Hello all! Sorry for the semi-lateness of this Easter special, but I have been delayed. Yet as long as they are still selling half priced Easter eggs, this can stay mildly relevant :P Hope you all enjoy, and just a quick note that this is before Wellsworth Engines so there is no Cole here yet.
Chapter One: What it Boils Down to
Easter was always a time for celebration across the Island of Sodor. While it was not a big holiday like Christmas Day or New Year's, the railway still enjoyed finding different ways to celebrate it. Some branch lines took special trains, and many stations held Easter Egg competitions to draw the children down. Coloured eggs would hang in baskets all around the Island, and the engines enjoyed watching their passengers having fun, even though many of them envied not being able to taste chocolate.
Yet the biggest Easter celebration had to be on the Wellsworth Branch Line. Edward and BoCo each took a special train, the stations were all decorated and held find-the-egg challenges and egg decorating, and some years the China Clay Works would allow visitors to come down in a brake vans pulled by Bill and Ben.
And then there was the Vicarage Fete. It was a staple of the branch line and the local area, with many people gearing up for the event two months in advance. The Vicar would open his expansive orchard up for the whole island, and many people flocked to take part in the celebrations. There would be a petting zoo, stalls selling a variety of items, a brass band, raffles, dancers, jugglers, magicians and other street performers, and many portable games including trying to dunk the stationmasters into a large pool of water, bobbing for apples, knocking over skittles, lucky dips and dozens more attractions that would keep anyone entertained for hours.
But one of the main attractions always seemed to be Trevor. Ever since the current Vicar had been a young boy and his grandfather had been Vicar, Trevor had been taking children and adults alike around the orchard in his big blue cart. Some people came just to get a ride in the cart, and it was one of the biggest attractions the Fete could offer. Everyone in the local area loved Trevor and loved being part of his ride, and it was one of the highlights of many children's Easter's.
Unfortunately, things were going to change this year.
Trevor the Traction Engine sat resting in a corner of the orchard, watching as the Fete was being set up as he waited to be collected. Though it was still two days away, all the preparations were underway: wooden stalls were being built, the sounds of hammers echoing around the orchard, while a big tent that was going to host several events was being erected in the distance. The white flag on top of it was rising slowly above the trees, and Trevor smiled warmly at the sight, knowing that this years Fete would be one of the biggest yet.
It had been many years since Trevor had first arrived on the orchard, rescued from scrap by the grandfather of the current vicar, and he had been part of the Fete ever since. Trevor had lost count of how many events he had rolled through, though part of him thought it must be nearing fifty. The traction engine knew he was getting old, but nothing would stop him from taking part in the Fete.
Even after all of these years, Trevor still loved being around children. He loved how he was able to make them happy simply by taking them around for a five minute journey. It was one of the greatest joys imaginable, and Trevor always felt better when he saw a smiling face or heard the sounds of joy and laughter behind him, and the fact that even after all of these years people were still entertained by his cart rides made Trevor swell with pride.
"Things are starting to come together Trevor!" A voice yelled in the distance, and Trevor looked around towards the railway lines. Edward was racing along the tracks with his coaches rattling behind, whistling happily to his friend as he moved.
"I think this year is going to be one of the best yet!" Trevor called back, smiling widely back at his friend.
"It's a pity I might not be able to see it then," Edward replied, though kept his smile on. "See you later Trevor!" He said, and whistled again as he sped past, sending leaving rocks and dust in his path and a diminishing trail of smoke. Trevor was surprised by his last statement: why wouldn't Edward be able to come? The engines did bring most of the passengers, with a metal platform usually set up so Edward or BoCo could stop right outside the orchard. But as worry crossed Trevor's mind, he didn't notice two figures approaching him from behind until they were right alongside.
"Hello there Trevor," a kind voice said, and the traction engine looked back into the orchard. The Vicar, Peter Laxey, was a kind man, nearing middle age with his black hair becoming flecked with grey. He was tall, able to reach Trevor's face and talk to the traction engine normally. Trevor liked the Vicar, the third one that had served here during his time, grandson of his original owner, and they got along well. Sometimes Trevor felt like a burden in the ever growing orchard, only managing to do small jobs, but the Vicar never let it show.
"Hello Vicar," Trevor replied happily. "The Fete is coming along nicely, though Edward just came past. Why won't he be bringing passengers this Sunday?"
"Haven't you seen the road works Trevor?" His driver, Fred, boomed. Fred was one of the vicarage workers who had grown up with a traction engine, and always manned Trevor whenever he had to be driven somewhere. He was a burly man, thick from muscle with a head of messy brown hair, around the same height as the Vicar but completely opposite. "They are fixing the bridge down the road over the break and the railway cannot run in case of something happening."
"Oh, yes yes, of course," Trevor said with a nod, though he had no idea about it. He had not been sent outside the orchard for some time, and missed being able to go up and down the road, seeing old friends and familiar faces. He loved being in the orchard, but it was always nice to have a different view instead of the same old trees every now and then.
"Anyway," the Vicar said, a touch of sternness to his voice. "Now Trevor, I am sorry to say that I am bringing you bad news. As you are well aware, there are a number of repairs that you need that I am unable to afford at the moment. Your tyres are wearing out, you are in need of a new boiler and you are not steaming as well as you should be." Trevor nodded along to this, a sinking feeling growing with each word. He knew all about his various problems, feeling them every day he moved around, and looked forward to the day when he could get repaired. However, the traction engine couldn't see how this was anything new.
"Now, you know I will send you away as soon as the money comes in. I believe several stalls will be fundraising in your honour on Sunday," the Vicar added, smiling a little at this but remaining grim faced. "Unfortunately, while you can still be on display, I do not believe it is the right thing to tire you out even more than I already do, so you will not be taking your cart on Sunday."
"What?" Trevor gasped, forgetting all his manners as the news washed over him. "But I have always taken my cart, I have done it for years!"
"I am well aware of that Trevor," the Vicar replied gravely, "and it pains me to take this decision, but it is the only choice. I need you to collect supplies today and tomorrow and there won't be a Fete without it, so this has to be done."
"What about Elizabeth and Madge, aren't they helping out with supplies?" Trevor asked, clinging to whatever loose strands he could, hoping the Vicar would be able to change his mind, but Peter Laxey shook his head.
"They cannot collect everything, and if I spend more money hiring a third lorry, then your repairs will only be delayed," he finished. "I am sorry Trevor, but I have no other option. I hope you can still enjoy the Fete." And with that, the Vicar turned and walked away to see how the rest of the Fete was going.
"Sorry about this Trevor," Fred said, his rough voice sounding as sad as it could. "I know you were looking forward to taking the carts, but this means your repairs are going to happen a lot sooner than you expected, so that's always an upside." Trevor merely nodded, though nothing would be able to cheer him up. He had been looking forward to this Fete all year, and never minded all the extra work it brought him. He knew the repairs were necessary, and Trevor did look forward to feeling well again, but the idea of having to sacrifice taking the cart was too much to bear.
As Trevor rolled slowly out of the orchard, he looked towards the tent, its simple flag now fluttering high above the treetops, and thought about how for the first time in decades, he would not truly be a part of the fete, and it made him feel older and sadder than any malady could.