Song Of The Iron Road

Ewan MacColl

The Iron road’s a hard road
And the work is never ending
Working night and day on the iron way
We’re the boys who keep the engines rolling
You sigh on at the local shed
They put you to the cleaning
In your dungarees, cleaning super dees
You’re a sweeper-upper, brewer-upper, shovel slinger,
Spanner bringer, Steam raiser, fire dropper
General cook and bottle washer

Learning how to keep ’em rolling
When you’ve done your time at the loco shed
And had your share of trouble
On the old footplate, you’re the driver’s mate
And you’re married to a lousy shovel
It’s check the water, check the tools
And chuck the blooming coal in
Give the gauge a wipe, check injector pipe
Now it’s swing your shovel at the double
Give her rock watch the clock
Steam rising, sweat running, back aching, bone shaking
Fireman, fireman, keep her rolling
When you’ve shoveled a million tons of coal
Some ten or twelve years later

And your only dream is of raising steam
Then they hand to you your drivers papers
The iron road is a hard road
And the work is never ending
Working night and day
On the iron way
We’re the local drivers, early riser
Lodging turners, mile burners
Eleven quid a week earners
We’re the boys that keep ’em rolling