Before the sleek electric dream
Of whisper-quiet fame,
But after huffing, belching steam –
The throaty diesels came.

They didn’t need the hours’ prep
To warm their liquid fires –
Just turn a key, unleash their pep,
As quick as any wires.

Of course, they never looked as good,
A-head a wistful train,
(With pistons, gears and drivers stood
Exposed to soot and rain).

Instead, they rumbled under feet,
As felt as much as heard,
On branches sparks would never greet –
As second-class, not third.

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