‘The Train’s Done Gone’
By William Kessler (Reprint)

The old stationmaster heard all kinds of excuses from late

passengers, but no excuse was to any avail. Here’s a lesson about

qualifying for the Kingdom of Yahweh.

“I ain’t never seen the likes since I’s been born, how
the people keep a-comin’ and the train’s done gone.”
These were the words of an old friend of mine, the
railroad stationmaster of my boyhood hometown.
The son of a former slave, living deep in the
southern United States, he advanced himself to the
highest position in our depot through a lifetime of
dedicated service to the railroad.
I remember him with white hair, standing tall with
dignity that I envied as a child. In those days, a
stationmaster was an important person. He was
responsible for the safety and welfare of everyone
who entered the station. All employees had to
account to him. His watch was the official railroad
time. He directed the loading and unloading of all
train passengers and freight.
I admired him because of all the gold on his arm,
each gold braid on his uniform represented seven
years of service on the railroad, and each star (and
there were many) a position that he held.
He called himself, and was affectionately addressed
by all, as Ol’ Man Moses, because his word was the
law of the railroad station. I never knew him by any
other name. By the time I met him, he had become a
philosopher and would talk to any who would listen.
To this day I can still hear him saying to me, “I ain’t
never seen the likes since I’s been born, how the
people keep a-comin’ and the train’s done gone.”
There is a spiritual lesson embodied in the old
stationmaster’s words of wisdom. As true believers,
our time is short. It won’t be long till we must board
a train, as it were, bound for the Kingdom of
Yahweh and eternal life.
Yahweh is even now setting His Congregation on
the spiritual track heading for His Kingdom. There is
not much time left to prepare for departure. Are we
going to be on time to board that train, or be among
those left behind?
There will be many, Scripture warns, who will not
be on board. They will be left standing at the gate
pleading to be included, but will be denied entrance
to Yahweh’s Kingdom (Matthew 25:10-12).
Our stationmaster’s responsibility was to rule that
railroad station. No one boarded or left the train
unless he gave his permission. You may not have
always seen him because he directed others who served under him, but his job was critical to the lives
of all who entered the station.
Two nonstop trains, mainliners, roared by our
station daily. One came from the west, going east;
the other came moments later from the east,
traveling west. The trains rolled through at between
40 and 80 miles per hour. Our stationmaster made
sure that the tracks were clear of people and debris
and that nothing would endanger the lives of those in
and around the station.
A commuter train left our station every morning to
take working people and shoppers to a nearby big
city. In order to be on the job by 8, you had to be at
the station’s train gate by 7 o’clock at the latest, with
ticket in hand, to board the commuter train. It stood
waiting for its morning load of passengers about five
tracks out.
You had to be aboard and in your seat no later than
7:04, because at 7:05 the mainliner from the west
came rushing through the yard. If you were on the
tracks then, you might easily have been startled by
the roar of the train, become frightened and not
known what to do as the train bore down upon you.
If you were not hit by that train, seconds later the
mainliner from the east could easily have trapped
you on the tracks and killed you.
Ol’ Man Moses, our stationmaster, closed the gate
promptly at 7 each morning, and no one went
through the gate after that time. Even though you
could see the commuter train still standing on the
tracks, Ol’ Man Moses refused you permission to
cross the tracks to board.
On any given day latecomers entered our station
wanting to board the commuter train. Our beloved
old stationmaster would refuse them all, stand, shake
his head and say, “I ain’t never seen the likes since
I’s been born, how the people keep a-comin’ and the
train’s done gone.”
He was inflexible in this rule. He knew its
importance. When he was a young man working in
a much lower position at that same station, a mother
and her two children were caught on the tracks when
the mainliners came through. The woman stood
transfixed, not knowing what to do or where to go.
