The Stationmaster

Dressed in a fine waistcoat, with a black frock coat,
And his empire gold watch and chain, not forgetting his shiny top hat,
The stationmaster prowls the station platform
For is that place not his chosen domain?

Content in his own mind, that that is that,
He watches with experienced eye, porter, and wide broom,
Making sure that there is not litter, to impede passenger’s room,
Checking first the chocolate machine, and penny platform ticket
He has little time to dream of Lord’s, and cricket.

Next he surveys the timing of the arrivals board
Bearing in mind the different classes,
Those young men who travel 3rd class, for ‘tis all they can afford.

Checking his gold watch, he notes the incoming train is due
Not a minute early, or late, it is now half past two,
The steam train enters with a belch of grey steam at the station
He knows it’s right on time, both in speed, and presentation.

The busy porter helps those who alight, and board,
Checking those red lanterns, red on the signal box
Luggage is dispersed, and quickly loaded,
“All aboard” the porter calls, for time is essential, and cannot be eroded.

The green flag waves, each and every door secure,
With a defiant puff of blackened smoke, that is not fresh and pure,
The engine moves forward, like a greyhound on its run.
Where is it going to? What’s its final destination?
Is this then the very final and last steam train to leave Shildon Station?

Possibly not, for have not the skilled Shildon railwaymen
With utmost engineering bravado,
Built a new beautiful engine, namely the grand Tornado?
It is gleaming paintwork and pipework of shining copper.
This will not be the last one built,
For in the town of Shildon, they build steam engines proper.

By Gordon Bannister