The Retired Railwaymen's Reunion

A poem by Frank Brown©Frank Brown 1936

For those were the days of men,
But with increased loads and faster trains.
Things are different now to then.

For now when you look at a passing train,
Oh, what a different tale:
See a ‘57’ with three times the load.
And she runs on a hundred pound rail.

They will also tell of how hard they worked,
Pinning down brakes with a pole,
But we have a chap with a “battery” on us---
A fellow they call “Control.”

Now a few have been raised to the salaried staff,
For our prestige needed protection,
Though some may feel disappointed,
It’s a step in the right direction.

For our railways must make progress,
And these facts I want to tell,
It our Commissioners want us a hundred per cent.
Our conditions must be so as well.

For the time and ways have vastly changed,
And the truth I’m loath to impart,
The young blood on the job to-day,
Have not got the railway at heart.

But you, old men, are the pioneers,
We give credit where credit is due.
For most of the privileges we hold today,
Were fought for, and won by you.

And each year as we hold these functions,
There is not the slightest doubt.
We’ll see new faces coming in,
Old faces going out.

For we all must go on that long, lone trip.
The final trip far West.
And leave behind that message,
“Master – I’ve earned it – Rest”.

But don’t let us be down-hearted
For this wish is most sincere,
We hope that all who are here tonight
Will meet again next year.


These lines were recited by Mr Stan Dukes snr, at the recent railway-men’s dinner in Penrith.

One of a group of railway ballads composed by Frank Brown of Penrith, NSW, and located by
John Low in The Nepean Times 17 December 1936. Reprinted in the same publication 6 January 1938 but with the title shortened to Retired Railwaymen.

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

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