Now that Christmas has finally arrived it is time to lighten up a bit. We could have provided something related to a pantomime but between the IEP and their process for franchising the West Coast Main Line, we feel the DfT have rather monopolised the art form this year.

Instead we thought we would provide you with a transport themed update of The Lord High Executioner’s song from the Mikado called “I’ve Got A Little List”. In case you are not familiar with the work, this is a song that traditionally gets updated with contemporary lyrics about people society could do without. We have provided our own little list with a transport theme.

Unfortunately, due to an administrative oversight, this year’s London Reconnections’ business plan failed to include provision for hiring out the D’Oyly Carte Operatic Company for a recording session. We will therefore rely on the reader’s imagination to put the words to the song. To help we have embedded a link to what is probably the definitive modern version of the song as sung by Eric Idle.

And here an even more modern version as performed by Opera Australia.

In addition to our musical theatrics below, this seems to be the appropriate place to highlight that we were delighted to be asked to take part in London Underground: Past, Present and Future, a panel discussion at the London Transport Museum on the 10th of January, put on as part of the events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Underground.

Those confused as to why a welsh rugby legend seems to be there representing LR should fear not – that is merely our editor John Bull shedding his pseudonym for the occasion. His more famous namesake is no doubt an impressive public speaker, but would probably struggle with giving a fifteen minute talk on the history and impact of Johnston Sans, and with arguing the case for the construction of Crossrail 2.

Tickets, as always, are available from the museum.

And now, without further ado, our song.

A Merry Christmas to you all!

Our website, it has postings and a viewpoint can be found.
I’ve got a little list – I’ve got a little list.
On Tramlink and the buses and the London Underground
and what has gone amiss – and what has gone amiss!
There’s buses with conductors who can’t collect the fares,
Boris wants them back again but no-one really cares,
Cable cars for tourists to be run by TfL
starting near the O2, ending not so near Excel.
And policies that pander to the London motorist.
They’d none of them be missed – they’d none of them be missed.

He’s got ’em on the list – he’s got ’em on the list;
And they’ll none of ’em be missed – they’ll none of them be missed.

Crossrail trains to Paddington that then will turn around
And the consequence of this. I’ve got that on the list!
To go no further westwards ‘though alternate routes abound.
The absurdity of this. Alternatives exist!
Then Maidenhead’s a terminus with Reading down the line.
Network Rail says its daft but others say its fine.
And why end up at Abbey Wood? What’s the point of that?
“It makes it all affordable as our spending limit’s capped.”
Savings then are needed so the project can exist.
Opportunities are missed – I am sure they have been missed!

Opportunities are missed – Opportunities are missed
I sure that they’ve been missed – I sure that they’ve been missed.

And that Goblin issue fracas that just will not go away.
The squabble about this – I’ve got that on the list.
The government is adamant that TfL must pay.
That act is so remiss. I wish they would desist.
And a lack of a freight strategy of a comprehensive kind.
One that addressed capacity is what we had in mind.
And solving real problems in a proper thoughtful way
Though how to find the answers is hard for us to say.
So we cannot solve the problem but we add it to the list.
For these problems won’t be missed – they’d none of ’em be missed.

You may put ’em on the list – you may put ’em on the list;
And they’ll none of ’em be missed – they’ll none of them be missed!

If you think you can add or improve on this then include your line, rhyming couplet or verse in the comments and we may update the post as we see fit.

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There are 14 comments on this article
  1. Greg Tingey says:

    None of the much too LOUD, much too frequent, arogant, bullying “announcements” on LUL.
    NONE of them would be missed, either …..

    Just to illustrate, on Monday, I was going to Victoria, & we had a REAL ANNOUNCEMENT on the Victoria LIne … “Highbury & Islington station is closed, because of a fire alert”.
    It took two iterations for people to notice, because of all the unnecessary verbal diahorrea usually dribbled from the speakers(!)
    Followed, of course by 5 repetitions of “mind the doors”, which were not needed, arrghhhh.

