The Last Days Of Steam

From the album "Broken Biscuits"

From the junkyard of my mind I recall an ancient time,
The last days of steam locomotion.
Rattling windows, shaking doors, raising dust up off the floors.
Oh what a magnificent commotion.
Like a phantom in the night with an eerie crimson light,
Waking me in the shadows.

From London Waterloo down to the south coast of old England.
Racing through the suburbs on the way.
Clapham Junction and Raynes Park, New Malden, Surbiton,
Woking, Winchester and Southampton.
That good old Bournemouth Belle, I recall her oh so well,
Waking me in the shadows.

Sometimes I still dream of those last days of steam,
And the tracks that ran on right past my window.
Snaking out across the land like the lines upon your hand,
Firing my young imagination.
Maybe someday, I would journey far away,
Awaking me in the shadows.

And so I grew in time to travel on that line,
Along with so many office workers.
Crammed like cattle in a pen, everyday and back again,
On electric trains all like one another.
Into the setting sun the old loco’s day was done,
Sleeping now in the shadows.

This is more-or-less autobiographical. The house I was raised in had the main South Western Railway line running a few yards away from the back door and, along with electric and diesel, there were still a few steam trains puffing along. The old house, purportedly built in Victorian times to house railway workers (there are many embankments, viaducts, bridges and cuts, etc, nearby) was pretty dilapidated with ill-fitting doors and windows that vibrated as trains passed. We also had the main London to Portsmouth road outside the front door (though superseded by the Kingston By-Pass a few years previously) which could also be felt when buses and trucks went by. There were, however, also many woods and fields nearby (see Weston Green).