Those Brave Old Railway Gentlemen

Iron Road


The Retired Railway Gentlemen’s Rest Home Christmas Re-union at the Railway Institute—as seen, and related by ex-Guard Tom Turtle.

(Tune: Fine Old English Gentleman)

That’s where the brave old veterans met, of various ripe old ages
To talk about the good old days, their salaries and their wages.
To keep these “Beanos” most select—a motion was submitted—
That boys of under sixty years were not to be admitted.
The train men soon forgot the past—the “failures” and “hot boxes” They had been fully occupied in purchasing hot soek-es.
To help them look their very best, they wore their Sunday clobber
And bought ’emselves a nice new hat for twelve or fifteen bob-er.
These brave old Railway veterans—all of the good old days.

There were pictures all around the walls—of engines, trucks and trains-es,
Electric staffs and tablets, with loops of couplin’ chains-es.
A trophy made with railway gear—of barrows, ropes and sprags-es
And detonators, oily waste, some old hand lamps and flags-es
And there these dear old buffers sat in Sunday shoes and hose-es
And drank big mugs of Billy Tea to warm their dear old noses
They swapped tall yarns of bygone years—of life-and death escapes-es
Of funny things they’d seen and beard, of various size and shapes-es
These fine old railway gentlemen—all of the good old days.

Guard Jabbers told an awful tale of fierce cyclonic breeze-es
When all the bloomin’ bark and leaves was blown off all the trees-es
When the Station Master lost his hair—a-scratchin’ of his brains-es
While try in’ hard to get a glimpse of fly in’ trucks and trains-es
For the rivers all wus roarin’ with the very worst of floods-es
Which covered every bloomin’ train with logs and rocks and muds-es
The bridges was all upside down—the rails wus tie in knots-es
(He was too full to tell ’em more—so that M all the lots-es)

These fine old truthful railway men—all ‘of the good old days.

From The Retired Rail and Tramwayman 1933

Referring to the above accompanying poem by the late J. V. McCarney, submitted by Mick Mulhearn who says that there were three brothers McCarney in the loco up north in those early days, John Vincent, Tom and Joe. Each was given a special name so to dis- tinguish them one from the other. Mick says he knew all the men mentioned. The names of those referred to as Dr, Old Nat, Dug and Cabby are Jimmy Mc- Donald, Nat Munso”: Andy Douglas and old Bill Parsons. Cabby resigned in the 8O’s and kept the Lass O’Gowrie hotel at Wicham.

The train was a bout to start when the door of a carriage opened containing a solitary traveller. A pretty blond girl stepped in and sat in the corner seat. “Excuse me…” the travelling salesman started to say, “If you speak or annoy me I shall call the conductor” snapped the pretty girl.

The train rolled on, and after a lengthy pause the man made another effort to speak, but again the girl threatened to call the conductor. At last, the train rolled into Central and the man rose with determination in his eyes. “I don’t give a damn if you call the conductor” he said, “but I want that bag of grapes you’ve been sitting on for the last ten miles.”

Pinkie march 1 1927