Train Song Lyrics

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by TrainClown, Oct 31, 2003.

  1. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

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    I just love a good train song, so I thought I would start this thread. Do you have a favorite train song? Go ahead and post the lyrics here.

    City of New Orleans....... lyrics by Arlo Guthrie in 1970

    Riding on the City of New Orleans,
    Illinois Central, Monday morning rail.
    Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders,
    three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail.
    All along the southbound Odyssey,
    the train pulls out of Kankakee,
    rollin' along past houses, farms and fields.
    Passin' towns that have no name,
    freight yards full of old black men,
    and the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.
    Good morning, America. How are you?
    Don't you know me, I'm your native son.
    I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
    and I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.
    Dealin' card games with the old men in the club car
    Penny a point, no one keepin' score.
    Pass the paper bag, that holds the bottle.
    You can feel the wheels, rumblin' 'neath the floor.
    And the sons of Pullman porters and the sons of engineers
    Ride their Father's magic carpet made of steel,
    Mothers sing their babes to sleep
    rocking to the gentle beat
    and the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.
    Good morning, America ...
    Night time on the City of New Orleans,
    changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee.
    Half way home and we'll be there by morning,
    through the Mississippi darkness rolling down to the sea.
    But all the towns and people seem
    to fade into a bad dream,
    the steel rail still ain't heard the news.
    The conductor sings his song again,
    the passengers will please refrain.
    This train's got the disappearin' railroad blues.
    Good night, America ...
  2. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

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    Here is another. In honor of the man in black.

    Johnny Cash

    Folsom Prison Blues

    I hear the train a comin´it´s rolling round the bend
    and I ain´t seen the sunshine since I don´t know when,
    I´m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin´ on
    but that train keeps a rollin´ on down to San Anton..
    When I was just a baby my mama told me. Son,
    always be a good boy, don´t ever play with guns.
    But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die
    now every time I hear that whistle I hang my head and cry..
    I bet there´s rich folks eating in a fancy dining car
    they´re probally drinkin´ coffee and smoking big cigars.
    Well I know I had it coming, I know I can´t be free
    but those people keep a movin´
    and that´s what tortures me...
    Well if they´d free me from this prison,
    if that railroad train was mine
    I bet I´d move just a little further down the line
    far from Folsom prison, that's where I want to stay
    and I´d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away.....
  3. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

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    C.W. McCall did a bunch of train songs, including a re-do of the City of New Orleans. For those of you who don't know, C.W. McCall was they guy who sang "Convoy" back in the 70's.

    He had one song about the Gallopin' Goose:

    On a cold November mornin'
    Back in nineteen-thirty-seven
    With an early snow a-fallin'
    On the three-foot tracks at Ames
    Came a mighty strange contraption
    Known to trainmen as a motor
    But to folks in Colorado
    She was known by another name

    Up the canyons south of Sawpit
    Past the red Cathedral spires
    'Cross the yellow mountain switchbacks
    And the rapids far below
    On the high and lofty trestles
    Near the fabled mines of Ophir
    In the silver San Juan Mountains
    Came a goose a-plowin' snow

    [Chorus]
    With a Pierce-Arrow engine,
    Runnin' hot and on the loose
    Came the Rio Grande Southern
    The Gallopin' Goose
    With a Pierce-Arrow engine
    Runnin' hot and on the loose
    Came Number Five, The Gallopin' Goose

    'Twas a four-door auto-mobile
    On a dozen wheels of iron
    Sixteen feet of rockin' boxcar
    Spot-welded to her tail
    Loaded down with mercantile
    Ten bags a' high-grade ore
    Two mothers nursin' babies
    Seven miners an' the mail

    Up the side a' Sunshine Mountain
    By internal gas combustion
    Eight Pierce-Arrow pistons pullin'
    Fifteen thousand pounds a' lead
    At the snowshed on the summit
    The conductor said his prayers
    He'd acquired a busted driveshaft
    On the pass at Lizard Head

    [Chorus]
    With a Pierce-Arrow engine
    Runnin' hot and on the loose
    Came the Rio Grande Southern
    The Gallopin' Goose
    With a Pierce-Arrow engine
    Runnin' hot and on the loose
    Came Number Five, The Gallopin' Goose

    [Musical interlude here.]

