• Published 24th Sep 2018
  • 2,210 Views, 325 Comments

Railway Adventure - The Blue EM2

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The Grand Reopening

It was the day of the grand reopening. The stations had been decorated in balloons and streamers, the coaches and engines were immaculate, and everything was truly in a state of perfection. The girls had turned up extra early to ensure everything worked. The entire fleet would be in action today, but the first important act was getting everybody into position.

A different engine was positioned at each loop, prepared to whistle when the opening train came by. They would then switch sides for the return trip, whilst the engine at the Top Station would take the train down the line.

Apple Bloom was clearly nervous. A lot was riding on this day going to plan, and she didn’t want to be the one to mess it up. If they failed, it would mean the end of the dream, and being reduced to a laughing stock wasn’t the most appealing of prospects.

At 9 in the morning the proceedings began. A train of 8 coaches, a mixture of 4-and 8-wheel coaches, had been prepared specially, decorated beautifully and with shining paint. Each door bore the company logo; a unicorn holding a crown, with 3 plumes coming out of it, surrounded by two gold bands, within which were the words Everfree Forest Railway.

Spirit of Everfree was coupled onto the front of the train, whilst Spirit of the Forest was positioned to assist the train out of the station. All the passengers on the train wore attire appropriate to the 1880s, whilst a delegation from the Talyllyn Railway had been invited to oversee proceedings, accompanied by the sons of Tom Rolt, as well as a few of the founding volunteers.

The Brass Band played Cwm Rhonda, accompanying the Morriston Male Voice Choir. When they were finished, Richard Rolt stepped forward.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he said, beginning his speech, “I am honoured to be here today to partake in this momentous occasion. It feels like only yesterday since my father saved a small line in North Wales from oblivion, and in doing so started the entire preservation movement. But that was 63 years ago. The world has changed. You can speak instantly with one another at the touch of a button, no matter where you are. Media and news can be shared instantaneously. But even in this age of technology, it is remarkable how easily things can fall through the cracks. Such as this little railway. It lay forgotten, abandoned, lost, for nearly 70 years. Then this group of pioneering young volunteers,” he paused, indicating the Crusaders, “discovered it, and restored it to full working order. They looked where nobody else did, for, like my father and his friends, all the way back in 1951, they never gave up, and worked while it seemed pointless.”

He stopped briefly. “But they achieved the results seen here today. If only more were like them! They are the very image of determination, fighting on in the face of indeterminable odds. They raised our sister line from the darkness, and in doing so, saved a little piece of our history.”

“I am hereby honoured to present to them, the Tom Rolt award for perseverance.”

There was applause from the crowd. They went collectively to receive it, holding it up together for the cameras, which captured the smiles on their soot-covered faces.

Richard continued, once they had returned to their places. He had now moved to a large ribbon covering the line. “And now, it is my great pleasure, to officially declare the Everfree Forest Railway, open!” With that, he took a pair of scissors, and cut the ribbon in two.

The band started to play once more, a rousing tune. People cheered, the engines whistled, and much happiness was observed that moment.

Rolt turned back to the crowd. “I believe we have a train to catch,” he added.

Apple Bloom and Pip scrambled into Spirit of Everfree’s cab, whilst Button Mash and Sweetie Belle climbed into Spirit of the Forest. The lead engine was decorated with a large wreath over the smokebox, and bore a headboard that read Everfree Forest Railway Grand Reopening, 1880-2014.

Bloom grabbed the cab radio. “Ya ready to give us a push?” she asked.

“Sure are!” Button replied.

“Crusaders forever!” Sweetie Belle added.

Apple Bloom opened the regulator. With a whoosh, a roar, and a rattle, the huge train started to move forward, both engines making a colossal din as they did so, lighting up the sky with smoke and soot. Both engines whistled constantly as they pulled away from the station, towards the level crossing.

And guess who was manning that level crossing? That’s right, Snips and Snails, who had tried to sabotage proceedings not long earlier. As their punishment, they were to work on the railway and ensure all ran to plan-starting with seeing the engine they’d destroyed roll through on its journey. They scowled in defeat.

Spirit of the Forest stopped just outside the station to let the train leave the station, then returned to the opposite platform.

Spirit of Everfree powered onwards, the train surging along the line. It made a truly spectacular sound, and the passengers, which included the parents, grandparents, and siblings of those who had restored the line, looked out at the views which hadn’t been seen by passengers in nearly 70 years.

After passing into the forest, the train rolled over a 5-arch viaduct, before turning left, and then right again, through a narrow cutting, and another bridge over a waterfall. The train then ran up a steep climb, before coming to a stop at Everfree Junction. Gaia Everfree was waiting there, with Scootaloo and Rumble at the controls. They whistled also, before moving off to return to Ponyville station.

The train then waited a few minutes as the passengers looked around. They had opened a small museum in one of the old sheds, and they took the opportunity to visit. Apple Bloom looked over at Pip. “Did ya think we could do it?” she asked.

“It was hard at times, and seemed an impossible struggle,” Pip answered honestly. “But, ‘every cloud is silver lined, even when it rains’”.

“’So, don’t get too downhearted, for things are bound ta change.’”

“’All you gotta do is wear a smile and you will find your sun will shine.” Pip smiled. “I still remember all the song lyrics. I guess that show left a big impression on me.”

“Not just you!” Bloom laughed. “All of us! Sweetie Belle still watches it, as does Scootaloo! In fact, she credits bein’ able to speak to Thomas and his Friends!”

“She was a late starter,” Pip added, “and now she never stops!”

