The Engine Driver’s Soliloquy

A Poem by Frank Brown©1948

Said an old Penrith driver “Before I die,
There is just one engine I’d like to try”.
“What is it?” said the C.M.E.
“A K.57 or slide Valve T.”

“Well, I don’t like the look of the 57’s,
And know nothing about a K,
I like the slide Valve T’s and P’s,
But the engine I want is a J”.

“I just want one trip on 496.
From Penrith to Bathurst and back,
For my mate I want old Geo Gascoyne.
For my third man, Billy Mac”.

“I don’t want her fitted up to date.
With patent glass protectors;
I don’t want super heated steam
Nor yet exhaust Injectors”.

“I don’t want one of those flash young guards,
For them I have no use;
I’d like Harry Newman at the back,
With a bogie or caboose”.

“I suppose I’d feel strange through the ten rat holes.
Instead of the old Zig Zag.
But I think I could manage sixty trucks
If I had Bill for spragg”.

“I just want a look at that dear old town.
Out there on the western plain.
I’d like a drink at the Mill-Town Pub.
And a stroll down through Pye Lane”.

“Just now, when I look at a passing train.
While my grandchild plays with his toys,
And I see 57’s with a thousand ton,
In charge of bare-face boys”.

“My thought go back to the olden days,
Before the track was cleared,
When you wouldn’t take a fireman out,
Unless he grew a beard”.

“I could tell some good tales of the trips I’ve had,
But I haven’t got time just now,
See me again on pension day,
Over at the old Red Cow.”


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

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