Branch Line Engines
Thomas Comes to Breakfast
Thomas knows every part of his branch line. One day, Thomas' driver jokes that Thomas could almost manage without him. However, Thomas doesn't realize that his driver is joking. He boasts to Percy and Toby that he doesn't need his driver anymore, but the two engines are skeptical. The next morning, Thomas decides to try starting by himself. He thinks he's being clever, but is really only moving because one of the cleaners was beng careless and messed around with his controls. Once he starts, he plans to stop and scare Percy and Toby by wheeshing at them. However, he soon finds that he can't stop. In the distance, Thomas sees the stationmaster's house. He shuts his eyes, and ends up crashing through the wall of the house. He makes the glass of a window shatter, plaster falls on top of him, and a bush sits on his front. The stationmaster's family is furious, particularly his wife, who scolds Thomas and proceeds to leave the room, banging the door and making more plaster fall on Thomas. Workmen put up some rails through the stationmaster's wife's garden, then Donald and Douglas come and pull Thomas back to the sheds. The Fat Controller comes to the sheds soon and informs Thomas that he shall have to go to the works to have his front end mended. A diesel railcar shall be helping out while he is away. Thomas' reply is muffled by the bush on his front, but he is noticably shocked by the fact that a diesel will be helping. The Fat Controller responds by saying that diesels always wait in the shed until they are wanted, and never go to the breakfast in stationmaster's houses.
Thomas is sent to the works, and a few days later, a diesel railcar named Daisy comes to help on the branch line. Percy is concerned about how long she will stay, and the Fat Controller says it will all depend on how well she does. Percy and Toby try to make Daisy feel welcome, but Daisy is very difficult to please. She shudders when she gets to the engine shed, and won't sleep in the carriage shed unless Annie, Clarabel, and Henrietta are taken away. The coaches are offended, and Percy and Toby must spend the entire night comforting them. The next day, Daisy boasts to some waiting passengers about how modern she is, but throws a fit when she sees that she must pull a milk van. The driver and stationmaster argue with her, but it does no good. Daisy explains that her fitter has told her never to pull as she is highly sprung and pulling is bad for her "swerves". The stationmaster does not beleive this, bu the passengers convince them to drop the subject so they aren't later than they are already. As she leaves, Daisy says to herself that from now on she'll do what work she chooses and no more.
Daisy makes fun of Toby's cowcatchers and sideplates and says that all she has to do to get an animal out of her way is toot and look them in the eye. Toby says that it won't work, but Daisy doesn't care. She goes on, believing that she is right. But she'd reckoned without Champion. Now, Champion isn't a fierce bull, but on this particular day, he was cross. He had broken out of his fence and was now happily grazing at some grass by the side of the line. When Daisy hears of this, he feels it is the perfect chance to show Toby that she is right. However, when Daisy comes to where Champion is and tries to shoo him away, the bull refuses to move. Instead, he turns his attention to Daisy and tries to sniff at her. Daisy is disgusted and goes back to the station. Toby is slightly amused to see that Daisy is back at the station so quickly. He goes up the line and attempts to shoo the bull away. His attempts are more successful than Daisy's, and Champion soon goes back to his owner. Daisy has a relatively normal day after that. She would often see Percy and Toby, and although he didn't say anything to her, they gave her pitying looks. At the end of the day, when she goes to the sation, a group of young boys say that they have a bag of sweets called "bull's eyes". They think the joke is wonderful, but Daisy is unamused and scuttles back to her shed.
Daisy continues to be very lazy and stubborn. One morning, Percy grumples to Toby about how Daisy never takes the milk and he has to take it instead of her. Toby suggests that they switch. Toby would take the milk, and Percy would pull Toby's trucks. Their drivers agree. However, the trucks at the quarry are not thrilled to see Percy, and think that he is barging in where he does not belong. They start out by coming along quietly, and Percy believes that he has them under control. However, the trucks have a trick planned. They soon begin to push Percy. No matter how much he begs them to stop, they just keep pushing him, going faster as time goes on. He soon arrives in the goods yard and has a collision with a waiting goods train. Percy lands right on top of the brake van, and the force of the collision is enough to stop the trucks pushing him. Toby soon arrives to start clearing up the mess, and Daisy, who is nearby, has a change of attitude and actually starts helping as well. The Fat Controller soon arrives, and scolds Percy for putting them in the awkward predicament of having to run the branch line with only Toby and Daisy. Percy quite understands where the Fat Controller is coming from. The Fat Controller then scolds Daisy for being lazy, something for which Daisy is ashamed at herself for. However, he has heard that Daisy was a great help to Toby after Percy's accident, and agrees to give Daisy another chance. Daisy promises to try hard to be good, with Toby's help. A few days later, Thomas comes home, and Percy is taken to the works. All four of the engines become good friends, and Toby teaches Daisy a great deal about the branch line. She even shooed a cow off the line all by herself the other day.
- First appearance of Daisy
- First and only appearance of Champion the Bull
- The stories of this book must take place right after the end of The Twin Engines, as Donald and Douglas are depicted as still having black paint, but the Fat Controller promised them both a coat of blue paint at the end of the previous book.
- This book was written partly to fix a technical error in Thomas' design. Ever since his first appearance, his footplate had curved down at the front, making his buffers shorter in the front than they are in the front. When Thomas returned from the works, his footplate is straight, and remains that way for the remainder of the series.