It was a blistering early winter November day on the Pennsville Scenic Railroad and Thanksgiving had just pasted and the railroad was back in action after the holiday was over. All the engines on the railroad were fighting the howling wind and the blowing snow, so far there was over 2 feet of snow already which wasn't a problem for the engines. But they did have to take care because the rails could become slippery thanks to the cold temperatures can cause the build up of ice. All of the engines on the railroad enjoyed the snow except one engine in particular.
This engine's name Dylan who is former Canadian National E-10-a Mogul who is, unfortunately, like Duncan from the Island of Sodor. Dylan is rude and bouncy and he doesn't like being told what to do by the other engines especially diesels locomotives and because of his rude personality Dylan usual finds himself getting into trouble and cause accidents. He even one time during his original career on the Canadian National Railroad dated 100 girls too which ended up causing trouble in the end, but he means well in the end. Trust me you don't want to know about the dates.
Dylan is also not a big fan snow and he would grumble about his problems to the other engines who just took no notice to him. He kinda likes to grumble at times, but he likes to keep himself busy. But today, Dylan was asking for trouble as he puffed into the yards in Cocker Town to collect a freight train bound for Pennsville. He was being rude and careless as usual as he arrived on the track where his freight train was waiting for him and bashed into the cars with a hard bump as the cars bumping into each other and made them very annoyed.
All the Freight Cars on Dylan's train: HEY!!! THAT HURT!!!!
Dylan: Quiet you cars I'm in charge now! So I don't want anything trouble from all of ya!
The freight cars were absolutely furious with Dylan. They didn't like to be told what to do, especially, by an engine including Dylan himself. Every wise engine on the PSR should be careful around freight cars and be on their guard when pulling them. But since Dylan bumped his freight cars hard they decided that they HAD pay him back for treating them roughly.
Just then Dylan heard a Hancock 3 chime steam whistle from behind him on his right side. A second later a former Milwaukee Road 4-6-4 F6a Class Hudson with the number 142 on his cab in white numbering with Pennsville Scenic Railroad in white lettering on his tender pulled up next to Dylan on track 2. The engine that pulled up next to him was named Ronald and he usual hauls express mail trains on the PSR along with few other engines on the railroad. He may not pull passenger trains all time like he did when he was on the Milwaukee Road during his original career, but he is very wise when it comes to passenger trains and freight trains. Ronald knew Dylan was asking for trouble when he saw the looks of the freight cars behind the CN Mogul and decided to ask Dylan to be careful on his run.
Ronald: Dylan I suggest you be careful with your freight cars while your on the mainline. They look pretty mad with you.
Unfortunately, for Ronald; Dylan wasn't going to listen to the Milwaukee Road Hudson one bit. He didn't like to be told what to do by other engines except for the head of the railroad. Ronald didn't know Dylan was already in a bad mood already and the F6a American Locomotive Company graduate is about to know how much of a bad mood he was right now.
Dylan: BAH! I know how to handle my freight trains! I don't need glorified Hudsons telling me what to do!
Then after his caboose was coupled onto the end of his train as his conductor and breakman climbed into the caboose and got the all clear from the dispatcher Dylan snorted away with his train leaving Ronald in the yard. Ronald just sighed in annoyance as he watched Dylan and his train disappear into the distance. The big F6a had a feeling that Dylan was going to get a unwanted surprise soon.
Ronald: I have a feeling that Dylan is gonna get it pretty soon!
And Ronald was right. Out on the mainline in the Dimsburg Mountains near the town of Dimsburg Dylan was swaying and bouncing as he puffed down the track with his short freight train. He was being very careless too as he raced down the line past the restricted speed posted for the line during the winter. Also the freight cars weren't happy with the bumpy ride from Cocker Town to Dumsburg which wasn't a pleasant ride for them. So after deciding that they just had enough of him the cars decided to put their plan of paying Dylan back for slamming into them at the yard. As they neared the top of the summit nearing the descending slope of the mountain Dylan's engineer said to the CN Mogul.
Dylan's Engineer: Time to slow down Dylan. We can't have you go down the mountain at a fast speed because the rails might be slippery.
Dylan was about to say something to his engineer as he began to slow him down, but he didn't know that was the signal for the freight cars. Dylan had played right into their couplers without noticing as the cars suddenly chanted together with delight.
All the Freight Cars: Hoorah! Hoorah!
(Commence Thomas & Friends Season 5 Busy Going Backwards runaway theme.)
Suddenly all the freight cars in Dylan's train pushed into his tender and he started to pick up speed. The cars started to laugh as they started to gain speed as they descended down the downward grade of the Dumsburg Montains. The only thing that Dylan said with a very nervous look on his face was just.
