Shunting’s a Joy

Iron Road


By Leonard Sedden in The Railway Issue 1929

Two engines standing at the board,
The branch was on the main,
Our foreman’s voice in anger roared
Through the pelting rain.

Main-readers coming by the score,
Whistles pop together,
Another branch with fifty more,
I knew they’d like the weather.

I love my job, and so do you.
Who said I am a liar?
As for trying something new,
I’d sooner die by fire.

And yet some critics always say,
By the beard of Moses,
A shunter’s life is all sweet hay,
And a bed of roses.

Perhaps they’d like to shunt one nest,
We’ll gladly let ’em try,
And when they’ve done their very best,
Regard with a milder eye.

Let them come in summer time,
And don our service trousers;
They’d put their feelings into rhyme,
Ceasing to be wowsers.

Then again our oilskin coats,
Things of joy and gladness,
Enough to make one eat more groats
To minimise the sadness.

Our pretty hat give them to wear,
A sign of our prosperity,
Such beauty is so scarce and rare
It causes much hilarity

I sigh for their cupidity,
And beautiful oration,
Forgiving their stupidity
Although of long duration.

It’s nice to see your friends come home,
Then go seeking pleasure,
While you and I to work must roam.
For us there is no leisure.