The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 4 (August 1, 1927)
A keen, clear eye, a steady hand,
A spirit undismayed,
An ear-drum trained to understand,
Are tricks of the driver's trade.
All's right when the bright home light's in sight
And the “Goods” comes in to time;
With a bit in hand-oil steam and sand
And gauge glass clear of grime.
But, place this high on the list of “Buts”,
When big end pins go hot,
When sediment sends the delicate ruts
Of the triple valve “to pot,”
There's a bill to fill with grit at the mill,
When maddened with mishaps,
The cab is curst with a gauge glass burst,
Or the hiss of a tube's collapse.
When the beat of the valves gets out and out,
And the knock in the cylinder plain,
When gauge hands fall, and delay, like a knout,
Belabours the lagging train;
When you stoke and poke, till the poker's broke,
But your best can'st shift her-well
While sulphur fumes the cab consumes,
The next best place is-hell.
When the guard goes out with a signal flag
To clear the line ahead,
And the fireman shovels bricks and slag
From the fire-box amber red,
When the driver twists 'mid grimy mists,
To coax her into steam,
They take her home, with a plug in her dome,
Or a sleeper lashed for a beam.
Which proves quite plain a steady grip,
And spirit undismayed,
On the roads where the signals glare and dip,
Are the tricks of the driver's trade.
He's there to dare, and its only fair,
To be friends with the man at the brake;
There's plenty of sand in his soul, take his hand,
And give it a hearty shake.