It was the painter Pablo Picasso who said that Art is the Lie that reveals the Truth.

These stories, although containing fictional characters and events, illustrate working practices and trends in a number of transport enterprises in a hopefully accessible and entertaining way.

  But we will in no way tolerate a bunch of tinpot oiks from Skaro who think that they can get anything they want at the point of a ray gun  
  "Greetings to you all" intoned the Chief Auctioneer from his lectern at the front of the dimly lit room.

" I appreciate your attendance today after recent events and I trust that the gravity -and indeed the atmosphere - on Alpha Centauri Three today will not be too distressing for you. Indeed, on a personal note I am supremely gratified –if you will pardon the pun – that so many familiar faces are here for the sale. We of the Celestial Auction House pride ourselves on our consideration, courtesy and care offered to all our customers among the great empires of the Galaxy.

But we will in no way tolerate a bunch of tinpot oiks from Skaro who think that they can get anything they want at the point of a ray gun. As they have discovered to their cost, our steward’s carbines are more than capable of firing squash head rounds of plastic explosives and several of them are now pointed at the captain of the bad ship Beta Major who has elected to join us here this afternoon. Indeed, many more are pointed at the remaining scientists and marines of his crew whose future existence depends on your choice of retail purchases. So, relying on the back up lighting and quaint old slide projector, let us begin with Lot One. "

A view of the sunlit Earth and Moon, taken from deep space, filled the screen to the vocal excitement of the audience. The Chief Auctioneer continued:

"Another silicon planet complete with large single moon, Scale Two gravity and strong geomagnetic field, also featuring generously sized oceans and a twenty per cent oxygen atmosphere. Conveniently located for a medium sized yellow star and, most remarkably, possessing a small but growing radiosphere. Analysis indicates a carbon based life form of industrial but not yet spacegoing civilzation ideal for invasion, conquest and subjugation. Now, who will start the bidding?"

  The Doctor tightened his grip on the shaft of his most important tool. Two random entities were now standing just inside the open doors of the TARDIS, only metres away from where he crouched behind the console. One quick burst of the sonic screwdriver on maximum pitch would disorientate even a fully-grown Ice Warrior, while he escaped deeper into his four dimensional machine.

But then the two entities began to talk in English.

"What’s happened to the airing cupboard?" asked a slightly shrill female voice.

"If this is some sort of specialist room it’s not my scene, raid or no raid," a man replied " I’ve paid you sixty quid already"

"Only you haven’t paid me yet and it IS those foreign gangsters. They broke down the front door in Manchester Road just the same last week."

Not only speaking English but being English, mused The Doctor. No need for split eardrums. Time for the cheeky chappie routine. He stood up.

"I’m sorry to interrupt but can I help you? Only I’m rather busy at the moment with the temporal stabiliser and the dimensional circuits are on the blink as well. Is this Swindon by the way?"

"Yes" came the joint reply.

"What year?"


"Really, how interesting. I must increase the power to the neutron flow."

The Doctor crouched down again, counting the seconds to the response.

"What have you done with the airing cupboard and who are you anyway?" the woman demanded.

Now it was the man’s turn to be frightened.

"They’re coming up the stairs. Sasha, I can hear them coming up the stairs."

The Doctor was once more upright, instinctively reaching out for a handy knob on the console.

"Gangsters after you are they?" rejoined The Doctor, almost breezily, " Do forgive my manners!" The doors of the TARDIS banged shut behind the two unbidden visitors. "There – even Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes couldn’t get past those doors and I know, I’ve heard them try. It is a bit worrying the way those doors tend to fly open on materialisation though. Hence you were able to just wander in while I was working. I must fix them as well. But there I go again. Pleased to meet you both. I am The Doctor and welcome to my TARDIS."

"Your TARDIS," laughed the man. " You mean there’s no one else working here?"

"You were expecting someone else?"

"Well, don’t these alternative therapy clinics usually have nurses and receptionists too? I mean, all this medical equipment is a bit expensive for NHS Direct!"

"You’re right. All the money on Earth couldn’t buy this kit. And I’m definitely too alternative for the National Health. But no. It is just me at the moment and a load of iffy knobs."

"The other girls said you were going to do something like this next door," sniffed Sasha, " and it would scare the punters off. And what is TARDIS anyway? Is it a complimentary medicine?"

"Well, it’s cost me and my companions enough over the centuries. But how did they know I was here when I’ve only just materialised? What other girls?"

The man coughed pointedly.

"Understood!" The Doctor continued, "hence the skew-whiff tie – and your somewhat minimalist approach to dressing, err.."

"I’m called Sasha and this is.. Dave, wasn’t it?"

"Well, I’m definitely The Doctor and the TARDIS isn’t really a medicine – although it does have healing powers. It stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space. Put simply I can close the doors behind me and travel to anywhere and any time I want. Or at least I could until I got stuck in this time trough en route to the Scilly Isles."

"Sounds like a no-frills airline" quipped Sasha.

"More like Virgin Galactic" added Dave, who seemed to be more relaxed now, " but why build a spaceship simulator in a terraced house attic in Swindon?"

"Oh no," corrected The Doctor "This side of the door there’s nothing simulated. And as I can see you have an enquiring mind, the Scilly Isles produced a particularly fine crop of potatoes in 1907. I just typed Maris Piper into the search engine and ended up in Swindon. I told you the temporal stabiliser was on the blink."

"Why not go to the greengrocers like everybody else?" quizzed Sasha, folding her arms across her chest, "You wouldn’t have got stuck in a trough then."

"But that’s the whole point. I’m not like everyone else. And by the time that my companions and I landed at the Ace Fish Bar in Perivale all the other shops had shut. The suppliers were running late and my dear friend behind the counter asked if I could help at all. I just hope I can get back before my portion of haddock goes cold. It’s never the same microwaved."

"So," continued Sasha, "you claim that you can just go in here, press a button or something and go back to the Scilly Isles in 1907?"

"Yes, usually via Silbury Hill and Stonehenge but I seem to have been pulled into a trough on a parallel with the space time fissure under Cardiff. I wonder what it could mean?"

"I’ve got a mini road atlas in my pocket somewhere," added Dave, helpfully, as he began to look inside his three-piece pinstriped suit.

"But how can you have a trough in time?" pouted Sasha, "Something that always goes along the same?"

"Because" replied The Doctor " time isn’t like a motorway with white lines and ordered junctions. It has hills, troughs, caves and all sorts of weird beings. More like Cheddar Gorge on a Bank Holiday Monday. You’ve both gone very quiet."

"Er, talking of travel, " said Dave, through a face with a pained expression of regret " I’ve just realised that I’ve left my wallet…"

"With my sixty quid in.."

"And my tickets back to London back next door with the gangsters."

"We’ll both have to tell our partners we were mugged!" snarled Sasha, tossing back her mane of curly auburn hair."

"Unless your TARDIS could help us out. Somehow. Perhaps, Doctor ?" ventured Dave.