Dylan: Uh-Oh! Help!
And he was right. Soon Dylan and his train started to pick up speed more and before he knew it he flew down the downward slope of the mountain at a tremendous speed. The freight cars then chanted together with delight.
All the Freight Cars: On on! Faster faster!
Dylan flew down the tracks passing Nova's Peak and kept going as his engineer put on his air breaks, but they weren't effective enough because the rails were covered in ice. Dylan raced through towns and small cities scattered across the line as he ran out of control. But he was heading for more trouble pretty soon as the dispatcher in Pennsville heard about the runaway quickly changed the switch to a siding which was, unfortunately, occupied by Xavier who was have a short rest from pulling a passenger train. As Dylan raced into the siding he saw Xavier in front of him.
Dylan (with a horrified on his face): OH NO! XAVIER! LOOK OUT!
Xavier saw Dylan heading for him and gasped in surprise as the runaway Mogul and his train were heading straight for him.
The two engines closed their eyes as Dylan's train came off the track and smashed into poor Xavier tipping him over onto his left side while Dylan smashed through a fence and landed in a snow covered field. The freight cars' loads went everywhere as they went into the air and fell onto the remaining cars and the two derailed steam engines.
Luckily no one was hurt and both Dylan's and Xavier's crews had jumped clear before the crash, but tracks 2 and 3 were in a complete mess with Xavier and Dylan covered in sticky jelly. Some of the freight cars on Dylan's train weren't as luckily most of them were smashed to metal pieces, but the rest of Dylan's train survived and the cars laughed at the accident.
All the Freight Cars on Dylan's train: Hahahahah! Thats what you get for bumping us around Canadian boy!
Xavier (who was on his left side): Dylan were you being rough with the freight cars again?
Xavier: Oh boy. I hope you remember what happened the last time you caused trouble because I think you know who is coming here to talk to you.
Dylan gulped and knew he got himself into trouble again which means someone that all the engines knew on the railroad would be coming to see the damage and have a little talk with him. Xavier's crew and Dylan's firemen along with his conductor and breakman stayed with the two derailed engines to keep them company while they wait for help. Meanwhile Dylan's engineer soon went back for help at the tower that they pasted earlier and contacted Pennsville and Cocker Town for the Work Train.
About 30 minutes later help finally did arrived with the wreaking crews along with two wreaking cranes as they started clearing the two tracks of the broken parts from the destroyed freight cars while some of the men tried to get Xavier back the rails. Also Mr.Zungali the controller of the Pennsville Scenic Railroad came as well to see the damage. He was relieved that Xavier was ok, but he was very annoyed with Dylan while the wreaking crews were cleaning up the wreak and he had some very stern words for the CN 2-6-0. He may be American, but his role model was Sir Topham Hatt and you know what was going to happen next to Dylan. Mr.Zungali was able to get through the snow covered field where Dylan was and came in front o the CN Mogul who gulped in nervousness knowing he was in deep trouble.
Mr.Zungali: Dylan I am absolutely disappointed with you and your behavior! You should listened to Ronald about being careful on the line during the winter. You have caused confusion and delay! Do you have anything to say for yourself?!
Dylan looked down at the snow covered field in shame with a saddened look on his face. He felt horrible and should of listened to Ronald before he left the yards. All he said to Mr.Zungali was a meek reply as he let out a sad weesh of steam.
Dylan: I'm sorry sir.
Mr.Zungali: You better be. Because after your repaired you will be pulling freight trains on your branch line for the next month! I'm sure that will teach you to think before you act for now on.
Dylan sighed in shame as the wreaking crews were now ready for him as one of the cranes lifted him up into the air and placed on a flatcar and his tender soon followed. Then Pearl the N-1 Class Pere Marquette Berkshire took him and a battered Xavier to railroad's locomotive repair shops in Pennsville. The wrecking crews stayed behind to clear the 2 blocked tracks.
Now with that out of way Mr.Zungali needed a engine to fill in for Xavier and do his jobs along with Dylan's mainline freight duties. All his engines were too busy with their own jobs so they couldn't do the work. Zungali needed another engine to help with the problem and luckily he knew someone who can help. So he got out his cell phone put in a phone number and called someone after a few seconds later.
Mr.Zungali: Hello John. It's Zungali and it's been a while since we last talked. Can I ask you about something? It's very important.
