Far away on the Mainland, there is a giant steelworks. It’s very hot here; molten slag being taken to the slag heap; steel pipes, girders, and rails coming out of the conveyor belt, being shunted to the cooling area; taking scrap to be melted down in the furnace, and making deliveries to all sorts of places. Theo was shunting flatbeds in the yard.
“Theo, why are all these flatbeds blocking the line?” asked Frankie, looking all around her to use another path. But flatbeds were all nearby the crossover points.
“I’m j-just making sure I g-get the trains ready much quicker,” he said, fearing that he’d be in trouble. He shunted six more flatbeds into another siding. There was now a path for Frankie to pick up her seventeen flatbed train of rails to Sodor.
“All you do is get in the way,” she grumbled, beginning to start up and slowly move away. She didn’t see the upset look on Theo’s face.
“I don’t get in t-the way,” he muttered crossly, leaving to help out with moving molten slag from the furnace to the slag heap.
He was taking six slag trucks back and forth; Hurricane, who was helping out, hauled fifteen slag trucks.
“You’re not too productive,”commented Hurricane as he was going to the furnace and Theo to the slag heap.
“I’m doing what I’m capable of doing,” called Theo, getting a little fed up.
“Alright Theo, why don’t you go and help Merlin take scrap from the scrap heap to the furnace after we unload your slag trucks,” said a workman, who had walked over to pull the lever; seconds later all six trucks were spilling their contents down below, where the slag would slide down to it’s final destination.
Theo stored his six slag trucks in a siding in the yard and went over to the scrap heap.
“Ah Theo! It’s good to have another engine to help me out.”
“Yes, but all I’ll do is pull seven flatbeds, compared to you, who’s coupled up to twenty.”
“What’s wrong with that?” asked Merlin, puffing slowly away so he could continue talking to Theo.
“It shows how useless I am!”
“You could possibly pull a little more. You know what I’ll say,” he chuckled, now nearly in the distance.
“I clearly don’t belong here,” thought Theo sadly, who shunted the first of his seven flatbeds to the grappling crane to start work. “I’ll go where I know I can be useful; I’ll go to Sodor!”
When night arrived, Theo waited patiently.
“Only three more minutes until Merlin leaves for Sodor with a load of pipes.”
With it being night, and a couple of the engines asleep, Merlin didn’t whistle. He simply thumped his way through the gates. Theo was right behind him. The workmen dind’t stop him; they didn’t see it as a runaway. They thought that Theo would be Merlin’s banker engine up a nearby hill. But there was no hill close by; these workmen hadn’t ventured far from home. Theo made sure to keep his distance. Merlin was soon thundering along the line, leaving Theo far behind him.
“Now I can easily stop at my old home. Then I can get some more coal and water and continue my journey in the morning.”
“If we don’t get caught,” said his driver nervously.”
Theo’s driver woke him up the next morning.
“Is there anyone around?” asked Theo, beginning to wake up.
“The coast is clear,” assured his driver, who pulled the lever.
When they finally got to Sodor they were sent into the Vicarstown Goods Yard.
“Oh, hello there. W-” began Billy, puffing away from some trucks he was about to shunt to take a look at Theo. He found his nameplate. “Ah, please to meet you Theo! I’m Billy. Are you from the Steelworks?”
“Yes; but I’m looking for a new place.”
“You can definitely take those old trucks and coaches to Crocks Scrap Yard,” suggested Billy, puffing off, with Theo following him.
Theo’s driver left Theo and went to speak with the Yard Manager.
“He says that we can take them,” he said cheerfully.
Five minutes later Theo was puffing slowly away to Crocks Scrap Yard.
Back at the Steelworks, Lexi was starting to shunt her twenty four slag trucks to the slag heap.
“Say Lexi,” called Frankie, rumbling up behind her; the workmen waiting, just in case Lexi would be sent to do a different job. “Have you seen Theo?”
“I haven’t see him since this morning,” said Lexi, looking at the workmen as they pulled the lever and sadly watched the molten slag fall down their paths.