"Go back and stop the bad guys spoiling your time together you mean? That could create a temporal paradox – which believe me you don’t want – and the TARDIS is not the most precise of tools at the best of times. But come here anyway, hold tight to the console and I’ll see what I can do."

Dave and Sasha followed The Doctor’s bidding as he reached out rapidly to the controls. The transparent column at the heart of the console began to rise and fall.

  "Why were we inside a police box?" said Sasha, shivering as her slingbacks scratched across the scree, " and where are we now exactly? It was the hottest day of the year when my shift started and now I can’t see anything for fog!"

"Well at least we are somewhere with a breathable atmosphere and an earth type gravity field", admitted the Doctor," and a large quantity of limestone ballast under foot. If it were a quarry I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Oh, and don’t be alarmed by the external appearance of the TARDIS. The chameleon circuit doesn’t work either. Not that anyone would know just now."

"I meant how can it be so small on the outside when.. oh look, is there somewhere warm round here? I’m freezing in this nylon baby doll and thong!"

"Lucky I grabbed this coat on the way out" replied the Doctor, handing the green padded anorak to Sasha, " It kept my former companion Victoria warm on the planet Telos during a spot of bother with the Cybermen."

Sasha stopped for a moment to try and take in what the Doctor had just said and then decided not to. "Thanks, but it only just covers my nightie. What am I going to look like in it?"

"Like a trainspotter with very pretty calves. Come on, let’s see what Dave’s discovered. Dave, I hope you haven’t wandered off!"

"It’s all right Doctor," beamed Dave, looming out of the fog. "I know exactly where we are. You’ve landed us at the Steam Museum, across the railway tracks. Look, you can just make out the brickwork – and they’ve got some engines working. I can see the steam rising from here. Want to take a look?"

"I’m cold, I’m traumatised, I’m a hundred yards from a designer retail outlet without any cash to spend and you men want to look at trains" whinged Sasha.

"Well, if I’d known all this was on today I’d have saved my sixty quid and still had my tickets" riposted Dave, turning back to face her and the Doctor, " in fact…"

Sasha screamed as a squat, muscular figure surged out of the enveloping mist and hit Dave to the ground. Then everything went black.

  "Doctor? Doctor, I’m frightened. What have the gangsters done to Dave? Doctor, wake up!"

The Doctor groaned back to consciousness - his two hearts thumping with adrenaline - and tried to stand up. The cold signal wire cut into his wrists and he slipped back down on the workshop floor, banging the back of his head against the cast iron pillar. Sasha tried to edge round to him from her side but was similarly restrained.

"Doctor, didn’t you see them, those big men who raided…"

"Yes but they weren’t just gangsters. They were Ogrons."

"I don’t care what part of Europe they come from to claim benefits. It was just the same in Manchester Road with their leather jackets, tanned skins and mullet hairdos..."

"They’re not from Europe. They’re from a small planet orbiting a binary sun at Galactic Co-ordinates 2349 6784. And they mean trouble. And back in the TARDIS, what did you mean about the other girls knowing there was a clinic next door to your.. your workplace?"

"They used to see those Ogronian blokes there when they went across the road for cigarettes. And the, well, the Daves. My mate Sienna said that they all looked frightened as they went in. But why would the Ogronians break down doors looking for more patients? Hadn’t they got enough already?"

"Perhaps they hadn’t. But I think we’d better find out. Now, can you reach round to my top pocket with your teeth?"

  Dave started to regain consciousness. He was lying on his back on a bed, staring at a white ceiling. Even the slightest movement was agony.

"But master…" grunted the bemused voice of the nearby Ogron " two of them had escaped and the scientists said that I had to catch them before they reached the town. I brought the younger male here ready for implantation"

"And what of the other one and the girl? " retorted a clipped West Country accent " Both the Scientists expressly forbade any Ogrons to bring any females through the temporal transporter. We have a job to do here remember. Well?"

"All other Ogron units were busy rounding up. I could only carry one human without damage so I tied the other two up in the nearest building?"

"Which was?"

" The one the human workers call "A Shop"

"Idiot! The night shift will be arriving soon. Questions will be asked about the sealed buildings. And supposing they escape after seeing the assembly work in progress? Bring them to the sick bay at once. And if they resist kill them. Security must not be compromised"

"Yes master, Yes Mr Churchward!"

The Ogron shuffled off, banging doors behind him.

"Nurse," continued the unseen Mr Churchward, "attend to this patient and let the scientists know when he is ready for them. I must go and talk to them now."

"Yes Mr Churchward, Sir," came the softer, feminine reply.

Dave struggled to move his head again, focussing on the warm white pillows.

"So nurse," he began weakly, " am I going to get the implants then?"

"Earm", the female voice replied, this time with a more discernible Liverpool accent, " These are all my own and… oh, sorry, no. Not if I can help it. Too many men already have had chips put in their necks and sent to work in Z Shop. You were lucky the Ogron brought you to me. I’ll just get you patched up and then we’re out of here!"

"Ogron, is that a local name for.."

"The aliens that kidnapped Mr Churchward in the first place, yeah. Just the same way they took you down! One minute he’s slaving over a hot drawing board, the next he’s on the floor with an inkwell bouncing off his bonce. And when he wakes up, the Ogron’s bosses have put a chip in his neck."

"I’ve heard of upgrading to a new processor but surely even Intel…"

"Intel won’t be in Swindon for another eighty years, la! This is 1907!"

Dave flopped back on the iron-framed cot, his mind as well as his body reeling.

"But if this is 1907, how do you know so much about…?"

"Because, la, I’m not from round here either. Now, I’m afraid I can’t use stuff from your time or even from mine but you can’t stay here like this. So watch out, this is iodine."

Dave was momentarily transfixed by the loving brown eyes set in a cherubic visage framed with golden tresses. Then the lint swab touched his forehead…


"Engine No, 111 "The Great Bear" 4-6-2. The first 4-6-2 or "Pacific" type express passenger locomotive to make its appearance in this country. Has four simple cylinders, a very large boiler and is now fitted with the standard GWR appliances. This is the only engine on the GWR with an eight wheeled tender. "The Great Bear" has been working fast express passenger trains between Paddington ( London ) and Bristol. Built at Swindon, the total weight of the engine and tender working order is 142 tons."

  "Engine No, 111 "The Great Bear" 4-6-2. The first 4-6-2 or "Pacific" type express passenger locomotive to make its appearance in this country. Has four simple cylinders, a very large boiler and is now fitted with the standard GWR appliances. This is the only engine on the GWR with an eight wheeled tender. "The Great Bear" has been working fast express passenger trains between Paddington ( London ) and Bristol. Built at Swindon, the total weight of the engine and tender working order is 142 tons."  
  "I thought you had some bolt cutters or even a Swiss army knife in there Doctor", spat Sasha as the sonic screwdriver tumbled from her teeth, " what good is that thing going to do us?"

