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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 1, 1928)

“Off Agin, On Agin, Gone Agin.”

“Off Agin, On Agin, Gone Agin.”

The fame which brevity brought to Finnigan through his well-known report upon a shunting mishap has usually been left unshared. It is therefore well worth remembering that it was the railway poem written for “Life” by S. W. Galliland that placed Finnigan definitely “on record.”

There are many verses to the poem, dealing with the troubles that Ganger Finnigan had with the Inspector of Permanent Way—Flannigan.

The latter insisted that Finnigan make his reports short and snappy, free from superfluous verbiage, and simple to read and understand. After many efforts Finnigan in reporting a derailment finally complied with the requirements, as related in the last verse of the poem:

He wuz shantyin’ thin, wuz Finnigin,
As miny a railroader's been agin,
An' the shmoky ol' lamp wuz burnin' bright
In Finnigin's shanty all that night….
Bilin’ down his repoort, wuz Finnigin!
An' he writed like this: “Musther Flannigin:
Off agin. On agin.
Gone agin.—Finnigin.”