-4 hours later-
Meanwhile on the CSX Railroad there was a steamer pulling Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited to Cleveland, Ohio which was not far away. This steamer was like Xavier and his three surviving brothers which were Louis who works on the Pennsville Scenic Railroad as well, Sonic who is the streamlined J3-a who pulled the Empire State Express who also works on the railroad too, and finally Conner who works on the Island of Sodor. The engine was a 4-6-4 J Class Hudson just like the streamlined J3 triplets and the surviving J1a except he was different. This Hudson was a class J1e one of the earlier models of the NYC's Hudson fleet just like Louis, but this one had an extended pilot truck wheel with larger flanges to keep him on the rails at higher speeds and a few other modifications, also he was just recently built from the ground up in the former NYC's West Albany shop complex that is owned by CSX. The engine's number is 5344 which was the last J1 class Hudson that the New York Central bought from Alco in the winter of 1931. This Hudson's name is Blair and he's part of CSX's new Steam Program and he pulls not only public excursions for the public, but pulls mainline freight trains and sometimes lead Amtrak passenger trains like the Lake Shore Limited.
After pulling into Cleveland's station Blair was soon uncoupled from the passenger train and headed for CSX's yard in Cleveland with his axillary water tender in tow. Normally you don't see steam locomotives operating in the winter, but on a few railroads like CSX and a few tourists railroads in the west operate in the winter. Blair loves this time of year especially, Christmas which was his favorite holiday in the whole world.
When Blair arrived at CSX's yard he headed for the newly built 14 stalled roundhouse based off a B&O one from the 1940s with a large turntable for bigger locomotives like northerns and berkshires and even articulated steam locomotives. When he got on the table the turntable operator pulled the switch and the table turned to stall 10 of the roundhouse. After the table came to a complete stop Blair's engineer slowly backed him into the roundhouse stall, and when he was fully inside he came to a complete stop.
After that Blair's crew climbed down from his cab started servicing him for his next assignment. His engineer oiled his side rods and his value gear with a traditional railroad oil can on his right side while his firemen was using a alimite gun on his left side. Blair was pleased with his passenger run on the Lake Shore Limited and was happy that he got the passengers to Cleveland on time despite the weather and with the very healthily relationship with Amtrak they were able to use him on the train all the way to Cleveland while the Amtrak diesels took the train to New York City.
Blair: Ah. Nothing like a little bit of rest after a long run!
Blair's Engineer: Well you made sure that the train reached Cleveland on time boy.
Blair's Firemen: Yeah! That is one of the best runs you had today! I'm sure your excited for the winter season and the excursions that are going to take place during that time.
Blair: Yeah! I can't wait for the winter season!
Blair's crew just chuckled with joy and were pleased that the black Hudson had fun pulling the train. After servicing all of his moving parts and checked for any hotboxes on his six trucked tender; Blair's crew went to grab a bite to eat for lunch since they had a very early breakfast in Chicago after they picked up the Lake Shore Limited at Union Station. Blair waited for his crew to return from their lunch break and wondered what would be his next assignment. But then the side door to the roundhouse opened and Blair wondered who was coming into the building.
Then Mr.Johnson the new president of CSX came into the roundhouse all bundled up in winter clothes just like Blair's crew. Blair was surprised to see the president of the railroad here in Cleveland and wondered why he came here. Mr.Johnson soon stopped next to Blair and the newly built Hudson knew he wanted to see him.
Mr.Johnson: Ah Blair it's a good thing I knew you be here. I need to talk to about something.
Blair: I'm not in trouble am I sir?
Mr.Johnson (shaking his head): No Blair your not in trouble. I'm here to tell you something else. Have you heard of Pennsville Scenic Railroad?
Blair thought for a moment and the name sounded familiar from somewhere. Then it clicked he heard of the Pennsville Scenic Railroad from Pence a former PRR K4 Pacific numbered 1361 who operates on Norfolk Southern on his old mainline he used to run on when the Pennsy operated steam in the 20th century and is one of Blair best friends and they sometimes pull excursions together. Blair smiled and said back to Johnson.
Blair: Yes sir! I heard it from Pence when we're pulling that excursion in the former PRR line out of Pittsburgh this fall! He said that the railroad connected with the Pennsy at Harrisburg and interchanged traffic with them. I think now NS does it now too with the railroad.
Mr.Johnson (smiling): That's correct Blair. NS has a connection to the railroad at a few points on their line. The reason why I brought this up is because Mr.Zungali who is in charge of the railroad is an old friend of mine from high school and he called me a few hours ago and asked me if I could send you to the his railroad for the winter season. Apparently, an engine of his named Dylan had a major accident with another engine called Xavier which I believe is one of your original brothers. Am I right?
Blair: Yes sir! I met him in Harrisburg on that NRHS Convention in Harrisburg with Pence this summer!
