Final Part: Epilogue
Work at Crewe continued as usual after that; we didn't have any more visitors from the Island of Sodor, but Sir Topham Hatt did send us a letter of his appreciation about Henry. We often had people at the Works who'd visited the Island – some of them even worked there or had worked there in the past; and it was from these people that we gleaned bits of information about Henry and how things were going for him back at home.
It seemed that Sodor was a bit of a time capsule for steam engines; at Crewe we were beginning to notice as the years passed that more and more of the new diesel engines were coming into us until they began to outnumber the steam engines. It was a sad day for everyone in 1968 when the final steam hauled passenger service ran on British Railways; although it wouldn't be until the 1980's that steam would disappear forever, we could all see it coming.
Whenever we questioned anyone about Sodor though, the answer remained constant; that although Sir Topham Hatt had indeed brought in some diesel locomotives to help with the workload on the Island, there was absolutely no sign of steam diminishing completely over there.
My father began to lose interest in his work as dieselization came into operation; he had always been into the job for his love of steam, and his enthusiasm was disappearing rapidly as the years went on and less and less steam engines came to us for work.
Before those sad times, however, it was business as usual for us, and I often found myself thinking about Henry. I wondered if he'd even remember me now, it'd been several years since I'd last seen him. Life goes by so quickly; one minute you're seventeen with the world at your feet, then seemingly in an instant you're staring thirty in the face, even though you were sure it was going to be centuries before you were that 'old'.
I was almost twenty-seven by then, and though I looked back on the days when a living steam engine from the Island Of Sodor had stayed with us when I was nothing more than an odd-job girl with fondness, sometimes I felt as though maybe it hadn't even existed; it was like a distant dream rather than a reality. I waited eagerly to see if any of the other engines we would lend our services to would be alive like Henry; but none of them ever were.
In case you were interested, I would eventually see Henry again - albeit not for almost twenty years from the day he left – but that is irrelevant to this story, and now is not the time nor the place to tell about that; and I'm sure you don't want to hear a middle-aged woman (bit past middle aged by now) going on and on forever about times long past.
A/N: I hope again this wasn't too sucky – I don't know very much about life at Crewe and only a basic knowledge about the end of steam, so I hope I didn't make anybody mad with any inaccuracies I may have included! :) Thank you all for the lovely reviews.