Crossed Lines is an 8-episode Web Video series by Haydn Spencer, released under the moniker "halfbaked8".
The show is set on the Waterdown Railway, a fictional railway that still utilizes steam traction into the modern day. Its most recent acquisition is Atlas, a steam locomotive who seems to have lost his memory of where he was before the Waterdown Railway got him. As he settles into his new life on his new home, Atlas must try to figure out where he's from and what happened to him.
In that time, Atlas meets and gets to know the engines of his new home. These include Zebedee the old engine, Clay the proud blabbermouth, Dawn the hard-working shunter, Ince Castle the recluse, and Cojack the Diesel engine. He also has to deal with Mr. Traverse, a local businessman who doesn't tolerate that the Waterdown Railway still uses steam locomotives, and is vocal about his dislike of them.
The series was launched on January 3rd, 2014. All of the videos can be watched here. A Christmas Episode, "The Long Way Home", was posted in 2018. It can he watched here.
Crossed Lines contains examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Episode 4, Going Haywire, introduces Dev-kahn1, a computerized electric locomotive built to increase the efficiency of the Waterdown Railway. His way of doing so, however, involves seizing control of the railways switches to sabotage the engines' work and make them late so their old pledge to keep steam engines running so long as their trains run on time will get them withdrawn. He even takes great offence to the idea of being controlled, and looks down on the other engines kowtowing to humans.
- Ambiguous Time Period: It's never really stated when the series is supposed to be set. In "Down The Drains", Mr. Traverse is shown to own a smart phone, and "Going Haywire" shows he has the technology to built Dev-kahn1. However, it's also stated by Ramona in "Going Haywire" that man only landed on the moon 10 years prior.
- Battering Ram: In episode 5, Nightmares, Ince Castle commandeers a breakdown train and uses it to smash through the doors of the smelter's sheds in the Masonry Bridge scrapyard to rescue Zebedee.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: In Episode 8, Kindred Spirits, Ferrus' first scenes have his eyes glowing in the darkness of the building he's relegated to as a pumping engine.
- Call-Back: In Episode 6, The Mail Bag Snag, when Benjamin hears about the drains being flooded, he theorizes that the budget for their upkeep went towards building Dev-kahn1.
- Christmas Episode: The Long Journey Home.
- A Day in the Limelight: The Long Journey Home focuses on the diesel twins Marisa and Tamarind, who work for Synergy, Mr. Traverse's company.
- Extra Eyes: Episode 7, Rebel Iron, introduces Thunderball, a diesel locomotive with three eyes.
- Eye Scream: In Ince's memories of the scrapyard, we see an engine missing one of its eyes.
- Full-Name Ultimatum: In episode 3, when Dawn decides to take Clay's train herself, Charles calls her by her full name, Dawnbreaker.
- Heroic R Ro D: Episode 3, From Dusk Till Dawn, is about Dawn going on a workaholic kick and rearranging the trucks in the yard, exhausting herself from lack of sleep as a result. It gets so bad that Ramona had to be brought back to help relieve her workload. And even then, it took Ramona saving Dawn from an accident to get her to finally concede.
- Hostage Situation: In episode 8, Mr. Hardgraves abducts Levi while Mr. Traverse and Isaac are on his train and makes off with them. He then announces over the railway's intercom that he will return them safe and sound if the Waterdown Railway hands over Ember.
- It's Personal: Killian Hardgraves wants Ember scrapped so badly because his family was on a train she crashed.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Atlas' Story Arc revolves around getting back his memories of what happened to him before coming to the Waterdown Railway. He starts regaining his memories in episode 5, when he comes to the Masonry Bridge railway.
- Nightmare Sequence: Episode 5, Nightmares, begins with Ince Castle having one about all his scrapped friends. Atlas has one in The Stinger about all his friends with static faces, and Ember with Dev-kahn1's face.
- The Noseless: None of the engines in the series have any noses.
