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Keeping to the Timetable is the seventh episode of the eighth season.


Samson and his brakevan Bradford were coming to Sodor. Samson had been asked to help out at the Blue Mountain Quarry. But he felt nervous as he crossed Vicarstown Bridge. “Are you alright Samson? You’ve become quiet so quickly.” “Yes. I’m worried about doing a good job. Whenever I arrive I cause trouble, and I want to make a change. Any thoughts?” “Stick to the timetable for a start,” suggested Bradford.

Over the next few days Samson and Bradford worked hard. Samson had to deliver stone to Callan Castle, and as usual, he didn’t know the way and didn’t want to get directions. “Whoo! You’re not leaving until you ask the signalman how to get to the castle!” ordered Bradford. “Please get directions driver,” said Samson weakly. His driver soon returned with directions, and with the signalman’s help, they arrived on time to Callan Castle. His next job dealt with returning trucks to the Quarry. “Now, which way is-“ “Ahem!” “Driver, please go and ask the signalman how we can get to Arlesburgh Harbor.” As this went on, it started to become easier for Samson to get directions, which in turn helped him with asking for others to help him out at the Quarry. As Samson went to refill his tank with water, Sidney arrived. He took Bradford with him. Samson soon returned, wondering and worrying where Bradford had gone. “I must find him!” “Why?” asked Skarloey. “Because he’s helped me to keep to my timetable, and I need him to continue helping me! I still have loads to learn!” “Don’t worry Samson. We’ll help you until your brakevan returns to you,” said Skarloey kindly. “Now, you can go and collect dynamite from the Docks. And you better return in an hour.” Samson whistled bravely. He wouldn’t let himself lose the challenge.

While Samson continued his own work, Bradford started causing problems for the other engines. He’d travelled very far from the Quarry, now working with the Scrapyard twins. “I won’t let you two go until you promise to keep to the normal speed restrictions!” “We don’t need to listen to you!” said ‘Arry, blowing his horn to drone Bradford’s voice out. “And we’re stronger than you!” added Bert. “Start pulling ‘Arry!” The twins pulled very hard. Bradford’s brakes were already worn out from keeping other engines in check when pulling their trains. Finally, a loud crack and squeak came from Bradford. His brakes were broken. But the twins weren’t concerned. “Now we can be in charge of our train and make up for lost time, thanks to Bradford,” said the twins delightfully. Meanwhile the Fat Controller spoke to some of his engines. He’d heard from many sources about delays, and wanted to solve the problem quickly. “Why were you late Henry?” he demanded. “Bradford wouldn’t let me go fast after we went around one bend too quickly. I sped along safely Sir, but Bradford claims that I can’t go too fast round bends, and made me slow down a mile before I reached every bend!” The Fat Controller went to James. “He thought that I had bumped my trucks too hard due to my anger, and wouldn’t let me puff away unless I stopped bumping!” This continued for the others. “Do any of you know where he is?” he asked. Norman came trundling by with empty trucks. “Last I heard Sir, he’s at the Steamworks.” Then Norman continued on his way. The Fat Controller drove away, with the engines smiling.

“You’ve caused a lot of trouble Bradford!” scolded the Fat Controller. “You are supposed to help the engines get their trains from point A to B on time, and when it comes to rules, only scold them if they’re breaking a real rule, not one made up by you!” “Yes Sir. I won’t do it again,” he said ashamedly as the Fat Controller walked sternly away.

A few days later Samson came to collect Bradford. His work at the Quarry had concluded, and they could go home. “Samson, can you help with something?” asked Bradford as they crossed the Vicarstown Bridge. “Would you help me remember the real rules of the railway?” “Of course!” So from then on, the two friends helped each other out, which made them become really useful.



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