Mr.Johnson: Ok back to what I was saying since they had that accident both Dylan and Xavier are gonna be out of service while they're being repaired for the winter season. So Mr.Zungail called me to see if I can help with the problem and I told him that you didn't have any other excursions or freight trains to pull so I told him he can barrow you for the winter. Are you alright with that?
Blair: I am sir. But… who will look after my excursions duties and my freight duties for the winter? Including that early Christmas excursion in Maryland in a few days!?
Mr.Johnson knew Blair was right CSX had a big winter excursion season for the last few days of November and all of December including in January and February. In fact, the J1e Hudson was suppose to pull that early Christmas excursion on the old Baltimore and Ohio mainline from Baltimore, Maryland to Cumberland, Maryland and the trip was gonna go through Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Johnson just smiled back at him and gave him a reply.
Mr.Johnson: Don't worry Brian will take care of your work while your away. Besides the line that the excursion is running on was home territory for him I'm sure he'll be happy to back on home rails and you do too. Besides he's one of your most trusted best friends.
Blair smiled at this he knew he can trust Brain who was a surviving B&O P-7 Class Pacific numbered 5300 and nicknamed 'George' after the US's first president George Washington. Brian pulled many passenger trains during his original career on the B&O including the Capital Limited and heard two of his siblings survived from scrap one was named Sophie who runs on the PSR and other one Caitlin who works on the Island of Sodor with one of Blair's original streamlined J3-a cousins named Connor. It was good thing he had friends like Brian and Pence to help out in situations like this.
After being told by Mr.Johnson that he would be leaving immediately on a NS train bound for Pittsburgh and spend the night in Altoona at the Railroaders Museum which is Pence's home. Blair's crew soon came back with extra cloths and started him up and headed for the yards to pickup his axillary water tender that he was going to take with him. After being turned, serviced, topped off with a full tender of coal and water, and collected his axillary water tender which was also filled for the journey too Blair was ready to head for NS' Rockport yard in Cleveland. Soon with a weesh of steam he headed off for the NS freight train that was waiting for him.
A few minutes later when he got to the Norfolk Southern's Rockport yard two former Conrail SD80-MACs who were now in NS' black and white paint scheme were waiting for him with long mixed freight bound for New York over the Harrisburg Division. The leading diesel smiled as Blair pulled up next to him and his twin who was facing the other way.
Lead Diesel: Well right on time Kid! You ready to go?
Blair (Smiling): Ready to hit the high iron!
Lead Diesel: Good how about you couple up in front of us! Dan and I will get you to Altoona on time!
Blair: Thanks guys! I'll couple up right away!
Blair soon puffed forward and passed over the switch that went to the freight train. After the dispatcher in yardtower changed the switch to the train Blair backed gently up to the train and soon coupled up with the two NS diesels. After his crew got the all clear signal from the dispatcher the black NYC Hudson blew his whistle and started off with the two diesels and the freight behind him.
They reached Pittsburgh right on time as the train dropped off and pick more freight cars in the NS' yard in Pittsburgh. As the three engines were being refueled with diesel fuel for Matt and Dan while coal and water for Blair as they were prepared for the climb up the Allegheny Mountains. Also the weather was changing too as the sky began to darken with grey snow clouds and Matt was worried.
Dan: I don't like this. These conditions are ideal for a huge snow storm.
Blair: Yeah I think we better be careful when we reach Johnstown and our the climb up the mountains.
Matt: Well lets hope we don't get caught in that storm! I don't like snow!
After passing through Johnstown it was getting dark and it also started to snow again as the wind howled and snow blew into Blair, Dan, and Matt's faces as they kept going. The Allegheny mountains were truly treacherous even in winter and all three of engines had to go slow as they started up the western slope of the mountains. Blair's headlight shined through the snow as the tracks were almost covered. Then Dan called to his brother and Blair.
Dan: I can't see a thing in this storm! Where are we right now?!
Matt: We're on the western slope of the Allegheny Mountains Dan! Just hang in there we'll be in Altoona soon!
Dan: Better hope so! I don't want to get stuck in snow!
Blair: Me either, but we have to press on! Give it everything you got guys!
Soon both Dan and Matt roared their engines and pulled the train as Blair pulled the train as well with every once of steam he had as his firemen shoveled in as much coal as he could to make more steam. The eastward climb wasn't easy thanks to the heavy snow and wind which made it almost impossible to see as the trio soon passed through the towns of East Conemaugh, Parkhill, Mineral Point, South Fork, Summerhill, Wilmore, Portage, Cassandra, Lily, and finally the summit of the Alleghenies at the town of Cresson where two helper engines both NS SD40Es coupled up at the end of the train for the steep down decent to Altoona down the steeper eastern slope of the mountains.