"Well," replied The Doctor, even his whisper echoing round the vast erecting shop " if I can just get my fingers round the shaft and press the end…"

Sasha flinched at the burst of high frequency sound as the signal wire fetters hummed and vibrated round her wrists before snapping.

"…I think I can get us out of here."

The Doctor paused, smiling, for a moment as Sasha rubbed her newly liberated hands, staring back at him in shock and disbelief.

"And would you believe me too if you looked out of that window on your side and saw Swindon station bathed in the setting sunlight with more platforms than ever, old fashioned signals and no David Murray John Tower behind it? Or if you turned round and saw…"

The Doctor stopped in mid boast. Slack jawed, silent, looking up beyond the tool cabinet that had filled his forward vision from the column they were tied to. He barely registered the click of Sasha’s fake Jimmy Choos as she tottered to the eastward facing window and tottered back again.

"Doctor, how did you know…well, we must be back before the War or something – and look, that’s a steam engine with Great Western written on it. And it’s all new and shiny…Doctor?"

"That shouldn’t be there!"

"But this is where they made the trains. Even I know that."

"No, you don’t understand. Look at the wheels."

"Well, they’re round and made of spokes"

"But how many?"

"Two small ones this side at the front, then three big ones then a small one then…"

"Exactly. Or if you count them in pairs a four a six and a two. Four six two. A Pacific wheel arrangement."

"At least I only look like a trainspotter."

"No, this is important. The Great Western Railway built Britain’s first Pacific locomotive in 1907. It was numbered one hundred and eleven and named "The Great Bear""

"Well, this must be The Great Bear then. Look, they’ve even got the number and name on brass plates on that bench beside it."

"But The Great Bear was a failure. The rear axleboxes got worn with ash from the firebox and the boiler tubes were too long. They let the hot gases cool down too much. It was rebuilt as a 4-6-0 Castle in the 1920s. But this engine’s got every refinement going. Outside trailing bogie axleboxes – even roller bearing axleboxes if you please – double chimney, no make that a double Giesel ejector, firebox blending into the boiler.."


"Most of this technology shouldn’t be available to locomotive designers for another forty years – and then Swindon works wouldn’t touch it with a shunter’s pole. Did you know that they were still making pannier tanks here in 1956?"

"No," Sasha winced," but I do know that I’ve just stepped on a bit of sharp metal. Ouch!"

The Doctor turned back toward Sasha, walked toward her and knelt down. Resetting the sonic screwdriver to a lower output, he vibrated the curly length of swarf out of her scarlet nailed big toe, healing the small cut as it left.

"Is that better?" he asked, straightening up and examining the jagged offcut carefully between outstretched fingers.

"Ooh, yes thanks," replied Sasha, " but what’s the matter now? You look more worried than ever. What is that stuff? Why are you sniffing it?"

"Because in fifty galaxies nothing else smells like this alloy when it’s been freshly cut. Those roller bearings won’t wear out and that firebox will never rust even if the Great Western Railway burns all the coal in Wales in it. Only cold near absolute zero can shatter it or plastic explosive make it implode."

"Sounds fantastic. What do they call this metal?"

"Dalekanium," announced The Doctor, grimly.

A chilly draught of night air blasted across the vast erecting shop as a distant metal door slammed back upon its hinges.

  "Engine No 4073 "Caerphilly Castle" 4-6-0. The first of the latest series of 4-6-0 or ten-wheel four-cylinder simple expansion locomotives. having two outside cylinders driving the middle pair of coupled wheels, whilst the inside drive the leading pair. Is fitted with a large boiler, superheater, Belpaire firebox, and the usual GWR standard appliances. A new type of cab with side windows is provided. Built at Swindon, the total weight of the engine and tender in working order is 120 tons."  
  "Engine No 4073 "Caerphilly Castle" 4-6-0. The first of the latest series of 4-6-0 or ten-wheel four-cylinder simple expansion locomotives. having two outside cylinders driving the middle pair of coupled wheels, whilst the inside drive the leading pair. Is fitted with a large boiler, superheater, Belpaire firebox, and the usual GWR standard appliances. A new type of cab with side windows is provided. Built at Swindon, the total weight of the engine and tender in working order is 120 tons."  
  "Identity! Function! Application!" demanded the croak voiced silver entity.

"George Jackson Churchward, Chief Mechanical Engineer, Great Western Railway. Reporting progress to Scientific Elite, Z Shop, Swindon Works"

"Upload report!" snapped the second shining dalek, circling around the prim Edwardian gentleman.

"Boiler tests on the first of the new Constellation Class Pacifics are complete," began Mr Churchward, " The name and number plates have also been cast and are ready for attachment. Thanks to Dalek spatial mapping of the main lines to Bristol and Plymouth gauging trials are superfluous and The Great Bear will begin hauling "The Merchant Venturer" out of Paddington on Monday. Chipped workers from the Twenty First Century are also working with me in the Drawing Office on new high speed carriage and wagon designs and new timetables."

"Do any of the other workers remark on the presence of the Twenty First Century humans?"

"No, they have all been dressed in suits with high collars to hide their necks. And nobody talks to them except through me."

"And what of the Great Western Board of Directors?"

"They are delighted with our, sorry, my progress. The new tank engines alone are moving much more freight at the fraction of the former cost and no new requisition of brass, copper or steel for the works is questioned. They don’t even mind the titanium you asked for. In fact, they have even recommended that I present a paper to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers about…aagh!"

Mr Churchward winced and clutched his neck.

"You are now the servant of the Daleks", rasped the first silver scientist dalek "You will not reveal the secrets of forging and casting dalekanium. You will continue to work for us in Swindon! When will the new generator sets be ready? Answer me!"

"Yes, of course. You are right." gasped Churchward, straightening again, " The telegram from Stafford arrived just as I left the drawing office. The train is on its way but it won’t be here until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. All other railway traffic is being diverted away from its path but the generators are an out of gauge load. Some bridges over the line will have to be rebuilt and…aagh!"

The Chief Mechanical Engineer clutched at his neck again.

"We demand solutions not excuses. If the generator sets are not operational by this time tomorrow you will be exterminated! Now move!"

Without another word, George Jackson Churchward headed back through the small inset door of Z Shop into the foggy night with all the dignity he could muster.

The two silver scientist daleks circled round to face each other, their eye stalks taking in the gloomy Victorian brickwork beyond their own shining metal floor and consoles.

"What will we tell the Captain? If we fail he will exterminate us."

"Negative. It would be illogical. He cannot proceed with plans to return to Skaro without our expert knowledge. The two of us alone control the temporal transporter. The two of us alone have power over the Ogron soldiers. The two of us alone control the automated building programme here in Z shop."

"But we have taken all available dalekanium from spaceship Beta Major to build The Great Bear and the other locomotives. We do not yet know if Earth metal titanium can replace it. We do not know if the new generator sets can power the electromagnetic catapult. If this fails, we will all be trapped here!"

"And if we return to Skaro without new conquests we will also be exterminated. We must not show our fear to the Captain. Proceed as normal."

