The Twin Engines
As more and more people start to travel to the Island of Sodor and the trucks and coaches start complaining, the engines start to complain, too. As they are arguing, the Fat Controller comes to stop the noise, and tells them that a new engine will be arriving from Scotland tomorrow. Well, the next day, an inspector goes to the Fat Controller's office to explain to him that two identical engines with no numbers have arrived. The inspector takes the Fat Controller to the yard to meet the two engines. He (the Fat Controller) asks the twins which engine is which, but they do not give him a straight answer. Deciding that one of the twins is playing traunt, and he tells the two engines that when the fraud is found out, he shall be sent home. He then orders the inspector to give the twins numbers.
The Missing Coach
Donald and Douglas, as the engines call themselves, were given the numbers 9 and 10, respectively. The inspector then tells them to work with Duck. The three engines get along very well, and Duck finds that Donald and Douglas are good at pulling both coaches and trucks. The big engines, Gordon, Henry, and James, laugh at the twin's deep-toned whistles. However, when the two engines sneak up on them and frighten them, they soon decide to keep on the twin's good side. Every day, after Gordon pulls the express, Thomas takes Annie, Clarabel, and a special coach from the express. Well, one day, while Douglas is shunting, Douglas mistakenly shunts the special coach with the other express coaches, completely forgetting that Thomas is supposed to take the coach. Realizeing his mistake after Thomas demands to know where his coach is, Douglas is immediately sorry and afraid that he might be found out and sent home. His and Donald's driver give them the idea that as they have numbers on thier tenders but no nameplates on thier fronts, they can switch tenders. They do this, then Donald (with Douglas' tender) leaves just as the Fat Controller arrives. The Fat Controller asks Douglas (who he believes is Donald) why he has not taken the goods train yet. Douglas explains that his tender is deatched. The Fat Controller then apologizes to a group of waiting passengers and tells them that the reason for thier lost coach shall be investigated. After the passengrs leave, the Fat Controller informs Douglas that he knew all along that he was Douglas.
The Fat Controller scolds the twins and tells them that there msut be no more tricks. There is a brake van in the yard that has taken a disliking to Douglas, and purposely makes him late for all his journeys. Donald is very angry at this, and bumps the brake van, telling him he'll get worse if he keeps his bad behavior up. The van starts to behave a little better, until Donald has an accident with a signal box. James now has to take Donald's trains while Donald's tender is being repiared. However, the van starts playing up again. James had gotten cross with Douglas one day for teasing him about his accident with some tar wagons, but James now needs help because of the trucks' antics. Douglas agrees to help. They do well until they get to a hill. As they go up, James starts to lose steam. Douglas takes the full weight of the train, but the strain of James' brakes and Douglas pushing tears the van into pieces. The Fat Controller is cross, but Edward puts in a good word for Douglas. The Fat Controller admits that he wants to be fair to both engines, but he just doesn't know...
It starts snowing very hard on Sodor. Most engines hate the snow, but, coming from Scotland, Donald and Douglas were used to it. They would go up and down the line every day coupled back-to-back with a brake van between them and snow ploughs at each end. One day, they found Henry stuck in a drift and helped him get out. That afternoon, in the sheds, the twins told the other engines that the Fat Controller (who was away on holiday) was thinking about sending one of them back to Scotland, and that if they went back, it would not be good. All of the engines agreed that it was a shame. Percy decides to go to Wellsworth and ask Edward about what to do. Edward suggests that they have a deputation and explains what that is. When Percy returns to the yard, he tells the other engines what Edward said, bu doesn't quite understand how to pronounce the world deputation. Gordon quickly suggests that Percy should be the one to talk to the Fat Controller, and the other engines agree, much to Percy's dismay. So, Percy goes to see the Fat Controller (who has returned form holiday) and tells him about Donald and Douglas' worries about returning to Scotland. The Fat Controller tells Percy he shall think about it. The next day, the Fat Controller tells the engines that while he understands thier feelings, he does not approve of interference. He then asks what color Donald and Douglas would like to be painted. They say blue. The Fat Controller agrees, and says that both of the engines are allowed to stay on the railway.
- This is the first appearance of Donald and Douglas, the Scottish Twins.
- This is the first and final appearance of the "Spiteful" Brake Van.
- This is the first book to give any hint that not all is well on the Other Railway. This is shown in the fact that Donald and Douglas are afraid that if they are sent back, they will be scrapped.