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Winter: Snow Trouble

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Winter had arrived on the Island of Sodor, and the snow was deeper than usual. It covered fields and railway lines. Donald, Douglas and Molly were kept busy with the snowploughs.
One day, Molly was puffing to Henry's tunnel, when she saw Edward stuck in a snow bank.
"I'm stuck," moaned Edward, "can you please help me?"
Molly was hesitant, but agreed to pull him out of the snow. Edward said "Thank you," and puffed away to the sheds.

Molly arrived at Henry's tunnel, but the snow was too deep, and Molly was stuck. This made her very cross.
"Snow is nothing but trouble!" she grumbled, "why did I have to be sent to help here?" Percy the small engine was close by. "Driver says this winter is as bad as the worst winter of all!" "How worse?" asked Molly.
"I'll tell you," said Percy, and he told Molly about what happened last year on Thomas' branchline.

Thomas and Emily were delivering coal to the mines. When snow came, it was difficult to work! They used the snow as a double buffer zone, to help stop trucks skidding through the ravine.
One day, Thomas and Emily set off to the mines with some empty trucks. There was trouble in the mine, the winch that holds the trucks up and down was not working properly.
Thomas and Emily reached the ravine. High above them were the mine yards.
"That snow is dangerous," said Thomas, worried.
"The sound of us could cause an avalanche!" Emily worried.

Thomas' driver set off an emergency cap, to see what would happen. The two engines watched him prepare it. Then they ran over the cap.
BANG!
The bang echoed around the gorge! But nothing happened.
"Good!" said Thomas' driver, "all's well! We'll have a cup of cocoa and then make our way!"

But high above the two engines, all was not well! A long line of full trucks were about to be winched down the slope. They just started their journey when an empty truck derailed!
The winch groaned! "Break it! Snap it!" shouted the trucks, and they did!
"ON! ON! FASTER! FASTER!" they yelled.
"The snow bank and buffers will stop them!" said a workman.
But he was dead wrong!

The trucks plunged into the ravine!
CRASH!
Thomas, Emily, and their drivers and firemen heard the noise and looked up!
"AVALANCHE!" Thomas and Emily yelled.
CRASH!

When the snow blown clear, there was no sign of either Thomas or Emily. They were buried deep inside the high drift, blocking the line!
The crash was heard right from there to the branchline sheds. Stanley, Edwin and I heard the crash.
"What was that?" I cried.
"Sounds like an avalanche at the coal mines," remarked Stanley.
"It's Thomas and Emily!" cried Edwin, "They must be in trouble!"

"And then came the funny part!" remarked Percy.
"What's the funny part of an avalanche?" asked Molly.
"Well..." Percy continued his story.

The three of us arrived at the scene of the accident, with Rocky the crane, workmen, a salt van and Sir Topham Hatt.

None of us knew that the heat from Thomas and Emily's boilers had helped to make an igloo!
"It's a snowball!" said Edwin.
"It's a snow house!" said Stanley.
"It's a pair of engines!" I said.
I was right! With cups, pans and saucers of salt, the ice melted to reveal Thomas and Emily, and their drivers and fireman drinking cocoa, as if nothing had happened!

"The five of us went home and laughed about the incident," finished Percy.
"Lucky for them, but it just goes to show you can't trust troublesome trucks," said Molly.
"Or snow," added Percy. The workmen had just cleared the snow away from her, when James puffed by with his machine.
"Hey! Look out, there's snow about!" He stopped out the tunnel, and wheeshed loudly! Then it happened! "Oh no..."
"HELP!" cried James.
"If Thomas and Emily survived a snowfall, surely a conceited red engine like you can do the same!" Molly teased.
"Pah..." moaned James from within.

Later, the three engines were brought back to Tidmouth Sheds. Sir Topham Hatt was waiting for them.
"Percy and Molly, despite getting stuck twice, you two are Really Useful Engines," he said.
"Thank you, sir," said the two engines. Sir Topham Hatt turned to James.
"James, for wheeshing snow about, you are a very careless engine," he said sternly.

"Yes, sir. I'm sorry, sir," James said meekly.
"And I hope you'll be more careful with snow machines in the future!"
"Don't worry, sir," said Emily cheekily, "if Thomas and I can survive a snowfall, a cocky red engine like James can too!"
James said nothing. He just stood and scowled, but needless to say, he knew better than to do something so stupid again in the future.

THE END

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