When I commenced as a train engineman in 1967 the most feared book was the "General Appendix".
It a large railway tome both in physical size and content and a story about a quote from the General Appendix is in the Footplate Padre's book "Ripping Good Railway Yarns" published in 1991 on page 23.
That story rings true in many situations where there is one person who speaks with the authority and charm of a King Solomon. Every locomotive depot had a couple of driver's who were commonly known as "one hundred percenters" as they followed the General Appendix religiously, or, on those occasions that it suited them.
If one of them wanted to get home a bit quicker on a shunting trip job, they'd take short cuts like the rest of the drivers
On this occasion in the days of steam, at the Narrabri West Locomotive Depot, out west of New South Wales, a discussion on some specific aspect of railway working was underway by a number of the drivers and firemen. Some of the crews were signing off and others were signing on.
The discussion centred around a recent incident relating to a derailment. The subject of a specific regulation came up and what action ought to have been taken by the driver, the fireman and the guard so as to protect the train, send for help, and the rest of it.
One driver came up with an answer relating to how he saw the scenario unfolding, another of the drivers' came up with a different response and yet another scenario, and so the discussion went on with quite a few varying responses. There seemed to be no clear light in sight and then this particular "one hundred percenter" made his contribution.
He was known as a man who was self opinionated, yet on this occasion he had remained strangely quiet as others voiced their views. This fellow, coughed a little, as if to take the floor, and ensure a hearing. He gained their attention, and all the other drivers and fireman in the group stood a little aside so as to listen attentively to the authoritative oracle.
The General Appendix ruling
This driver, taking a deep breath so as to pout his chest, drew the attention to those gathered the ruling of the General Appendix. He quoted the page number of the General Appendix, the clause and the sub-clause so ad to identify the ruling of that situation in which they all had under discussion. This bought the debate to a halt, as with such knowledge, it was recognised it was beyond their limited collective memorisation of the clauses.
The drivers and fireman went off to their various tasks, whether going home or signing on for duty. One of the drivers however, having gone home, showered and having a coffee and a bite to eat was still pondering the discussions.
Somehow what that driver quoted didn't quiet sit right, so he pulled from his 'work cupboard' the General Appendix and looked up the quoted clauses so as to ascertain for himself the rulings associated with such a derailment as discussed (above).
As he sipped his cuppa, pulling up the correct page and clauses, he was astounded, and showed his wife the heading: "Requirements for the cleaning of Railway Toilets".
The Bible has a great deal to say about misrepresentation and the dangers associated with telling 'porkies' but perhaps 1 Corinthians 13, the Love chapter is best. Love speaks the truth and is honest. So perhaps the text is right - "Though I speak with eloquence, even that of angels, but have not Love, I am but like a sounding brass or a clanging symbol."
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 45 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 45 years with 4 children and 6 grand children