After being pestered by his friends and family and especially Olive Oyl and Swee'Pea for not having a job (despite being a sailor for years and having a wealth of pirate gold in storage), Popeye goes to an aptitude testing center to see what kind of job he is best suited for. The service there is quite clearly a scam; the testers accept whatever Popeye pays and basically use trick questions to suggest he take up the job of a railroad man, so they can sell him a railroad on the cheap.
Eventually, Popeye accepts the opportunity, and gets Wimpy to help him inspect the railroad in Gofertown. Unfortunately, they learn that the townspeople have grown very hostile to the railroad service due to late arrivals, and the train they are to run is in complete disrepair. The tank engine is too underpowered to carry the commuters at high speed, and the railroad that leads to their working place, the copper mine, has to meander a hundred miles to cross a half-mile canyon.
Even worse, Brutus has just begun to provide bus service to commuters. The competition quickly escalates to a "transportation war" of violent fisticuffs and vehicular sabotage (with a dose of Popeye's spinach to help). The owner of the copper mine, along with Wimpy, decides to hold a winner-take-all race between Popeye's train and Brutus' bus. During the race, Brutus sets up several obstacles, each getting cleaned up by Popeye. In the final stretch, Popeye's train rams into Brutus' bus and pushes it towards the finish line. Popeye technically succeeds, but since the bus is first over the finish line, Brutus wins the race, as well as the sole right to carry commuters.
All is not lost for Popeye, as Olive has one more idea. Popeye can build a railroad bridge over the half-mile canyon, essentially reducing the transport time into mere minutes. Popeye, with the help of a now beat-up Brutus, finishes the bridge swiftly. However, the commuters, as much as they appreciate the bridge, ignore his train and simply walk their way to the copper mine. The mine's owner does not care about the train either, and instead expresses gratitude for cutting the commute time down. In the end, Popeye gives up his railroad job in frustration and returns home.