At the last moment she lurched with one child in
hand to miss being hit by the train. The other child
was left standing on the tracks. He was killed
instantly. Ol’ Man Moses was given the job of picking up the
remains of the dead child. The mainliner had hit the
boy and carried his body hundreds of yards down the
track. Tears of anger and sorrow came to Moses’
eyes and he said bitterly to himself, “If I were
stationmaster, I would never have allowed this to
Many years later he became the stationmaster at
this same depot in my hometown. He daily stood at
the gate, remembering well that incident and his
promise to himself. No one was permitted on the
tracks after 7 to board the commuter train. No one
would ever again be permitted to risk his life
crossing the tracks when the mainliners were coming
Excuses, excuses
Most who came to board the 7:05 commuter were
on time and passed through the gate before 7 a.m.
But there were others who came late, with their
excuses. To them all, Ol’ Man Moses would say,
“The train’s done gone.”
A housewife, late for the train, might come seconds
after the gate was closed and plead: “I had to get up
early this morning and get my husband off to work. I
had to get my three children ready for school. I got
here as soon as I could. Let me board! I can see the
train. It is still there!”
Ol’ Man Moses would tell her: “The train’s done
gone. It is past 7. Your life is in jeopardy if I let you
go across that track. The mainliner does not stop. It
could take your life. And if the first one does not get
you, another one will because it is coming from the
other direction. I can’t let you go out there.”
Some came and said: “I left the hotel on time and
gave the taxi driver a generous tip, but the traffic
was heavy and he got me here late. It is not my fault
that I am late. It is the taxi drivers fault.”
Some would persist when denied permission to
pass through the gate, saying: “But I can see the
train!” But Ol’ Man Moses would shake his head
and say to all the latecomers: “You don’t
understand. The train’s done gone.”
One day a young lad on crutches came hobbling as
fast as he could. He excused himself by saying:
“You see, I am handicapped. I had an accident last
night, and it took me longer than I thought to get
dressed this morning. Please let me on the train.” But to him as well, Ol’ Man Moses said, “I’m sorry,
but the train’s done gone.”
And so it went. Many came with their excuses, but
Moses never opened the gate to allow any
latecomers to board the 7:05 commuter train.
Through the years he was stationmaster, many were
left to watch the train leave while they stood behind
that gate with Ol’ Man Moses’ words fresh in their
minds: “The train’s done gone.”
What is your excuse?
Many times we are inclined to offer excuses for not
doing what we should have done, when we are late,
when we fail to plan ahead, when we don’t keep our
word, times we seek to justify ourselves to escape
punishment or embarrassment or other negative
consequences of our actions.
The Bible gives us many examples of people who
brought excuses to Yahweh. But Yahweh accepted
none of them. We need to resolve that we will never
again give Yahweh an excuse for failure to do His
Mat 25:10 But they going away to buy, the
bridegroom came. And those ready went in
with him to the wedding feast, and the door
was shut.
Mat 25:11 And afterwards, the rest of the
virgins also came, saying, Master, Master,
open to us.
Mat 25:12 But answering, he said, Truly I
say to you, I do not know you.
Mat 25:13 Therefore, be alert, for you do
not know the day nor the hour in which
the Son of Man comes.
There is an element of finality in Yahweh’s plan in
our lives. There is a time ahead when the gate, our
spiritual entrance, as it were, into the Kingdom of
Yahweh, will be closed. Someone will be standing
there, saying to those who did not take their spiritual
preparation seriously enough: “It’s too late, the gate
is closed. You may not enter.”
One of our favorite excuses has been popularized
in a song: “I did it my way”. Have you ever
considered that this is an excuse? It is. Yahweh tells
us in His Word, “Many are called, but few are
chosen” (Matthew 22:14).
Perhaps the ones chosen for eternal life can be
compared to the passengers who prepared and
readied themselves to be standing at the gate by 7 a.m. to board the train for their destination. They
followed all the rules.
