[Nikolaus Pevsner transcribed the following lines from a memorial in the cloister of Ely Cathedral to two victims of an accident on the Norwich to Ely railway line in 1845. Pevsner finds it "eminently characteristic of the earnestness with which this new triumph of human ingenuity was still regarded" (The Buildings of England: Cambridgeshire, 365). Similar lines were printed later (c.1852-59) as a broadside; see bibliography below.]

The line to Heaven by Christ was made,
With heavenly truth the Rails are laid,
From Earth to Heaven the Line extends,
To Life Eternal where it ends.
Repentance is the Station then,
Where Passengers are taken in ;
No Fee for them is there to pay,
For Jesus is himself the way.
God's Word is the first Engineer,
It points the way to Heaven so clear,
Through tunnels dark and dreary here.
It does the way to Glory steer.
God's Love the fire, his Truth the Steam,
Which drives the Engine and the Train;
All you who would to Glory ride,
Must come to Christ, in him abide.
In First, and Second, and Third Class,
Repentance, Faith, and Holiness,
You must the way to Glory gain,
Or you with Christ will not remain.
Come then poor Sinners, now's the time,
At any Station on the Line,
If you'll repent, and turn from sin,
The Train will stop and take you in.


Pevsner, Nikolaus. The Buildings of England: Cambridgeshire. 2nd ed. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

"The Spiritual Railway." [Broadside version] The World on the Street. National Library of Scotland site. Viewed 15 July 2008.

Last modified 17 July 2008