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Headscratchers / The Railway Series

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  • Can Percy be considered Great Western like Duck and Oliver? The Avonside Engine Company started building engines for the GWR, and they were headquartered at Bristol which was served by the GWR.
    • No, not a proper GWR engine. On that subject, what real-life engine is Percy's supposed basis anyway? Some are speculating Percy is actually a rebuilt Cardiff Railway No. 6 which was supposedly scrapped and his twin No. 5 works to this day at Dicot. Not all that unlikely when you consider how many Welsh standard gauge locomotives were either scrapped or rebuilt when the Great Western took over (only a handful of these escaped).
  • When the Scottish Twins arrived, why did the Fat Controller go to all that trouble to make sure only the correct one stayed on Sodor? By all accounts he'd scored a jolly good bargain: two engines for the price of one!
    • He was probably anticipating being billed for both.
  • In Thomas and the Great Railway Show, Thomas meets up with an old friend and running mate by the name of Boxhill, a member of the same class of locomotive as Stepney. All three are based on prototypes built by the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, though Thomas was a slightly later model. If all three locomotives operated on the same railway at roughly the same time, why did Stepney and Thomas not seem to recognize each other in Stepney the Bluebell Engine?
    • For what it's worth, the detailed history seems to indicate Thomas spent barely any time at all on the LBSCR before being loaned to the fledgling NWR, possibly not even a year. And it's simply not going to be possible for every engine that worked for the same railway to have known each other. Admittedly pre-grouping it's more unusual, but it seems the LBSCR was a fairly complex network on its own.
    • The "Terriers" worked everywhere, but mostly only on short-distance runs to which they were regularly allocated. It would be entirely possible for a locomotive to spend years and years just chugging up and down something like the Hayling Island branch and never encounter any classmates performing similar duties elsewhere.
  • If Duke was so special to Sir Handel/Falcon and Peter Sam/Stuart, why didn't they just bring him up to Skarloey the day they got to the railway? It would have saved them [and Duke] a lot of stress, trauma and loneliness. Skarloey would have understood the situation, with his wise and kind persona and all.
    • Because Falcon and Stuart were first sent to work at the Aluminium works, than got bought by the Skarloey Railway. Also decisions about keeping an engine wouldn't be made by Skarloey, but by the Thin Controller.
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    • I did know about the whole Aluminium works plant thing, but still. Sir Handel and Peter Sam could have mentioned it when they arrived on the SkR, and then all three of them tell the Thin Controller right away.
    • They may have been afraid to do so. At the time, the Skarloey Railway (like its Welsh counterpart) had just avoided shutdown by becoming a heritage railway. There was barely enough money to get Skarloey and Rheneas rebuilt, let alone a third engine that hadn't turned a wheel in nearly twenty years.
  • In Little Western, Douglas gets given Toad as his brakevan, and he takes the news well. But... wouldn't he be a bit, I don't know, worried? I mean, Douglas did crush the spiteful brakevan on accident, mind you. Toad is a genuinely nice brakevan, and he already saved him. Wouldn't Douglas be afraid of crushing him by mistake?
    • Likely by then the trucks knew better than to mess about with either of the twins, so Toad would have been in safe hands. Douglas would have pulled other trains with other brakevans anyway.
    • Ooh, that's a good idea for a story! I'll have to remember that.
    • Unless Douglas feels like pushing his train from behind up a hill, its unlikely they'll be in another situation like the one that happened to The Spiteful Brakevan.
  • Thomas And The Evil Diesel, why couldn't The Fat Controller of just gotten Duck, Oliver, Stepney or Jinty or Pug to take over for Percy while he was sick?
    • Duck and Oliver could have been too busy on their branchline, Pug is most likely scrapped, Jinty might have been preserved (as there are a fair number of his class around), but we don't know, and Stepney... well, it's hard to tell with real engines. He may have been on overhaul or in storage at the time, depending on the year of the story taking place.
    • Plus, by the time of ...The Evil Diesel's publication, Class 08 shunters were themselves being retired en masse, and would have been widely available for temporary loan on their way to preservation or scrapping.
  • The Small Railway was partly revived to excavate waste stone from a closed lead mine for use as ballast. Wouldn't that seriously contaminate the ground alongside the railway?
  • Why did the North Western Railway get so much independence in BR days? The NWR was nationalized, but they were allowed to keep their own liveries and rolling stock, keep running steam, and seemingly completely avoided the Beeching Axe - how come they kept so much autonomy compared to the rest of the network?
    • Perhaps it wasn't as seriously affected by the war as the other railway's predecessors.
    • The islands have always been a special case in British railways. And Sodor, if real, would be the largest of all, with the most extensive network and a measure of political autonomy. Given the Sudrian character of "if it's not broken don't fix it," there may have been no real economic incentive to force them to change.

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