Engine 1174

A poem by Frank Brown©Frank Brown 1948

You talk about your hard times,
That you had at the war;
Did you ever fire to Lithgow,
On eleven seventy-four?

Did you first strike trouble at Lapstone,
Where you begin to climb?
Have you struggled into Glenbrook
Half an hour behind your time?

Have you cursed. and sworn, and sweated,
As you tried to get her through?
Did you ever feel like getting off
When you stopped at Warrimoo?

But you struggled gamely onward,
It’s only one of many fights:
But you hope to change your engine
When you get to Valley Heights.

There the chargeman meets you smiling,
He says, “You’re stiff this time;
The only engine we have here
Was put off ‘99’.”

So you face the steep Blue Mountains,
To do the best you can,
But to try and make this engine steam
Would break the heart of man.

You shut off over Springwood,
And Faulconbridge as well;
Your mate asks “How’s she going?”
And you answer “This is Hell.”

And when you get to Linden,
You must stop for a blow;
For the steam is back to 100.
And the water’s getting low.

And the guard books 15 minutes,
To loco raising steam;
He promised that he’d break the coal,
But is nowhere to be seen.

You lose no time to Lawson,
For the pilot does his bit:
But the guard shows 50 minutes
Over time on Lawson Pit.

Then the driver takes his shovel.
Off comes his overalls;
But he’s looking for the water
When he gets to Wentworth Falls.

And as you watch him firing.
You know there’s nothing surer.
By the way that he is tiring,
That he’ll have to stop at Leura.

When you’ve struggled to Katoomba,
You can manage for the rest.
And, although you’re lost two hours.
You know you’ve done your best.

When at last you get to Lithgow,
And you quench your thirst with two,
And both are doing justice
To a plate of “barracks stew.”

You forget about the hard times
That you had at the war.
But you know you’ve come from Penrith
On Eleven Seventy-four.


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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

1174 is now 5461, the steam loco preserved at Valley Heights. This poem was the reason for keeping her intact from the scrappers.