February 17, 2024

The Ballad of Almondell

The Ballad of Almondell

This composition by Andrew Newton and Rob Griffith shows the work carried out over the past ten years at Almondell from the start of the project in 2014 to 2024.

Lyrics by Andrew and Rob.    (Please scroll down for a copy of the lyrics)

Music by Rob.

Video by Andrew.


The Ballad of Almondell

In bygone days we bought a sad old forest

The trees had been abandoned there for years

Victims of a sorry dereliction

A jungle that we knew we had to clear


Chainsaws felled the sickly and the wasted

Ropes and tractors’ hawsers took the strain

Roots came out to the hauling of the digger

And picks and spades and shovels dug the drains


And the old men said “Looks like it’ll never be finished,

This enterprise is going to run and run.

With our old and creaking joints, we’ll just stick to building points,

And let you fit young folk have all the fun!”


Through mud and flood and shale we made our progress

Rocks and blaes and ballast sought and found

Bridges, tunnels, gradients, embankments

Finally we laid the trackwork down


Bonds were formed through blood and sweat and bramble

Toil and laughter working day by day

Silent moments still as we remember

Those good friends we lost along the way


And the young men said “Looks like it’ll never be finished,

Some of us have to work and pay the bills.

We just don’t have the time, to spend down on the line,

So you retired old codgers have all the thrills!”


Cash rolled in from members’ willing pockets

And the trees we sold to the woodmill by the ton

The Centre rose with lathes and drills and sockets

So the Model Engineers could have their fun


The trains went round and round in snow and drizzle

Boiler tests were made and motions oiled

They forged along the track with hoot and whistle

And the drivers only stopped when the kettle boiled


And the wives and partners said “It’ll never be finished,

What about the painting, and that cruise?

We know you love your trains, but it’s driving us insane,

When Thursday comes around you can’t refuse!”


But come to see us now, the trains are running

Everyone is here to take a ride

Families and friends all love to travel

Through the lovely Almond countryside


Public running days and members’ sessions

All our efforts well and truly paid

All the doubting thomases are silent

And marvel at the wonders we have made.


And now we all just know it’ll never be finished!

Old and young and wives and friends as well

Up the straight and round the bend, we’ll be here until the end

So let’s all raise a cheer for Almondell!


the end