A-Working on the Railway

A horse van driver recalls his working life.


On leaving school when I was a lad
To work at a trade the same as my dad,
It was the only job to be had. [Note 015.1]
A-working on the railway

Chorus: Toora-loora, toora-li-lay,
            Working long hours for very low pay.
            Toora-loora, toor-li-lay,
            A-working on the railway

My carman would harness the horse in his stall.
I couldn’t help him because I was small,
Then came the day I was doing it all
A-working on the railway.

I put on the collar and tighten the ains,
His pad and his back-strap, unravel the chains,
The bridle and bit, and fasten the reins
A-working on the railway

I sat at the back of a single-horsevan, 
That’s how my life on the railway began, [Note 015.2]
Guarding the goods and the load on the van
A-working on the railway.

From eighteen to twenty, down Billingsgate, [Note 015.3]
Unloading the fish, the plaice, cod and skate,
Getting my clothes in a terrible state,
A-working on the railway.

Now I’m a carman I’ll try to be kind
And smile at the boy who is sitting behind,
My very first day recalling to mind
A-working on the railway.