffing towards Suddery Junction. He passes a distant signal at “danger.” His driver slows him down, and he eventually stops under the home signal, which is near the signalbox, which is also set at “danger.” There are workmen securing rails to the sleepers via chairs.)


Narrator: While BoCo was at the Works being mended, Douglas had been chosen to help out on the Brendam Branchline.


Douglas: (curiously): What are ye doin’?


Platelayer: (calmly): We’re installing interlocking equipment to ensure you don’t get sent down the wrong line.


(The signal changes to green and Douglas puffs slowly away, in the direction of Wellsworth Yard.)



Wellsworth Yard: Evening


(Douglas is shunting his trucks into a siding. Edward is taking on water at a water column close by.)


Douglas: (still curious): Edward, how exactly does interlocking work?


Edward: (kindly): The platelayers are going to put locking bars on the signals and points. For example, let’s say you’re heading to Brendam Harbour. The signaller has already set the points to allow you to get onto the branchline. Now, if another signaller tries to do something that would usually interfere with the points that are already set for you to get onto the branchline, the locking bars will prevent the signallers’ action from happening, and the points will still be set for you.


(As Edward leaves the water column and goes over to the carriage sheds to fetch some coaches to take with him to the platform, James angrily puffs into the yard with a goods train.)


James: (crossily): It’s not fair! You get to go wherever you like on the railway, while I’m restricted to the Mainline! I should be able to go elsewhere on the network.


Douglas: (firmly): The only branchlines I’m allowed to work on is the Arlesburgh and Brendam branches. The rails on some of the other branchlines wouldn’t be strong enough for me to run on them.


(James is uncoupled from his trucks and backs down onto another line of trucks in a siding nearby. He then sets off again.)



Tidmouth Sheds: Night


(James, Gordon, Henry, Bear, and Emily are in the sheds.)


Narrator: That night in the sheds, James complained about Douglas working on the Brendam Branch and about doing Douglas’ work.


James: (crossily): I can’t stand working with trucks for an entire day! They’re a pain in the boiler. Also, I should be able to work on branchlines too!


Bear: (kindly): At least you’ll know as much about trucks as Edward.


Gordon: (chuckling): Come on James, have some sense! The rails on any of the branchlines wouldn’t be able to hold your weight!


(James rolls his eyes and angrily shuts them.)



The Main Line: Morning


(James is rushing down the Mainline with a goods train, consisting of trucks, vans, tankers, and flat-trucks.)


James: (thinking to himself): I’ll show Gordon and everyone else I can go on branchlines. But how? With the new interlocking system in place, it’ll be difficult to get onto any of the branches.


(James is approaching Tidmouth Station and Tidmouth yard.)



Tidmouth Station: Morning


(James passes through the station. He is nearing the junction at the other end, in the direction towards the Arlesburgh Branchline.)


Narrator: But as James was nearing the signalbox, one of the signallers pulled a lever, which disengaged the locking bars, and thus allowed James onto the branchline.


James: (cheerfully puffing away onto the Arlesburgh Branch): Hahaha! Now I’ll show them! Now I’ll show them!



Arlesburgh Branchline: Mid Morning


(James is puffing cheerfully along the branchline. Inside his cab, his driver pulls back the regulator to slow him down.)


James’ Driver: (concerned): We must stop James and reverse him back to Tidmouth Yard before the rails buckle and he derails.


(James begins to slow down, but it’s too late. The driver and fireman can feel james beginning to fall off the rails. They jump out of the cab as James falls onto his right hand side, bringing five trucks down with him. These are two tankers, a flat-truck, a van and a truck of coal.)


James’ Driver: (coming over to James’ side; crossily): Well, you finally got to venture off the Mainline for once, and because of this, you’ll delay an engine and its train.



Arlesburgh Branch: Mid Morning to Early Noon


(Duck is pulling a line of trucks loaded with ballast when he sees James’ Driver waving a red flag. He comes to a stop and James’ Driver goes to talk to Dukc’s Driver.)


James’ Driver: (informingly): James got onto the branch and has derailed a couple of miles away.


Duck’s Driver: (urgently): We’ll try to help out as best as we can.


(Duck reverses back down the branchline.)



James Derailment Place: Early Afternoon


(Duck has a breakdown crane on his side of the line, while Donald has a breakdown crane on the other side, towards Tidmouth)


Montage:


(We see Donald take away the trucks that are still on the rails. Then we watch as the two engines help lift James’ tender and James back onto the rails.)



Tidmouth Yard: Mid Afternoon


(James is looking ashamed. He is filling up with coal at a coaling stage in the yard when an Inspector walks up to him.)


Inspector: (sternly): Duck’s delivery of ballast is late, which has now delayed the completion of repairing a few miles of track on the Mainline. You shall shunt in the yard for the rest of the day. The Fat Controller will deal with you later.


(We get a montage of James working in the yard, shunting trucks into sidings and taking coaches to and from the station.)


Narrator: James worked sadly for the rest of the day, moving trucks and coaches about. When he returned to Tidmouth Sheds that night for a rest, the Fat Controller was there to speak to him.



Tidmouth Sheds: Night


(James is in a berth. The Fat Controller stands in front of him, looking extremely cross.)


The Fat Controller: (sternly): You’ll work in the yard at Tidmouth until you’ve proven yourself to be a really useful engine again.


(The Fat Controller walks away to his car and drives away, leaving James to feel sorry for himself.)



The Main Line: Day


(We see James pulling a goods train along the Mainline.)


Narrator: A few months later BoCo returned to the Brendam Branch, and Douglas went back to his usual duties. As for James, he was recently allowed to pull trains along the Mainline again, but he has made a promise to himself, to never go on branchlines again.

Characters

Locations

Trivia


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