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High Expectations
Season 5, Episode 14
Air date February 21st, 2016
Written by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Directed by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Episode guide
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Stanley's Branch Line
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Creepy Cutting

Plot

Despite the surprisingly good record of safety on the North Western Railway, there are still an amount of accidents that happen. This often occurs because of carelessness by the engine, fault of error by a human, natural causes like wind or ice, or it's completely by chance. But there is one engine that has never had an accident: Arthur. Technically, he did crash into a fruit train on his first day, but the engines and staff of the railway seemed to have forgotten that incident. Some engines even envy Arthur because of his spotless record, and wish they could have something similar.

One day, Arthur was shunting a few vans in the yard when the Fat Controller arrived. "Ah, Arthur! You rarely have accidents!" Arthur was surprised. "Uh... quite right, sir...?" "Well then, you're the perfect engine to take a very delicate load of glass to The Wharf. Colin will load it onto a boat." "I see, sir. Where shall I collect it?" "The glass will be loaded at Ballahoo, so it'll be there," the Fat Controller said, "I know you won't let me down." Arthur smiled weakly. "Yes sir. I won't sir." The Fat Controller tipped his hat to Arthur and walked away. Arthur sighed, a bit upset. Bill and Ben puffed alongside with a load of China clay that was to be sorted. "What's wrong, Arthur?" asked Bill, slightly confused; Arthur was usually a very upbeat engine. Arthur sighed. "Oh, it's just... The staff seem to give me jobs just because of my spotless record and for no other reason. It just puts a lot of pressure on me." Ben smirked to his twin. "Oh poor you," the tank engine twin needled, "Don't have an accident!" "Or you'll no longer be special!" Bill grinned. The twins laughed as Arthur winced. Duck puffed alongside Arthur, whistling loudly. "Get lost, you two! You're just jealous because you have more accidents than Arthur does." "Do we?" asked Ben cheekily, "Are you sure?" "There was that time with the pumpkins... The one with the buffers..." "You're not helping, Bill." "Just try not to be special!" said Bill as the twins puffed away. Arthur sighed as Duck looked over. "Oh, don't worry about them, Arthur. Bill and Ben are just jealous of you. They'll eat their words." "Probably," replied Arthur, "But it still feels upsetting that me not having accidents seems to be the only characteristic engines know about me." Duck scoffed. "Oh come on, that can't be true." A horn honked, surprising Duck and Arthur. "Don't have another accident, special engine!" laughed Bulgy as he drove by. Arthur gulped. "You'll be fine, Arthur," said Duck confidently, "Just be confident and you won't have an accident." "Easy for you to say," replied the LMS tank engine, "Some accidents aren't engines' fault. Sometimes it's faulty points, signals, or-" "Yes but not every journey has an accident. Otherwise the railway inspectors would have us closed down," Duck laughed. Arthur smiled weakly but still felt weary as he left the yard for Ballahoo.

At Ballahoo Station, Billy was waiting for Arthur as he puffed alongside him. The LMS tank engine sighed in defeat as he was coupled up to the flatbed with the load of glass on it, tied down. Billy looked over at him. "What are you doing here, Arthur? Collecting the glass?" "As a matter of a fact, I am..." Arthur replied. Billy gave a sly grin. "Good luck with glass, Arthur! It breaks easily, you know!" "I know that," sighed Arthur, "That's why I'm worried." Billy frowned. "What do you mean?" "I'm worried I'll have another accident, and then everyone will think I'm silly and the Fat Controller won't trust me anymore." "That's nonsense," retorted Billy, "A lot of engines think I'm silly, but I don't let that get to me." "Clearly..." Billy flinched, but didn't make any comments. "I just don't know what to do," Arthur continued, "Bill and Ben have already put me in low spirits, as did Bulgy, and you're not really helping." "Look, Arthur, I... am probably not the best engine to tell you advice. I... don't seem to be able to be patient enough to do so. Sorry." Arthur rolled his eyes. "I appreciate the effort, Billy, but I better get this glass to The Wharf before I'm scolded by the Fat Controller." "I see... Bye, and good luck," Billy said with a goofy grin. "Thanks," Arthur grunted and he puffed away. Billy blinked as he watched Arthur leave. "What an enlightening conversation," he said to nobody in particular.

