Station Life

The Songs

The songs and poems in this category deal with life in and around railway stations. Items about porters and other railway workers can be found under Railways>Railway Workers.

Main Themes

  • Railway Catering
  • Barmaids (usually femmes fatale)
  • Naïve country folk come to town (especially London)
  • The discomforts of railway platforms


1830-39      021; 090
1850-59      338
1860-69      326
1880-89      193
1890-99      576


Historical Background

"The railway station more than any other building epitomises the spirit of the 19th century in its meeting of technology, architecture, industry and art ... and in its conscious appeal to the splendours of the past and its confidence driving towards the future" [i].


The enthusiastic adoption of railway travel by people of all classes encouraged businesses to take advantage of the throngs of people passing through and stations quickly became commercial centres comprising hotels, shops, and restaurants. The crowds of people - especially naïve country folk arriving in the city - also attracted criminals. Stations and their immediate surroundings offered rich pickings for pickpockets, prostitutes, and robbers.

[i] Richards, Jeffrey & MacKenzie, John, M. The Railway Station, A social history ( Oxford University Press, 1986) p19