Let’s face it: it’s all a bit gendered, isn’t it?
Masculine steam engines,
Edward, Gordon and Henry;
Percy and Toby and Thomas;
Daffy feminine carriages,
Annie and Clarabel,
It’s all a bit Romeo and ‘O sweet Juliet,
Thy beauty hath made me effeminate,
And in my temper, softened valour’s steel!’
And it’s all a bit inevitably of its Ian Allan time –
And then, of course, there’s the Fat Controller
(‘I am the man, the very fat man who waters the workers’ beer’),
His iconographic and ironic representation
(The corpulence, the pin stripes, the top hat),
Mean he’ll have to go – he’s an open invitation to revolt:
So, let’s (re)nationalise the railways,
Free Thomas and his chums from demands for dividends,
Free them from the sexism of the sidings,
The branch line, the cutting and the carriage,
Free them from the tyranny of the timetable:
In short, it’s time to turn the turntables!
No more shifts, no shed, no signal box!
No more austerity!
No more points!
No more scrap yards!
‘Put your best wheel forward,
Your funnel and be bolder!
Expropriate the expropriators,
Remove the Fat Controller!’