“Great; now we’ll have extra work to do,” she grumbled, rolling away.
Later that morning Lexi spotted Merlin at the water tower.
“Merlin, have you seen Theo? I haven’t seen him since this morning.”
“I haven’t seen either Lexi,” thought Merlin sadly; then he smiled. “We can go and look for him.” “No you won’t!” shouted Hurricane, who shunted fourty five flatbeds of steel girders behind him. “You’ll take this lot to Bridlington, and I expect to see you back here within the six hours given for your journey time.”
Lexi began to puff away.
“And Lexi, since Frankie’s gone to London to pick up some coal and diesel fuel, you shall take slag to the slag heap and shunt flatbeds in the yard,” said Hurricane coldly, puffing off to the scrap heap.
Hurricane was just as strong as Lexi was; he took thirty seven flatbeds at the time to the furnace, which meant that there’d be plenty of slag to take away. Lexi was pleased when the job was over, eight hours later. By then Frankie returned with her long line of seventeen diesel fuel tankers and twelve coal trucks.
“Hurricane, you overworked me,” said Lexi crossly as she backed into the sheds.
“You are a big strong engine. You can manage doing heavy work!” “Not at rocket speed,” she said coolly. “You’re going mad!”
“You’re just a helper,” joined in Frankie, “so you’re to listen to us!”
“Listen, listen! I th-” Merlin whistled until the shouting stopped.
“Lexi, there’s no reason to argue with them. At least we know that there’s a Foreman who’s really in charge.”
Frankie and Hurricane just glared at Lexi as she grinned back at them.
While Frankie, Hurricane, and Lexi spent the rest of their afternoon not speaking to each other, Theo arrived at Crocks Scrap Yard.
“Hello Mate, um, I mean Theo!”
“H-how do y-you know my name?”
“Your nameplate helped me out,” said Reg, who moved pass Theo and examined the train. “The-, oh, I forget, we scrap rolling stock too. Hahaha! Right; just put them in a siding round the back. If you need anything, just whistle!”
Theo grinned; he was already liking Reg better than Frankie and Hurricane. He puffed slowly towards the back, when he noticed a diesel loading scrap into its trucks.
“Wow, an experimental diesel, with a claw.”
“What are you doing here?” growled Diesel 10.
“Just d-delivering t-these old trucks and coaches,” said Theo, feeling a little small.
“WHAT?! That was my job! No wonder there were no trucks at Vicarstown for me to collect.” He then trundled forward.
“What a-are going t-to do with me?” said Theo, backing a little, hoping to gain speed.
“I’m going to do this,” said Diesel 10, roaring backwards. Thirty seconds later he was on theo’s line, pushing Theo’s train of seven coaches and four trucks.
“Now you’ll get what’s coming,” said Diesel 10, pushing Theo forward. His driver jumpped clear; he felt that there was nothing he could do to protect Theo. Diesel 10 shoved Theo into an empty siding.
Theo had gone through the buffers. Reg had heard the sound, but ignored it; he had thought it was Diesel 10, who had dropped something.
“Now it’s time to finish up this job,” he said evilly, rolling away. He soon returned on the other side of the same line.
“Finally, a useless engine. Who made you, a brainless machnicial engineer?”
He then grabbed scrap out of his trucks and threw it all over Theo, who was soon hidden.
“If any of you workmen who saw this rat me out, you’ll be sorry that you spoke a signle word of this.”
The workmen shivered as they nodded their agreement. Diesel 10 rolled back to work, and Theo remained buried; thinking that he was now a really useless engine.
Things at the Steelworks weren’t going too well; production had increased, and due to Theo’s absense, they had to get another diesel to help out.
“Thanks for coming all the way from Bridlington Ulli,” said Frankie as they finished the tour. “I hope you u-”
“I know exactly what to do,” said Ulli crossly. “I don’t need a song to welcome me here. You already did that the second I trundled in.” And with that he left to start work.
On the other side of the yard Lexi and Merlin were taking slag trucks to the slag heap.
