They were almost back at Much Natter Station when Teddy Mac felt a BUMP! Hanging on tightly in the tender, he peered past Grandad. “Oops!” muttered Grandad as he pulled Otter’s full forward lever back into reverse. “OOH!” said Teddy Mac as he felt the tender skidding under him on the downhill track towards the workshop. But before he had time to think, Otter’s wheels began to grip the track again. Very slowly they began to turn backwards. “Phew!” said Grandad,. With a gigantic effort, Otter reversed the runaway train back on to the main track behind the points. 


Grandad climbed out of the cab. “This point lever feels very springy!” he said to himself. “but these points should be set for Much Natter Station,. not for the Workshop” and he changed them back again. No one, except for Teddy Mac, saw the Bunny Brothers hiding behind the bushes. After Otter pulled into Much Natter Station, Teddy Mac thought he’d take another look at the springy points. They lay flat as Teddy Mac stared down at them but as he looked between the rails, something gleamed. Pop! Up jumped a brown marble. It was nearly the same colour as the ballast on either side of the track Teddy Mac took a closer look. Pop! Pop! Pop! Just like breakfast cereal, the marbles jumped up and down until there were so many of them squeezing tightly between the rails, that they forced the points to change on their own.

Two pairs of ears appeared from behind a bush. “What are you doing?” asked Teddy Mac as the Bunny Brothers crept out. “You mustn’t put those marbles there. All the trains will end up in the workshop instead of at Much Natter Station!” The Bunny Brothers jumped up and down. They scrabbled about in the ballast nosing out all the brown marbles they could find, but making such a mess of it, that half of them fell back between the rails again, forcing the points to change backwards and forwards even faster. “Stop! Stop! Stop!” said Teddy Mac shaking his head. “You mustn’t do this. There will be a dreadful accident. But the Bunny Brothers weren’t listening. 

They ran off towards White Falls Halt. Teddy Mac looked around for a molehill. Popping down into the nearest one, he called out for Humphrey. Humphrey was riding along on a pump trolley in the tunnel. “Do you know what the Bunny Brothers are doing?” asked Teddy Mac. “I know what they SHOULD be doing,” grumbled Humphrey. “They SHOULD be leaving everything alone. Those aren’t brown marbles. Those are jumping beans! One of the visitors must have dropped them on a train ride and now they’re mixed up with the brown marbles from Wildway”.

“Oh!” said Teddy Mac, “Is that what’s making the points so springy?” Humphrey heaved a huge sigh. “I know what those Bunny Brothers are up to. They’ve been trying to collect all the jumping beans so that they can race them down the hill towards the Mine. The problem is that jumping beans are very difficult to pick up again afterwards!” “I can help!” said Teddy Mac. Humphrey nodded his head. “You go up to the Workshop points and I’ll go and check the others around the track.” he said. Popping out of the molehill, Teddy Mac could see Claudine approaching. Quickly he bent down and picked up as many of the brown jumping beans as he could stuff into his pockets. They didn’t want to stay there, but he kept tucking in the flap of his pocket to stop them escaping.

 Grandad was walking alongside the track when he saw Teddy Mac. Picking him up, he carried him back to Much Natter Station.. As he put him in the tender, he felt in Teddy Mac’s pocket.. “What on earth…” he began. Immediately, all the jumping beans began to pop about around the platform.. “On no!“ said Station Master Rod. Scrabbling on the platform, Station Master Rod and Grandad grabbed the last few beans just as Claudine steamed into the Station. “Whew!” said Teddy Mac. “Thank heavens for that!” and he settled down for his next trip around the track.


Margaret Edmonds © 2011



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