LONDON JOURNEY FASCINATION
First time on a mainline LNER train *
When you’re five’s a signal whistle
For six hours Kings Cross to Newcastle **
Sightseeing. Walk along platform to attain
The exit past the loco at the buffers:
In a forest of knees and suitcases,
The oiled steel engine’s grace is
Close enough to touch: my mother suffers
My adoration of its black livery
And emblazoned gold name “Woodcock”.
The time on the gigantic station clock
Shows our speedy, safe and prompt delivery.
Huge driving wheels and pistons are higher
Than my five-year-old frame.
Somebody cares well for that engine of fame
That steel rail non-stop flier.
Oh the trip is an exciting drama
I have comics to read and sandwiches and tea
But what never ceases to fascinate me
Is the moving view and panorama -
Oncoming trains go flashing by
Wheels a-roar and whistles blare
Nothing quite like this to compare
Too fast even for the adoring eye;
Birds sitting on the telephone wires,
Like musical notes in an unsung air,
Unending composition, unfinished movement fair,
From one end of the country to the others;
The journey long stayed in my memory
Made me a traveller inveterate.
Impact on me impossible to over-rate -
Imbued with the notion of discovery.
* LNER = London and North Eastern Railway
** Kings Cross = London mainline terminal station