Yes they were dirty, yes they were smelly – but they were magnificent!
Aye, we had proper trains then
That bellowed out smoke and steam,
And to stand on the plate, driving one of them beasts,
It were every little boy’s dream.
Water filled boilers by coal furnaces fired,
So the pistons and rods could be driven,
Those mighty engines, chuffing and puffing,
Setting giant wheels into their rhythm.
Masterpieces forged out of iron and steel,
Reflections of that industrial age,
Not soulless and sanitised, regulated creations,
That now have become all the rage.
Them carriage doors you had to slam shut,
Never designed to keep out the weather,
And windows you needed to pull right up
With a strap that were made out of leather.
And heaven forbid if them windows weren’t tight
As the train went into a tunnel,
Then you’d be coughing and spluttering and cursing the smoke
Belching out of the hot sooty funnel.
Each journey were an adventure, I suppose you could say,
Today’s stainless steel and glass just can’t compete,
As you sat there rocking from side to side,
In your deeply sprung, strange smelling seat.
And the joy of trainspotting as we gathered together
Chatting in eager anticipation,
Platform tickets in hand, with our pens and our books,
Waiting at some main line station.
All trains carried numbers, but it were them that were named
That we were all so anxious to see,
And if they had blinkers fixed to their sides,
Well, it were like we were in ecstasy.
The City of London, Lady Macbeth,
Sir John Moore and Sir Galahad,
The Red Knight, Camelot and Union Castle
Some of the names that them proud engines had.
But them days are gone, that age of steam,
Now it’s all diesel and electric,
But I’ll never forget them glorious monsters,
Hissing steam and looking majestic.