As Arthur made his way to The Wharf, he couldn't help but worry that he would have another accident. He looked to the signal, than to the points, and behind him. "Nothing to cause an accident... Nothing there..." A train of goods raced past him, making him jump. "Oh... It wasn't on my track..." Arthur was quickly so distracted about everywhere else around him that he didn't look in front of him. "Arthur, watch out!" Arthur blinked and gasped as he noticed the level crossing up ahead, and that the gates were closed. "Cinders and ashes!" the LMS tank engine shouted as he braked. The shipment of glass shook as the force hit the flatbed. "Phew, that was a close call there," chuckled Algy, who was at the level crossing. Arthur groaned. "Oh dear... I hope the glass isn't broken..." "Glass?" Algy asked as Arthur's crew checked on the shipment. "I'm taking some glass to The Wharf... Which doesn't help my anxiety very much." "The shipment's just fine, Arthur," said his driver, "Come on, let's go." Algy's driver turned on his bus and he started to drive away. "Wait, anxiety?" Arthur sighed as the gates opened. "Come on Arthur, you can do it. You're almost at The Wharf..." "Who are you talking to?" asked his driver. Arthur blushed. "Um... Myself..." "Oh."

At The Wharf, some of the narrow gauge engines were working. Peter Sam shunted some trucks of flour into a siding. "Nice job there, Peter Sam," said Freddie, "At this rate we'll get The Wharf sorted in no time." Peter Sam grinned. "Not soon enough," snapped Duke, "Come along, scallywags. We still have more work to do! Especially you, Stuart!" "Peter Sam." "Whatever, Freddie!" At another part of The Wharf, Arthur was puffing in with his delivery of glass. "I did it... I made the delivery without incident! Yes!" Arthur beamed. "What's all the excitement about?" asked Colin the Crane as Arthur puffed next to him. "I made it here without an accident!" "Okay... Isn't that normal?" asked Colin as he started to unload Arthur's flatbed with the glass. "For me it's very special," replied Arthur as he was uncoupled, "Not having an accidents adds another journey to my spotless record." "What's that?" "It's when you're perfectly behaved." Colin smirked. "I see..." Arthur whistled and started to puff away. "I know. Bye Colin!" Colin then noticed Peter Sam's flour trucks and gasped. "Arthur, look out!" Arthur looked back and rose an eyebrow. "Huh?" Suddenly, without any warning, Arthur smashed into the narrow gauge flour trucks with a bang. Flour flew everywhere, but most of it sprinkled down on Arthur. Arthur was too shocked to say anything. "Impenitent scallywag," scowled Duke, "Now look what you did!" "Stop it, Granpuff," argued Peter Sam, "It was an accident." Paul scurried up with some stone and braked instantly when he saw the incident. "What in the blazes happened here?" "Arthur crashed into some flour," explained Mighty. "Now there's a huge mess," added Mac. Paul smirked. "Aren't you the engine with the spotless record? Not so spotless anymore, eh?" Arthur blushed and groaned. "I'll get you out of there... when I get the breakdown crane... Which is basically right now... Okay I'm going." Paul honked his horn and scurried to get the crane. Duke glared at Arthur. "The manager's going to be cross with you, you know," the old engine huffed. Arthur felt terrible about his accident, but he felt even worse when the manager finally arrived. "Arthur... I don't believe this. This flour was meant to be taken to Brendam Docks, but now it's..." "All over me," mumbled Freddie. "Yes, that." "I'm so, so sorry sir," said Arthur quietly, "I was-" "I don't know what you were doing, but it certainly wasn't paying attention," scolded the Wharf manager, "Head back to the Washdown, and then stay in the Fishing Village, where you belong." "Sir, isn't that a bit harsh?" asked Peter Sam. The Wharf manager was having none of it. "Peter Sam, you have work to do.""Y-yes, sir," Peter Sam gulped and he raced away. Paul looked at Duke. "Is he always like that?" "The Wharf manager knows how to keep engines in order," replied Duke. "Not very pleasant..." Paul muttered. Arthur felt like bursting into tears, but he didn't want to embarrass himself further. He whistled and started to reverse out of The Wharf. The big tank engine passed by Colin, who had seen everything. "Oh, Arthur..." Colin said sadly.

