STEY: Locomotives and Legends - Cover and ForewordSTEY: Locomotives and Legends - Cover and Foreword by wildnorwester
Some of you may be familiar with the urban legend of the 'Strategic Steam Reserve', a fleet of steam engines secretly hidden away in England during the Cold War.
I'm afraid to say, the SSR is only an urban legend. But as with all legends, it grew from a seed of truth. In this case, that seed was events which occurred on Sodor long ago, but were only discovered in 1996.
As you can imagine, this discovery caused a bit of a stir and raised a few questions, for both the engines and the Fat Controller. Fortunately, they were able to find answers.
STEY: Locomotives and Legends Part 1STEY: Locomotives and Legends Part 1 by wildnorwester
Hints of a Legend
One afternoon, in the summer of 1996, a perplexed Henry arrived in the Tidmouth yard.
"What's up, Henry?" Thomas asked, from his shed a couple of tracks over.
"There was some sort of news crew filming the tunnel where I was bricked up in 1923. Why would they be interested in that?"
"I saw them at Elsbridge yesterday. They're from a TV show, Conspiracy Factor, that looks at urban legends and conspiracy theories. Driver watches it."
"I see," Henry replied, "but what are they doing on Sodor? I don't recall hearing about any urban legends here."
"They were talking about something called the Strategic Steam Reserve. Does that mean anything to you?"
"Yes," replied another voice. Both engines looked over at Oliver, who was waiting with Isabel and Dulcie at the station platform.
"A couple of years before I ran away from scrap, rumors started going around of steam engines being hidden away by the army, for some reason," Olive
STEY: Locomotives and Legends Part 2STEY: Locomotives and Legends Part 2 by wildnorwester
Smoke & Dagger
Along the tunnel, lights mounted on the roof flicked into life, revealing a rusty, grimy Stanier 8F steam locomotive at the far end. Engine and humans stared at each other, all three surprised by what they saw.
"Who are you?" asked the engine.
"I'm Emily Hatt, and this is my brother, Charlie."
The engine looked closely at the two of them.
"You're not what I was expecting," he commented. Emily frowned.
"What were you expecting?"
The engine's face fell.
"To be honest, I'm not quite sure. But I must ask, what is the date?"
"June eighth, 1996."
The engine frowned.
"Then I can't tell you anything, not just yet. Come back on the sixteenth. I'll be free to tell you everything then."
"Can you at least tell us your name?"
Emily looked closely at Peter.
"Are you sure you can't tell us any more?"
"Not until then. I'm bound by the Official Secrets Act."
Emily and Charlie exchanged a look.
"Very well, we'll be
STEY: Locomotives and Legends Part 3STEY: Locomotives and Legends Part 3 by wildnorwester
Peter the heavy goods engine pulled up next to platform 5 at Knapford Station, stopping gently next to where the railway's directors were waiting. His restoration had been completed yesterday and he'd had an uneventful run down from Crovans' Gate. The Fat Controller climbed down from Peter's cab, and turned to the directors.
"Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Peter, the latest addition to our goods fleet."
The directors looked closely at the large engine. With his eight medium-sized driving wheels and two small lead ones, he had clearly been built for hauling long, heavy trains. His crisp black paint was spotless, and the number 15 adorned his tender. Most of the directors nodded approvingly, but from the back of the crowd, a slightly disappointed voice spoke up.
"I was under the impression you were going to obtain a new diesel, Mr Hatt?"
The Fat Controller turned, recognising that voice.
"I intended to obtain an experienced en
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