THE 11:69 EXPRESS
Ronald Bagnall & William S. Robinson (1906)
You want a railway story while you wait for the London train,
It's a story I've never told yet, so I'll tell it to you again.
I was only a guard at the time, sir, on the London and Smash'em
But I shan't forget the mishap to the eleven sixty-nine.
'Twas a terrible foggy night, sir, and a day I shan't forget
The fog was a kind of Scotch mist, sir, and the train it was somehow
The train ran upon the line, sir, and the line ran along the ground
The engine was full of steam, sir, and the wheels were going round;
What made the wheels go round and round it's more than I
But the signal was dead against us, so we went the other way.
We were going a mile a minute, when I stepped out on the line,
And the driver said we were due, sir, at eleven sixty-nine.
So I got back into the van, sir, and swallowed a bottle of Bass;
While we waited two hours, or more, sir, for a luggage train to
When all of a sudden I heard, sir, the sound of a mighty crash
We could hear the shrieks of survivors, and I thought of their ready
So after I'd finished my pipe, sir, I strolled out on to the line.
And gazed on the wretched wreckage of the eleven sixty-nine.
For the coaches were all in a heap, sir, though why - I cannot tell.
And the passengers lying around us, were none of 'em looking well.
They slept their last sleep on the sleepers, we could hear the sleepers
It's a sight I've never seen, sir, and shall never see - before.
For the line was a mass of hats, sir, and blouses all over the place
Whilst one of the passenger's noses was in the middle of his face
We could hear the hiss of the engine and the moans of the living
I thought of the missus at home, sir, and collared some of the coals!
I shall never forget the sight, sir, though I can't remember it
But with my tattered banner, I wiped a tear from my brow.
I picked my way through the wreckage and got to the heart of the
I busied myself with the injured, and helped myself to the cash.
For I wanted the money badly, 'cos my rent was in arrears,
And mother-in-law had come, sir, on a visit for sixty years.
Then I saw a sweet young lady in a mashed potato state,
And her final words were, 'Doctor, is my hat on straight?'
We stumbled across the stoker, and I thought that he was dead:
For his body and legs were missing and we couldn't find his head;
I forget what happened next, sir, I remember it quite well.
The crashing of heavy timber all a-tumbling as it fell.
The doctors and the looters were round us by the score,
And the police were an hour late, sir, as they've often been before.
Then two of us lifted the engine and placed it upon the line
But here's your down train up, sir... the eleven sixty-nine.