Mucking Out Brigade

Iron Road

The following song is attributed to ‘Johnson 28’ who also illustrated it.


I have seen them often standing,
In ill-fitting dungarees,
With their kerosene tin buckets,
Looking cold and ill at ease,
On a dirty train they’re dwelling
Just the daily ‘clean up raid’
Armed with tins and brooms and chammies –
That’s the mucking out brigade.

Some will sweep, while others polish,
Some will hose the windows clean,
Others changing towels and bottles,
Searchers grabbing magazines,
Then a loud-voiced leading porter,
With a chargeman, see the braid?
Pass along and view the working
Of the mucking out brigade.

Pull that carpet out and sweep it!
See the leading porter frown?
Well, those windows aren’t too clever,
Get your hose and wash ’em down.
Hear that red-faced porter shouting,
Hey! That mat ain’t properly laid!
And he shows them how they do it,
In the mucking out brigade.

I have done my bit of mucking,
In those baggy dungarees,
I have scrubbed and rubbed and polished
On a floor with aching knees;
It is not all beer and skittles,
And as long as trains are made,
There’ll be work with broom and bucket
For the mucking out brigade.

The Railroad 1929