The Springwood Smash

A poem by Frank Brown©Frank Brown 1937

The train steamed out of Lithgow, with its good and trusty crew;
The driver, perhaps you know him; engine eleven twenty-two.
‘They ran OK to Wentworth Falls with the usual care and tact:
But when approaching Lawson the brakes refused to act.

How this really happened none of us can say;
We only know one thing, the train just ran away.
Through Hazelbrook and Woodford, she went on her mad career;
They thought of their wives and children, and their hearts were filled with fear.

The roar as they passed Linden was enough to awaken the dead:
The whistle blowing loudly giving warning on ahead.,
Down past old Weemalah, she was gone beyond control,
Just imagine how she hit that curve down near the water-hole.

Their engine fell to pieces as along the road she flew:
She lost her springs and slide-bars and the pistons broke in two,
No one can imagine the awful nervous strain,
Or the agonising thoughts of the men who worked this train.

Even the prisoner in his cell awaiting the hangman’s rope,
Right, to the last sad moment has one little ray of hope,
But these three men were flying solely in God’s power,
To what they thought was certain death at eighty miles an hour.

That slight up grade at Faulconbridge, they passed there like a flash,
They left the road at Springwood, then there came an awful crash,
A thousand tons of loaded trucks with cement flying just like snow:
And how these men escaped from death, well God alone must know.

But there is nothing so bad, that couldn’t be worse, is a saying old and true:
Had they only gone another mile they’d have crashed into “32.”
We give praise to those heroes, who repelled our enemy hosts,
But I lift my hat to those three men who stuck gamely to their posts.


One of a group of railway ballads composed by Frank Brown of Penrith, NSW, and located by
John Low in The Nepean Times 28 January 1937.

Published in Frank Brown's book Engine 1174: And Other Verses, Enfield NSW 1948.

1 comment:

Eoin Mac Ruari said...

I'm happy to have found this as my mother's brother, Percy H Young was the fireman on this train. I had a typewritten copy of the song but it had fallen to pieces in its protective envelope and I was trying to soet out the pieces when 'modernity struck' and I thought that it might be on the net; and it was, many thanks.