“Theo has been gone for a month and two weeks,” said Lexi, panting a little as the hot heat from the slag fell to her left side in front of her face.
“I say we leave for Sodor and bring our friend home,” suggested Merlin, who was puffing forward to dump his load.
“But Frankie and Hur-”
“I’ve got it all figured out Lexi. I’ll give you the signal tonight.”
When had finished Merlin ha asked to speak with teh Steelworks Foreman, Mr. Jones.
“Lexi and I are concerned about our friend, and would like to bring operation to the Steelworks back to its normal condition.”
“Mmm...I’ll look into the matter. I can’t promise you that there’ll be spare engines to take your place.”
In the morning Mr. Jone arrived at his office, and called up London Goods Yard. He explained everything. By 10:12, he ordered a workman to fetch Lexi and Merlin. At 10:21 they stood before their boss.
“You two must leave immediately. The sooner you three are back, the sooner we can get business here back to normal.”
Merlin and Lexi puffed proudly away; Frankie, who had been taking on fuel glared at them.
“I bet they’re going to look for Theo,” she snarled. “I suppose that means Hurricane and I will have to teach others how to do things.”
She rolled angrily back to work. That afternoon, quater pass 2, the engines arrived.
“Excellent; Zack and Bol are here,” said Ulli cheerfully. Frankie and Hurricane sighed with relief.
“Thought you could get away with not having to teach someone how to run things here?” boomed a voice. Polster, the D261 diesel, came into view.
“Polster, you’ll also be making deliveries beside Frankie and Hurricane,” said Mr. Jones kindly, who turned away from the engines and went back to his office.
“Is that train over there going to York?” asked Polster.
“Yes; I’m go-”
“I’m taking that train,” growled Polster, who rushed over to it.
“This is going to be challenging, and its all because of those two soft engines,” said Hurricane angrily, puffing off to help take scrap to the furnace.
Merlin and Lexi’s journey took all day; they didn’t reach Vicarstown until 10:47.
“Where are we?” asked Merlin.
“You’re on the North Western Railway, on the Island of Sodor,” announced Billy. “Are you here to look for your experimental friend?”
“Yes; do you know where he might be?”
“He left for Crocks Scrap Yard. Just go to Wellsworth Yard. Someone can help you out from there.”
“Not tonight. We’ll have to wait for tommorrow,” yawned Lexi.
The two engines were allowed to stay in two empty berths at the five-berthed shed.
“Nice to have newcomers on Sodor; what are your names?” asked Murdoch excitedly.
“Lexi, I’m cab forward.”
“And I’m Merlin, the invisible engine!”
“Don’t listen to him! His experiment with his three funnels doesn’t really work,” said Lexi to Murdoch, who eyed the three chimneys with amazement. The three engines chated away until they all fell asleep on their own. In the morning Murdoch had gone away to London with a goods train.
“Next stop, Wellsworth,” delcared Merlin, who then spotted Billy again, who was taking on water.
“Where’s Wellsworth located?”
“Oh, along the main line. Here, driver, tell the yard manager about our guests.”
His driver left and hurriedly rushed out of the office 2 minutes later.
“Arrangments are being made; you can start heading out of the yard, near the other end. Not the side you arrived on.”
“Thank you!” shouted the engines as they puffed buffer-to-buffer down the main line.
BoCo was backing down onto a mixed goods train for Brendam; fifty-seven produce vns from the Orchid, thirty-three clay trucks, and fifteen flatbeds of iron girders.
“Oh, what brings you visitors here?”
“A friend of ours escaped to Sodor in spite of anger,” explained Merlin.
“His name’s Theo. And we’ve been told he travelled to Crocks Scrap Yard. We’re on the trail, so confess where this scrapyard lies!”
“Just ask the signalman to set you onto the line to the Scrapyard,” chuckled BoCo. “I’m heading in that direction en route to our Docks.”
They followed him up to Suddery Junction. Lexi’s driver was assigned the task of negoiating with the signalman.
