“Bless my buffers!”

A Late Start for Thomas is a magazine story.


Thomas is concerned as he looks at the station clock; he is wondering why his driver has not arrived for work. Just then, Bertie pulls up full of passengers and inquires as to why Thomas is looking so worried. Thomas blows a cloud of steam from his escape valve and tells Bertie that his driver has gone missing.

At half past eight precisely, the Fat Controller arrives. Much to Thomas' surprise, the Fat Controller is in a very good mood. The Fat Controller asks Thomas if he is all set for his first train and Thomas, confused by the situation, says that he is. At that moment, the driver arrives and Thomas frets; the driver is almost a whole hour late for work. To Thomas' surprise, the Fat Controller and his driver start to have a cheerful chat about the weather. Thomas frowns and the Fat Controller sees this and tells Thomas to cheer up; after all the tank engine has had an extra long rest. Thomas insists that he was ready at the usual time. The Fat Controller is pleased that Thomas is setting an example to the other engines.

A moment later, as Thomas departs from the station, he catches a post that reads: "All trains will run one hour later than normal until further notice". Annie and Clarabel chant that the timetable had changed and Thomas forgot. Thomas hushes them and tells them that it will be their little secret; if the other engines found out, Thomas would never hear the last of it.



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