Good evening everyone we hope you are well and staying safe.
Over the next few months we’ll be doing an occasional series on various aspects of Thomas and life on Sodor. Tonight’s subject are one of the busier items of rolling stock on Sodor, the Breakdown cranes and train.
A breakdown crane is a vehicle used to to lift and rerail engines, carriages and wagons that are derailed in accidents. A breakdown train is an assortment of vehicles that are used to assist the crane. These vehicles are usually wagons to carry damaged vehicles away and to carry fuel for the crane if it is steam powered. Other vehicles are jib runner wagons to carry the crane’s jib, and coaches to carry tools and equipment and wooden packing pieces. Some breakdown trains also include a coach with beds for the workmen to sleep in and a kitchen to cook meals. This vehicle known as a Mess Van is used if the workmen are going to be at an accident for a long time.
As you can see from the pictures below the Sodor cranes appear to be based on prototypes from the great Eastern railway and Cowans Sheldon.
When first invented breakdown cranes were worked using hand operated winches eventually steam power took over and the weight that cranes could lift increased from small amounts of 1-10 tons gradually increasing up to 45-50 and then to around 75 tons.
These days in most places if a crane is required at an accident or derailment a huge road crane is used rather than a breakdown crane. However the fat controller obviously still sees the crane’s on Sodor as vitally important pieces of equipment especially since Rocky came to the island and helps deal with bigger accidents.
If you have any questions about breakdown cranes or anything else to do with Sodor please get in touch.
(None of the photos in this article are mine and have all been found on the internet )