Later, at the Washdown, Arthur was still very upset. Workmen brushed the flour off of him, making him cough. "Oh, I really messed things up," he moaned, "The Fat Controller will surely hear about this... I haven't ever been in trouble before..." "What do you mean?" asked a feminine voice. Arthur looked over to find Rosie frowning at him. "Oh... Hi Rosie... I had an accident at The Wharf and the manager was very cross. I don't know what to do." "Every engine has an accident every now and then," Rosie consoled, "I mean, just yesterday I derailed while trying to shunt some trucks of bricks at The Construction Yard." "Maybe, but you're... erm... how do I put it... More expected to have accidents? I have a spotless record... If I even biff trucks too hard, I get the feeling people and engines expect better of me." "I don't mind," replied Rosie, "You're a great engine, accidents or none!" Arthur sighed as the workmen finished brushing off the flour. "Thanks, Rosie... I guess... I have to get back to the Fishing Village now..." He puffed away, leaving a worried Rosie behind. "If only there was something I could do to help..." Suddenly she got an idea. "I know who can help!" Rosie beamed as she scurried away.

A half hour later, at the Fishing Village, Nicholas was resting as a seagull sat on his crane arm. "Hello, Mr. Seagull," said Nicholas, "How are you?" The seagull screeched. "Screech screech!" replied Nicholas. The seagull screeched again. "Uh... What are you doing?" Nicholas looked down and found Arthur staring at him. His face reddened. "Oh, uh... Hi Arthur..." The crane squinted and noticed Arthur didn't look as happy as he usually did. "What's wrong? Got into an accident?" "You know me too well, Nicholas," Arthur chuckled. He sighed again as he backed beside him. "I'm sure you've heard about my accident by now..." "Well yeah, I just said you did," Nicholas said, "Is that the problem?" "Well… Yes. Do you know how it feels to always have pressure on you to do everything perfect all the time? Since you had a spotless record on the Mainland and am now starting to build another one?" Nicholas looked down. "I can't say I can…" "Exactly. Everyone expects me to do every job perfectly. I try to do the best I can, but it always puts a big weight on my boiler. If only I could just be happy like all the other engines, without always feeling I have to live to such high expectations…" Arthur went on, eventually breaking off as he felt a bit sadder. Nicholas blinked with astonishment; he didn't realize Arthur felt this way. "I'm...I'm so sorry, Arthur." he said worriedly. Arthur looked and gave a small smile, which alone made Nicholas feel better. "It's not your fault Nicholas. it's just… one of my personal issues." Nicholas chuckled nervously. "Thank you Arthur. Is there anything I can do to help?" "I don't think so…" sighed Arthur, "I suppose I have to hope for the best." Nicholas frowned. "Well... Alright..." Arthur was coupled up to some fish vans. "Where are these meant to be taken?" he asked aloud. "This fish is to be taken to Crovan's Gate," explained a fisherman, "So it can be loaded onto the Skarloey Railway." "Alright..." Arthur whistled and puffed away. Nicholas winced. "I hope Arthur will be better soon." "He probably will be," said a fisherman.

