Book 36 - Thomas Comes Home - 1992
Summaries by D Howells
Thomas may have gone away to visit the National Railway Museum, but life on the Branch Line was far from dull without him. Daisy gets stuck in a snowdrift, Percy narrowly avoids a dip in a stream, and Toby pulls a long train of trucks. However, all of the engines manage to keep things moving until Thomas comes back.
Daisy runs the fast train that connects with Gordon’s express in Thomas’s absence, which makes her conceited. One day, a blizzard hits Sodor. Daisy doesn’t mind; she thinks the snow is pretty. When Gordon finally arrives, Daisy sets off, but when she reaches the valley, the snow falls so heavily that neither he nor her driver can see. Eventually, they have to go back to the last station, but as Daisy heads back, she soon comes to a stop, as the snow blocks her air-intake. As fast as the driver clears the snow, the quicker it gets clogged up again. Soon, Harold arrives to collect the passengers, but Daisy is snowed in for a whole week. By the time Toby rescues her, she has a very different opinion of snow.
As the snow melts, the water rises in a stream on the branch line. A bridge crosses over the rising stream, and Percy worries that the bridge might collapse. But one day, Toby tells him that the water in the stream has lowered. Later, Henry jokingly suggests Thomas may be kept as York as a museum-piece, making Annie and Clarabel upset. Percy spends so long comforting them that he is delayed with his next train. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to stop at the station near the stream, but as Percy crosses the bridge over the stream, he feels it sink slightly under his weight, and hears a creaking sound. Percy goes as fast as he dares, and he and the coaches make it off the bridge just before it collapses into the stream. The Fat Controller closes the line whilst the bridge is repaired, and nowadays, Percy always takes care over the bridge where he almost went swimming.
Whilst Percy pulled Annie and Clarabel, Toby took Percy’s stone trucks to the harbour, and brings loaded trucks back. But due to Toby’s small water tank, he always has to refill at Elsbridge, the station by the river where Thomas went fishing. One day, Mavis is late delivering the trucks to the Yard, and when Toby arrives at the harbour, he finds that there are forty-eight trucks to go back. Rather than leaving some and making two trips the next day, Toby volunteers to take them all at once, forgetting about his small water tank. His crew agrees, but when they reach Elsbridge, Toby has very little water left. Worse still, the water column at Elsbridge has broken. His driver has an idea; he uncouples from the train and stops at the bridge. Toby is horrified when he sees his driver holding a bucket, but fortunately, he is only joking. Toby goes to Ffarquhar to fill up with water, then goes back to collect the trucks and finish his long journey.
Thomas Comes Home
George the steamroller is mending the road near the level crossing. He gets the Branch Line engines worried when he says that he could easily build a road on their tracks, but they soon forget all about it when they hear that Thomas is due home the next week. On the big day, Daisy pulls the special train with many important people on board. But at the level crossing, the men helping mend the road had left some traffic cones, and some were inside the crossing gates. The wind blows a cone straight under Daisy, and damages her brakes, jamming them hard on. Eventually, a fitter and three other workmen arrive and work fast to fix Daisy. When they finish, she sets off quickly, and finds that she’s not late at all; in fact, she’s right on time. Within a moment of her arrival, Thomas pulls into the station, and is given a rousing welcome home.