Eddie the Steady, at the ready.

Engines in Sidings: Steady Eddie

“Diesel told me the silliest story today while I was helping him get his trucks back in order,” said Percy. He backed into the Shed next to Edward. “It was about you,” Percy told him.

“Really?” said Edward.

“Why are you listening to Diesel about anything?” scoffed Henry.

“Because,” said Percy, “Diesel lies and his stories are funny when you know that. Like today, he said that Edward told this story to him, but I know he was lying.”

“I should like to hear this story I told him then,” said Edward.

“Well,” began Percy. “One day, said Diesel, Edward puffed into the docks. Emily and Gordon were there already. Then The Fat Controller arrived too.”

“‘The brand new brass water wheel has just arrived on a ship from the mainland,’ said The Fat Controller.” Percy did a voice to sound like The Fat Controller when he was speaking. “‘It is magnificent! It will be displayed by the Waterworks at Great Waterton. Edward, you will deliver the water wheel to Great Waterton.’”

“Emily and Gordon were surprised, but Edward was very proud to be picked,” said Percy.

“Humph!” Gordon steamed haughtily. “I wouldn’t want to pull goods anyway.”

“There’s no need to be jealous, Gordon,” said Emily. “It’s not as if this was a real Special.”

“‘I’ve chosen you, Edward,’ The Fat Controller told them,” resumed Percy loudly over them, “‘because you are the steadiest engine. You are to take the Express line. It is the smoothest and most direct way to Great Waterton.’”

Gordon gasped.

My Express line?” he spluttered. “What if the Express were to get caught behind old, slow Edward and this water wheel?”

“It’s not a real story, Gordon,” said Emily, rolling her eyes. “Edward didn’t really take his Special on the Express line.”

“You won’t have to worry about that anyway,” said Percy cheekily. He went back to telling the story before Gordon could ask why. “So Cranky lowered the water wheel onto Edward’s flatbed. It had a shiny – and sharp – brass rim that shone in the sun. Everyone oohed and ahhed at the magnificent water wheel.”

“‘Edward the Steady is at the ready!’ said Edward.” The entire Shed burst into laughter. “That was my favorite part!” grinned Percy.

“You didn’t really say that, did you, Edward?” cackled James.

“I must have,” chortled Edward, “if it’s in the story.” Once the laughter died down, Percy went on.

“And very slowly, Edward pushed his special Special out of the docks. Edward puffed up to the junction for the Express line. Thomas was waiting.”

“What was I waiting for?” asked Thomas.

“I don’t know,” said Percy. “Diesel didn’t say. What he did say was that you said ‘Bust my buffers, Edward! That’s a very special Special!’”

Thomas looked miffed about his small and unimportant role in the story. Percy took no notice and continued.

“Edward was very happy. He looked ahead. If he took the Express line, he couldn’t stop for people to admire his magnificent water wheel, but if he took the other track, he could stop at stations and bridges and sidings. A lot of people would see his special Special.”

“The signal changed,” said Percy ominously. “Edward didn’t take the Express line.”

“But The Fat Controller told him to take the Express line,” scoffed Henry. “Edward wouldn’t take a branch line if he was told to take the Express line.”

“I know that, Henry,” said Percy proudly. “That’s how I knew Diesel was lying.”

“Anyway,” he said, “Edward was having a wonderful time! He went past stations, under bridges, and past farms. Everyone cheered and waved. Edward the Steady was now Edward the Magnificent!” Edward chuckled at this.

“Then Edward arrived at the junction.”

“‘The track ahead is in need of repair,” said the Signalman.” Percy did a different voice for the Signalman. “But the track ahead led to the school. Edward wanted the school children to see him so he chuffed on towards the broken track.”

“That doesn’t sound like Edward at all, Percy” argued Henry. “He would never disregard a Signalman’s warning.”

“I know that, Henry,” said Percy again. He persisted in telling the story. “The track was very bumpy and jumpy. The shiny and sharp brass edge of the water wheel started to cut into the ropes, but Edward didn’t know.”

“There’s no way Edward didn’t know,” interrupted Henry again. “He always minds his freight.”

“I know,” insisted Percy. He scowled at Henry and forged on with Diesel’s story.

