Modern Poetry | Snowhill Station | The Milk Train

Modern Poetry – Snowhill Station – The Milk Train. A memory of many journeys made in the middle of the night from Birmingham Snowhill Station in the early 1960’s. This station was eventually vandalized by the City Fathers and demolished thanks to Beeching’s Axe.  I was 15 year old at this time.

The Milk Train

The walk from New Street
Was short, except.
For a full kit bag
Arms hanging off.
Arriving at Snowhill
Victorian Edifice.
Built by Isambard
For my delight.
Uniform smelling of
Mothballs encouraged.
By the rain
Trains wheezing bronchial.
Smells of fog, grease, oil
Coal, smoke, steam.
Glass and Iron Canopy
Capturing all within.
Refreshment room
Tea, pot, white mug.
Thickness stealing
Heat but warm enough.
Tired, train at 2am
Smelling wet people.
Tobacco and socks
Care worn Tramps.
Keeping warm
Until the Police come.
Warm room full of smoke
Light tailor made.
Catch jealous eye
Of Tramp.
Wonder who he was
And is now, life past.
Mine just beginning
Hereford bound.
Time passes slowly
The platform.
Stretch my legs
Another smoke.
Away from covetous eyes
Ghosts walk here.
I think of men departed
To wars in France.
Flanders Fields
And the World.
Needing sleep
Mailbag repose.
On trolley
Kitbag pillow.
Rumbles from the floor
Train arriving.
Not mine, early yet
Will mine have heat?
Last one not
Cold, miserable journey.
Leather straps on
Steamy windows.
Seats dusty
Tobacco reek.
Glorious coloured
Of Devon and Cornwall
Meagre entertainment.
Brightened the dull
Carriage a little.
I dream until awakened
By a grinning Policeman.
‘Your trains’ here’
He kindly tells me.
How times have changed
Into the carriage.
It’s heated, yes, more sleep
And dreams of home.
Juddering, stopping
Starting, rails squealing.
Eventually moving off
Clackety clack.
Clickety click
Hypnotised to sleep.
Until a delightful
West Country voice.
Cries ‘erefurd, erefurd’
Sleep from eyes.
Into the cold
Freezing Station.
Wish I was home
Boots creaking in the snow.
Until they are soaked
Camp is only 14 miles.


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