The next day Blair's crew came to the Roundhouse from their hotel to continue their journey to Harrisburg. As Blair was being serviced Pence watched his best friend getting ready for his remaining run to Pennsylvania's capital city. Despite being two rival passenger locomotives from their original railroads the PRR and the NYC the two engines didn't care about the old rivalry between the Central and the Pennsy and just decided to be friends instead of rivals since Blair was much younger than Pence.
Soon Blair's fire came on as he was filled with more water for the trip to Cocker Town.
Blair was finally arrived at Harrisburg and the two NS diesels took him to the small interchange yard with the Pennsville Scenic Railroad.
Meanwhile at Cocker Town Jena was with Balto as they were talking about a trip to Cincinnati on the westbound Cincinnatian. The reason was that Jena was going with Rosey and her family to Cincinnati for a few days
As Sophie started to pick up speed on the mainline she saw a unfamiliar NYC Hudson puffing down the connection track to Norfolk Southern's Harrisburg line pulling a line of freight cars with a New York Central Baywindow Caboose at the end of the train. She heard the engine whistle at her trying to say hello, but Sophie didn't respond back
Blair was busy all morning as he took a short passenger train to Dumsburg and to Pennsville. All he did was pulling the short local passenger trains that Dylan usual did and Blair made sure that the passengers got a smooth ride by stopping gently into the stations and pulled out of them the same he came into them. Blair didn't mind the small amount of work he had right now he was just starting out on the railroad and knew he will get more work as the days go on.
Blair was shocked as Sophie left with the Cincinnatian and headed for Cincinnati. He couldn't understand why Sophie said that to him and he was just trying to be friendly and Sophie just snapped back at him. He wondered what did she meant by say that J1s weren't equal to her class.
For the rest of the day Blair worked hard all day with passenger trains and freight trains on the line, but he was still thinking about what Sophie said to him earlier. Later that that evening Mr.Zungali was getting ready to go home after all engines headed back for the roundhouse except one. He was just about to leave when he heard a voice from behind.
????(Blair): Um excuse Mr.Zungali? Can I talk to you for moment?
Mr.Zungali turned around and saw Blair with a concerned look his face. Mr.Zungali was surprised to see Blair here at this time and by the way he was looking something was on his mind. Then he asked the black engine.
Mr.Zungali: Yes Blair is something wrong?
Blair: Yes sir. It's about Sophie I met her earlier today and she snapped at me for no apparent reason and said my class isn't equal to her class, but my wheel arrangement was an evolved version of her wheel arrangement in order to have more have a stronger and faster passenger locomotive. But then why did she say that to me?
Mr.Zungali: I think I know why.
Blair looked at the controller of the PSR with shock. He knew why Sophie was upset with him when they met this morning. Mr.Zungali let out a sigh and said.
Mr.Zungali: It happened when Sophie was still working for the Baltimore & Ohio in Cincinnati just after the New York Central got more Hudsons for their fleet. She got into a nasty argument with two New York Central J1-a Hudsons which are your original fallen brothers and sisters. One of them said a nasty comment about the B&O and their President class pacifics and Sophie's anger completely snapped and she deliberately bumped into one of the J1-As and injured the engine's crew. After that the B&O had pay the NYC for the damages on the J1-a that Sophie bumped and the injured engine crew's medical bills. One of the J1-As that Sophie argued with tried to apologize to her, but she refused and left the roundhouse. Since then Sophie had a very large amount of hatred towards the New York Central's J1s, but some of the later J1s the 'Bs', 'Cs', 'Ds', and finally the 'Es' which is what your part of Blair tried to become friends with her and ended with no luck. Although Sophie became friendly to the J3 Hudsons and made friends with them when they came onto the Central in the 30s she didn't want anything to do with anything with a J1s even after they were all scraped in the 50s.
Blair had a saddened look on his face as Mr.Zungali finished the story. He didn't know Sophie hated his class after one of his original brother and sisters said that nasty comment to her and she totally lost control of her rage and struck out on one of his fallen classmates.
Blair: Good night sir.
With that Mr.Zungali went home while Blair headed for the sheds in Cocker Town for a good night sleep. On the way back to Cocker Town Blair wondered if there was anyway to get Sophie to be his friend and show her that he wasn't like the ones that said that comment. He knew had to fix things, but he didn't know how to do it. However; that opportunity of healing old wounds was about to present itself two days later.
The next day the same strong snowstorm that Mr.Zungali told the engines about came and it was much more powerful than they believed. The storm raged from the Ohio River Valley to lower New York State and even to states like Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. The storm was causing all sorts of havoc including on transportation except for trains as airlines, roadways, interstates, and highways were snowed in causing dense traffic jams and cancellations for planes while passenger trains were a bit delayed, but were able to run on time. At Cincinnati Union Station Sophie waited for her passengers to board her train as Louis chuffed up beside her as the snow fell to the ground gently.
