‘Twas the night before Christmas, when on the last train
From London to Brighton, not a single seat remained
Through out of dark windows, standing passengers stared
Into the dark, wintry night… some had even paid their fare.
Christmas aromas, so flavourful, filled the packed carriage,
Of Burger King, onions, kebabs with red cabbage,
Of cheap perfume, beer, wine and body odour,
Chilli sauce, fried chicken and high percentage cider.
Two carriages were blisteringly hot, two bitterly cold
No happy medium for the hundreds of poor souls
Packed in like sardines, noses wedged in armpits
Retching young women pressed against old, sleazy gits.
Those who were sitting were slumped drunk in their seats
With visions of the office party where, on their wives, they did cheat
But tell-tale signs of lipstick and perfume betray
And they’ll find themselves in the dog-house on Christmas Day.
Those without tickets stand nervously by the doors,
Looking for the revenue inspectors who had fined them before
But they needn’t have worried, for the inspectors can all be found
Where they’ve been for hours – in the pub, necking booze down.
The First Class is full, not with those who’ve paid to use it
But with groups of surly youths playing awful rap music
Over the tinny speakers of their Blackberry phones
Making it, for others, a miserable journey home.
The half-asleep people with last minute shit presents
Bought from over-priced Whistlestop, extortionate Marks & Spencers
Know that they’re to blame for paying through their nose
By picking up shoddy gifts at the station on their way home.
The few innocent children who are on this foul train
Look up to the sky and their little eyes strain
To see if they can see Rudolph and Santa, but all they see
Are some teenagers yelling “Wankers!” on the platform at Purley.
“Come motors, come green lights, speed and signal us there!”
Declared the driver, saying under his breath a small prayer
That nothing would go wrong, but just as he uttered “Amen”
News came over the radio of, ahead, a broken down train.
As the train pulled up slowly at the signal, bright and red
Just outside Horley, the PA crackled and a few words were said
By the driver to the passengers about the inevitable delay
And the drunks yelled a few choice words the driver’s way.
The jolly driver, thick skinned, poured himself some more tea
From his silver flask, feet up, how bad could it be?
After ten minutes, just as he started to get bored
A drunk spewed his guts up outside the driver’s door.
With ten pints of Stella, half-digested kebab and bile
Spreading across the floor from it’s neatly deposited pile
It didn’t matter how packed that carriage was before
There was now a large exclusion zone around the retching driver’s door.
Hooray, the signal cleared, they called at station after station
The driver, with his head out the window, all the way to Brighton
With a sigh of relief they finally arrived at their destination
Only half an hour late, there was much jubilation.
One-by-one, they poured, tripped and staggered off the train
Even devoid of people, a scene like Beirut remained,
With bits of burgers, chicken bones, empty bottles of gin
Boxes and papers covered the floor by the empty bin
The cleaners tore through the train, making light work of the mess
After just ten minutes, well you wouldn’t have guessed
That the floors, seats and windows were ever layered with grime
As the hard-working cleaners cleared the rubbish in no time.
Lost property was collated and it was quite a large haul
As people, full of drink, forgot they had anything on them at all
Briefcases full of paperwork with confidential information
A laptop with state secrets belonging to a politician.
Gift-wrapped presents were left in the racks overhead
Meaning somebody’s wife would get given cash instead
Found in the toilets were condoms, panties and briefs
From a regrettable, drunken shag that happened at Haywards Heath.
The station was empty, the concourse was clear
Empty of partying souls, devoid of Christmas cheer
Everything was clear, the last train had arrived
It was time for the final staff to say their final goodbyes.
The platform staff sighed, locked up late on the 24th
Heading home to their families to enjoy their solitary day off
“Merry Christmas” they said gloomily to each other as they wound their merry way
Difficult to be too full of spirit, if you’re working Boxing Day.
Merry Christmas to one and all!