The Ballad of Wristpin Bill

Several years ago, the Museum train to Wakefield was pulled not by 1201 but by 1057, an ageing coal fired D10. Problems sometime arose, as the time a wristpin fell out and the train was stranded in the wilderness of Mile Hill until the Bytown crew, led by the illustrious Bill Naftel, could make it safe to move. Here, for the first and probably last time in print, is the Society  poet's tribute to that day.

Part One by Duncan H. duFresne

From over the hill came Wristpin Bill, The scourge of the Wakefield line.
He was known far and near and he made it clear he'd make the. running time.
The turning point was a wristpin joint
Secured by nut and key.
No tighter fit could ere be made.
Oh no, not possibly. ......
But old Bill he swore as the threads they tore.
And the pin and crosshead parted.
His crew they moaned for close to home
Their work had only started.
With hands so bare in the warm blue air they stripped the right hand side,
It was clear to Bill he'd get down that hill and complete his fateful ride.
Now Bill had a date with the Museum gate.
And get there he just must.
It was do or die and he was heard to cry
"It's get there late or bust."
It was getting dark as the engine parked,
It was the end of the fateful ride.
He'd brought her back on the single track,
Old Wristpin Bill, B.R.S's pride.

Part Two by Colin J. Churcher

Now when Bill's life on earth was over he thought he'd be in clover,
And he made his way right to the gates of heaven.
But when Peter took a look in his great big ledger book
He found that Bill's account was not quite even.

For they'd charged him with the cost of the wristpin that he'd lost,
And he couldn't enter Paradise without it.
So back to earth he came to try to clear his name
Of the slur with which his lifespan had been clouded.

Now in the spectral land there roams a doomèd man,
Passing through the maple and the birch.
Its the ghost of Wristpin Bill which haunts the Mile Hill,
A D10's wristpin the object of its search.

So if you're ever on the grade where Bill's famous name was made
And you think you hear a moaning in the gloaming.
Now don't run around the bend for the ghoul is just our friend,
It’s the ghost of Wristpin Bill who does the groaning.

Bytown Railway Society, Branchline, December 1979.

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