  2. Sam F says:

    Greg, yes, the most irritating one is when they tell you that some line is closed for engineering works and “we advise customers to seek alternative routes” … I mean, do people actually need to be told to seek an alternative route when a line is closed?

  3. ashbro says:

    Almostt annoying as the one that goes ‘A good service is operating on all London Underground lines’ when you’ve been standing in the rain at Whitechapel for more than 20 minutes for a H&C train!

  4. Ratty says:

    Well if this is the thread to have a moan, I don’t see why TOCs are allowed to remove a service (e.g. Victoria services only going as far as Clapham Junction) for scheduled engineering work during a normal working weekday. Are they trying to force us into a two-week Christmas holiday?

  5. It wasn’t meant to be a thread to have a moan. It was meant to be a thread where you put your popularly-felt moan into a couple of lines that rhyme and fit in with the music. But I suppose this comment is a moan!

  6. Malcolm says:

    And the loud and much too frequent things you hear from the Tannoys
    The verbal shaking fist, we’ve got that on the list,
    “Mind the gap, stand clear of doors” – thus shout the bully boys
    They must be taking t’piss, we’ve ‘lready heard of this
    And contributors whose language needs some moderating brains
    Or engineers who engineer when us folk want the trains

    (Good grief, this is hard. Don’t think I can keep it up any further. But it does make me appreciate the original – I mean Pedantic’s original, not that Gilbert fellow. Thanks for the Christmas entertainment)

  7. Greg Tingey says:

    Another one yesteday …
    “Please stand behind the yellow line when the train comes into the platform, & let the passengers off first … use all avaialable doors down the whole train”
    The train was already in the platform, with all its’ doors open & had been so for at least a minute.

    Can nothing be done to stop this?

  8. Slugabed says:

    I like the one which says “Please stand behind the yellow line AT ALL TIMES”
    Which begs the question…..

  9. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Maybe it is hard but I think you have done well. It something that just came to me. I could probably never repeat it. I think your contribution is what I was hoping to get from Greg – except the penultimate line of course which I know he would never write.


    Similarly, “this door must always be kept locked”. And slightly differently “keep all luggage and parcels with you”. When do you see anyone walking around with a parcel? If parcels doesn’t count as luggage why stop there? What about shopping? I have even heard “keep your personal effects with you”. How the hell is anyone who doesn’t have English as a first language expected to understand that? And anyway I thought if you were still alive it was property and only became “effects” when you died.

  10. Greg Tingey says:

    being pedantic (ahem) “Please keep all your personal belongiong with you, & take them when you leave the train ….

    Which is plainly impossible, since … “all your personal belongings” is something only done when (if) you move house … errr …..

    The other classic is (for example) “This is a piccadilly line train” @ Hoolway Road – I mean what ELSE is it going to be??

  11. JimJordan says:

    I know it is off topic but my favorite is the examination paper with “this page is deliberately left blank” on it. Philosophy students must have wasted much time trying to answer that question!

  12. solar penguin says:

    As no-one else can be bothered to complete Malcolm’s verse, here’s my (very poor) attempt at some final lines:

    And the tiny number of trains that’s all it takes to fill
    the bottleneck on those lines that are going through Herne Hill,
    Someone must do something, or am I an optimist?
    So I’ll put it on the list, for I know that won’t be missed.

    You may put ‘em on the list – you may put ‘em on the list;
    And they’ll none of ‘em be missed – they’ll none of them be missed!

  13. Twopenny Tube says:

    The Voice says where we’re ending up at every opportunity,
    It’s really very vexing, and it drives me to insanity.
    We stop before the station, and the Voice gives an apology,
    But that is not much comfort when we really haven’t got all day.
    The Libor-fixing bankers that helped out a blond cycl-list,
    I’ve put them on the list, I’ve put them on the list,

    They never would be missed, they’ll none of them be missed.

    Tricky isn’t it! A great idea folks. Maybe in a year or two we should have a go at “I am the very model of a modern Mayoral candidate”.

  14. Graham Feakins says:

    This has reminded me of the GLC’s “Ratepayers Iolanthe”:

    Was it ever recorded/does anyone have a recording which could be made available?

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