Tuesday, 1 June 1982

Ace Crew

(some time in 1982)

The heading fresh, the split complete, the miner standing still
(with power, air and water on and shuttle cars to fill)
The crew arrives the fever wakes and no-one is exempt
We're out to cut 100 cars or bust in the attempt

The deputy (his name is Bill) inspects as we prepare
(he looks for gas, he checks the roof and takes the greatest care)
The bag is up, the air is good, the miner's set to run
to start the shift to cut the coal and make it to the ton

We've clocked up 20 cars by nine but the "leco" wears a frown
"there's water in the logic box - it may take the miner down"
"Push on" he says "i'll fix it yet" and cuts himself some hose
and sucks the water from the box 'till on the board it flows

We're "up the distance" easily by shortly after ten
but "overdrive" Bill calls aloud (surveyor's due but when?)
with 50 down no time to lose "forget the breakaway
We'll drive until the cables gone and use up all the play"

One hour to go and 80 down but so too is the belt
no-one complains as Bill phone's 'round (but the tension can be felt)
the straps are up, the last bolts in as with a mighty heave
the boot-man clears the blockage that allows the coal to leave

"99" Bill calls aloud but now the cables gone
and no time left to breakaway - the next crew wont be long
"It's shovel work" (for the buckets gone) - and Bill's in with an axe
in 20 seconds flat he's got 12 "packers" in two stacks

The headlights of the section Pet provide the light to see
the sweat upon the brows of those fine men who stood by me
as on that faithful day we cut 100 cars and 1
In our need to be sure we had won, we shoveled 20 ton

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