Two Up And Eleven Down

Two Up and Eleven Down we are,
Old champions of the road.
Not bred for speed like Goff's ‘tin hare’,
But tigers with a load.

To the West we are essential,
They run us every day.
While other trains may cancelled be
We're on the sheet to stay.

A rose by any other name
Is the same to me and you.
They scratched Two Up on Mondays,
But renamed it ‘Fifty-Two’.

On Saturdays no Eleven Down;
You must catch One-Two-Seven,
But by the time the latter leaves,
It might as well be Eleven!

Therefore we say we run each day
Though clerks make other numbers.
The trains must run, the work be done,
So hang the clerks and blunders!

We have aboard all kinds of wares,
From ploughs to flour and beer.
The cocky and his wife must work;
We bring the food and cheer.

We have Peters Ice and film cans,
So changing guards beware!
Who fail to put these prized goods on
Must many ‘blueys’ fear.

Our speed on banks is criticised:
We're not disturbed at that.
We groan 'tis true but so would you,
But watch us on the flat!

A-shimmering down the bank to Miles
You'd think it was "8S."
We pass some cars whose drivers glare;
Such speed they'd never guess.

We may be fifty late at times,
For this we take no blame.
With 459 roadside galore.
'Twill always be the same.

Chinchilla every day we meet
To bid the time of day,
And then refreshed by coal and crews
We wander on our way.

So it's ‘Right Away’ from Roma town
With ten tons o'er the load.
We've empty K's for Bungil,
And a shunt for every road.

We've bread and beef and cream cans,
And wool and all the rest.
Though table times we scarce regard,
We're life blood to the West.


It is uncertain who wrote this, but it is thought to have been the late Bill "Bluey" Chambers. Two Up and Eleven Down were the daily mixed trains, steam hauled, which shunted and loaded and unloaded foods all the way from Toowoomba to Roma. A ‘tin hare’ was a rail motor and ‘8S’ was the biweekly passenger train. The poem and this explanation were supplied by Ernie Hills.

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