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Tear Jerker / The Railway Series

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Remember The Sad Story of Henry? Well here is a more dire Sad story and it's not just about Henry.

Three Railway Engines

  • Edward in "Edward's Day Out" has been shut in the shed for a long while and mocked by the other engines for no longer being good enough for service. Edward is visibly in tears until the driver takes pity on him.
  • Henry being locked up in the tunnel in "The Sad Story of Henry", with no steam to even talk back to the engines passing by. No wonder publishers demanded a Happy Ending through "Edward, Gordon and Henry".

James the Red Engine

  • In "Troublesome Trucks", James is so sad and remorseful about the events that led to him being shut in the shed that he actually starts crying. Luckily, it's short-lived as he's let out on the very next page.

Tank Engine Thomas Again

  • In "Thomas, Terence, and the Snow", Thomas cries after getting stuck in the snow without his snowplough. It's even sadder if you listen to Johnny Morris' crying in the narration.

Duck and the Diesel Engine

  • Duck feeling betrayed by Gordon, James and Henry in Dirty Work, thanks to Diesel's lies and manipulation. Although it isn't in the book, Duck is shown to be crying in the TV version. Poor guy...

The Twin Engines

  • The severity of Donald and Douglas' situation. Only one had been bought by Sodor, and the other was to be withdrawn and subject to the scrapper's torch. It's only a deputation by Percy which saves them.

Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine

  • The book pulls no punches that steam engines are becoming redundant, and any engine that is no longer "very useful" gets scrapped. The books portray this fear of modernization like it's an metaphorical evolutionary war between past engines like the Steam engines and future engines such as the Diesels, and the Steamies are losing this war and are slowly going extinct. Sodor is played as the only safe place left for Steam engines and now Diesels are starting to come to Sodor. If the Diesels' takeover becomes too hostile for the Steamies to cope with, it might not be long before the Railway Series shifts from Thomas & Friends to Diesel & Friends...
    • The explanation of Steamies getting scrapped is accompanied by the chilling image above of a couple of dilapidated engines in the scrapyard awaiting their fate from a workman's blow torch with a broken look on their faces:
    "Engines on the Other Railway aren't safe now. Their controllers are cruel. They don't like engines any more. They put them on cold damp sidings, and then," Percy nearly sobbed, "they...they c-c-cut them up."
    • The author foreword worsens this, stating the British railway controllers are not cruel, and are left very sad and guilt ridden at having to get rid of their faithful steam engines and contributing to the Steamies' slow, but horrible extinction, hence why the Bluebell railway and its preservation is so beloved.

Very Old Engines

  • How about the very first bit in Duck and Dukes? We, the audience, know things are going to be totally fine, but when Duck says that all engine dukes are scrapped, Peter Sam is sent into a turmoil thinking that his Granpuff is dead. And we don't even know how Sir Handel took it either.
    • To top this off, Skarloey, and presumably Rheanes, Rusty and Duncan don't take this seriously, not even the Thin Controller.

Enterprising Engines

  • Gordon in "Tenders for Henry" when he finds out from boasting diesels that all his brothers were scrapped, save Flying Scotsman, and himself. In spite of this awful news, he carries on with his express duties. Serves as a double dose of heartwarming, as the Fat Controller feels so sorry for him, he arranges for Flying Scotsman to visit him as quickly as possible.

Duke The Lost Engine


  • The manner most of the original illustrators for the novels left is quite saddening. William Middleton was considered not good enough after one book and had his work redrawn and forgotten, Reginald Payne suffered a nervous breakdown after his first book and was unable to take service again, C. Reginald Dalby left after being offended by one too many criticisms from Awdry over his work, while John T. Kenney had to quit illustrating due to failing eyesight.
    • Dalby also died in 1983, one year short of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends airing. Especially tragic since Dalby's work is often considered the most influential in creating the television series, meaning Awdry's most controversial illustrator never got to see his vindication.
  • How the series ended behind the scenes can feel like this. As the television series became more popular, it started creating heavier restrictions on Christopher's writing, forcing him to write books on Thomas instead of developing his own plans for Sodor. Not only that, but his father had to watch the producers take his work and play around with it in ways to appeal to the international market, which was the exact fear he had when Andrew Lloyd Webber attempted to adapt the stories. That fear came true, and while he died peacefully, Britt Allcroft herself snatched up the copyright and sent it off to Egmont, who proceeded to republish the books in a chopped-up format that was poorly received, ultimately causing the stories to fade away, with only two more books published after 1996, ending in 2011. It can leave a sour taste in one's mouth knowing how these books were essentially taken away from the very family that had spent so much time developing them, and for those ideas and themes to be cast aside and/or simplified to boot, making the messages of the current show, and the intent of producers themselves, from Allcroft to Mattel, seem extremely hypocritical.

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