(May 20th to 26th)

Format: Triple

Young Ottley jumped into the cab and turned off all the steam he could find, for there was a good deal escaping. Then he took the lantern and dived under the drive-wheels, where he lay face up, investigating among spurts of hot water.

“Doocid plucky,” said the subaltern. “I shouldn’t like to do that myself. What’s gone wrong?”

“Cylinder-head blown off, coupler-rod twisted, and several more things. She is very badly wrecked. Oah, yes, she is a tottal wreck,”


This is from “The Bold ‘Prentice” in Land and Sea Tales.

Young Ottley is an apprentice railway engineer. Travrlling north by night, as a passenger, through a flooded Bengal landscape, the locomotive of his train suffers a major breakdown, and the driver flees. But Ottley, with the aid of a guide, a vade mecum on engine repairs written by an old friend, strips down the engine and gets the train moving again.

…. Men—hot and angry—crawled among and between and under the thousand wheels; men took flying jumps through his cab, when he halted for a moment; men sat on his pilot as he went forward, and on his tender as he returned; and regiments of men ran along the tops of the box-cars beside him, screwing down brakes, waving their arms, and crying curious things.


This is from “.007” in The Day’s Work.

‘.007’ is a new locomootive, a ‘new boy’, his paint fresh and his nerves on edge. There has been a wreck, and here he has been taken out of the engine shed to the marshalling yard on a rescue mission out along the line in the dark.

The six-foot drivers were hammering their way to San Bernardino and the Mohave wastes, but this was no grade for speed. That would come later … The car cracked in the utter drought and glare, and they put crushed ice to Mrs. Cheyne’s neck, and toiled up the long, long grades, past Ash Fork, towards Flagstaff, where the forests and quarries are, under the dry, remote skies. The needle of the speed-indicator flicked and wagged to and fro; the cinders rattled on the roof, and a whirl of dust sucked after the whirling wheels,


This is from Captains Courageous.

The news has come that young Harvey Cheyne, thought to have been drowned months ago out on the Atlantic, had been picked up safely by a fishing schooner on the Grand Banks. Here his father. a railway magnate, is whirling across America from San Diego to Gloucester Massachussets, in an epic railway journey to meet him.