“At the school, children cheered and waved. Edward wasn’t looking at the red signal coming up.

“‘Flatten my fender!’ said Edward as he saw it at the last second-”

“Edward wouldn’t have missed a signal,” Henry cut in again.

“I KNOW!” snapped Percy. Henry stood quiet. When he was sure Henry wouldn’t interrupt again, Percy continued.

“Edward applied his brakes but too late! The shiny brass edge of the water wheel cut even deeper through the ropes. Edward knew now his long journey had made him late. Then he had an idea.

I will chuff up Gordon’s Hill, Edward thought. It’s the fastest way to Great Waterton, and the other engines on the hill will all see my Special!

“But wouldn’t Gordon’s Hill be in the other direction from Great Waterton?” asked Emily. “If he made it to the Main Line from Brendam Bay at least, shouldn’t he be past it already?”

“This is Diesel’s story,” Percy reminded her. “Maybe he doesn’t know Edward’s line very well.

“‘Edward huffed and chuffed up Gordon’s Hill. Oliver and Arthur passed him coming down. They both thought his Special was magnificent.”

“Wait,” interrupted Emily. “Oliver and Arthur? What were those two doing?”

“I don’t know,” said Percy impatiently. “This is Diesel’s made-up story. You should ask him that.”

“Edward huffed and puffed up the hill. At last, he reached the top. But the edges of the water wheel were cutting deeper and deeper into the ropes.

“Then there was trouble! With a final jolt, the ropes broke! The magnificent water wheel rolled off Edward’s flatbed and down Gordon’s Hill.

“‘Fizzling fireboxes,’ said Edward.

“Was that what you actually said?” smirked James.

“Something like that, I’d imagine,” said Edward. “It would definitely begin with an F.”

“Gordon was further down the hill,” said Percy, pausing for effect, “with flatbeds of scrap iron. The water wheel rolled down the hill and bounced onto Gordon’s flatbed.”

“Scrap iron!” cried Gordon. “Scrap iron!” Everyone laughed at Gordon’s real indignation over fictitious freight.

“Now Edward’s magnificent water wheel was on its way to the smelters! Edward had to get to the smelter’s yard before Gordon. Edward puffed and Edward panted along every shortcut he knew. No one saw Edward pass and no one stopped to wave. That no longer mattered to Edward. He had to save his magnificent water wheel from the smelters.

“Gordon puffed slowly into the smelter’s yard-”

“I do not puff slowly,” complained Gordon.

“You do,” teased Emily, “if you’re pulling flatbeds of scrap iron.”

“Gordon pulled up outside the smelting shed,” snickered Percy. “Then, suddenly, there was Edward! Gordon was surprised. Edward the Steady had won his race against the fastest engine on Sodor.

“It was hardly a race if I didn’t know I was racing,” said Gordon crossly. “As if Old, Slow Edward could ever beat me in a fair race.” The rest of the Shed glanced around at each other knowingly. Gordon scowled. “Well, he couldn’t!”

“The magnificent water wheel was once again tied down to Edward’s flatbed,” said Percy. “With chains this time.

“‘Edward the Steady once more at the ready!’” Edward gave James a winning look. James cackled so hard, he looked as though he would burst a valve. Everyone else laughed right along with him.

“And his wheels clickety-clacked without a cheer or a clap along the way.

“The water wheel was put into place in front of the Great Waterton Water Works.

“‘It looks grand,’ said Thomas.” Thomas’ face perked up with interest at the mention of his name.

“‘It looks magnificent,’ said Edward. And Edward didn’t need anyone to tell him that this had been a very special Special,” finished Percy.

“I should certainly hope not,” said Edward.

“What did you do to Diesel,” asked Percy, “that he made this whole story up about you being irresponsible with a Special?”

“He had a Special today,” laughed Edward, “and I gave him some helpful advice about it.” Everyone understood then. Diesel did not like to be given advice. Diesel thought he knew everything already.

“Well, if everyone is finished listening to Diesel’s lies,” huffed Gordon grumpily, “important engines need to get some sleep.”

“Yes, I am tired,” yawned Edward. “Eddie the Steady is ready for beddy.”

The entire Shed burst out laughing again, except for Gordon who grumbled discontentedly.

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