At Crovan's Gate, Arthur arrived to find no narrow gauge engine waiting for him. "Must be a delay," he muttered to himself. "Well, howdy," said a voice. Arthur looked over, surprised to find Sam at the other platform. "Oh... hi Sam." Sam frowned; from the tone of Arthur's voice, he could tell something was wrong. "Something wrong?" "Is it that obvious?" Arthur asked quietly. Sam chuckled weakly. "Maybe a tad...!" Arthur sighed and explained what he had said to Nicholas, and the incident at the Wharf. Sam considered his choice of words before responding. "I know exactly how you feel." Arthur was surprised; he didn't think Sam suffered many conflicts."You do?" "Of course. A lot of engines expect me to be the strongest, and I worry that someday, I won't be able to pull a train, and everyone will turn against me." The two engines sat silent for a while. Arthur finally popped a question. "Does the stress ever go away?" "That depends if you let that insecurity take over your life," replied Sam, "I'm assuming that's happened to you, correct?" Arthur sighed deeply. "Well... maybe." "I suggest both of us try and not let our insecurities run our lives. We don't want to become more focused on that than being useful." Arthur smiled. "Thanks Sam... You don't get enough credit." Sam grinned. "Just doing my job." Sam whistled and puffed away. Peter Sam, who was Arthur's connection, couldn't help but beam as Arthur began to rethink his predicament.

That evening, at the Fishing Village, Arthur was in his shed, resting his wheels and axles, when the Fat Controller drove up. Arthur was afraid he was in trouble from the incident at the Wharf. But to his surprise, as the Fat Controller walked out of his car, he didn't look cross. "I've heard about the incident at the Wharf, Arthur. I do think you should be more careful, but you do have a strong safety record, so I'll willing to let it slide easier than if, say... *ahem* anyone else had an accident like that." Arthur smiled. "Thank you, sir. I will try to improve, sir." The Fat Controller chuckled. "Ha ha, well done. Now... speaking of accidents, I'm going to need you to collect Rocky. Bill and Ben have had a collision with Dennis at Wellsworth." Arthur's smile turned into a broad grin. "On my way, sir!" The LMS tank engine whistled and started out of the shed. Nicholas smiled at his friend as he left the Fishing Village. "Go get 'em, Arthur." Arthur soon collected Rocky from the yard, and quickly rushed to Wellsworth Station. 

At the platform, Bill and Ben, who were double-heading a train of China clay, that was due for Tidmouth, had smashed into Dennis, who was waiting for a red signal. It was a bad mess, with all engines damaged and derailed. Worse still, both parties accused the other for being clumsy or unacceptably petty. "You're just angry because your trick didn't work," snapped Dennis. "What trick? We were taking this clay to Tidmouth. You're just upset because you have to do work!" snapped Bill. "Nonsense..." BoCo was held up with a passenger train, which didn't help matters. Arthur puffed up with Rocky and the workmen, pleasing BoCo immensely. "Finally, some help," the Diesel said gratefully, "This bickering isn't helping the atmosphere one bit." "Hey!" snapped Dennis angrily. "No problem, BoCo," Arthur replied, "Happy to do my duty." Rocky sighed. "At this point, I'm used to it..." While Rocky was making everything right, Arthur smirked at Bill and Ben. "I suppose you have accidents too, eh... special engines?" he joked. "Roasted," grinned Rocky. Bill and Ben were so furious they couldn't speak. Arthur just grinned.

Characters

  • Duck
  • Bill and Ben
  • Arthur
  • Rosie
  • Billy
  • Sam
  • BoCo
  • Dennis
  • Peter Sam
  • Duke
  • Mighty Mac
  • Freddie
  • Paul
  • Rocky
  • Bulgy
  • Algy
  • Colin
  • Nicholas
  • The Fat Controller
  • Stepney (cameo)
  • Murdoch (cameo)
  • Samson (cameo)
  • 'Arry and Bert (cameo)
  • Norman (cameo)
  • Stafford (cameo)
  • Skarloey (cameo)
  • Trevor (cameo)

Locations

  • Knapford Yards
  • Ballahoo
  • The Wharf
  • The Fishing Village
  • Knapford Sheds
  • The Washdown
  • Crovan's Gate
  • Wellsworth

Trivia

  • References to the sixth season episode Buffer Bother, the seventh season episode The Spotless Record, and the seventeenth season episode Percy's Lucky Day are used.