Louis: Be careful in West Virginia and Pennsylvania Sophie the storm is hitting those states the hardest. You might want to be careful.
But Sophie was still angry with Blair the other day and her anger was clouding her judgment. It was just a matter of time before she causes a mistake that will cause her to be put into danger along with her passengers. Then she snapped at Louis with a bit of rage.
Sophie: I know Louis! You don't have to remind me! I can handle myself in snow and besides I'm not like that J1e Hudson from the CSX! I'll show him who's better!
Before Louis could answer Sophie's conductor blew his whistle and announced all aboard as the last of the passengers got on board Sophie's train and with a toot of her whistle Sophie puffed out of the station with the eastbound Cincinnatian and headed for New York. As she chuffed into the distance with the snow falling Louis was very worried about Sophie and by the way she acting she could get into real danger if she wasn't careful. But what Louis didn't know his fears were about to come true.
(Commence Storm Theme from Season 4 of Thomas and Friends)
Sophie thundered through PSR's line through West Virginia and reached Pennsylvania and soon reached Kane the western terminus of the line. The storm was more powerful now and it now catorgized as a blizzard
Sophia was charging down the track past the restricted speed and she was still thinking about Blair and how he looked like the J1s that the NYC had they first came out. She didn't like them except for Xavier, and Sonic who were the later versions of the J1s and the final class of Js that the Central received including Louis who was a J1a who she was ok with and friends with as well. However, she so deep in thought she didn't watch where she was going. Suddenly her engineer and firemen saw a large snow drift up ahead that was 15 feet deep and was blocking the tracks.
Sophie's Engineer: SOPHIE LOOK OUT!
Sophie snapped back into reality and looked ahead to see the snow drift ahead as her engineer slammed on her air breaks, but it was no good because one of the air hoses had a leak in it and she couldn't stop. She shut her eyes tight as she smash head on into the snow drift with her train as the passengers were bounced around from the impact. When the snow plume cleared poor Sophie and train her were trapped in the drift and the impact had knocked out her engineer and firemen, but thankfully no one was injured. But there was worse to come the blizzard had knocked power all along the line except for Crocker Town and the eastern part of the mainline and the snow drift's height was increasing too. Without power or cell reception to call for help Sophie, her passengers, and the Cincinnatian were stranded.
(Commence Boulder Theme from Season 5 of Thomas and Friends)
Some brave passengers braved the cold to rescue Sophie's crew and get them inside the passenger cars so they can get warm and hopefully find a way to get help. The streamlined B&O P-7 Pacific felt horrible if she had listened to Louis about the blizzard and if she had never been angry with Blair yesterday and had also slowed down she would never have gotten stuck in the first place. Then a tear came down her face as she said to herself sadly.
Sophie: 'sniff' What have I done. 'sniff'
Sophie slowly started to cry as the blizzard roared on and because of the cold wind and the snow her fire was snuffed out since her firebox door was left open. She couldn't whistle or move as the height of the snowdrift got higher now Sophie and her passengers were on their own and hoped help will come soon. And that help was coming the next day.
At Cocker Town everyone was in their homes sleeping as the blizzard raged on. In the Roundhouse all the engines were fast to sleep except for Blair who was looking out the window in his stall door as the snow fell to the ground at a fast rate. He was worried about Sophie and wondered how she was doing, but with a yawn Blair went to sleep still thinking about the streamlined B&O Pacific.
The next morning all the engines were busy getting ready for the day it was still snowing, but with moderate snow coming from the sky. Mr.Zungali all told them to be careful today because the lines was covered in snow. Blair was waiting at the station for the eastbound Cincinnatian as he looked to the west with Harrisburg in the distance.
When Blair and the work-train arrived in Fort McClaine they saw some passengers waiting on the station platform. Seeing this Blair stopped in front of the station as his firemen asked one of the passengers what was going on which was an old man in his 60s.
Blair's Firemen: Excuse me sir. Are you and these passengers waiting for something?
Male passenger: Yes we're waiting for the Cincinnatian to arrive last night, but it hasn't arrived at all.
Blair's Engineer coming over to join in the conversation: Really? I thought Sophie and her train should of arrived earlier this morning because of the weather.
Male passenger: Yes I thought so too. We were told about the delay by the stationmaster here and I know Sophie and her crew personally because I use to be her engineer on the B&O when she took the original Cincinnatian between Baltimore to Cincinnati. It's not like her to be late with her train.
Blair: I hope she didn't get stuck in the snow during the blizzard yesterday.