"Have the escaped prisoners been recaptured?"

"Ogron units report affirmative. They will be made ready for work here. But why did they escape?"

"There was a disturbance in the temporal transporter. Space time has been warped by factors outside our own activities."

"Is this warping commensurate with Earth technology?"


As they conversed, neither of the silver daleks noticed another eye-stalk, crudely mounted in the Brunel hammer-beamed roof with lengths of Ogron leather. Nor did they realise that it was wired for sound.

  On the bridge of the disc shaped spaceship Beta Major – hidden behind Z Shop behind rows of condemned Great Western carriages – the Captain looked at the monitor in front of him and shuddered inside his blue and white striped casing. He had suspected for days that his scientists were plotting against him and would be the first to point the sucker arm when they reported to the Emporer on Skaro. But now the temporal transporter – already warping space-time itself with its regular batches of future slaves and soldiers – was itself being disturbed. In all the planets of all the systems of the galaxy, surely his crew could not be that unlucky?  
  "So where are we going then?" asked Dave, as the bath chair squeaked along the corridor.

"First to the lift" replied The Nurse, tightening her grip on the handles as her feet pushed harder against the parquet floor " and then to the temporal transporter. I’ll try to get you home if I can’t help any of the others."

"But I still don’t understand! How can you be a nurse here when…?"

"I was looking for an old friend. I heard he might be in early Twenty-First Century England like, but when I made the journey I got stuck in this trough in space-time. My transport couldn’t break free so I decided to get a job on the Great Western Railway’s medical service and snoop around. It’s dead good la, they’ll base the National Health on it forty years from now!"

"But how can you travel through time when you’re from Liverpool?"

"Ehh! Don’t knock the ‘Pool. I was almost the fourth Atomic Kitten I was! But really I’m not from there at all. I just liked the accent and kept it through regenerations."


"Yeah, I’m originally from the planet Gallifrey and so’s my friend. We started travelling in time and space together but we kind of got split up. I’ve been looking for him ever since – hence I know stuff about Earth because I’ve heard he comes here a lot. But I’ve stopped looking for him now because I’ve got to get all these lovely fellahs away from the Ogrons. They’re a right bunch of scallies, them. And I want to find out more about their scientists. Why are they recruiting humans from a hundred years in the future when they’ve got light drive spaceships already?"

"You should talk to the Doctor."

"All the medics round here have got those chips on their necks to keep them quiet. I’ve found out all I have from boasting Ogrons"

"No, I mean, the man who calls himself The Doctor. He brought me here in his blue police box….owww! "

Having rolled over on the parquet a few times when the bath chair suddenly stopped, Dave pulled himself back on his feet. He turned around to face The Nurse.

"What did you do that for? Nurse…Nurse, I said.."

"Well why didn’t you say! Where is the TARDIS? Where is he?"

"We, materialised was the term he used I think, just near what is – or what will be – the Steam Museum. Then this Ogron hit me and .."

"A Shop", quivered The Nurse, " He’s probably hiding in A Shop and the night shift will be there soon. We’ve got to get him out before he’s found."

The Nurse helped Dave back into the bath chair and sped them both toward the nearby lift. As they got there the doors slid back to reveal two angry, dishevelled men in Twenty-First Century clothing. Between them stood George Jackson Churchward, his face and body bent in pain as one man held him in a half Nelson and pointed an Ogron energy pistol against his greying temple. The other man pointed a second weapon at The Nurse.

"We want answers!" snapped the man " And we want answers now!"

  "Heels!" hissed The Doctor.

"What?" Sasha replied, a bit too loudly.

The Doctor rolled his eyes and fixed them back on hers.

"Take your heels off," he whispered, " we may have to run! And put your hood up too – he may have an energy pistol"

Sasha quickly complied with the order, but already heavy footsteps were echoing from the far side of A Shop. The Doctor flexed his nostrils, searching for the rank perspiration of the Ogron above the rich workshop tang of oil and metal. He motioned Sasha to follow him as he crept backwards along the side of The Great Bear, past the cab and around the back of the tender. Holding Sasha against him, The Doctor pulled out his sonic screwdriver and leant round the stock of the left hand tender buffer to squint into the darkness. As his eyes adjusted to the gloom, the single Ogron appeared. It was over a hundred feet away, shuffling between the end of a partly dismantled locomotive on the next track and the front end of The Great Bear. The Doctor turned to Sasha and whispered "When it roars, we run!"

Seconds later, the Ogron rounded the front end of The Great Bear and, as predicted, roared in anger, fear and disbelief when he saw the scraps of signal wire on the concrete floor by the pillar to which he had tied his prisoners. Taking Sasha by the hand, The Doctor fled deeper into the darkness toward the door that the Ogron had come in by. Any attempt to open any other door would create noise that would echo round the largest enclosed space in Europe. For the moment though, the only sound came from a short, muscular ape-like creature at a loss as to what to do next. Then The Doctor tripped over a dismantled coupling rod, bringing Sasha down with him in a flurry of screams to the merciless concrete floor.

Along the line of tender and bunker buffers now towering over them, The Doctor twitched round to see the outline of the Ogron in the distance, fine hairs haloed in the moonlight around the dark silhouette of its panting form. Shuffling forward again, it broke into a run toward them. Sasha buried her head in the chest of The Doctor as he tried to lift his arm to save them. The slap of the Ogron’s leather soled boots on oil stained concrete now crashed about their ears, when suddenly a dozen overhead electric lights buzzed into luminescence. Voices, chatter, even shouts competed for their eardrums and with a mighty clang the Ogron fell headlong on the floor, smacking its head against the very coupling rod that had tripped his quarry up.

"It’s all right boss," came a Wiltshire accent "we’ve killed the big monkey for you!"

  The Captain reached out a sucker cup to the tracker ball in the console and energised the memory banks of Dalek Assault Cruiser Beta Major directly to his central nervous system. The data had to be in there somewhere, hidden among the maze of symbols, drawings, words and pictures. Files of every description flew before the dalek’s palpitating brain.

Basic programming… destroy inferior beings.. ultimate victory to the Dalek race… technical description of Beta Major… Captain to pilot the ship.. under the supervision of gold coloured Dalek Supreme.. Scientific Elite of six silver Daleks…two hundred grey Dalek space marines and a cadre of ten expendable Ogron soldiers for access beyond Dalek range… mission profile..attack Celestial Auction House..locate galactic co-ordinates of planets suitable for conquest.

The Captain shuddered again as the eye stalk footage of the attack played again. First the successful wave of space marines rolling down the ramp and blasting off the doors of the Auction House – stewards flailing and twitching, positive and negative as the blue rays found their mark. Then a second rank of stewards advancing, this time with squash head rounds of plastic explosive splatting from their guns. Then the screams of Dalek entities being liquified as the innards of their casings imploded – shards of dalekanium stabbing into green naked flesh. One eye-stalk lingered on the Dalek Supreme, screaming its undying love for the Emporer as its rotating lid blew off.

