For many years a short spur rail line connected Toronto, situated on the shores of Lake Macquarie (NSW) with the main northern rail station at Fassifern. As Ron, a long-time resident of the area relates in his nostalgic poem, it has been shut down and replaced with a small bus.
Today I ride the railway bus;
I really can’t complain,
It always gets me there on time
To catch the Sydney train.
But Sydney trains remind me
Of a city not for me.
A two-car train beside the Lake
Brings fonder memories.
For I remember other days;
On autumn mornings cool
Of lurching ‘round a misty bay
On our early way to school.
Our little train had lots of room,
It suited kids like us,
Just tell me where’s the space
For bikes and surfboards on a bus?
Mothers and their babies,
With bags and shopping gear
Could accommodate their strollers
In the guard’s van at the rear.
The older folk could take their time
And not be left behind.
The guard was there to help them out,
He didn’t seem to mind.
But the government in the city says
‘Toronto trains don’t pay’
So they declare ‘The train must go’.
There’s nothing more to say
But subsidising buses
Leaves a felling of dismay.
Don’t you get the message
That someone has to pay?
Now is it in my fancy
That I hear your whistle blow?”
Maybe, had things been different
Then you wouldn’t have to go.
And do I see your red tail-light
Disappearing ‘round the bend?
I brush away a silent tear and say
‘Goodbye, old friend.’
– Ron North