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“Your worthy Sir Topham Hatt thinks I need to learn. He is mistaken. We Diesels don't need to learn. We know everything. We come to a yard and improve it. We are revolutionary.”
―Diesel boasting to Duck

Duck and the Diesel Engine is the thirteenth book of The Railway Series.

Foreword

Dear Friends,
We have had two visitors to our railway. One of these, City of Truro, is a very famous engine. We were sorry when we had to say goodbye to him.

The other visitor was different. "I do not believe", writes the Fat Controller, "that all diesels are troublesome, but this one upset our engines and made Duck very unhappy".
The Author

Stories

Domeless Engines

City of Truro, the first engine to go more than 100 miles an hour, visits Sodor and has a lengthy conversation with Duck till late at night. Gordon is jealous of City of Truro's record, claiming that he is a domeless engine and not to be trusted. Gordon later tries to equal the record while pulling the express, but his dome becomes loose from the speed and is blown off at the viaduct. All the passengers laugh at him, and at the shed that night, a voice quotes what he had said earlier - most likely Duck.

Pop Goes the Diesel

The engines are tired of Duck's talk about his Great Western heritage and are happy when a visitor comes. The visitor, a diesel shunter by the name of Diesel, claims he is "revolutionary", but Duck is unimpressed and tells him to fetch his trucks. Diesel attempts to take some rusty old vans away afterwards, but their brakes jam and all Diesel does is derail them. As he helps clean up, the other trucks start singing a rude parody of "Pop Goes the Weasel", much to his annoyance.

Dirty Work

The trucks continue to tease Diesel, and Diesel believes that Duck made him look silly and plans to have him sent away by telling the trucks rude jokes about the big engines and attributing them to Duck. The trucks tell the engines, and when they find out they refuse Duck entry into the shed. As the engines argue the Fat Controller intervenes, and, after hearing all three sides of the story, he suggests Duck to go to Wellsworth for a while. Duck sadly does so, as Diesel gives a sinister smirk.

A Close Shave

Edward consoles Duck over Diesel's lies about him and helps him settle into life at Wellsworth. Duck takes up a position as a banker, but one day some trucks break away and chase him down Gordon's Hill. Duck manages to slow the trucks down gradually, but nearly collides with another train at Crosby before being diverted into a siding ending in front of a barbershop. Duck crashes into the wall, and the furious barber lathers up his face. When the workmen come to pull Duck out, the Fat Controller arrives too and points out that Duck had narrowly prevented a worse accident. The barber, repentant, rinses Duck's face. To add to his joy, the Fat Controller tells Duck that Diesel has been sent away after he was caught spreading more lies and the other engines are sorry. A few days later, Duck returns home and is given a huge welcome by his friends.

Characters

Domeless Engines

Pop Goes the Diesel

Dirty Work

  • Henry
  • Gordon
  • James
  • Duck
  • Diesel
  • Troublesome Trucks
  • Sir Charles Topham Hatt II
  • Edward (mentioned)

A Close Shave

  • Edward
  • Duck
  • Troublesome Trucks
  • Sir Charles Topham Hatt II
  • The Barber
  • Henry (does not speak)
  • Gordon (does not speak)
  • Other Foreign Engines (do not speak)
  • Thomas (cameo)
  • Toby (cameo)
  • James (mentioned)
  • City of Truro (mentioned)
  • Diesel (mentioned)

Locations

Domeless Engines

Pop Goes the Diesel

Dirty Work

A Close Shave

Trivia

  • To date, A Close Shave and Little Old Twins are tied with having the most illustrations for a story of The Railway Series: nine.
  • In the first illustration, a man with a bow tie and a vicar can be seen looking at Duck. Editor Eric Marriott theorised in The Thomas the Tank Engine Man that the vicar is the Rev. W. Awdry showing C. Reginald Dalby how Duck is supposed to look, as Dalby had drawn him incorrectly in Percy the Small Engine, and was inserted as a joke by John T. Kenney towards his predecessor as illustrator.
  • In the second illustration of Dirty Work one of the trucks has the word "Leeds" painted on its side.
  • "Galloping sausage" was a nickname for the experimental W1 No. 10000 streamlined engine built for the LNER by Sir Nigel Gresley. This engine was also known as the "Hush Hush".
  • New illustrations of Pop Goes the Diesel done by Loraine Marshall are featured when Mr. Perkins reads the story on the Trouble on the Tracks DVD.
  • Domeless Engines is based on an event in 1958 when an LNER K3 No. 61809 lost its dome.
  • A Close Shave is based on a true event which took place at a railway station in Hull, Yorkshire, England.
  • The events of this book took place in 1957.
  • Diesel's appearance was a request by Eric Marriott, "In order to keep the series up to date", as more diesels were being seen on British Railways.

Goofs

  • In Domeless Engines:
    • It is said that City of Truro's record breaking run was from Plymouth to Bristol, but City of Truro was actually going to London's Paddington station on the run.
    • In the sixth illustration, Gordon's paint turns lighter.
  • In Dirty Work:
    • In the first illustration, Duck has no "Light Engine" lamp.
    • Diesel's position changes in the sheds: in the fourth illustration, he's at the far right, while in the sixth one, he's at the far left.
    • In the fifth illustration, the panels on Duck's front and the hole where Duck's side rods connect with his wheels are missing.
  • In A Close Shave:
    • In the fourth illustration, Duck is going in the wrong direction to the east, when according to the story he is supposed to go to the west to Crosby.
    • In the final illustration, Thomas' number is just below his cab and Toby's eyes' pupils and his front coupling are missing.
  • The blurb incorrectly describes Duck as a saddle tank engine.
  • Duck's face is smaller in the sixth illustration of Pop Goes the Diesel.
  • Throughout this book, The Twin Engines and Branch Line Engines, most of the engines appear to have white buffers.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Chinese 达克和狄塞尔
Japanese ダックとディーゼル機関車
Korean 덕과 디젤 기관차

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