Then came the shameful capitulation. Remaining ship’s company to be placed in suspended animation except for Captain, two scientific Daleks and the Ogrons. Ship’s memory banks to be copied for sale to the highest bidder – Skaro thus exposed to invasion – as an insurance against any further hostile Dalek act. Then the ultimatum of the Chief Auctioneer. Bid for a planet, conquer it and return with its subjugation for resale. And only if the profit exceeded the initial bid would Beta Major and its crew be freed to roam the galaxy. And then only to return to Skaro in the triumph of new conquest, never in the shame that would bring instant death.

The Captain knew the gamble, but the Chief Auctioneer did not suspect his plan for vengeance. Then he came across the file that he was looking for. "The Oncoming Storm…The Time Lord known as The Doctor.."

  "Who are you?" asked the Nurse

"No, who are you?" The men insisted, " Start making sense or the old man gets it!"

"Leave him alone!" pleaded Dave as The Nurse backed the bath chair away from the lift doors " He’s George Jackson Churchward, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Western Railway"

"Yeah, and I’m Christina Aguillera!" yelled the man with his arm up Churchward’s back, "What is going on here? Who are the thugs that grabbed us? Why were we rounded up and brought here through that tunnel of light? What is it that you want?"

"Calm down, calm down" began The Nurse, disarmingly," I’m The Nurse and this patient is someone else who’s been brought here. He got hit on the head by one of the thugs – they’re called Ogrons by the way – and this really is George Jackson Churchward and it’s time he had his medication. Stand aside please boys!"

With that, the energy pistols pointing at her not withstanding, The Nurse walked up to Churchward and injected his neck with a hypodermic syringe she had secreted in her apron pocket. Churchward immediately collapsed in the arms of the two men.

"Look", The Nurse continued, pulling down Churchward’s high tab collar, " The Ogron’s boss has had him microchipped so that he obeys orders, but now he’s out for the count we can free all your friends."

"Well, they’re not our friends exactly," said one of the men, hastily pocketing their pistols, "We all just happened to be together at one time when these Ogron things forced us into a terraced house. Then we found ourselves outside here but the tunnel of light started collapsing. We grabbed these ray guns off the fake tanned soap dodgers and got away. Then we found.. who do you say he was?"

"Churchward – of the Great Western – locomotive designer." answered Dave.

"I’ve heard of him" said the other man "He’s dead!"

"Not here he isn’t," The Nurse interrupted, " But another man will be if we don’t get out of here and find him now. Dave, get out of the bath chair and let’s put Mr Churchward in it. What do they call youse two back in 2007?"

"Er, Sanjeev"

"And my name’s Barry"

"Then let’s all get in the lift and I’ll fill you in on the way to A Shop"

  "Lucky I had my big spanner on me to knock his legs out from under him – or you two would never have seen the Circus again. What was the matter with him? Didn’t he like his banana?"

The Doctor and Sasha looked up to see a crowd of laughing workmen standing above their tumbled forms.

"And if you’re chasing a monkey back to your organ ever again, best not bring Eskimo Nell in here in the dark – you could have done yourselves a nasty mischief , especially with all the power cuts we’ve been having lately!" continued the man with the big spanner, helping The Doctor and Sasha to their feet.

"Eskimo Nell?" enquired The Doctor "Oh, the fur lined anorak and…yeah… Circus, which one’s that now?"

"You tell me boss!" continued the man in his broad Wiltshire twang, " You’re the one from the circus train just come up from London. Just had a call from the shed master at Old Oak Common. Seems the 2-8-0 on the front wasn’t oiled properly this morning. We’ve got to back the whole train into the yard and check it over for hot axleboxes before we get started erecting in here."

"You’re building at night?"

"Mr Churchward’s orders and our Double Time! Won’t take long to put the plates on The Great Bear over there though. We’ll give you a hand with that dead monkey first though. Big beast ain’t he! And what’s that he’s got tucked in his belt?"

"I wouldn’t touch that if I were…"


The Doctor spun round to see Dave calling out to him as he hobbled alongside Barry, Sanjeev and The Nurse as they approached along the row of tenders. Sasha turned to face the newcomers as well.

"Barry? Sanjeev? What are you doing here? Were you grabbed by the Ogrons?" she cried out.

Barry and Sanjeev both looked at each other quizzically, as Dave looked back at Sasha.

"Yes, I do know you all." riposted Sasha," Business is business."

"And I know you as well Doctor John Smith – explaining a dead alien to someone somewhere where you shouldn’t be!" The Nurse rejoined.

The Doctor looked at The Nurse in disbelief.

"Well don’t just stand there with your gob open, la," The Nurse continued, " Warra we gonna do about these Ogrons like?"

"Are all of you from the circus train?" asked the man with the spanner, " Only Mr Churchward won’t like it if…"

"Mr Churchward won’t be going anywhere for a while now I’ve sedated him – and while he’s out of action let’s get them Ogron scallies sorted! Did youse know they put a microchip in his neck so he’s under their control? Barry and Sanjeev here were going to get the same but they escaped – only the Ogrons thought it was you and your friends Doctor. Doctor, say something."

"You said you were going out to buy a record – and you were a brunette then!"

"Yeah, and you’ve had a few regenerations since as well!"

"Look," Sanjeev interjected " I’m sorry to break up a domestic but we and about two hundred other.., well, other men ..have been brought here against our will by friends of that thing on the floor. I don’t know if this really is Swindon Works in the year 1907…"

"It is!" rejoined the man with the spanner and his workmates.

"Well, assuming it is, all these .. fellow men ..who just happened to be in modern Swindon on the same day are being taken to somewhere called Z shop and not coming out again."

"Z Shops’s what Mr Churchward’s calling the old carriage shed round by the condemned stock sidings. Nobody from here’s allowed in there, but it’s where they made the castings for The Great Bear and that last lot of tank engines." added the man with the spanner. "Once they were shunted in on a flat wagon we just rivetted them together according to the plans we was given!"

"Plans!", The Doctor ejaculated, "Whatever’s going on here there must be some clues in the Drawing Office. You say that all the parts came in on a flat wagon? Sorry, I didn’t ask your name!"

"I’m the Foreman here – my name is Clary. And yes, there is a direct track from there to here."

"So Mr Clary, could you take that 2-8-0 with the dodgy axleboxes off the circus train and use it to shunt The Great Bear here so it’s facing the doors of Z shop?"

"Well, yes, I suppose. Might take a bit of doing though!"

"Well could you do that please? Barry and Sanjeev will stay here with you along with.."

"If you’re calling yourself The Doctor now, I’m called The Nurse"

"OK, The Nurse. Dave, you seem to know a bit about the Great Western Railway, you come with me and Sasha to the Drawing Office. I’ve got a plan of my own!"

  "One..two..three..uhhh" The Ogron stopped pointing its finger for a moment at the collection of its own fellow creatures.

