As part of the online Community Rail Awards, the Bard of Barnsley – Ian McMillan – composed a poem which captures the spirit of community rail.
Never a one-way ticket, always a first-class return,
On the investment of time and expertise, on these lines that help us to learn,
That people are what make a railway, more than a platform and seats,
More than the timetable, people, are what make a railway complete.
Always, the whistle is blowing, as the ideas they never end,
Of station adoption and colourful gardens, you see as the train rounds the bend,
Of cafes and signboards and benches, communities showing the face,
Of a station to those who pass through it, who think ‘well… this must be a place’,
Where marvellous changes can happen, in this vortex of coming and going,
There’s culture and learning and grand cups of tea, and the ideas just keep on flowing.
So, here’s to the folk who make all this tick, the grafters, the workers, and those,
Who volunteer from the first train till last, who dig out the raised beds and put on the shows,
Who spend endless weekends in gardening clothes, and go home with traces of muck on their nose,
And this is a glimpse of what railways could be, the heart and the centre, the hub,
A welcoming smile that says come on in, and let’s all be part of this club.
Now it’s time for the awards, let the champagne get poured,
And let’s shout our motto, all aboard… ALL ABOARD!
© Ian McMillan 2020