Who is waiting for the ghost train?
As with many of Madness’s songs, this one is open to multiple interpretations. The song is about a group of people waiting for a train that seems to be destined never to actually come, which is a metaphor for life that would do Samuel Beckett proud. Though the band was not often thought of as being a political band, Madness’s lead singer, Suggs, has said that the song was also meant to be a commentary on South African apartheid. The reference to the station master writing out cancellations in orange chalk is also a reference to the colors of what was then South Africa’s flag.