"Silence" barked the silver dalek " Even with one eye I can see that there are only seven of you. The last consignment of slave workers was also two human beings short. Explain yourself!"

"Master," the Ogron began "The temporal transporter malfunctioned. We Ogrons were blinded by the light. Two of the humans from the Twenty-First Century escaped. We sent one of our squad to recapture them. But now three of us are missing"

"Where are these squad members now?"

"I don’t know master!"

"Where are the escaped prisoners?"

"I don’t know either master!"

"Then go and find them!"

"Yes master!"

"And shut the door on your way out. Z shop security must not be compromised!"

As the latch snapped shut in the small inset door, the other silver dalek glided out from the shadows to join its comrade.

"Contact with Chief Mechanical Engineer is still negative. His microprocessor is engaged but he seems to be asleep! Humans under his command in Drawing Office continue working"

"Continue efforts to arouse him"

  As quick as a flash, Sasha opened her anorak in front of the serried ranks of draughtsmen. But barely had she cried "Well hello boys!" and barely had they all looked up as one to see her when The Doctor bounded into the room, his sonic screwdriver emitting a high pitched pulse. The draughtsmen, with a range of skin tones and haircuts improbable for their Edwardian shirts and collars, began to collapse upon their drawing boards.

"Is it safe to come in now?" enquired Dave, peering round the Drawing Office door.

"It should be, thanks to Sasha," The Doctor replied. "They’re all in a temporary form of shock. The only chance I had of disabling them all together was to get them thinking the same thing at once and then disrupt the signal their chips were sending back to the things that put them there."

"Those Ogron scientists that Churchward was reporting to?"

"Scientists yes. But not Ogrons. Ogrons are just guard dogs for a much greater intelligence. An intelligence that killed both my family and that of The Nurse. A warped, twisted intelligence called The Daleks."

"The Nurse and The Doctor eh?" smiled Sasha, raising an auburn eyebrow

"We’ve work to do," replied The Doctor, curtly, " Why would the Daleks come here and now? What good would building the World’s most advanced railway locomotive do them? Or for that matter kidnapping hundreds of men from the future to work here and in Z Shop?"

"Perhaps it’s to do with raw materials, " suggested Dave. "The Drawing Office Requisition Book was open on Churchward’s desk. He’s personally signed off several hundred tons of brass, copper, steel – and even titanium alloy! That stuff shouldn’t even be used in aerospace before the 1950s!"

"Does it say where it’s being smelted?"

"No, but there is a pencil note in the margin – "Titanium ore to be sent in packing cases direct from Port of Bristol to Z shop. Order Traffic Department to use any currently idle rolling stock"

"I told Phineas Barnum that the Lumiere brothers were out to get him" mused The Doctor "But still, why here and now? Look, here’s a telegram from the London & North Western Railway at Stafford about two steam powered megawatt generator sets arriving tomorrow. That temporal transporter – the tunnel of light – that Barry and Sanjeev told you about is obviously using too much power for the exisiting works supply. Hence the power cuts Mr Clary mentioned too. And how about this Dave, an electric flanged wheel catapult design for six hundred miles an hour!"

"Well the motors look big enough, but it’s only got three miles of cable drum on the back!"

"Precisely – just enough to fling a Dalek Major Class Assault Cruiser far enough along the line to Didcot to get it airborne – oh, and is this their holiday brochure?"

"I can’t read the writing, but Churchward’s done a lovely isometric drawing from the pictures – shadows under the chairs and everything!"

"I know, I went there once. It’s the Celestial Auction House on Alpha Centauri. The beings look vaguely human but they scan space for artificial radio transmissions and sell vulnerable planets to civilisations too lazy to look for them alone. Credit where it’s due though. Marconi’s only been at it for six years. "

Sasha hadn’t been listening to the conversation, but held up one of the blueprints that she had been searching through and said

"This is a funny looking train. It’s all tall and knobbly"

"That’s because it’s a dalek"

"So they’re some kind of robot intelligence?" quizzed Dave

"Almost – what’s been drawn here is just the outer casing – a life support system for the venomous creature inside that only sees with one eye, works with one sucker arm and thinks it can rule the Universe with that ray gun."

"Not as smart as this dalek then," said Sasha, hoding up another plan. "Girls didn’t do much CDT at our school but isn’t that two eyes, two arms and two guns someone’s drawn here."

"Someone’s been thinking outside the box." intoned The Doctor.

"Or in the box as well." Dave added, glancing at yet more drawings "If this contraption here in Z Shop is an engine testing rig then I’m Bristolian. What’s with all the restraining clamps and surgical knives? Doctor? What do you know about this?"

The Doctor was silent for a moment, then took the blueprint from Dave, folded it several times and placed it in his jacket pocket.

"I know now we’ve got to get inside Z shop." He at last replied " But first we’ll have to take a chance and barricade the draughtsmen in here while we make some alterations to the temporal transporter!"

  The first bolt from an Ogron energy pistol whizzed into the roof of A Shop, showering sparks and flakes of paintwork from an overhead girder. The next one hit the driver of the 2-8-0 as he leaned out of his cab to check that the rear of his engine was coupled to the rear of The Great Bear. He fell back on to his footplate while his fireman jumped clear on the other side and joined Foreman Clary and his night shift workers huddled behind a partly dismantled pannier tank. Barry and Sanjeev, positioned astutely by The Nurse on each side of the full height doors at the western end of the erecting shop, were able to pick off two of the assailants. But five more squat figures were defined by their firepower in the foggy moonlit darkness outside. Barry and Sanjeev continued to fire back.

Avoiding the pool of thick Ogron blood now congealing round the connecting rod on the floor, the Doctor hardly broke his stride as he pulled the pistol from the waistband of the fallen soldier and ran towards the fight. Dave and Sasha followed close behind.

"Party started without us eh? " he called to The Nurse, sheltering behind a tender.

"Oh Doctor, we’re outnumbered," she replied " But you always said how much you hated killing. And there’s a man on that other engine injured now."

"Have the points been set for the headshunt?"

"The what?"

"Have they prepared the track so the engines can do a three point turn?"

"Earm, yeah, Mr Clary was just standing out there ready when the Ogrons turned up!

How fast can you run in that long skirt?"

"Fast enough!"

"And how about climbing?"


"Well you take the pistol and use it if the Ogrons get inside here. I’ve got to get aboard that 2-8-0 and get the two engines moving. Dave, are you willing to come with me?"

"Yes Doctor"

"And I will, too" Sasha bravely volunteered.

The Doctor pondered for a moment, then said "OK, let’s roll!"

Narrowly missing two pistol shots as they ran into the Ogron’s line of fire, The Doctor and Dave hauled Sasha aboard the footplate of the big freight engine. Seeing the driver lying dazed but alive on the cross-hatched metal floor, Sasha cradled him in her arms while Dave tugged the regulator open. A staccato blast of steam shook the ceiling as the locomotive lurched forwards, dragging The Great Bear with it and almost throwing The Doctor off the pile of coal in the tender. Then Sasha turned and screamed. An Ogron was climbing up to the footplate after them but The Doctor quickly prodded him off with the fireman’s shovel before grabbing the steam lance from its rack on the tender and squirting scalding steam over both sides. Screaming in pain, the remaining Ogrons dropped their weapons and fell to the ballast on either side of the track.

