History Channel had a long documentary-drama about the San Francisco earthquake. Now, I knew about the Earthquake as a fact of history, but had never looked at it in detail. It is a very harrowing story. I felt I would like to do something relevant to that disaster as a Doctor Who story, but I didn’t just want to place The Doctor in the midst of it, rescuing people. The heroism of ordinary people doing their best has already been well recorded. They didn’t really NEED a Time Lord in their midst.


So I placed the action on a train heading towards the disaster. One thing the documentary mentioned was the relief trains that came from as far away as Chicago. So I looked up the Union Pacific railway and found a good place for the TARDIS to set down on one of its freight cars.


Wyoming was a perfect spot. The River Platte, which the wagon trains had followed west, was followed later by the railroad. It must be one of the most spectacular stretches of that journey across America. I found an online map that listed every town on the railroad that existed at the turn of the century. These would have been the places where water and coal were taken on board. Pine Bluffs and Medicine Bow were roughly the right distance apart for the time span involved. Plus, Medicine Bow was just before Fort Steele Bridge, which gave me the opportunity to have The Doctor save the day by stopping the train before it crashed off the bridge.



I don’t know WHERE I saw it, long ago, that The Doctor wanted to drive a steam train. It’s a strange, eclectic ambition for a Time Lord, but it is SO him. And he at last gets the chance!


And finally, internal vampires defeated, the Earthquake relief does come in at last as The Doctor goes to find his earliest incarnation to tell him he’s ready to take over. And gets sent to peel some spuds. This is the first time I’ve actually had the Tenth Doctor interacting with his teenage version, ChrÝst§, as seen in the Theta Sigma stories. This doesn’t, however, connect to any particular Theta Sigma story. At least not at the moment. Possibly I might consider doing it in the future, but its not in the immediate plans.