- Posthumous Character: Creed, one of the first engines of the Waterdown Railway.
- Put on a Bus: After breaking down in Episode 1, Boomer is left with Benjamin, and is absent for much of the series.
- The Bus Came Back: Boomer returns in episode 7, attending the meeting Zebedee is holding in the shed.
- Sentient Vehicle: The locomotives of the Waterdown Railway, of course.
- Series Finale: Episode 8, Kindred Spirits.
- Screw the Money, This Is Personal!: Killian Hardgraves wants nothing more in the world than to cut Amber up for scrap metal. Whistler, the diesel who oversees the scrapyard at Masonry Bridge, asks why Killian doesn't sell Amber for a lot of money. Killian states he wants Amber scrapped because his family was on the train that Amber crashed.
- In Episode 1, a blue pillar box can be seen on a station platform. It can be seen again in episode 6.
- In Episode 2, Atlas starts thinking the other engines will mock him for his situation by stating "The green engine stuck in a tunnel. Really, Atlas. How cliche. Life trying to imitate art, or something?".
- In Episode 2, when Atlas makes a terrible pun, Cojack tells him "You're Despicable.".
- In Episode 3, when moving some trucks back into the yard, Clay starts talk-singing The Locomotion to himself. He does it again in The Stinger of the episode, this time with music.
- In Episode 8, it's revealed that a train being stolen, like Mr. Hardgraves stealing Levi, is known as a code "Old Iron".
- Smash Cut: In episode 6, when Cojack is asked to fill in for Benjamin on track maintenance, he refuses. He's told his alternative is to work for Mr. Traverse... the next scene has Cojack on the line doing maintenance. He's not happy about it.Cojack: sigh This is humiliating.
- The Stinger: All the episodes except Going Haywire have one.
- Episode 1: Clay finally makes it to his destination, only to learn he is very late thanks to Atlas leaving him to take it by himself.
- Episode 2: Atlas is given a control link and tries to use it to contact Wurzel. He ends up creating a massive deafening feedback.
- Episode 3: Clay and Cojack have to do shunting work while Dawn is in the works. Clay decides to sing "The Locomotion" to help work along, but Cojack just tells him to never do it again.
- Episode 5: Atlas is on a turntable surrounded by the Waterdown engines, who all have static over their faces. He's then confronted by Ember with Dev-kahn1's face, who shouts Dev-kahn1's words at him. He wakes up, and wonders who Ember is.
- Episode 6: A sepia-toned photo of Atlas and Ember side-by-side.
- Episode 7: Having discovered Whistler let Zebedee and Boomer make off with Ember, Mr. Hardgraves decides to scrap Whistler in Ember's place. Then he discovers a poster for the Waterdown Railway on the tracks, which tips him off to where Ember has been taken.
- Episode 8: A sepia-toned shot of Ember and Atlas back when they worked on the Masonry Bridge Railway, and Ember was the express engine.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In episode 2, Down The Drains, Atlas finds himself inside the titular drains, a tunnel system that Mr. Traverse has apparently neglected the upkeep of. When Mr. Traverse suggests just firing Atlas back up and backing him out of the drains, his crew state that could cause more dust and soot to fall from the ceiling, or worse, start a fire in the tunnel.
- Title Drop: Courtesy of Cojack in episode 2.Cojack: Good grief, this entire day has gone down the drains, in all meanings of the word.
- Travel Montage: In The Mail Bag Snag, we're shown an animation of Atlas pulling a train along the railway's map, interspersed with videos of him going along the line.
- Vague Age: When Clay states how he and Creed built the railway together, Atlas asks him how old he is. His response?Clay: Way to make me feel good about my age.
- What Would X Do?: In Episode 7, when being interrogated by the Railway board about suspicious goings-on in the railway, Dawn quickly thinks to herself "What would Cojack do?". She then charges away, claiming she must to her shunting.