- “Please tell everyone, that whatever happens elsewhere, steam will still be at work here.”
- ―The Fat Controller to the Flying Scotsman's enthusiasts
Enterprising Engines is the twenty-third book of the Railway Series.
Do you remember the photographs you took of what happened to your train on the way to Waterloo in April 1967?
Your Mother, very kindly, gave me a set and they helped our artist to draw at least two of the pictures for "Super Rescue".
Anyway, "Super Rescue" is the story which your pictures told me. I hope you will enjoy it and the other three stories as well.
The engines wrongly attribute Gordon's surly mood to boiler sludge from a dodgy water tower on the Mainland and matters are made worse when Gordon finds only one of his brothers is left in existence. The Fat Controller feels sorry for Gordon and arranges for his brother, Flying Scotsman, to visit, but Henry is jealous of Flying Scotsman's two tenders and claims he deserves another. Duck offers Henry six tenders. Henry is delighted and accepts, but is made to look like a fool when it is revealed they are full of boiler sludge.
Two diesels, 7101 and 199, arrive. 7101 is friendly, but 199 is rude, saying diesels are more reliable than steam engines. The next day, Henry is rolling home tender-first, his regulator jammed and meets 199 with a train of oil-tankers at a signalbox. 199, ironically, has failed and so does 7101 after his ejector leaks and he is unable to pull his passenger train. Henry, with some help from 7101, still able to move, bravely takes 199, the oil-tankers and the passengers to the next station. "Flying Scotsman", to the delight of the passengers, takes the passenger train, while Donald takes the goods. 199 is sent away in disgrace and Henry helps 7101 to the shed.
Douglas has taken the "Midnight Goods" to the Other Railway and is preparing to return when a stranded steam engine, Oliver, asks for help. Douglas buffers up and the two crews scribble "Scrap" over Oliver. However, a diesel shouts out a warning and the foreman stops them. They manage to coax their way past and eventually reach the Works. A friendly watchman shows them where to hide Oliver, his coach Isabel and his brake van Toad.
Douglas arrives in time to see Flying Scotsman off and tells the others his news. The Fat Controller overhears and enquires about the fuss. Duck tells him they need another steam engine, but the Fat Controller gravely tells them they are rare to find. Douglas is about to interrupt when the Fat Controller reveals Oliver is being mended.
In the end, 7101 stays and is renamed "Bear" after the growling noises he sometimes makes, Oliver, Isabel and Toad are repainted, three new coaches are rescued from scrapping and given to Oliver and Duck and the Fat Controller re-opens the Little Western and asks Duck and Oliver to run it.
- Donald and Douglas
- Flying Scotsman
- The Fat Controller
- Toad (does not speak)
- Isabel and Dulcie (do not speak)
- Alice and Mirabel (do not speak)
- British Railways Diesels (four; three do not speak, one not seen)
- Gordon's Brothers (mentioned)
- Flying Scotsman's Controller (mentioned; not named)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- British Railways (mentioned)
- Kellsthorpe Road
- Crovan's Gate
- The Railway Works
- 1968, the year the book was first published, was the year steam was finally withdrawn on British Railways. This was mentioned in "Tenders for Henry".
- "Enterprising Engines" was the first Railway Series book published directly by Kaye & Ward. Previous books had been published under its imprint, Edmund Ward.
- In the second illustration of "Super Rescue", there is a British Petroleum logo on one of 199's tankers.
- "Super Rescue" is based on a real event which happened at Waterloo in April 1967, as acknowledged by Awdry in the introduction, where he states that photographs depicting the incident sent by the mother of a boy named Richard were used as inspiration for at least two of the story's illustrations. As a result, this, and The Little Old Engine, are the only books that admit that the stories and characters of The Railway Series are fictional.
- The Reverend acknowledged the help given by Flying Scotsman's owner, Mr. A. E. Pegler and his assistant, Mr. E. Hoyle, in the preparation of this book.
- In the illustrations of "Escape", Oliver has British Railways' 'cycling lion' logo on his side tanks.
- The fifth illustration of "Little Western" was derived from two photos that featured on page 461 in the November 1967 issue of 'Railway Magazine'.
- This marks Bear's only speaking role in the Railway Series.
- In the final illustration of "Tenders for Henry", a number 9 is just visible on the first old tender that Henry is pulling.
- The events of this book took place in the latter half of 1967.
- In the last illustration of "Tenders for Henry", Donald and Douglas have Fowler tenders and in the same illustration, Henry is missing his number.
- Bear's face is smaller in "Little Western" than it is in "Super Rescue".
- In "Super Rescue":
- In the fifth illustration, Henry's wheels are grey instead of green.
- In the eighth illustration, Bear's buffer beam is black instead of red.
- Despite having a failed regulator, Henry somehow manages to pull D199 forward.
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