School Train

Illustrator: Keith Williams

There’s nothing quite like the clickety clack
Of rolling stock, on a railway track.
The rhythmical sound is a delight to hear,
A nostalgic sound to many an ear.

The Mount Lyall Mining and Railway Company,
Closed its railway in sixty three.
Concentrate was taken by road to Strahan,
The rail formation disused, forlorn.

In nineteen seventy the mine smelter closed
And no longer a Queenstown health risk posed.railway-2
Though bushfires still burned green at night
Burning sulphur made a wonderful sight!

Dismantling the smelter was a bonus for all
Who attended South Queenstown Primary School.
To engage students in exciting, creative play,
Apex installed a two-foot gauge railway.

Though the day was marred by frequent rain,
The Mt Lyall GM opened the train.
He drove home the specially cast brass spike
Now the kids could ride whenever they liked.


A flat truck was trundled along the track,
On a line eighty yards to there and back.
A turntable provided some variation
When moving from each imaginary station.

The ABC filmed the train in action
Much to the students satisfaction.
For three years the train was accident free,
Its dismantling later, was a mystery to me!

How can kids take risks and grow,
Push back the boundaries and come to know,
When adults tend to limit their scope,
In the mistaken belief that kids can’t cope!

I happily lived beside the line,
And guests at parties thought it was fine
To pop through the fence, and ride the rail.
The moonlit ambience theirs to avail!


Forty years on I’m pleased to say,
The Mt Lyell Train is running today
From Queenstown to Strahan the tourist train,
Provides a unique experience again!


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