"Dave, we’re past the points to Z Shop and nearly up to the buffer stops." Called The Doctor from his coal-heap viewpoint, " What about reverse"

"And for once it won’t cost you ten pounds extra!" added Sasha.

Shutting off the steam, Dave - remembering all the books that he had ever read on Great Western Railway locomotives - found the reversing lever. He then selected the setting that would let the two locomotives travel either back where they had come from or curve north to the forbidding bulk of Z Shop. The two iron leviathans rolled gently to a halt, and Dave helped Sasha guide the wounded engine driver down the footplate steps to safety.

"Now go back and tell me when you’ve thrown the points, Dave" commanded The Doctor, now standing on the footplate with his hand on the regulator, "Then get the others together and follow me. This train is going to run on time!"

  "Report anomaly!" commanded the Captain, confronting the two silver daleks on the floor of their laboratory in Z shop.

"Data uplink to Drawing Office has been electronically disrupted!"

"Has uplink to human slave Churchward been restored?"


"Have Ogrons recaptured escaped prisoners?"


"Confirm location of remaining Ogrons?"


"Remaining operational sensors aboard Beta Major indicate discharge of energy weapons and unauthorised locomotive movements in the vicinity of A Shop. Were you aware of this?"


"Have you investigated the warping of the space time continuum which affected the work of the temporal transporter?"


"Have you recharged your life support systems from the Works main supply in the last six hours?"

"Affirmative, but the voltage was on the lower acceptable limit!"

"Have you heard of The Oncoming Storm, the inhabitant of Gallifrey who has thwarted Dalek plans...""

The Captain’s tirade was drowned out by the rhythmic panting of a steam locomotive, a shrill whistle and the dalekanium reinforced doors of Z shop being thunderously flattened by the front end of The Great Bear. The equally dalekanium reinforced pacific continued past the dalek trio deep into the nether regions of Z shop, smashing all equipment in its path, until the cab of the 2-8-0 slowed down and stopped beside them.

"Time flies by when you’re the driver of the train!" announced The Doctor, cheerfully, from the cab, "but it must drag for you daleks, stuck on this little planet!"

"Exterminate!" yelled the daleks in unison, a volley of death rays extruding from their weapons toward the cab of the 2-8-0. Some of the brass strip around the edge fell off, but otherwise little damage was effected.

"Missed!" taunted The Doctor, picking himself from the footplate of his metal shelter, " And I bet you can’t hit me a second time either!"

As The Doctor once more ducked, one of the silver daleks fired another shot, warming up the cabside plate a little. Then, from just below the eyestalk, a wisp of acrid smoke became a billow.

"Malfunction!" shrilled the dalek, "Life support circuits overheating, cooling pump inoperative! Help me! Help me! Captain help…"

The silver dalek then exploded, splattering its comrades with green organic gunk. They turned to face The Doctor, eyestalks twitching.

"Call yourself a Captain?" asked The Doctor, climbing down from the locomotive to what remained of the smooth floor of Z shop. "In most civilisations the Captain is the last one off his sinking ship. The one who leads his troops into battle or throws himself on a grenade to save the rest of his platoon. But I’ve been in the Drawing Office. I’ve seen the plans. Especially this one!"

The Doctor pulled the blueprint from his pocket, unfolded the matt, mottled paper and threw it on the floor in front of the two remaining daleks. Their eyestalks hung in what looked very much like shame.

"That’s the sort of thing Cybermen do isn’t it! Bad enough that you take slaves from the future of this planet. Bad enough that you get Ogrons, Ogrons who aren’t fit – or bright enough - to tie the shoelaces of mankind, to stick mind control chips the necks of the poor unfortunates. Even worse that when they have finished work on a new batch of dalek casings that they are cut up into bits and their brains stuffed into the contraptions on an automated production line. But worst of all that those trainee daleks wouldn’t even live long enough to even realise what they had become. What happened on Alpha Centauri?"

"Daleks.." began The Captain, shakily " were defeated by..sup.. superior firepower of Celestial Auction House. Dalek Supreme was exterminated. As senior Dalek I gave the order to cease firing. I thought that we could trick the Chief Auctioneer. That we could pretend to buy a planet. That we could regroup forces and return to victory for The Emporer. Then you arrived."

"That’s right blame The Oncoming Storm. Nothing to do with your tactics then?"


"Well you didn’t have a hope did you? Not just two science officers and a transport captain who can’t even read a map. I mean, you picked the finest period in its history - but Swindon! Not London, Washington or Berlin."

"Galactic co-ordinates were incorrect. Celestial Auction House cannot be trusted. You would not buy a used spacecraft from those beings!"

"Trust? Hah! All the times that you daleks betrayed the trust of your supposed allies. All because you had to be the dominant species of the Universe. Credit where it’s due, the catapult sled thing was quite elegant and The Great Bear was about to pay off, but I suppose it was also your idea to build an army of super daleks to wreak vengeance for your dead comrades?"


"With twice the vision, manipulating capacity and firepower! They would have been invincible!"

"And the heavy brass casings would have drained life support power cells twice as fast when you can barely recharge yourselves. You didn’t think of that, did you? And you didn’t realise that in a hundred years from now most British men wouldn’t have a clue how to turn metal, plumb piping or build anything that didn’t have Swedish instructions and an Allen key – even if they did have the means, motive and opportunity to misbehave a little. They belong to the age of playstations and mobile phones. Which reminds me, have you heard of Wi-fi?"

"This was a Dalek invention. Computers linked by radio to become invincible!"

"Well I’m so glad. When I finally discovered the temporal transporter portal equipment – I liked the water crane disguise by the way – I just couldn’t help getting out the old sonic screwdriver and making some adjustments. You had it on wide beam for a measly hundred years. I’ve got it on narrow band now, beaming all of your computer files and communications for thousands of light years across the galaxy. And what a bunch of idiots you’ll look to anyone who can listen."

"And I have heard enough!" came another voice from the gloom

The Captain and the silver dalek spun round on their axes. Approaching them from behind was another, very different, dalek. Wider than usual and mainly painted malachite green with brass and copper fittings, two ray gun sponsons swivelled on each side of a pair of independent sucker arms while a long binocular appendage twitched angrily on the lid.

"Two hundred of us!" the rasping voice continued. "two hundred of us dead for nothing. Two hundred families with missing husbands, sons and brothers. I’m the only one that isn’t rotting on that production line of yours. I’m the only human conversion experiment that worked! You regret not dying in a blaze of glory? Well, here’s your second chance!"

The green dalek fired both its guns at once, blowing deadly holes in the casings of both the Captain and its silver sidekick before itself beginning to smoke and die too as its life support system overheated.