The guard (Cozy Glow) blew her whistle. “Let’s go!” Apple Bloom exclaimed, and looked backward to see if everyone was onboard. She opened the regulator, and away they went.

They then took on the big climb. It was 1 in 70 for six miles, and they coped well at first. But the weight of the train weighed heavily on the engine. It began to slip, and boiler pressure fell sharply.

“Get some more coal in the firebox!” Bloom ordered. Pip quickly dumped some in, and briefly all was well. But not for long. The wheels continued to spin, and Bloom increased the cutoff to try and raise power. But it was no use. Belching steam into the air, wheels skidding uncontrollably, the opening train ground to an embarrassing halt halfway between the two stations.

Apple Bloom got out, and looked back in disbelief. “She coped fine on the climb when we tested it!” she exclaimed.

“But there were no passengers then,” Pip pointed out. “The train is packed, which considerably increased the weight.”

Bloom facepalmed. “Why didn’t Ah think of that!” she groaned. “Ah’m such an idiot!”

She walked down the train, the passengers opening the doors to try and find out what was going on.

“Ah’m sorry, y’all. We’ve stalled on the hill and can’t get goin’. Y’all wouldn’t mind getting' out and pushin’?”

Behind them, there sounded a whistle. And up the line came Gaia Everfree, gently rolling onto the coaches and buffering up behind. Apple Bloom walked down the train to find out what had happened.

“Scootaloo! What are y’all doin’ here?”

Scootaloo poked her head out of the cab. “We were told by the signalman that you had stalled. In fairness, we could hear you down there, so it wasn’t too hard to figure out what had happened. Button and Sweetie Belle are at the station below us, so let’s get this train moving!”

“Ah can agree to that!” Bloom replied, and ran back up the train.

Once all the passengers were back onboard, Apple Bloom released the brakes, and opened the regulator once again. The engine dug into the rails, great jets of steam blasting from its funnel. The engine at the rear dug in as well, snorting like a horse as it too put work in.

And sure enough, the train began to move once again. The sight was absolutely incredible; a heavy train on the incline, and two engines blasting the trees with both volume and steam. The enclosed terrain amplified the sound remarkably, two engines doing what they were built to do on the steep climb to the lake.

And at long last, they reached the top. Stoat and Donald were waiting there, and blasted their horns and whistles as the train pulled into the station. The station was close to Camp Everfree, a popular vacation destination, though it would soon be in the papers for an entirely different reason.

The passengers got out and looked around, whilst Donald was coupled to the back of the train and Spirit of Everfree released. It was not long before the train returned down the line, and Spirit returned light engine to the shed.

It wasn’t long before the day came to an end. Stabling the engines at the works, the friends got out of the cabs and came together.

“Well, wasn’t that exciting!” Pip exclaimed.

“We not only restored an entire railway, but ran it as well!” Sweetie Belle cried.

“Not to mention emergency repairs at the last minute!” Button added.

“Excuse me?” said a voice. “Is the shed still open?”

The girls turned to face the source of the voice; an elderly man, with a white beard and hair.

“It sure is sir,” Apple Bloom replied. “An’ you are?”

“My name is Christopher Awdry,” he answered.

Their jaws fell open in an instant. “The Christopher Awdry?!” Scootaloo exclaimed.

“The one and the same,” Christopher Awdry smiled. “I would like to write a few stories about this railway. I have happy memories of working alongside my father on the Talyllyn, and have a written a few about the Corris Railway too. With your permission, I’ll write some about this one as well.”

“Ya sure can sir!” Bloom replied, with an intense sense of pride in her heart.

They had a celebration party at Sweet Apple Acres that night.

“Ya did it sugarcube,” Pear told her daughter. “You always were stubborn.”

Apple Mac looked over. “Bloom,” he said, “Ah’m sorry for doubting ya, and what Ah said over that dinner all those months ago.”

“Ah forgive ya,” Bloom replied.

Scootaloo chimed in. “Don’t forget us, or Cheeri-Mom!” she hastily corrected herself. “If it weren’t for her, this would never have happened.”

“Quite right,” Cheerile added. “But remind me, who designed the boiler, and who made it?”

Sweetie Belle chimed in next. “Button, we owe you a great deal. And thanks to Dark Steel for making the boiler!”

“No problem!” they both replied.

That night, Apple Bloom went to bed happy and contented. They had achieved something remarkable. True, there had been many bumps in the rails, and the road hadn’t always been clear and long, but none of that mattered. They were friends, and theirs had been...a Railway Adventure.

Author's Note:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py9Ye7uzuiI Listen to this first.
Well, we are almost at the end of this journey. First of all, I want to thank all those who have followed this story from the beginning. Your love and care has been the driving force for me to keep going.

This idea has sat at the back of my mind since Legend of Everfree came out in 2016, and was originally meant to be about the Main 7 (EqG). It was seeing the Canterlot Movie Club episode that convinced me to focus it on the CMC instead. It was when I went for a trip on the Talyllyn earlier this year and was stranded at Nant Gwernol. Whilst being walked back to Abergynolwyn, I saw the remains of an old engine shed, and it was then that the rest of the idea came into place.

Cozy Glow was a late addition to the cast. I chose to add her after seeing all the stories about her on this website with her main series personality and I thought to myself, 'why not do a story where she's nice?' Not only that, but I threw in references to School Raze and Marks for Effort as well. I think I may be the first person to write about Cozy's EG counterpart, although I am aware that a story of pony Cozy in our world already exists: https://www.fimfiction.net/story/419780/cozy-glows-punish-err-reformation

See you this afternoon, and thanks for all the love and support!