The Little Western was originally intended to reach Harwick; however, by the time Arlesburgh West was reached in 1916, it was found there was no longer need for further extension and it was dropped. In the 1940s, a rail link between Arlesburgh and Harwick was again proposed, but yet again deemed unnecessary, for it was found that Sodor Roadways could provide adequate transport both for stores and personnel.
Thomas & Friends
The Harwick branch line began construction shortly before the arrival of Ryan to the North Western Railway. The line itself was constructed by Marion, Jack, Alfie, Oliver the Excavator and Max and Monty, while supplies were brought in by James, Duck, Donald and Douglas, Oliver, Stanley, Samson and later Thomas and Ryan. The ballast for the line was supplied by the nearby Arlesdale Railway.
During the construction, the ground of the line leading out from Arlesburgh Goods Yard became unstable. Engineers declared the site unsafe and the track had to be re-routed. Soon after, Thomas had a severe accident, causing the unstable ground to completely give way. This giant opening revealed a long-lost hidden cavern, known as "Calles Cavern". Inside the cavern a pirate ship was found and would be lifted out by Rocky.
Following some setbacks - including the loss of a shipment of dynamite needed to blast through the tough rockface between Arlesburgh and Harwick - the construction of the Harwick Branch Line resumed and the new re-routed line was finally finished.
Route and Operations
The Harwick branch line begins at Arlesburgh West, where it runs along with the Little Western to Arlesburgh Harbour and the Arlesburgh Maritime Museum, where the Little Western ends. From here, the branch line runs past a castle and through Arlesburgh Goods Yard, where it swings away from the coast for a short stretch past Calles Cavern. The line then continues north along the coastline of Faarkey-Y-Sudragh and past Clagh Ooyre until it reaches the town of Harwick.
The line is primarily run by two engines: Ryan and Daisy. Generally, Ryan deals with goods trains along the branch line, including bringing trucks from the Ffarquhar Quarry to Harwick. He is, however, capable of running passenger services in the case of an emergency.
While Ryan looks after the goods traffic, Daisy deals with passengers. Initially, Daisy's service only went as far as Arlesburgh West, however Sir Topham Hatt later extended her run down to Knapford. Additionally, Daisy picks up the mail from Arlesburgh West and takes it to Harwick in the morning before beginning her passenger run.
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Coaches and Trucks