As the Footplate Padre, there is no better time than now to raise the subject of railway 'timetables'.
Consider where you might rail timetable: Today on an app for your mobile phone. These passenger train timetables that spell out exact times of arrival and departure.
But in years past, passenger train timetables consisted of fold up cards, the railway station notice board, on-line on web sites, and all are composed of a myriad of finely calculated time allotments between each section of line.
These same calculations are done for freight trains.
As the Footplate Padre I have studied the timetables for ministry travel for the new fast train systems out of London to Paris and Brussels, and I've noted time and again (as have many European passengers) that is by far quicker to go by train than to fly.
Moreover, there are no long delays with security checks and baggage handling as at airports.
Australian train passengers already knew that this as it was 'old news'. During the 1950s before the standard gauge - the phenomenon that was 'The Spirit of Progress', carrying passengers from Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga - was even back then, quicker than flying (city centre to city centre); and all without a speedometer.
Back in those days the Spirit of Progress was hauled by the streamlined mighty S Class steam engine and ran to time by the driver's watch.
The 'Spirit of Progress' has had a distinguished history. In the days of steam there was no more important a train in Victoria and it gained its fame on numerous fronts, but none more so that its timetable.
The early 1950s saw the beginning of the diesel era and steam was inevitably taken out of service, yet 'The Spirit of Progress' continued to be hauled by the S Class steam for many more years before the giant S Class diesels took over.
The new Clyde Engineering S Class VR diesels also sported the same dark blue livery and yellow strip, and when hauling The Spirit of Progress, it illustrated the marvel of the imagination.
Yet, even with the new diesel, the Spirit of Progress timetable did not change. The huge S Class steam engine's timing on the Spirit of Progress was so precise and finely tuned that there was no means whereby the diesel could pick up any more time.
I can recall as a lad of ten my own 'Spirit of Progress' experience. Me and my 13 year old brother had a holiday to Healesville, Victoria, in the summer holidays of 1961 after the diesels had taken over.
In Albury at 6.00am I can still recall everyone changing trains from the overnight Sydney Express onto 'The Spirit of Progress' (the broad gauge line), and walking across that very wide and long platform.
As the Footplate Padre now, I can atest that because something new comes along, it does not mean that what went before becomes redundant; as illustrated by the diesel being unable to improve on the S Class steam engine's timetable when hauling the 'Spirit of Progress'.
In 2016, this same philosophy applies a host of things. The hard slog that is required for school and academic study haven't changed a bit. And work demands, if anything have increased. The on-line dilemma of the work place has in many instances made work more demanding and moreover likely to take home the work.
New worship styles by no means de-legitimises grand old hymns being sung, indeed the BBC's Songs of Praise is still one of the most viewed programs in Britain. My wife and I watch in Australia, if at all possible we wouldn't miss it.
Likewise the golden messages (sermons) calling for Salvation (evangelism) remains a solid favourite for Christians world wide. It needs to be stated, that 'contemporary worship' is not better, it's just different to what had been before.
There is a wonderful credibility about worshipping the Lord regardless of the format and customary practise.
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 44 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 44 years with 4 children and 5 grand children