Pete Atkin sings
The original Original Honky Tonk
Night Train Blues

words and music by Pete Atkin,
from Beware Of The Beautiful Stranger

[Much more at]


I'm the original honky tonk train
I'm the one that you see when you're watching a western
That's me chugging by
Of the ones that you see in the films I'm the best 'un
I'll tell you why
'Cause no other loco can ever compare
With the places I've been 'cause I've been everywhere
And I never once stopped for a moment of restin'

And if my fire's burning properly the hot air oughta
Rise and go along a lot of tubes
That are surrounded by water in the boiler
          till eventually it moves
On down the engine's aorta out to the funnel
          where the cloud of smoke exudes

And now the hot air in the tubes has made the water
          in the boiler turn to steam — hot, hot, hot
The steam also rises and collects inside that large
          symbolic dome at the top, top, top
But if you think that now the steam is just
          as hot as it is gonna get you're wrong
          'cause it's not, not, not

Because this is where the driver opens up
          the regulator valve handle
The steam becomes alive again and goes
          back through the boiler (or can —
Which I call it only 'cause I've a shortage of rhymes
          ending in -an)

So having been through the superheater tubes
          the steam is hotter than ever it was before
          the heat is more, you may be sure the steam now
Passes on into the piston cylinder
          and pushes the piston for-
Wards and backwards by means of valves
          which reciprocate in alternation
According to simple mechanical law

The piston then pushes connecting rods fixed to the wheels
That are set on the rails
But that's not the end of the story 'cause then all that steam
As you will have seen
Is blown out as exhaust through the funnel
          whence it can expire
(Thereby increasing the draught of the fire)

So now apart from some rather superfluous detail
          which doubtless will seem to you obvious
          hardly worth saying
The story's over in its basic essentials —
          the rest is merely overlaying
What you can see for yourself quite easily
          although I would just like to mention
          the thing on the front
          that always comes in handy
          when you want to catch cows