Worn Out

One morning Duck was working at Arlesburgh Junction. He was loading trucks with ballast. Rex was bringing the ballast to the ballast chute at the junction. “Morning Duck,” he said cheerfully as he shunted his trucks to be unloaded. “You look tired, and isn’t even noon.” “Its been a busy morning,” replied Duck. “I came from working at Arlesburgh Harbour.” Duck began shunting the empty trucks under the chute. Ballast poured into the trucks. They were soon loaded. “After these trucks are in the siding I’ll go to pull passenger trains,” said Duck. He puffed away.

He arrived at Arlesburgh station. His slip coaches were already at the platform. Duck backed down onto them and was coupled up. Moments later the guard blew his whistle and Duck pulled out of the station.

Duck flew down the line. The slip coaches were worried about him. Duck hadn’t said a single word since they’d left. “Are you alright?” asked one of the slip coaches. “You’ve been quiet,” added another. “Just got work on my ind, that’s all,” assured Duck. They approached the first station. Duck blew his whistle to alert the guard. The guard uncoupled the rear coach. Duck thundered the station. Seconds later the coach came to a stop at the platform.

That evening Duck was glad to return to his shed at Arlesburgh. “What a day,” he said in relief. His friends could see that Duck looked tired. “Did you take any breaks today?” asked Oliver politely. “Only to refuel on coal and water,” said Duck. Before anyone else could say anything Duck was asleep.

The next day his driver looked him over before they left for work. “Its been a while since you were inspected,” he said thoughtfully, “maybe some time today we stop by the Steamworks so you can be inspected.” “If there’s time,” said Duck worriedly. “I need to be a really useful engine.” His driver pondred this for a moment. “Well, maybe when your not busy,” he said at last.

Duck’s first job was working at Arlesburgh Harbour. He shunted trucks intp place and got them loaded. Engines came to collect and deliver cargo. Skiff was waiting for his first tour round the harbour. “Morning Duck,” he said cheerfully. “Sorry Skiff,” called Duck. “Can’t stop to talk. Got lots to do.”

His next job was to deliver some coal trucks to Arlesburgh Junction. He was coupled and puffed away. He was soon clanking down the line. He neared a level crossing. The gates were open for him to pass. Just as he entered trouble happened. His front left wheel broke. His driver and fireman jumped clear with seconds to spare.As Duck fell, he brought down some of his coal trucks.

Harvey and Jerome and Judy came to help clean up the mess. Duck was loaded onto a flatbed. Oliver came to take away the coal trucks, while Harvey took him to the Steamworks.

When they arrived Victor was pleased to see him. “Its been a long time since you were here,” he said kindly. “Now, what happened.” “His wheel broke,” said Harvey. Duck was lifted onto the hoist and raised so the workmen could inspect the damage. Harvey and the cranes left. “He needs a new wheel Victor,” said a workmen. “His old one is worn out. Best to inspect the others.” The workmen were surprised to find that the other wheels needed repairs too. “Why didn’t you come in for inspections?” asked Victor. “I thought I needed to be working hard and didn’t have time,” said Duck sadly. “Duck,” said Victor in a gentle voice, “you may be a hard worker, but you must know that its important to take care of yourself, so you can be really useful.”

Several days later Duck returned to work. Throughout the day, he took breaks when needed, and when he returned home that night to his shed at Arlesburgh, Oliver was glad to see Duck wasn’t worn out at all.

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