    Down the three-percent to Rico
    In the valley of Dolores
    They still talk about the Southern
    An' her flock of flyin' geese
    From the roundhouse at Ridgway
    To the depot at Durango
    All the tracks are gone for scrap iron
    And the ganders rest in peace

    Up the canyons south of Sawpit
    Past the red Cathedral spires
    'Cross the yellow mountain switchbacks
    And the rapids far below
    On the high and lofty trestles
    Near the fabled mines of Ophir
    In the silver San Juan Mountains
    There's a legend in the snow

    [Chorus]
    With a Pierce-Arrow engine
    Runnin' hot and on the loose
    Came the Rio Grande Southern
    The Gallopin' Goose
    With a Pierce-Arrow engine
    Runnin' hot and on the loose
    Came Number Five, The Gallopin' Goose
  4. Vic

    Vic Active Member

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    Wreck of Old 97

    There are a number of variations on this one.

    The Wreck of Old 97

    Verse 1.
    Well they gave him his orders
    At Monroe, Virgina
    Saying "Steve you're way behind time.
    This is not the thirty-eight
    But its Old Ninety-Seven.
    You must put her into Spencer on time.

    Verse 2.
    He turned around
    To his fireman Black Billy
    Said "Shovel in a little more coal."
    And when we cross
    That wide and distant mountain
    We gonna watch Old Ninety-Seven roll.

    Verse 3.
    Its a mighty rough road
    From Lynchburg to Danville
    And its lined on a three mile grade.
    It was on that grade
    That he lost his airbrakes
    Lord! See what a jump he made.

    Verse 4.
    He came flyin' down the grade
    Making ninety miles an hour
    When his whistle broke into a scream.
    Oh they found him in the cab
    With his hand on the throttle
    He was scalded to death by the steam.

    Verse 5.
    Well there came a telegram
    Into Washington Station
    And this is how it read
    That brave you engineer
    That drove old Ninety-Seven
    Is laying in Danville dead.

    Verse 6.
    Now all you Young Ladies
    Better heed and take warning
    From this time now and learn
    Don't speak harsh words
    To your true lovin' husband.
    He may leave you and never return
  5. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

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    Willie Nelson, sorry all I remember is the chorus

    She's a railroad lady
    just a little bit shady
    spending her days on the train

    Once a pullman car traveler
    now the switchman won't have her
    and she's just trying, just trying
    to get home again

    Yeah I know, cruel. But blame Willie and TC, not me :D :D :D
  6. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

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  7. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

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    Ted,

    Yeah, I missed that thread, just about a month before I came on board. So to add to the list, here is one of my favorits by a popular but long gone, Patsy Cline:

    LIFE'S RAILWAY TO HEVEN

    Life is like a mountain railroad
    With an engineer that's brave
    We must make the run successful
    From the cradle to the grave

    Watch the curves, the fills, and tunnels
    Never falter, never fail
    Keep your hand upon the throttle
    And your eyes upon the rail

    Blessed Savior, Thou will guide us
    Till we reach that blissful shore
    Where the angels wait to join us
    In that great forevermore

    The Grand Canyon Railroad uses it in their TV ads. Kinda chokes ya up every time they run it.

    Don
  8. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

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    Tyson that song was called railroad lady

    here is one of mine by Leadbelly
    The Midnight Special
    chorus
    let the midnight special shine its light on
    me let the midnight special
    shine its ever loving light on me

    yonder comes my woman,how do you know?
    I can tell her by her apron and by the dress she wore.
    umbrella on her shoulder, piece of paper in her hand,
    goin' down to the captain,says,i want my man.

    chorus

    when you go to houston, you better act right,
    you better not gamble, and you better not fight.
    or the sheriff will arrest you, and he'll carry you down,
    you can bet your bottom dollar, your jailhouse bound

    chorus
  9. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

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    One hit wonders!!!

    Here's a few lyrics I penned quite early in my youth, when I was undiluted by today's standards-
    (and playing in a punk band, I think I have a recording of it somewhere in the vault.)

    A Train
    Words and music by Mark R.
    Copyright 1972

    Ya better not ride the A train alone.
    You might not make it home. :eek:

    They'll have to pick you uP,
    Put you on a gurney.:(
    Strap you down for a cross town journey.

    Ya better not take the A train alone.
    You might not make it home. :eek:

    Thank you, thank you, please ladies and gentlemen- no applause~~~~~~~~~~:rolleyes: Throw money!!!

    Mark
  10. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

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    Hi again:
    Tyson, The song Railroad Lady was written by Jimmy Buffet and Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy recorded it on his "A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean" album.

    Doesn't have any lyrics but Pat Metheny's "Last Train Home" is one that i connect with emotionally. Don't know why, must be that long lonesome sound.

    Always liked the lyrics, especially as they fit into the concept album so well, of Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull. Won't print them here but you can find them at: http://www.cupofwonder.com/aqualung.html#LocomotiveBreath

    Music has that full throttle almost out of control feel to it that the song demands.

