Book 41 - Thomas & Victoria - 2007
Summaries by R Healy
After a hiatus of 11 years, the Railway Series books returned to a full print run with Christopher's books being sold once again alongside his father's. However, what made it all the more special was the addition of a brand new book to the collection, with a brand new addition to Thomas's branch line, but with the same old favourites as before.
Poor Henrietta is fuller than ever when taking men up to the Quarry, and one morning when Bertie can't help her out, she's fuller still. An emergency stop soon puts things in perspective for the Quarry Manager, and after a visit from the Police, he requests additional transportation from the Fat Controller. But he's unable to assist... that is until Thomas meets a rundown old coach called Victoria at the station by the river. While his driver is skeptical about Victoria's poor condition, Thomas tells the Fat Controller, who orders her immediate restoration.
Victoria is sent to the works to be restored, and it's there she meets Edward, who is also undergoing repair. The two used to work on the Furness Railway, and Victoria begins recounting a story about what happened during her working days with her engine called Albert, and the other coach, Helena. One winter, Albert became rather cocky about how well he could manage working in snow. His brashness soon came to an abrupt end when he ended up buried from funnel to footplate in thick white snow after making a noisy exit from a station. Needless to say, Albert was never one to boast about snow again!
Eels On Wheels
In the height of summer, Daisy begins noticing grass snakes at the side of the line. Percy feels rather unnerved when he hears about them, but Daisy just mocks him for it. However, she soon gets her comeuppance when a box of live eels breaks open in front of her, giving her such a start that she blows a fuse and can't take her next passenger train. Toby and Percy think it a great joke that night in the shed, and Toby makes a quip about a place he used to work close to called Ely - Daisy isn't amused!
Toby's Vintage Train
Victoria is finally ready and taken to the junction by Edward. Thomas then takes her up the line to meet Toby and Henrietta, but on the way, an Inspector warns them about trouble that Terence the Tractor is having. A boulder falls into Terence's path, causing him to swerve and upset his trailer and load of stones on an embankment close to the line. Thanks to the quick actions and precautions taken, Thomas is able to pass through safely. Victoria is soon at the Top Station to become part of "Toby's Vintage Train", and help Henrietta ferry the workmen to and from the Quarry.