Tag Archives: shoveling coal



I ran the 0-4-0E,

That steam engine was kind to me…

Just back and forth

On a siding up North,

The Engineer supervised me.

The had me drive the train

‘Cause I shoveled coal in vain…

Acting the klutz

Wasn’t a plus,

But others could steam maintain!

I never ran out on the main,

It’s really not the same…

Too high a speed,

My heels I need,

A chicken shouldn’t drive a train.

And according to my lights,

I do have fear of heights…

A trestle where

One sees little but air,

Would send my fear to new heights!

So I’ll WATCH .them drive the train,

My model railroad’s not the same…

The engine’s so small

I don’t fit at all,

I remote control it on the main!

–Jonathan Caswell



He worked at a train museum,

Where folks could come and see him…

‘Twas all volunteer

For many a year,

They’d come special days and he’d treat them.

The museum had an 0-4-0T,

They fired up especially…

One summer to run

Back and forth in the sun,

It filled all the train fans with glee.

In order to run Number Twelve,

Each fan had a chance to delve…

Into its operation

And get the sensation

Of running a steam loco well.

They started to stoke the fire-box,

The coal by shoveling blocks…

Of coal through the door

And not on the floor,

Of the loco, without missing spots.

Others took turns as engineer,

To blow the steam whistle to hear…

Most guys liked to fire

In July, perspire,

The best fun they’d had that year.

Until our hero took over,

He spilled coal shovelfuls on the floor…

The firebox got

Too much to be hot,

His coordination was poor!

Generosity among friends,

Makes up for one’s short ends…

The guys agreed

That he’d run the steed,

To whit, the iron horse to defend!

They showed me the Johnson bar,

The throttle (we couldn’t go far)…

How to “lap” the brake

And for safety’s sake,

How to run without shaking train cars.

Me and Number Twelve got on fine,

Going up and down the line…

A couple hundred feet

Back and forth to complete,

But as fireman I had to resign!

–Jonathan Caswell


(Photo of #12, taken at the TIOGA TRANSPORTATION MUSEUM, at Flemingville, NY, where I volunteered many moons!)