‘The Railway of Time’ – Introduction

the railway of time

Welcome to my first ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘The Railway of Time’.

By 2009, I was well into watching both classic and new series ‘Doctor Who’ DVDs and enjoying the Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’, especially with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton as the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. In the summer, while on holiday in Monmouth with my parents, I had the inspired idea to write a ‘Doctor Who’ story.

I knew I wanted to write one with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, who became my favourite TARDIS team, but I couldn’t work out what I wanted to write about. After a nice day-trip to a steam railway museum and an actual steam train ride, I soon came up with the idea of writing a story about an old steam train travelling through time.

I soon formed my own synopsis and the story became ‘The Railway of Time’ with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. It was to be a four-part adventure. This story is a marriage of three loves – ‘Doctor Who’; Nyssa of Traken and steam railways which I loved going back to from my childhood days of watching ‘Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends’.

I was also inspired by the historical period of the conversion of steam railways into electrical-powered engines and Dr Richard Beeching’s involvement (as seen in the BBC sitcom ‘Oh, Doctor Beeching!’ which I also watched while writing this story). It was fun to write about steam trains and railways and I feel I want to go on one now.

I started writing ‘Part One’ in 2009. After studying and finishing my IT degree at Cardiff University, I revisited ‘The Railway of Time’ in the summer of 2010 with re-writing ‘Part One’ and writing the last three episodes of the story.

Writing for the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa was great. I love seeing Peter Davison as the Doctor when watching his stories on DVD and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa became my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ companion after seeing ‘Black Orchid’ and enjoying the Big Finish audios she did. It was good to re-watch their adventures as I wrote this story.

My intention for ‘The Railway of Time’ was to write a tale that could have come from the Graham Williams era of ‘Doctor Who’ in the late 1970s and put it in the Peter Davison era. I re-watched ‘The Stones of Blood’ to help me with this. The story doesn’t have Ogri stones or blood sacrifices; but there are sausage sandwiches to be found.

As well as writing the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, I also introduced Billy Walker into ‘Doctor Who’. I envisaged Billy as a companion for the Doctor and Nyssa, but whilst I initially wrote this as a one-off adventure I didn’t immediately make him a companion by the end of the story. This was to be the start of Billy’s travelling days in the TARDIS.

To add to making this a story from the Graham Williams era into the Fifth Doctor era, I also re-watched ‘City of Death’ (which is my favourite Tom Baker ‘Doctor Who’ story from 1979). The main villain happens to be one of a brother/sister species of that alien race from that classic story, but you’ll have to read closely to see who it is.

I also had the monsters, the lizard-like Vegrons, as another source of inspiration from ‘The Visitation’. Although they’re not Terileptils, you’ll find some similarities in terms of the Vegrons’ technology. I’ve tried to make them more agile and feral compared to how the Terileptils were on TV and given them Nazi-like uniforms in the story.

The character of Henry Adams was inspired by actor Richard Briers, who was in ‘The Good Life’; ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’ and ‘Monarch of the Glen’ as well as ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Torchwood’. Although Richard is sadly no longer with us, this is a character part I think he would like to play if ‘The Railway of Time’ was made for TV or audio.

This proved to be a complex story with ambitious ideas running through it as well as a country steam train journeying through a tunnel and travelling in different time zones from 1963 to 2063 to 2163. Please be kind as this was my first attempt to write a ‘Doctor Who’ story. I hope you’ll enjoy it and find it worth the entertainment.

TIM BRADLEY, January 2016

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