“He gave us the all clear,” he shouted excitedly, jogging back to the cab.
“I’m BoCo. Anytime Merlin and Lexi.”
Reg merrily sorted out scrap and loaded scrap onto flatbeds for ‘Arry and Bert to take away to be smelted down.
“Hurry up,” shouted ‘Arry. “Look Bert,” he said, his voice lowering to a whisper, “it’s those experimental engines.”
“Almost down mates!”
“Everything’s secured,” called a workman.
“Full speed ahead,” declared Bert, pushing ‘Arry forward to help his twin start up quickly.
Reg then spotted queer engines.
“What are you two doing here? Looking for that engine, Theo?”
“Yes; please help us. It’s important. SOS!” wailed Lexi, hoping that he could help.
Reg lead them to where Theo was suppose to be, but saw a horrible sight. “He’s been buried! We’ll dig him out in seconds!” Reg and the workmen picked up the scrap, while Merlin and Lexi pulled away the old trucks and coaches into another siding close by. When they returned Theo was back on the rails.
“You must leave now,” ushered Reg, “Diesel 10 might get back at you for this.”
The engines puffed out of the Scrap Yard.
“Right; now, let’s go back to Wellsworth for directions to a workshop.”
Diesel 10 arrived an hour later. He went to the spot where Theo should have lied.
“REG, WHERE IS THAT QUEER ENGINE?!”
“Oh, the one you buried? He’s rescued, and going back home.”
“And you’re leaving for the Smelter’s Yard to get orders from the Yard Manager,” added the Foreman, coming up with a fuel tanker and hoses. They drained out his fuel tank while Reg unloaded the flatbeds.
“You’re not so clever as we thought,” grumbled ‘Arry and Bert, pulling their friend home with a load of scrap.
As for Merlin and Lexi, they arrived at the Steamworks;
“We’re sorry for being rude,” said Merlin. “From now on, we’ll make sure to valuate your feelings.”
“Aye; feelings are important. Happy thoughts!”
“I forgive you guys; and I’ll make sure to voice my feelings so you know if you’re not doing something right.”
“We’ll all do that; friends must be there for each other!”
“What can we do for you three?” asked Victor, puffing up.
“Our traction friend Theo here needs a new funnel.”
“You’ve arrived at a perfect time. We have spare funnels in all sizes. How tall do you want it?”
“As tall as that engine over there,” said Theo, looking at Billy, who was having his crank pins for his side rods replaced.
Victor found Kevin, who arrived with the funnel.
“There you go foregin engine!”
“My name’s Theo,” laughed the traction engine as the three engines left the Steamworks; before heading home, Theo replenished his bunker with coal and his tanks with water.
At the Steelworks, Frankie, Hurricane, Polster, Ulli, Zack, and Bols were at work when the trio puffed in. The Foreman was pleased to see them.
“Welcome back Theo! Now, you four diesels, you may go once you’ve finished your duties.”
The four diesels were quick and were soon honking with delight while leaving through the gates.
“I’m proud of you two,” he praised Lexi and Merlin. “That’s what I call friendship!”
As the weeks went by, Frankie and Hurricane proved that they hadn’t changed and wouldn’t be changing their ways any time presently. Back on Sodor, Sir Topham Hatt spoke with Billy, who took him to the Steelworks, with the support of the signalmen at the junctions along their journey.
“Where’s your Boss?” he asked when they came into the yard.
A workman went to fetch him.
“Hello Sir; I’m Mr. Jones,” said the Foreman, coming forward to shake Sir Topham’s hand. “I suggest we go to my office where we can be alone and talk.”
“Billy, please help out by shunting trucks,” ordered the Fat Controller.
Billy worked hard all afternoon, and by evening he went home wit hthe Fat Controller. He didn’t know what his plans were, but he could only hope that it involved seeing the experimental engines on a more regular basis.
- This story leads into Missing Scrap.
- This is the last story to be written as if it were published in a book. From "Missing Scrap" onwards, all of Loco123456's stories will be written only in transcript form.