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

3 across Articles in this Category: click a link

Down By the Dark Arches

bar090: Dates 1836~----|

Sexual encounter with a female ballad singer. Ends with a pimp figure violently robbing the hero.

Dudley Station

bar537: Dates 1878~1883|

Complaint about Dudley station re-named Annitsford

Jessie the Belle at the Bar

bar193: Dates 1866~1867|

The hero falls in love with a railway station barmaid but she jilts him in favour of a newspaper seller.

Modern Railway Platform

bar576: Dates ----~1898|

The influenza virus and the typhoid germ ask an undertaker to decide which kills more people. The undertaker replies that the draughty railway platform kills more than...

The Railway Platform

bar338: Dates ----~1851|

Description of bustle and rush of platform and hurried stop for refreshment.

Railway Station Sandwich, The

bar342: Dates 1901~1902|

Comic song about inedibility of the railway station sandwich.

Waiting for the Train

bar464: Dates ----~1902|

Character sketches of passengers

Battle Fought On The Shields Railway,

bar021a: Dates 1839~1839|

 A disagreement between passengers and Railway Police comes to blows and ends in court.

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