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Mainline is the seventh episode of Season 1.

Plot

The episode begins with Edward describing Sodor's Mainline, which begins at Alresburgh and ends at Vicarstown and the Lift-Bridge connecting Sodor to the Mainland and Barrow-in-Furness. Since engines can only go where the rails go, extensive delays are the result if the line is blocked by a fallen tree or an accident, since they can hardly find another way around. Eric had traveled the extensively while acting as Henry's replacement while Mr. Star kept a close eye on him to make sure he wouldn't fowl up again. Once Henry's repairs were completed, Mr. Star gave up on surveying Eric.

Mr. Star goes to Crovan's Gate to see Henry and orders him to go to Barrow to pick up some new coaches and deliver them to Knapford, which he had requested Head Office to replace their current fleet of express coaches. Henry feels reluctant at first, since both he and Mr. Star remembered what happened the last time Henry tried taking coaches, but since Henry has learned of his mistake, he heads off.

At Barrow, Percy has just finished his two-hour job of shunting the three lines of express coaches, fresh off the assembly line when Henry arrives. The old express coaches had been scrapped, which Gordon had handled the last of them, he puffs out and is surprised to see Henry and that he's to pick up the new coaches, after what happened last time. In 1929, Henry had been backing down to take the express, when he bumped them too hard and the coaches went all over the place. Gordon recalls that they were picking the wreckage off the tracks for a month afterwards. Gordon departs, telling Henry to bring the coaches to Knapford in once piece and not several. After Henry gets turned around, Henry decides to take all the coaches to Knapford, but before he can start marshaling them, James scampers in with the new coaches and explains that the ones Percy shunted are to be scrapped, because Head Office got the shipping orders mixed up. The coaches Percy had shunted had their axles greased up beforehand so they could be delivered for scrap, meaning Percy had spent the last two hours shunting the coaches for nothing. James reassures Percy and Henry that the individual responsible will be disciplined.

The passengers loved the new coaches, and the Midi's natural response was to upgrade their express coaches. As September 15th drew nearer and nearer, the Nor'easters got busier and busier. Many guests came to attend the wedding, from friends and family, to politicians and nobility, who were all delivered to Elsbridge where the wedding was to take place. Three days before the big day, Edward was at Barrow collecting more wedding guests when the stationmaster informed him they had a latecomer. Edward waited for the young clergyman to get on board his train and Edward departed for Elsbridge, a few minutes behind schedule.

He arrives at Elsbridge late, where Jeffries scolds him. The young clergyman steps out of Edward's train and explains to Jeffries that he is at fault for Edward being late and is grateful for him to wait. Jeffries praises Edward and walks away. Edward thanks the clergyman for coming to his defense and assumes the man has come to Sodor for work. The clergyman then answers that he has arrived to preside over Jennifer Kyndley's wedding and introduces himself as Wilbert Awdry. Wilbert stares at Edward for a moment and explains that he's heard about non-faceless engines but has never seen one before, and Edward tells him that there are all non-faceless engines on Sodor. Three days later, Jennifer Kyndley and her fiancee married in the first track side wedding held on Sodor. Therefore, Thomas, Percy, Edward and Toby were able to attend. When the ceremony was over, Thomas took away the newly wedded couple. Up to that day, Edward recalled, it was the proudest moment of Thomas's life.

Edward then recalls the events of the Spanish Civil War and that hardly a week went by without a newspaper article describing battles or atrocities. It was even more depressing with the refugees being created by the conflict. In 1937, the people began fleeing their home nation in droves. On May 23rd, slightly less than 4,000 refugees arrived at Southampton Docks, several hundred of which were redirected to Sodor.

A refugee is talking to Donald who can't understand him. Diesel then pulls up with some coaches and asks Donald if he tried to find someone who could speak Spanish. Donald already tried that and he couldn't find anyone and barks at Diesel to push off. Diesel meets up with Adam and mutters that the refugees should have been sent to Knapford Harbour. Presently, Toby arrives, to help the Midis with the refugees. Diesel and Adam go to watch Toby. Much to the disbelief of the three Midis, Toby is able to easily speak Spanish to the refugees. Toby then asks Diesel if he could shunt the coaches onto the line the trucks on after he moves them. Diesel doesn't want to, but Donald orders Diesel to do so because for Toby's help, he deserves whatever he asks for. Soon, Diesel and Adam depart with their passenger train filled with refugees to Wellsworth. Donald tells Toby that they're grateful for his efforts, although they may never say so and asks Toby where he learned Spanish. Toby explains that the manager of his old railway's wife was Spanish, who taught him all she knew about the language, and mentions that her passing took a heavy toll on his manager and he couldn't concentrate afterwards and his old line closed down.

Edward explains that this was a rare time in which the Nor'easters and the Midis cooperated with each other to resettle the refugees throughout Sodor. This was done so no community would be overburdened by a sudden increase in its population, and the refugees were warmly welcomed. About a fortnight after the operation started, Thomas was taking a small group of refugees to Lakeside Hault, a small town nearby the Loop Line, which used to be the mainline for the Elsbridge & Knapford Railway.

Upon arriving, Thomas's Guard tells Thomas that a pregnant woman who was among the refugees is going into labour. Since the nearest hospital is at Elsbridge and it would take an ambulance at least half an hour to make it to where they are at this time of day, Thomas decides to take the woman and her husband to Elsbridge. Thomas tells Pete to telephone the hospital and tell them that he will meet one of their ambulances at Elsbridge, which Thomas's Guard does so after helping the woman and her husband back into Clarabel. Thomas then sprints towards Elsbridge at top speed, cutting off Gordon at Lower Knapford. Unfortunately, Thomas bursts his safety valve. Thomas's driver decides to run back and ask Gordon to push them to Elsbridge, but then Eric appears. Thomas explains to Eric his predicament and tells him to bring him to Elsbridge, but Eric replies that he has to pick up an important goods train at Calden or else Mr. Star will sack him, but is convinced to help Thomas since it's an emergency and helps Thomas to Elsbridge. When they arrive, Jeffries had sent away the ambulance, since he hadn't known Thomas was responsible for it and was completely unaware of what was going on. Suddenly, the crying from a newly-born baby is heard from Clarabel. The father comes out of Clarabel and asks Thomas and Eric for their names, since he wants to name his son after the two tank engines. Thomas and Eric give their names, and the father gladly names his son, Thomas Eric Galendas. "My, my, what remarkable engines..." Wilbert Awdry said to himself, who had been watching nearby.

The ambulance soon returned and took the Galendas family to the hospital and afterwards, started life anew on Sodor. The father got a job at the Knapford Oil Depot, working tirelessly to provide for his family and eventually was able to buy a house for them next to the main line. Little Thomas was a common sight afterwards. Edward remarks that they were all proud as he grew up and even more so after he joined the railway, working his way through the ranks to become a fireman and then, Edward's driver. Wilbert Awdry would also be a common sight on Sodor over the next several years, taking a keen interest in its railways and the engines working on them. At the time, none of them knew how much of an impact The Thin Clergyman would have on their lives.


Characters

Trivia

  • This was the last episode of Stories of Sodor to be filmed in just Trainz 2009.
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