"Signals"

‘Signals’

Before the days of cellphone
Trains on one steel ribbon alone
Telegraphed typed orders read aloud
Safety sought job of each member proud.

Orders there agreed upon halt Westbound 69
At station stop called ‘Acton’ to Express of the line
Conductor in agitation at ‘Express’ thus late
Inquired of the agent as to telegraph fate.

Dispatched to do such bidding agent did just so
Conductor signalled ‘Highball’ so the train would go…
Engineman named ‘Kelly’ conscientiousness true
Asked of his Fireman if orders perception construe.

Conductor angered at cab side began to shout
Engineman most nervous to begin journey about
In the heat of argument a little light did shine….
Nothing but the headlight of Express of the line.

When wind of passing express thundered past
Ashen thoughts made impression upon to last
Vivid thought of possible for not two assent
All are humbled in shallowness moment spent.

True anecdotes of railway lore….

"Signals"

TomWard

Forest, Canada

  • Artist
    Notes

Artist's Description

This little poem is based on a true story that happened on the main line at Acton Ontario. Schedules important of course, and before radio communication, a near disaster was narrowly averted……

Mr Kelly, the engineman, was conscientious about the little paper orders, referred to as ‘flimsies’, and had the foresight to avert disaster.

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