Off the rails – the truth about trains

MonkeyBroth interviewed a group of ex-British rail employees about how the trains are really run. If you ride the rails, you NEED to read this!



Cab packed with parakeets and other exotic creatures.

“I was a train driver on the east coast main line for over 150 years, and one of the things that people don’t understand is what my role in the whole thing really was. To most, I was the chap that drove the train, but in reality, once we left the station I was actually in charge of breeding Japanese Fighting Fish in the cab. Back then, British Rail needed the revenue so all drivers were charged with growing or breeding high value items. I know for a fact that the signal master made the company millions by growing rare orchids and training Bonsai trees.”

“I was a British Rail engineer back in the 80’s and you wouldn’t believe the bodges we did to get locomotives up and running after a break down. One particularly memorable day, one of the Intercity 125s cracked a wheel. We had no spares in stock so we used the only thing we had which was a couple of custard pie dishes. We welded two together and slapped them on to the axle with some Cowgum. As far as I know, it was still on there when it was decommissioned. You couldn’t make it up!!”

“One thing people don’t know is that the trains don’t really need the tracks to operate, they are there simply to make sure that the drivers don’t get lost. When things were quiet, we used to borrow the trains to nip off down the ‘offy for a pack of Dunhill and a Razzle mag. I can vividly recall one occasion where a number of the drivers staged an illegal road race around Dorking town centre. Seriously, it was just like one of those Fast and the Furious films! Only with trains.”

“I was a trolley dolly back in my prime. You’d be shocked just how poor the hygiene was for the catering. You know those huge urns of hot water for tea and coffee? Those were never cleaned out. Once we found one wasn’t dispensing water so we removed the lid. Imagine our surprise when we found a nest of genetically altered spider-bats blocking up the bottom! Another was found to contain an entire collection of lost Doctor Who episodes”.

“Not a lot of people know that the voice that says ‘Mind the gap’ on the London underground actually belongs to Leo Sayer.”

“Once when approaching a station, I found that some wag back at the depot had replaced the brakes on my train with Penguin biscuits. I got him back though by blowing up his Cortina while he was still in it. We had a laugh back then!”

“When you see a train just race through a station without stopping, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he wasn’t scheduled to stop. It is most likely that he’s missing a repeat of Cash in the Attic.”

“You can tell if a train coming into a station has been hijacked just by looking at it. If the train driver is being held at knife-point by a man in a balaclava, then that is the universal signal to the station master that the train is in trouble.”

“Those toilets you use can be opened from the outside even if you’ve locked the door. In every train, there is an extra-dimensional portal in the cab that comes out in the toilet stall. And yes, we do peek!”

“The scene in the film “Ghost” with the guy on the train is based on a real life spirit that lived on the 8.15 from Manchester. The real spectre didn’t knock people’s newspapers out of their hands or anything like that, but he seemed to delight in hiding whenever anyone tried to prove he was there.”

“I was a safety officer for British Rail back in the day and my job was to come up with the horns that train drivers sound when approaching a crossing or workers on the line. I’d toyed with a few different sounds from an air-raid warning to La Cucaracha but none of them portrayed the vibe I were going for. In the end, I found inspiration when visiting the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary during a pleasant summer holiday. We simply reversed a sample of a donkey braying to avoid copyright!”


MonkeyBroth has published the full version of this transcript under the title of ‘Confessions of a British Rail employee’ with foreword by Robin Askwith. Available in all branches of Rumbelows.