Bob the Big Noisy Engine (with apologies to the Rev W Awdry).

Posted on 06/08/2017 By

Bob the Big Noisy Engine.

Bob the Big Noisy Engine.

This is the story of Bob the Big Noisy Engine. A tale of triumph over adversity. Honesty over lies and deceit. Contentment over greed. Happiness over anger.

It is a true story. All the characters are real. Bobby wrote it in 1999 on a bike ride. In his head. The card and story were posted as part of a legal requirement. Always hoping that the opportunity would arise one day to publish it. Bearing in mind I was part of the adventure and ultimately best man at the wedding in Scotland. This is that opportunity. The reader is asked to consider Sir Walter Scott”s famous words:

‘Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive’.

Bob the Big Noisy Engine: The Card.

The Card.

This is part of the season of holiday specials.

Posted here exactly as it was “posted” 18 years ago.

This the story of Bob the Big Noisy Engine.

One day Bob, the Big Noisy Engine, came out of a tunnel into the sunshine. As he puffed slowly along, his firebox was heavy and he longed for the days when he had been a Mainline Engine. For years he had been on Branch Lines with the same tatty, grumbly old carriages. “Don’t want to. Don’t want to.” “It’s not my fault. Its not my fault.” The carriages grumbled as Bob pulled them to nowhere in particular.

The Fat Controller was closing the Branch Lines as they were not making any money. The few remaining passengers had to go on Brian the Bus. An old, small grey bus with broken suspension and uncomfortable seats. When the passengers complained, Brian would say “What can you do about it? What can you do about it?” “It’s not my fault! It’s not my fault!”

As Bob steamed into the station he thought “Something has changed.”. A porter came over. “Good news, Bob. The Fat Controller has gone! Gone to the Bus Garage.” “So that’s why he was closing the Branch Lines” thought Bob.

“There is a new Slim Controller” said the porter. “And a lady at that!”

The Slim Controller came over to Bob. “Your days on the Branch Lines are over, Bob. We are going to smarten you up, give you a new coat of paint and polish you until you shine. You will always have the best coal, plenty of water and a brand new set of friendly carriages. And — you will be back on the Main Line – non stop to Scotland”.

She kept her word. Nowadays, Bob is still Big and Noisy but he is happy. As he puffs along, he whistles “Look at me. Look at me – I am a Mainline Engine.”. The passengers all smile and say… “He should never have been on a Branch Line in the first place.”.
– – – – – – – –
We are still on that journey. Our trains have a celestial guard. Not to close the doors, but to open them for anyone who wants to climb on. Over the years we have had some wonderful engines up front, including these three….

Bob the Big Noisy Engine: The Duke of Gloucester.

The Duke of Gloucester.

Bob the Big Noisy Engine: Lord Nelson.

Lord Nelson.

Bob the Big Noisy Engine

Sir Nigel Gresley.

Enabling Diddley to boast to the world:

“I’ve been “pulled” by a Duke, a Lord and a Knight of the Realm!”

Lighting a Virtual Candle for Diddley.

And for my dearly departed brother Tony, on the Watercress Line at Ropley, who has this memorial bench at the station…

Bob the Big Noisy Engine: Lighting a Candle for Diddley - Inscription “Still Watching Trains”

Inscription “Still Watching Trains”

– – – – – – –


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  1. Avatar Felicity Drewett says:

    I love this story. Those of us in the know appreciate it all the more. Steam trains beat smelly old buses any day!!

  2. Avatar Bernard Bruty says:

    Great story. I remember the card from your Christmas postings.

    • Avatar Bertie says:

      Laughing is far better than angry words. I know. You know. Without the grey knackered old bus there would have been no Slim controller and Bob the Big Noisy Engine

  3. Avatar Jennie says:

    Bertie!!! We followed Bob’s advice and visited Holy Trinity Church in York…and it was perfect. Jeremy (mum’s travelling stuffed dog) thought it was the best he’d ever seen. I especially loved the old pew boxes leaning inwards and outwards and downwards.

    • Avatar Bertie says:

      Brilliant. Did he enjoy the railway museum? Where are you off to next? Bertie

      • Avatar Jennie says:

        He absolutely loved it!! We are in the Lake District now – stunned by how beautiful it is!!

        • Avatar Bob says:

          I hope you get some nice weather there. But even in the rain it’s stunning. A boat on Ullswater is good.

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