Blair's Firemen: Don't worry Blair we'll go check in with the Stationmaster ourselves and see what is the delay. I'm sure that Sophie is alright.
Soon Blair dropped off the work-train in a passing siding where Pearl picked it up and headed for Pennsville. Blair on the other hand was turned on the y outside of town that connected the mainline with the Cradle branch and came back to the station and was parked out of the way in the station's siding as his crew went to talk to the stationmaster about Sophie and her train. Blair hoped Sophie was ok, but he didn't know that she was in trouble. Thirty minutes later Blair's crew returned from the station with some bad news.
Blair's Engineer: Blair you were right to be worried about Sophie because she's hasn't made any of her stops at all! In fact communications to the west of Crocker Town have been cut off by the blizzard meaning Sophie might be stranded in the snow somewhere along the line!
Blair(gasping): We better report this back to Mr.Zungali right away!
Suddenly Larry, Hunter, and Mr.Zungali heard Blair's whistle as he raced into the yards with a very concerned look on his face
(Commence Oliver's Escape Theme remix by YouTube user Tyler Hierbrand)
Larry and Hunter could only guess what might've happened to Sophie. She might have gotten snowed in by the blizzard and she could be in trouble. The two AC 4-8-8-2s knew they must act right away in order to save Sophie and her passengers because they helped rescue the Southern Pacific's City of San Francisco in 1952 when it became trapped in Donner Pass after one of the most heaviest snowstorms in the Sierras.
Blair knew they had to do something in order to save Sophie and her train. To top it all off they had to get through the deep snow to reach her in time and that was something that the passengers and her crew were running out of. They didn't know Balto and Boris along with Muck and Luck were hearing everything too in fact Jenna along with Rosie and her family were onboard Sophie's train after they were returning home from their family trip to Cincinnati.
Mr.Zungali: Quickly get the Rotaries and rescue crews! I'll call the fire department to help in the rescue as well!
Blair: I'm going with them Mr.Zungail!
????: Count us in too Mr.Zungali!
Everyone looked behind them to see Pence and Brian who had just arrived in the yard as well. Blair was surprised to see two of his best friends here as well and must of came to check on Sophie. But they couldn't believe that Brian's younger sister was trapped.
Blair: Guys! What are you doing here?!
Pence: I was sent here to help with the passenger runs here along with Brian.
Larry: Alright engines lets get the rescue crews and the snow fighting equipment out and ready to go! The passengers on Sophie's train are running out of time! Lets MOVE MOVE MOVE!
Then just like US army soldiers Blair, Pence, Brian, Ronald, and Rocko quickly sprang into action. Everyone worked fast as the five engines quickly collected passenger cars that were on the ready track as hordes of rescue crews from Harrisburg's Fire department and Cocker Town Fire department boarded the cars and NS had sent MOW crews to join the rescue operation as well. All five of them were quickly fitted with snowplows that usual were found on the Canadian Pacific's 2-10-4 Selkirks which will help them get through the snow. Rocko also was able to get a big hook to help pull Sophie out of the snow with flatcars carrying small bulldozers that were used to clear snow.
Larry and Hunter were able to collect 2 Rotary Snowplows that used to run on their old railroad as they were started up. The two rotaries were pleased to see their old friends again, but they knew there was engine and her train with passengers on board out there in the snow trapped.
Soon Balto and the bears went after the engine calvary Boris just groaned as he put a wing to his face. He knew Balto wasn't going to listen and he wasn't starting now because right now part of their family was in trouble.
Boris: Oi here we go again!
With that he waddled after the three as they head for the direction that the Cincinnatian was as well. You can say that Boris doesn't know what to do with them since he raised Balto and the bears by himself and he wonders himself how he survived this long.
Meanwhile poor Sophie was shivering as she remained in the same place she crashed in last night. Luckily Sophie's wheels weren't frozen including the wheels of her passengers cars. The train still had power and heat for now, but it will only last until tonight.
Blair: Umm Rocko who's Balto anyway? His name sounds familiar to me.
Rocko: Well since you don't know about him Blair I'll tell you about Balto.
Blair: Yeah I heard about that huge epidemic here in Pennsylvania in 2009 from one of the CSX diesels that went on the NS' Harrisburg line. I heard that a sled team had brought medicine for all the kids that were infected by the disease and heard the name of Balto was the lead dog of that team. The whole railroad was snowed in because of the winter storm right?
Rocko: Yeah! Boy we were all surprised that Balto came through for the kids just in time. Everyone thought we were going to loose the kids!
(Commence Oliver's Escape Theme remix by YouTube user Tyler Hierbrand once again!)
