The Torpedo Run

The Torpedo Run is the final installment in Series 1 of the Lionel Great Railway Adventures that was published in 1998. It was written by Lin Oliver and it was illustrated by Charles Pyle. LeVar Burton provided the narration for all three books and continued onto the next series.


Picking up where The President Express left off, Thaddeus Winterbottom takes Maynard Henry, Tuck Holden, Billie Holden and their dog Chief into a locomotive shop that is about as large as a aeroplane hangar. There they are introduced to the Torpedo, a streamlined Pennsylvania Railroad K4 numbered 3768 which is due to leave on her maiden run in the dead of night with a train of private passenger cars to create a genuine surprise from the civilians attending the world's fair. Before they leave, Billie fiddles with a black knob that completely covers Mr. Winterbottom in a cloud of steam, but he manages to laugh it off stating that "historic occasions often have rocky beginnings". Shortly afterwards, the Torpedo leaves for New York, rocketing on a total speed of 100 mph. Billie is even given a chance by Mr. Henry to blow the engine's whistle before going to bed.

The next day, unfortunately, proves to be a stressful one, for the Torpedo is waylaid at a bridge by a nosy photographer named Scoop Jackson and his brute of an assistant, Tiny. Mr. Winterbottom argues with Mr. Jackson, but it proves to be no use as he plans to take pictures of the Torpedo and print them to the papers before anyone else can (hence why he is named Scoop). Knowing that the unneeded stop will only prolong their opportunity to be alongside their parents at the Invention of Tomorrow contest, Tuck remembers the steam release knob and tricks Scoop into taking a photograph of the Torpedo's wheels. This causes the two men to fall into the river below them, allowing the Torpedo and her crew to escape.

Arriving at the World's Fair at last, Tuck and Billie are unable to find their parents and must blow the Torpedo's whistle in order to attract them. Mr and Mrs. Holden hear the whistle and are reunited with their children. Rushing back to the contest, the dome car does not win (the award going to a television set) but it does receive a blue ribbon and as a result of this, Mr. Winterbottom offers the Holdens, Chief and Mr. Henry a favor to work for him on his line.

The trilogy ends five years later in 1944 with the cast riding on the dome car's very first transcontinental run.

Song ListEdit

  • "Took Along my Favorite Song"
  • "Rock Island Line"
  • "Great Railway Adventures Theme"