This is a story from the Footplate Padre's book titled Steam Stories. This article was titled "Over the Load" on page 15.
The Queensland Government Railways was the quintessential expression of narrow gauge railway largely due to the enormous size of the State. In the late eighteen hundreds and the early years of last century the expansion of the railways was a phenomenal feat of engineering.
The Footplate Padre's late grand-father Walter Tronson diary speaks of the railway coming to Gympie and what huge news it was to the entire district. Gympie was rich in Gold, it was the town that saved Queensland with this new found wealth. bushorchestra.com/family_logo/life_of/TronsonBiographyWalter.html
The railways expanded throughout Queensland all at once as it were so as to connect the entire State by rail. It wasn't a case of simply the main lines, innumerable branch lines were established and one of these was on the rich soil of the Atherton Tablelands west of Cairns.
The steam locomotives had for many years reigned supreme in this area. However in the early fifties, Forsayth depot got a mechanical diesel to run the immediate section of the track.
Trains would bring freight into Einaslight and would have to reduce weight for the climb over the Newcastle Range. In effect this meant that every train on reaching Einaslight had to shunt – attaching the trucks from the previous train and then reducing their load to the weight permissible for the heavier climb over range.
When there were enough wagons for an additional train in Einaslight Yard, a Saturday train would be scheduled to run. This meant that the Forsayth crew would bring their locomotive out to Einaslight and haul over the range this additional load (all these wagons that had been left behind).
On one trip the driver said to Bluey the guard, "The diesel laboured today to get over the rang and we lost a lot of time. Were you over the load?" The driver noticed this in several other occasions when scheduled to take this particular train. The guard always assured him he was within the load limit.
One week this driver said to the guard, "Hey Bluey, are you going this Saturday to pick up the load from Einaslight?" He replied with a sly smile, "I've been bringing one wagon extra each trip, so we don't need to go – but I'm the booking the trip on the sheet. You can have an entire trip's pay on the house!"
Jesus spoke of something. He talked about a man who was to be relieved of his managerial duties of an estate, whereupon he went around to the creditors of the business and prudently adjusted their accounts. Jesus praised the enterprising manager as it bore directly on his future and sustenance well-being for his family.
Jesus didn't condemn ingenuity, rather, noted that those of this world are sharp in their manoeuvrers, and so too should His followers. The Footplate Padre noted that exciting building programs and flamboyant missionary engagements should be applauded as they reveal business dealings that ensured the maximum outcome for the limited expenditure available.
The Lord has blessed many a Christian leader over the centuries with the where-with-all to gather together an inspired group of people behind him to achieve the most remarkable outcomes. I recently came across this YouTube movie on the life of Charles Hadden Spurgeon the great London preacher of the latter half of the eighteen hundreds which exemplified these things:
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html