On a short railway track between villages high up in the mountains, there used to run an old Motor Coach. It was a slow and chugging little train, but back then, it didn’t need to go fast anyway.
Most of the passengers were families with kids, taking a trip into the mountains, and they always enjoyed the peaceful ride – most of all the children. They loved looking out of the windows and watching the beautiful countryside rolling behind and below them.
The higher the Motor Coach went, the lovelier the views were. There were cows grazing on the mountainside, little blue ponds teeming with fish near the track, and the ruins of a castle - which perhaps used to be the seat of a great king from ancient times? Here and there they saw light-brown does with their little fawns. It was a spectacular and scenic route.
But times change, and they also get faster. High-speed trains have started taking over the railways. People on these trains travel from one place to another so quickly, they don’t even have time to enjoy the ride. These trains move so fast, the countryside outside is nothing more than a green and brown blurred smudge.
Our little Motor Coach was going out for fewer and fewer rides, until it finally had to retire altogether. No one wanted to ride it anymore.
“What should we do with this useless old train?”
“Just put it in the depot,” said one of the railwaymen, sealing the train’s fate without a speck of gratitude.
Just so you know, kids, a depot is a place where trains go to have a rest. It’s where the mechanics take care of the trains so that they can safely take us wherever we need to go. But since no one wanted to ride the poor Motor Coach anymore, they put it into the deepest, darkest corner. It had to quietly watch all the egoistic high-speed trains from there.
“Why have they even put you here?! You’re just taking up space. They should have dismantled you and used the few useful parts to build a new high-speed train,” sniffed one towards the corner.
“A new high-speed train? From that? Bah! I wouldn’t want a single screw from that old wreck!” snorted another.
“Right you are! There’s absolutely no use for it at all. It’s just getting in our way,” sneered the super-modern high-speed train at the Motor Coach.
The poor old thing just reversed deeper in the corner as far as it could go. It was out of everyone’s sight, out of everyone’s way. And it was very, very sad. But luckily, someone arrived who wasn’t indifferent to the old train’s fate. Someone who would take it under their wing.
“Oh, I remember you!” exclaimed an old mechanic, with a bristly beard and a walrus mustache. He was in charge of the trains in this depot.
“When I was a little boy, my parents often took me for trips into the mountains. I loved those trips. And you were the one who always carried us up there. Thank you for that, little fellow,” said the old mechanic, patting the rusty plates of the Motor Coach.
“I’ll tell you what. Let’s put you back together, good as new,” said the old man and he ran off to get an oil can.
“Why do you bother? It’s a waste of time,” smirked his colleagues when they saw him tending to the old train. “It’s not going anywhere, probably not ever again.”
“Maybe not, but there was a time when it brought people joy. It deserves my respect, because I spent some wonderful times on it,” replied the old man while he was oiling up the rusty parts of the train.
They weren’t listening to him, though. They were busy racing to get their high-speed trains ready for their next journey.
Days passed, and our little Motor Coach wasn’t feeling so alone or sad anymore, because the old man visited him every evening after work. The man spoke about the old days they had spent together, all those years ago.
The Motor Coach enjoyed listening to the mechanic’s tales. It remembered all of the beautiful places it used to visit so often, back when it was still running on the track.
One day, a terrible storm came. The howling wind uprooted trees, blocking the roads. Cars and buses had no way to get people to work and children to school. “We need to get the high-speed trains to the closed places and help clear the roads,” suggested the mechanics.
But tall, heavy trees had torn down the power lines with their branches, and the super-fast high-speed trains couldn’t leave the depot.
“I’ve got an idea,” said the old mechanic, scratching his bristly, bearded chin. Up on a mountain, not far from the depot, there was a powerline company.
“I’ll take the old Motor Coach to get the linemen. They can fix the power lines so that we can use the high-speed trains to help others,” he explained. “That’s a great idea,” admitted his colleagues. Even the high-speed trains grumbled in agreement.
And so, after a very, very long time, the Motor Coach was finally back on the track. And since the old mechanic had taken such good care of it, the train was in great shape. They rode without a hitch.
Sometimes there were broken branches, or even a fallen tree over the tracks, but the little train just pushed them aside without even breaking a sweat. At last, it climbed up the mountainside, picked up the linemen and rode back to the valley to let them fix the powerline.
Once they were done, the high-speed trains were finally able to ride out to transport the people and the children, while heavy machinery cleared up the fallen trees from the roads.
“Thank you, Motor Coach. You really helped us out today. We couldn’t have done it without you,” admitted one of the high-speed trains when they were back in the depot after an exhausting day. “We promise we won’t ever laugh at you again.”
“You did a great job,” said another. They all rolled their wheels in unison.
“There’s no need to thank me. After all, we all need to help each other, don’t we?” answered the Motor Coach with a humble smile.