After an hour of digging thanks to the rescue crews Sophie and her train were almost out of the snow. All the passengers including Jenna and Balto along with Boris and the bear brothers watched Blair who was now turned around gently coupled up to her front coupler. All the engines watched what Blair was doing and knew he was going pull her out of the drift. Also Sophie's crew was able to relit her fire and was now making plenty of steam.
Blair: You ready Sophie?
Sophie: Ready when you are Blair!
Both Sophie's and Blair's engine crews nodded in agreement they were ready to go. Blair's engineer then pulled the leaver for his sand dome as pipes from the sand dome dropped sand on the tracks so it will give Blair some grip. The same thing went for Sophie as sand was put between her wheels as well so both engines will have enough grip to pull the train out of the snow. Then the two engines gave the train a great heave as their wheels slipped furiously and the train started to move slowly forward as well.
Blair(straining): Come on Sophie give it everything you got!
Sophie(straining as well): Ok! I'll give everything I've got!
Then the two engines soon pulled even harder and soon everyone watched with amazement as the train started moving more as the first car came free of the snow and the second car soon followed suit followed by the other ones. Finally the last car soon came free of the snow at last.
Blair: Well if you don't mind would you like me to double-heading this run?
Sophie smiled and knew Blair was much more different than the J1s she knew in the late 20s. He was very brave and willing to help others in need. Then she gave Blair a reply he couldn't believe to his request.
Sophie: Sure thing Blair! In fact how about you lead the train to New York.
Blair's boiler just tingled with excitement and felt like he could burst not only he made a new friend, but was asked to lead the Cincinnatian to New York City. You can say he never expected this surprise. Then the black locomotive then replied back to the streamlined B&O Pacific.
Blair: It will be my honor Sophie. Now shall we get these passengers to their destinations?
Sophie: Sure thing my fellow engine. Lead the way!
Blair smiled and gave a blast of his whistle and puffed off with Sophie and the Cincinnatian in tow as the crews stayed to clean up the snow drift so the trains can reach the west. Pence and Brian watched as their friend led the Cincinnatian around the bend and disappeared into the distance with the snow as a cloak.
Blair and Sophie soon reached the stations along the line at a fast rate and before long they were able to make up time on the line as they stopped at Cocker Town, Fort McClaine, Dunsburg, and many other stops along the line including Pennsville. When they reached part of the line that interchanges with the Twin River Route they raced down the line at track speed. By then the snow was now just light meaning they can make up for some lost time.
Sophie never knew Blair was fast and strong as they kept making up for lost time. The train soon arrived in New Jersey and changed to CSX rails on the B&O's mainline to Jersey City where the station which was the eastern terminal of the original Capital Limited.
When the train arrived at the Jersey City Union Station at the platform 1 people clapped in relief and joy to see Sophie and Blair pull into the station. Blair and Sophie just blushed bashfully as the passengers disembark from the train and boy it was a crazy day and Blair was able to save the day.
That night at the new CSX roundhouse in Atlantic City in B&O building style Blair and Sophie were resting in the stalls of the roundhouse as maintenance crews were cleaning her shrouding off from the snow with soap and hot water. Blair was also being cleaned too and the snowplow was taken off and his original plow which was brought all the way from Cocker Town was reinstalled. The two engines hadn't talked to each other since they arrived in Jersey City with the Cincinnatian. Soon the silence was broken by Sophie as she said to Blair.
Sophie: Blair… I'm so sorry for the way I treated you two days ago. I always thought the J1s from the New York Central were rude except for Louis after the argument I had with two of your original J1 brothers, but now that I think about it they were just being cocky and didn't know what were they saying and many other J1s were just trying to be friends with me.
Blair: Yes I understand. Mr.Zungali told me about your history with my original brothers and sisters. I wish you can let go of the past and move on.
Sophie: That's why I am now. I'm putting my grudge behind me and making a fresh start with you.
Blair smiled at Sophie as he looked at her and she was smiling too. The two were now friends and Sophie was grateful that she had a new friend like Blair. Blair now has a new friend too and he's proud to help Sophie put her grudge behind her and made a fresh start.
Soon the two started talking about their careers on their railroads as Blair told Sophie about his life on CSX and the trains he pulled and the friends he made when he first came to CSX as well. Sophie then talked about the old days when the Baltimore & Ohio was still around and the era when steam locomotives in America were kings and queens of the rails pulling the fast passenger train and the heavy freight trains. The two friends talked to each other all evening long until nighttime came and it was time to go to bed.
As Sophie went to sleep so she would be ready for the return trip home Blair was still awake thinking about the day's events. The black J1-e Hudson knew he was going to like working on the PSR for the rest of the month. But he didn't know that today's adventure was just one of many around the corner.