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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 3 (July 24, 1926)

When The North Express Comes In

page 5

When The North Express Comes In.

It's a dusty road from the north to the south,
A dusty road and long,
And the glinting cranks must needs be true
And the boiler tight and strong.
The driver sits on the right-hand seat
And his heart keeps time with the rhythmic beat
Of the valves, and he's grimed with smoke and heat,
When the North Express comes in.
At morn, the north express steams out,
The engine lads,' delight,
With polished domes, and glinting rods,
And brass, bands glittering bright.
But the glint is gone and the brass is smoked;
With dust and grime the cranks are cloaked;
And the oil is clogged, and the tubes are choked,
When the North Express comes in.
It's an anxious journey driving south:
There are many things to do,
And the man who sits on the driver's scat
Must read his signals true.
From the links to the valves, from the coal to to the eage,
From the wheels to the stack, from the clock to the gauge,
Though his heart is brave, it seems an age,
Till the North Express comes in.
Though the plain is bright with harvest gold,
He heeds not the golden plain;
For he sniffs the oil in the boxes hot
And the smell distracts his brain.
Not long till the heat-swelled piston knocks,
Then it's out he must go though the engine rocks
Like a raft in a gale; so the axlebox
Is cool when the Mail comes in.
It's running late, is the North Express,
When cattle take the track
And a sight for the gods is a frightened cow,
With an engine at its back;
It sticks to the track though the road is wide
And verdure clad upon each side,
And the Guard's sheet tells how the creature died,
When the North Express comes in.
The driver's mate of the North Express A sterling chap is Jack—
The fire he feeds, and attends to the necds
Of bunker, tank and clack.
He knows where the curves and the inclines lie,
But the glass is full and the gauge is high,
As he waves to the sweet girl standing by,
When the North Express comes in.
It's an anxious time with the North Express
When she takes the final curve,
And trails her lights round the canted rails
With stately snake-like swerve.
For a moment lost is the driver's head,
And “Danger” glares like a ghoul ahead,
But the soft green dise takes the place of red,
As the North Express comes in.
There's a prayer in the cab of the North Express
As the driver shuts off steam,
And grips the lever of the brake,
For the home-light soon will gleam
On the tired train; then he'll leave his sent
On the right-hand side; and sound and sweet
Is the sleep of a man and his mate, dead-beat,
When the North Exprcss is in.