This little epilogue is simply because I thought of a name for the new bridge and a little backstory to it, but it didn't fit in with the previous story so I decided to make a little extra to officially name the bridge.
Two weeks later
Though the construction of the bridge had finished, and the engines got a week's break from carting supplies around to it, their mild relief didn't last long. It was the middle of the day, and once more Duck had a train fill of supplies rattling behind him. However, this was heavier and longer than most from the past few weeks, and he was struggling as he was switched towards Arlesburgh Bridge. The Fat Controller was having bulk supplies taken to the site that was one end of the new northern railway, so that the workers could start working quickly and that tsqhe engines wouldn't be needed as much. Duck was glad the project was underway and that there was meant to be less stress, but he was fairly tired as he left solid ground and began to cross the bridge.
Despite all his complaints and worries about the development, Duck actually quite enjoyed sailing across the bridge. While there was a viaduct on the Main Line and bridges on Thomas' branch, there had never been one that Duck could go on until now. He enjoyed the way the large beams enclosed him, yet he could still see the river racing below him, the water a mixture of colours but still beautiful. It was such a beautiful addition to the railway, and Duck couldn't help but enjoy being here…
"DUCK!" Duck shouted suddenly. His crew glanced out of his cab, wondering what he was on about, but saw something up ahead: it was small and its brown body did look like a duck, but whatever it was, getting hit by an engine wasn't part of its day.
"Damn," Duck's driver cursed, and he quickly applied the brakes. Duck shut his eyes as he screeched to a halt, the weight of the trucks pushing them forwards. He didn't come to a stop for another five metres, and even then Duck didn't open his eyes until his crew were by his side, squeezing in between him and the supports. Duck looked down and gasped: there wasn't anything in front of him.
"We killed it!" He gasped, and stared down at the spot in shock, terrified at the idea of having killed a small animal. However, just as Duck began to beat himself up, there was a sound that echoed beneath him: a soft little quack. His crew got down in front of him and stared between the wheels.
"I can see it!" The fireman exclaimed, and Duck sighed with relief. "The thing hasn't moved, so it must be either injured or just a really deep sleeper. A radio was buzzing in the cab, and both crew members rushed back inside.
"Don't worry Artie," the driver said into a radio to the guard on the other end, "we just saw a duck and had to stop. We're going to try and remove it." As the driver and the guard exchanged more words, the fireman rushed back around to the front of Duck with the shovel he used to put coal in Duck's firebox.
"You aren't going to squash it, are you?" Duck asked in shock, but the fireman laughed.
"No no," he chortled, "my arms are just too short to get in there, so I am going to try and scoop our friend up with this." Duck watched as his fireman got down on his knees and slid slightly underneath the tank engine, spade at the ready. There were a few more quacks and curses from the fireman, but by the time the driver had come back around, the fireman was shuffling out holding the spade.
"A bit of help here mate," he gasped, and the driver reached out and grabbed the middle of the spade to stop it tilting. Duck beamed widely as his fireman stood up straight, a small duck curled up in the spade. It was quacking loudly, but was shaking with fear and its small green head was staring around frightfully.
"We better drop off these loads and then get this duck to a vet: it does not look well," the driver said gravely. Duck was shocked by this, but as his crew raced back to the cab, he became focused and determined: he needed to move quickly in order to get the duck to the vet before it was too late.
Late next day, Duck was late in arriving back to Arlesburgh West with Alice and Mirabel from dropping off a train of enthusiasts who had come to see the new bridge. He was tired after another long hot day and was ready to sleep, but was surprised to see the stationmaster standing expectedly on the station alongside a man in a long white coat.
"What's going on?" Duck asked nervously as he came to a halt, but the stationmaster simply smiled.
"There is no need to get worried: this is Doctor Dent, the local veterinarian," he explained, and Duck gasped with excitement as the man stepped forwards, smiling warmly.
"I have checked over the duck your crew brought in yesterday," Doctor Dent explained, "and I believe it got caught in the sleepers of the rail. It was only dislodged by your fireman push his shovel forwards and picking it up."
"It's alright though?" Duck said, and the doctor nodded. Duck's crew cheered, and they even set off his whistle in celebration.
"However, I was concerned as to how our friend got there in the first place," Doctor Dent continued. "I found a green tag on around its leg and contacted the Sodor Environmental Board. They tagged the ducks along the River Arle before the bridge's construction to make sure none were injured during the build and to find some of them a new home. Your duck got a bit lost and wandered back towards its old home, only to find a nice new cantilever bridge in its place. It must have made its way onto the rails to investigate and got stuck."
"That's amazing that it didn't manage to get hit during that time," Duck's fireman said.
"The good news is the duck is back in its old home, and it even has a new name: Montague!" Doctor Dent said, and Duck blushed as the others all began to laugh.
"That's not the only new name," the stationmaster said, and he unfurled a white banner that had been kept behind him. "We have been discussing giving the bridge an official title, rather than just 'The Arlesburgh Bridge', and this event has given us a perfect name!" Duck stared at the banner and joined in with the laughter of the men around him: the name was very fitting, and it was the perfect name for a bridge on his branch line.
The Duck Bridge.
I hope you enjoyed this Railway Series book and this look into my take of the Little Western, and look out for more RWS books over the next few months.