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‘Twas the Night before Christmas

Printed From: Southern California Live Steamers
Category: Railroad Information
Forum Name: Railroad Trivia & News
Forum Discription: Interesting information on the history of railroading and how it has evolved.
Printed Date: Sep 30 2023 at 10:48pm

Topic: ‘Twas the Night before Christmas
Posted By: PhilC
Subject: ‘Twas the Night before Christmas
Date Posted: Dec 24 2009 at 8:43pm

‘Twas the Night before Christmas
(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the shop
Not a motor was turning, you could hear a pin drop.
The chips were all swept from the floor with great care
In hopes that more ‘free-time’ soon would be there.

The locos were nestled each snug on their track
Their owners all wishing warm weather back.
The tenders with cover, the stack under cap
The coal in a bag for a long winter’s nap

When down on the bench there arose such a clatter
I sprang to the shop to see what was the matter
I ran down the steps, threw open the door
Tripped over a hose, fell flat on the floor…

I picked myself up and reached for the light
When it went on t'was a terrible sight
Guaranteed to make anyone violently ill
A big drunken reindeer was running my mill.

But that was not all, by no way, my friends
there were several other disturbing trends:
My big lathe was running, at very high speed -
WHO was behind this heinous deed?

The shop was a mess, reindeer droppings everywhere.
I ran to the locos, fraught with despair
There by the tender, red suit, hat and all
Was Jolly St. Nick…barely able to crawl.

Bottle in one hand, map in another
He looked at me with amazement and wonder
“I crashed in the trees as we flew through the fog”
He said with slurred speech...he’d been hitting the grog..

The reindeer were trying without much success
To fix the wrecked sleigh…Good Lord what a mess.
Hooves and antlers a mill cannot run
I soon concluded… this was not to be fun.

The sleigh was in pieces, all scattered about
Its flying days over, of that there no doubt.
Should kids receive presents on this Christmas Eve
Santa must quickly find a new way to leave.
If magic can make eight reindeer fly
Then why not give a steam loco a try?
So off came the covers and out came the coal
We’d do our best to make this night whole.

Boiler filled with water, coal all aflame
The reindeer soon acted anything but tame
The mechanics of running a steamer were more
Than anything Santa - even sober - had ever seen before.

The reindeer were frightened by blower and pump
The injector really made poor old Rudolph jump
I oiled all-around taking extra special care
Not knowing the force to drive loco through air.

We opened the doors, pushed the whole lot out back
The snow and the sleet nearly froze on the stack
Santa was grateful, but the reindeer…concerned
They all had tails that might truly be burned.

“On Donner and Blitzen” he proudly proclaimed
Poor Comet and Cupid were sure they’d be maimed
Their harness was short, their legs near the stack
What else to do?…there was no turning back.

Steam, Scotch and Santa …I had my concerns
Comet and Cupid….still worried of burns
Duty required they forge on anyway
Christmas was time left to play.

Easing open the throttle, the whistle he blew
Startled reindeer leapt skyward, the route they now knew
Santa balanced on tender, carefully managing pump
A boiler explosion would make quite a thump..

Off into the night flew the motley consist
Carrying toys and every good wish
Safe journey to Santa and converted steam sleigh
Pray return to my basement to run another day.

But I heard him exclaim 'ere he drove out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all and this steam thing's alright!


Written by Bill Shields copied off the Chaski BBS


I used to be a rocket scientist, now I am just a space cadet.
You only need three tools in life - WD-40, Duct Tape, and a Hammer. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape. If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.

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