August 15th, 2012
One cloudy morning, the engines are at Merecombe, where Mr. Dark is giving a monotonous speech regarding the railway's finances. Most of the engines are distracted, or asleep, whilst he drones on. However, they become alert again when he mentions that Merecombe Football Club will be playing against Tottenham Hotspur in London the following day, and that a football special will be required to take the team to their away match.
Eustace, being a massive fan of Tottenham Hotspur, begs to take the train, whilst Colin wishes to take the train. It turns out that they (along with Eddie) are all busy the following day, and that Mr. Dark will not entrust Raymond with it due to his traction motors, and Brian will be busy at Walschurch, leaving 257 Squadron the only engine avaliable to take the special.
Eustace, Eddie and Colin get into an argument, where Eddie claims that Eustace is only a "fairweather fan", after the pacific claims he is the biggest football fan on the railway. Once Mr. Dark has left, the engines begin arguing again, with Eustace snapping at 257, then going to sleep. The others discuss the train with 257 before settling down for the night, with 257 hoping that the weather will be nice the next day.
Unfortunately for him, a storm blows over the line, along with copious amounts of rain. When he arrives at Merecombe, 257 begins thinking about the weight of the train, and feels guilty because his friends and brother really wanted to pull this train. He pulls himself together when he remembers that Mr. Dark is relying on him.
Soon, it is time to go. 257 slips excessively whilst trying to start the train. His sanding gear has failed, but his driver doesn't realise this, and tries to sand the rails. This doesn't work, and 257's wheels continue to spin and not grip the rails. His driver, loosing patience, causes a fierce wheelslip, which in turn causes 257's valve gear to shatter, littering the rails with oil and chains. 257 is failed on the spot, and taken off the train.
Eustace is asked to take the train instead, and manages to pull away from Merecombe with no problems. However, fate is not on his side, as, whilst passing Axley, his regulator jams open, causing his crew to declare him a failure when he gets to Galen Junction. By this point, the football fans and team are getting annoyed with the constant engine failures.
Eustace is carefully rolled to the sheds, where Colin and Eddie are resting. Eustace decides that Colin and Eddie should take the train, rather than calling for another engine from elsewhere, as time is getting on. Eustace makes the pair promise to tell him the results of the game, as they leave with the train. Eustace is happy for them, but suddenly realises that they have stolen his glory for that day, thus becoming angry again!
Later that evening, Colin and Eddie return to the line, discussing their exhausting game. Eustace stops them, wanting to know the score. Eddie reveals that Tottenham flattened Merecombe by five nil. Suprisingly, Eustace is thrilled, despite his home team losing, as he is, as he reminds the others, a massive Hotspur fan. Eustace tells the others that 257 is now at the works being repaired, and his own regulator is now working again. Eddie upsets Eustace by telling him that the Hotspur players signed his logbook!
- Sir Eustace Missenden
- 257 Squadron
- Mr. Dark
- Theo and Otto (cameo)
- This is the first episode in the series where Dave is neither seen nor mentioned at all.
- This is the episode in which we learn that Merecombe has it's own football club, Merecombe F.C..
- It is this episode where we find out that Eustace is a football fan.
- Eustace's line "F**k Yes Tor!" is a reference to fellow Bulleid Pacific No. 34026, which was originally due to become a character in the series.
- This episode was originally due to be the introduction episode of Cammer and Turbo, but for unknown reasons, this was changed.
- The football special was composed of Maunsell coaches when it left the railway, but when it returned, it was composed of BR Mk1's. This may be because the coaching set was changed in London prior to the service returning to Merecombe.