The Up-to-date Up-to-date Honky Tonk Night Train Blues

Parody lyric by Dave Jones (inspired by a recent article in New Scientist *)
I'm the up-to-date honky tonk train
I'm the one you'll see next year in the Chunnel
Watch me going down
With hardly a smidgen of smoke from the funnel
You wanna know why

Well it's the result of 
Applying the lessons
Of thermal research to 
An engine that hasn't
Changed much since the time of that fellow named Brunel

And the first big change they're making now is Insu - lation
I'm amazed they didn't think of it before
And then the confla - gration
Is fueled by oil instead of coal so it has more
Heat for evapor - ation
To make the pressure in the boiler really soar.

And did I mention that this new design 
Will need one guy up front instead of two
On. The. Plate
The feed's automatic 
So there's no need for a stoker in the crew.
That's. Right. Mate.
So forget about the days 
When all those extra guys had nothing much to do
At. Union. Rate.

And right now
Is where we look at just how the lo
Comotive's constructed
New steel
Replaces cast iron meaning that a whole lot of
Weight is deducted
And welds
Instead of rivets make it all cheaper
To be producted.

And that's barely scratching the surface of
The many and varied ways
The new loco
Is set to go
Out there and show
The world how

Adding our know-how
To things obsolete now
Can make clean green lean new machines

That will be a surprise and open the eyes
Of engineers everywhere who were believing
That steam engines were gone from the scene.

And all round the world they're rebuilding their locos it seems
Pursuing the dream
From Cape Town to Punta Arenas they play the same theme
A renaissance of steam
And in Cuba they have all their leftovers from sugar cane
Raising some steam at the head of a train.

Now that's just about all there was in the essay
There's always a shortage of detail these days
in the glossies.
But let me mention that
One of the characters
The one up in Cuba
Is mildly interesting because he's
Got the name Dante 
Which isn't important but I thought I'd use it
It's too good a reference for me to refuse it
'Cos it makes me feel quite literate like our friend Mr. James

* "Back on track" by Jeremy Webb, New Scientist, 17 July 1999.
Pete Atkin icon

back to Pete Atkin Discography