Railway Tales
BLINKY IS DRIVING, TONIGHT
by Alf Ricks (An Engine Driver’s Story) Tell you a story? Why, Yes, sir, I dare say I could if I tried But it’s very dry work, sir, is talking, Very well, sir, we’ll just go inside I’m Blinky, sir, I drives the engine, On the ‘Get-off-an-push-behind-line And one night between Belfast and Dover, We was twenty-two days behind time The passengers started a-growling But the guard knew them both well, by sight So he said, “Never worry, we’re safe, lads For Blinky is driving tonight.” You see there was fog on the line, sir, And straight I felt tempted to swear For someone had shifted the stations And I couldn’t make out where we were So I stopped her just outside of Dundee In Scotland - yes, that’s where it is Well, yes it was out of our way, sir But I went round that way to see Liz The guard was asleep in a smoker I shook him and he said, “All right We’re sure to get in before Christmas For Blinky is driving tonight.” Of course (well, here’s your good health, sir) But as I was saying before I turned her on full-speed ahead, sir For I knew there was trouble in store Right in front we could see something moving So the stoker he ran on ahead And saw an old man on a donkey Going home, as he told him, to bed. He said, “Leave the line, we’ll be on to you” But the man said, Go on, I’m all right You’ll never catch up with my donkey For Blinky is driving tonight.” Just then came a lad selling papers I bought one and how I did stare For I saw there was a ten pound reward out For someone to tell where we were All at once the wind blew out my woodbine So I said to the stoker, “Jump off And get me a box of wax matches,” But he started to grumble and cough Said he, “I can’t get back in time, lads,” “Yes, you can,” said the guard, “So don’t fight Follow up on the line and you’ll catch us For Blinky is driving tonight.” Of course, by this time I was anxious (Yes, I’ll just take a pipeful of twist) You see we got run off the line, sir, And got lost in the fields ‘mong the mist All at once I could see a red signal So I stopped, as of course, you’ll suppose But found it was only a policeman Who had signalled the train with his nose “You are miles from your line” said the copper “How comes it that you’re in this plight?” Then a passenger groaned from a corner “Old Blinky is driving tonight.” Then we knocked up a farmer with horses And dragged the train back to the line (Yes, I dare say I could drink another) You see we were pressed, sir, for time Then I thought now we’re just outside of Dover But the stoker said, “Here’s a fine do Instead of lying outside of Dover We’re only five minutes from Crewe.” So I grabbed up my canful - tea, sir And I drank till my waist-coat grew tight And the wind seemed to whisper, “Lord help us For Blinky is driving tonight.” A crash and a roar then a whistle I sprang off as the guard shouted, “Mind” Then I found out that somebody’s funeral Had run into us from behind The what? Were the passengers injured? Well, no, only shaken a bit But they wouldn’t go back in the train, sir They said they’d had plenty of it The guard tried to coax them, ‘twas useless He said, “jump on, you’ll be all right.” They said, “No, we’ll go on with the funeral Darn’d Blinky is driving tonight.”
The end