The others, late and offering excuses, say, in effect,
“I did it my way”. They feel justified, the exceptions
to the rule, though late, they feel they deserve to be
rewarded equally with those who were on time and
ready. But our human way is not good enough for
eternal life. We must prepare and meet Yahweh’s
requirements to be accepted by Him into His
Adam and Eve had their excuses for disobeying
Yahweh (Genesis 3:9-13). Aaron had his after
making the golden calf idol (Exodus 32:21-24).
Israel had excuses for not entering the land Yahweh
promised them for their inheritance (Numbers
13:28-33). King Saul was rejected from being king
over Israel because he had an I’ll-do-it-my-way
attitude toward following Yahweh’s instructions (1
Samuel 15:1-23), he did not obey Yahweh (notice 1
Samuel 15:1-3, 7-9, 13-16, 19-23).
Yahshua spoke to another group of excuse makers
in Luke 14. They too, were invited to receive eternal
life in Yahweh’s Kingdom, but each wanted to do
things his own way, and all were rejected. Their
place was given to others (Luke 14:15-24).
Even some of Yahweh’s greatest servants offered
excuses at first, but they recognized their error,
overcame and went on to serve Yahweh mightily
(Jeremiah 1:4-7, Isaiah 6:5-8, Exodus 4:10-13).
Yahweh is merciful. There is still time for us to put
away our excuses and prepare spiritually for the
Kingdom of Yahweh. Thankfully for us, the train
has not gone yet. But it will not be much longer
before it does. Any who persist in offering excuses
for disobeying Yahweh, thinking their own way is
good enough, will surely lose their reward (Matthew
7:21-23). All excuses must be eliminated. The
believer’s life must be lived without excuses. We
must do things Yahweh’s way, not our own.
I hope that what I learned from that wise old
stationmaster many years ago will help you in your
quest for eternal life. He hoped that everyone would
take getting to the train on time seriously and be
there, ticket in hand, ready to board by 7 at the very
latest. One morning our local bank was robbed. The
robber came to the gate just after 7 a.m., thinking to
get on the train and escape. No one knew yet what
he had done. As usual, Ol’ Man Moses was at the gate. It was
closed and locked. The robber demanded that the old
stationmaster open the gate. But Moses said, as he
had so many times before, “No, the train’s done
The robber replied: “Don’t give me that. I can see
the train. Open the gate or I’ll shoot you.”Again the
stationmaster stated, “The train’s done gone.”
Seeing that Moses was adamant, the robber took out
his pistol and shot my friend twice killing him on the
The robber then jumped the gate with his satchel
full of money and ran across the tracks. The
mainliner from the west was passing our station at
that exact time. The robber, intent on his escape,
likely did not see or hear the train boring down on
him. The force created by the onrushing train threw
the robber, now murderer, off balance. He fell and
then rolled onto the next set of tracks. Within
seconds the speeding mainliner from the east came
roaring through, instantly amputating both his legs,
crushing the satchel and scattering the bank’s money
all over the station yard.
For the rest of his life, spent in prison with stumps
where his legs used to be, I am sure the robber and
murderer well remembered the stationmaster’s last
words: “The train’s done gone.”
Not much time left
In Deuteronomy 30:11-16, Yahweh tells us that His
laws of life are not far off or hidden from us. It is up
to us to determine not to offer excuses for sin,
excuses that will lead only to our spiritual
destruction. It is Yahweh’s desire that each of us
choose the way of obedience to all His laws, the way
that leads us to eternal life.
There is not much time left to prepare for
Yahshua’s return and the end of this age. Look into
your life now, while there is yet time, to find what
excuses you have for not doing Yahweh’s will, and
cast them out.
It is time to be sure you are ready for the return of
Yahshua to this earth. Be sure you are there, ready
and on time to meet our returning Savior Yahshua,
and not a moment late, to be told with the rebellious
and disobedient, putting it in the words of the old
stationmaster I knew and loved,
“The train’s done gone.”
I hope that you have enjoyed this as much as I did and may you be
there long before the Gates are Closed so we can enjoy The Ride.
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