"Doctor!" came The Nurse’s voice from behind him, "We would have been here sooner but we’ve got the Ogrons eliminated now. Earm, are daleks supposed to be that big and green?"

"Feast your eyes. It’s the one and only Great Western Railway one and now it has turned and destroyed its worthless coward of a creator."

"Oh, and I’ve managed to get the microchips off the necks of the fellahs in the Drawing Office. They don’t remember anything, but Mr Clary did say you’d want to see Mr Churchward’s design for a steam railcar running on hydrogen peroxide. Apparently there was a big tank of it stored in this building that The Great Bear might have ruptured as you ram raided your way in here"

"And it doesn’t mix well with brass! Let’s get out now"

The explosion razed what remained of Z Shop, and showered the two Gallifreyans with splinters of glass as they ran behind a provender wagon parked outside and held each other tight.

  "Crane Engine 16 "Hercules" 0-6-4 Tank. A very useful and special type of locomotive with crane, built at Swindon, and intended for working in yards where heavy loads have to be lifted. The cylinders are placed inside the frames and water is carried in the "Pannier" tanks. The company possesses three of these engines named "Hercules", "Cyclops" and "Steropes". The total weight in working order is 63 1/2 tons and the crane is lifting anything from 6 to 9 tons. The crane is worked by a separate donkey engine."  
  "Crane Engine 16 "Hercules" 0-6-4 Tank. A very useful and special type of locomotive with crane, built at Swindon, and intended for working in yards where heavy loads have to be lifted. The cylinders are placed inside the frames and water is carried in the "Pannier" tanks. The company possesses three of these engines named "Hercules", "Cyclops" and "Steropes". The total weight in working order is 63 1/2 tons and the crane is lifting anything from 6 to 9 tons. The crane is worked by a separate donkey engine."  
  "Well Doctor, it’s a beautiful sunlit Swindon morning in 1907" said Dave "I wish I had my camera. But now that Barry, Sanjeev and the men from the Drawing Office have gone back through the temporal transporter it’s time for us to go as well. Can’t hog all the electricity from the Works now, can we?"

"And you’ll want to get back and find you coat with my sixty quid in it" added Sasha

"That reminds me," replied The Doctor, " to show my gratitude for all your help, I’ve got some presents for you. Mr Clary says that as George Jackson Churchward is still in the sick bay and thinks he just fell off his stool a week a ago, he won’t miss these!"

The Doctor opened the sack cloth package laid out on two wooden trestles between the Great Western main line, the still-shining portal of the temporal transporter and the re-located TARDIS. Inside were the curved name and square number-plates of The Great Bear. Dave, then Sasha, gasped.

"One set for you each" The Doctor "To hang on your railway room wall or sell at auction as you see fit. I’m sure Dave will be the gentleman and carry them for you Sasha, they are rather heavy."

"Thank you Doctor, wow, they must be worth at least ten thousand each!"

"Oh, and as you might have a cash flow problem with your tickets, the post-it note on the front is really slightly psychic paper. Show it to any train conductor and he’ll think it’s a valid all line rail rover!"

"Doctor, if my hands weren’t full I’d hug you!"

"So I’ll do it for him." added Sasha, wrapping her arms around the Time Lord and pecking him on the cheek " I thank you as well. And if you ever come back to Swindon in 2007.."

"Understood! And good luck to you both!"

Then, in the blink of an eye, Dave and Sasha were back where they belonged. The transporter portal dimmed to standby and then switched off forever.

"Ah Doctor, there you are!" boomed Mr Clary, "You’ll be pleased to know that the Works Fire Brigade have finished damping down Z Shop. No harm done to the rest of the buildings, but a crying shame about the men that died. So unnecessary that!"

"Absolutely", replied The Doctor, as a Star Class 4-6-0 named "Knight of the Black Eagle" trundled a train of chocolate and cream carriages toward Swindon station, "So totally unnecessary, Still, it teaches us to value all the lives we have eh?"

"That’s right Doctor. And you’ll be pleased to know that my lads will be recovering all the brass, copper and steel from Z shop for use in future locomotives. Waste not, want not and all that. Mind you, there was so little dalekanium left in their flying battleship by the time the hydrogen peroxide tank went up that it collapsed like an eggshell!"

"Stressed skin construction" explained The Doctor, "just wouldn’t work without the stiffening members"

"Well, I don’t reckon it will ever catch on round here in my lifetime!" chortled Mr Clary, " But we thought that maybe you could use this camera gadget on your TARDIS."

The Doctor took the blackened metal box with its bulbous lens attachment and smiled back at its donor.

"Thank you very much Mr Clary. It’s a spatial mapping processor. It will need a bit of jiggery pokery of course but it should help me navigate round planetary surfaces in future. What the daleks did for us eh? Oh, and thank you for moving the TARDIS here and filling up the stabiliser circuits with fresh mercury. They all check out fine now!"

"A pleasure to be of service – our crane tank driver gets some practice and the brake gauge engineers don’t mind a bit. In fact I’ve had our best carpenters sort those doors out for you. I hope you don’t mind but they took the liberty of adding a little brass plaque saying "Repaired Swindon Works Great Western Railway 1907." It’s our way of saying thank you. And stripping down a pannier tank will never seem the same again!"

"Mr Clary, I’m touched and honoured. What can I say"

The Doctor reached out to shake the foreman’s hand.


The two men looked up to see The Nurse standing next to them, blonde hair and crisp white blouse shining in the morning sunlight.

"I was wondering like… could we spend some time together and, you know, catch up on things. If you’re not too busy like?"

"Why not?" replied The Doctor, smiling. "I still want to hear about you ordering the seven inch of "My Bonny" in North End Music Stores and Brian Epstein inviting you round to meet The Beatles. In fact, come with me now to The Scilly Isles and there will definitely be a saveloy in it for you!"

The Doctor held the door of the TARDIS open and the followed The Nurse inside.

  "Engine No. 4016 "Knight of the Golden Fleece" 4-6-0 Four-cylinder. One of a very powerful type of six-coupled or ten-wheeler with four cylinders used to a large extent on the system, working some of the heaviest and fastest express trains in the country. They are fitted with all the modern GWR standard improvements and haul heavy expresses between Paddington (London), Bristol, Plymouth, Cardiff and Wolverhampton. They are capable of very high speeds. Built at Swindon, the total weight of the engine and tender in working order is 115 1/2 tons."  
  "Engine No. 4016 "Knight of the Golden Fleece" 4-6-0 Four-cylinder. One of a very powerful type of six-coupled or ten-wheeler with four cylinders used to a large extent on the system, working some of the heaviest and fastest express trains in the country. They are fitted with all the modern GWR standard improvements and haul heavy expresses between Paddington (London), Bristol, Plymouth, Cardiff and Wolverhampton. They are capable of very high speeds. Built at Swindon, the total weight of the engine and tender in working order is 115 1/2 tons."