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[p. 38]

Camilla, 30.

In the golden days of youth,
     Of which many of us know
Who lived in old town Medford
     Some three decades ago,
There was a steed attractive
     To the youthful minds aglow,
'Twas the iron horse ‘Camilla’
     Of thirty years ago.

This creature, almost human,
     Was astir from morn till night;
She'd take the road at six-twenty,
     And till dark pursue her flight;
Was waited for by hundreds
     And seldom ever slow—
That bright, old, sleek ‘Camilla’
     Of thirty years ago.

The bell upon the depot,
     Which is never heard today,
Would call the many people
     Who wished to go away;
But there would ring a sweeter one
     As through Park Street she'd go,
'Twas that of dear ‘Camilla’
     Of thirty years ago.

We'd hear her on the crossing
     And coming round the curve;
She'd always make the ‘fly-switch’
     With very steady nerve,
And over Mystic River,
     Where tide would ebb and flow,
She'd make the drawbridge quiver,
     Some thirty years ago.

The pride of all the round-house,
     But especially of John,
Whose full name was John Sanborn,
     A name so now well known.
Though not the superintendent,
     He was without a foe,
And ran this old ‘Camilla’
     Just thirty years ago.

We loved our old ‘Camilla,’
     We boys and girls as well;
We loved to ride behind her
     And listen to her bell.
That sound was one of welcome
     Where'er we wished to go,

'Twas our young pride ‘Camilla’
     Of thirty years ago.
'Twas when Conductor Hamilton
     Would wave his hand, she'd start
And through the bridge and down the track
     She'd travel like a dart.
Would fly her way to Wellington;
     I'd like to have you know
That none could beat ‘Camilla’
     Of thirty years ago.

And on the double track
     She was always found in line;
Would reach her place in Boston
     In twenty minutes time.
But then, the cars were smaller
     And ‘links and pins’ the go
And air brakes unfamiliar,
     Some thirty years ago.

But things since then have changed
     And also numbers too,
And engine names have gone,
     While many men are through
Who used to work and wonder
     And travel to and fro
Behind dear, passed ‘Camilla’
     Of thirty years ago.

As boys and girls we are no more,
     As in the days gone by,
We have grown and scattered,
     And some of us lie
Awaiting the train—of angels—
     Heaven's bright call, and lo!
The ‘reward’ long promised
     Of the golden years ago.

Charles E. Preston. New York City.

The Camilla was an ‘insider,’ i.e., the steam cylinders were inside the space between the forward trucks. The power was exerted upon the cranked axle of the forward driving wheels, a type of locomotive now rare.

Soon after the Camilla's retirement three new engines [p. 39] were put in service, named Medford, Mystic and Cradock, the latter larger than the others. They were outside connection and ‘double enders,’ having head-light and ‘cowcatcher’ at the end of the tank, this low enough to allow the driver view of the track as the backward run was made. These did away with the turn-table at the engine house. The turning around of the engine was always of interest to the boys of Medford, as elsewhere.

The names and ornamental brass have gone, but the ‘double-enders’ are still in commission on the Branch. Another thing gone is the bell on the roof. It became cracked and went to the railroad ‘graveyard.’ Its ringing was a public convenience missed by many. The station master would deal out his tickets and make change with one hand and pull the bell-rope with the other, and experienced patrons and listeners knew by the sound of the bell how brisk the last minute's patronage was. A time card, probably the earliest issued, October 4, 1847, announces trains

From Medford, 7, 8 1/4 A. M., 1 1/2, 3 1/2 & 5 P. M.

From Boston, 7 1/2 A. M., 2 M., 2 1/4, 4 1/2 & 6 P. M.

Saturday evening. From Medford, 6 1/2 P. M.

From Boston, 9 P. M.

Fare 12 cts.

There was a time when it seemed probable that the Medford station would become a way-station by the building of an extension to Stoneham (see Register, Vol. XVI p. 90), but the project failed to materialize and a terminal it has remained. It has been remodelled at times, the entrance moved nearer the square, a somewhat pretentious waiting-room made in it, now somewhat dimmed in its lustre but more than equal to the demand at the present writing. The Medford Branch carries people safely, brings freight into the city, carries away a little, but its palmy days have passed, unless, indeed, by its electrification or rearrangement in some way it may better serve the people of Medford in their daily travel.

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