Gulliver wasn’t a steam engine. He was a petrol driven diesel engine. But today, because he was a visiting engine, he was going to double head with Otter. Teddy Mac sat behind Grandad as the whistle blew and the two engines set off pulling a train full of happy visitors behind them.


They were almost beside White Falls Halt when Grandad muttered. “M’mm, something isn’t right!” Teddy Mac looked up. Gulliver was moving very slowly in front of them. Every now and then steam puffed out of his radiator. Driver Paul turned around. “I’m so sorry,” he said, wiping his brow, “but Gulliver is playing up again.”  “Don’t worry,” said Grandad. “We can go as slowly as you like.” Teddy Mac watched as Grandad stoked up the fire in Otter’s firebox. He felt the power surge through Otter’s wheels as Otter worked hard to help Gulliver pull the carriages. But by the time they had clattered through the tunnel and up to the Mount, Gulliver was struggling to move at all. Even Otter was having trouble pushing him forwards as well as pulling the carriages behind.




Grandad picked up his radio. “I’m afraid I’m going to need some help.” he said. “Ah ah TISHOO” sneezed one of the children. And once one of them started to sneeze, the others began to sneeze too. “Ah ah TISHOO” “Ah ah TISHOO” all along the rows of passengers sitting in the carriages behind, people began to sneeze and blow their noses. Yellow pollen blew in clouds across the track. Grandad blinked as he looked back along the train. “That pollen gets everywhere!” he said to Driver Paul. Driver Paul took out his white hanky and blew his nose as another gust of wind scattered even more pollen over the train. Driver Kaz arrived with Jimmy the Diesel. “I’ll tow Gulliver back to the Engine Shed,” she said. “Thank you” said Driver Paul. “I call it Gulliver’s Mystery Illness.” he said. “Gulliver always has trouble in the summer months. I don’t know what causes it. I’ve practically re-built him!”


Driver Kaz set off, towing Gulliver away, while Grandad, Otter and Teddy Mac headed back to Much Natter Station with the passengers. While Grandad had a cup of tea, Teddy Mac thought that he’d trot back to the Workshop to see how Gulliver was getting on. Beside the door to the workshop, Humphrey suddenly appeared, sticking his head out of the nearest molehill. “Ah ah TISHOO” he sneezed. “Not you as well!” said Teddy Mac. “Did you know that there was something wrong with Gulliver?” he asked. “Humphrey, wiped his glasses with the back of his paw. “That’s odd,” he replied. “It can’t be anything to do with the track, because all the marbles are in the right place. Let me know when you find out what is is, won’t you?” he said before popping back down into the molehill. Inside the Workshop, John Mac and Driver Paul had taken Gulliver apart. Gulliver lay in pieces on the bench. “I would never have believed it!” said John Mac. “Neither would I!” replied Driver Paul. Teddy Mac crept inside and hid behind the kettle in the corner of the workshop. His eyes grew big and round.


  “Just take a look at that!” said John Mac. Teddy Mac peered around the kettle. He couldn’t imagine what they had found. Driver Paul had taken off his glasses and was peering deep into Gulliver’s radiator. “There!” shouted John Mac, triumphantly. “So it is!” replied Driver Paul. “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen so much brightly coloured pollen blocking up the inside of an Engine’s radiator! - It’s Hayfever for Engines!” Teddy Mac took off his cap and scratched his head. “Hayfever?” he repeated. Now who would have thought of that?” He tiptoed out of the workshop and popped down into the nearest molehill to tell Humphrey. “Well, I never!” said Humphrey. “It’s a good thing that they found out about it isn’t it?” Humphrey sneezed again. “It’s just as well that most of the Engines are powered by steam isn’t it? They are much more reliable!” Teddy Mac nodded his head and smiled happily, before heading back to Much Natter Station for his next train ride.

Margaret Edmonds © 2011



Click Paw to go Home