    A friend of mine pulled together 11 CDs of train songs for me, yeah, that's right, 11, and my wife had already pulled together 2 for me to listen to when i'm travelling to train shows. It's amazing how deeply into our culture trains had embedded themselves prior to the electronic/airplane age.

    Regards,
    Ted
  11. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Here is a song that I like.Its called The Pan American and has been sung by many artist.

    I have heard your stories about your fast trains
    But now I'll tell you 'bout one all the southern folks have seen
    She's the beauty of the southland, listen to that whistle scream
    It's that Pan American on her way to New Orleans

    (Chorus)
    She leaves Cincinnati heading down that Dixie line
    When she passes the Nashville tower, you can hear that whistle whine
    Stick your head right out of the window and feel that southern breeze
    You're on that Pan American on her way to New Orleans

    If you're ever in the southland, and want to see the scenes
    Just get yourself a ticket on that Pan American Queen
    There's Louisville, Nashville, Montgomery, the capital of Alabam'
    You right pass thru them all when you're New Orleans bound

    (Repeat chorus)

    You're on that Pan American on her way to New Orleans
  12. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Of course my one of my all time favorite train songs sung by Hank Snow
    Board!

    That big eight-wheeler rollin' down the track
    Means your true-lovin' daddy ain't comin' back
    'Cause I'm movin' on, I'll soon be gone
    You were flyin' too high, for my little old sky
    So I'm movin' on

    That big loud whistle as it blew and blew
    Said hello to the southland, we're comin' to you
    When we're movin' on, oh hear my song
    You had the laugh on me, so I've set you free
    And I'm movin' on

    Mister fireman won't you please listen to me
    'Cause I got a pretty mama in Tennessee
    Keep movin' me on, keep rollin' on
    So shovel the coal, let this rattler roll
    And keep movin' me on

    Mister Engineer, take that throttle in hand
    This rattler's the fastest in the southern land
    To keep movin' me on, keep rollin' on
    You gonna ease my mind, put me there on time
    And keep rollin' on

    I've told you baby, from time to time
    But you just wouldn't listen or pay me no mind
    Now I'm movin' on, I'm rollin' on
    You've broken your vow, and it's all over now
    So I'm movin' on

    You've switched your engine now I ain't got time
    For a triflin' woman on my main line
    Cause I'm movin on, you done your daddy wrong
    I warned you twice, now you can settle the price
    'Cause I'm movin on

    But someday baby when you've had your play
    You're gonna want your daddy but your daddy will say
    Keep movin' on, you stayed away too long
    I'm through with you, too bad you're blue
    Keep movin' on
  13. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

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    A folksinger/songwriter friend of ours is setting this poem (about a young girl who saved a passenger train) to music - really looking forward to hearing him perform this when he is finished. He is mainly into traditional Celtic and Sea Shanties, but is starting to add train songs to his repertoire. -glen

    from http://www.millermicro.com/poems.html

    This story is true; Kate Shelley was "The Iowa Heroine" who crawled across the Des Moines River Bridge in 1881 to save a Chicago and North Western passenger train. But she was nearly forgotten when a young reporter, not yet known as one of America's great authors, wrote this tribute in 1930. This poem does not appear in MacKinlay Kantor's poetry collection, "Turkey In The Straw", and it isn't even listed by the U.S. Library of Congress. I am indebted to Charles Irwin of the Boone County Historical Society in Boone, Iowa for providing an old, typed copy, and am pleased to share it with you.

    You can read more about Kate Shelley at:
    http://www.desmoinesriver.org/kshelley.html
    http://wbaxter1.tripod.com/sirwebsolotswebsite/id11.html
    http://www.uiowa.edu/~humiowa/rd10-1.htm
    http://showcase.netins.net/web/bikebarn/rail/kate_shelley.html
    http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/~cwhung/kate.html




    THE BALLAD OF KATE SHELLEY
    by MacKinlay Kantor (1930)


    The rails that run by Honey Creek are eaten up with rust,
    And no one walks the greasy bed hid in the roses' dust;
    But yet at night a slender ghost may stalk the quiet sky--
    And bats will shiver as they see Kate Shelley going by.

    Kate Shelley from a quiet house, Kate Shelley in the storm...
    She took a lantern in her hand to keep her spirit warm;
    The clouds came up and thundered haste and Honey Creek was foam;
    The waters laughed with blackened breath below Kate Shelley's home.

    "O daughter, go you to the door, I hear a whistle call,
    Crying within the valley dark that shadows over all.
    Your father was a section man; you are the seed he sowed..
    So listen, listen in the storm and guard the iron road."

    Her father was a section man; she knew the mighty wheels
    That ground along the bottom land amid the tempest's heels.
    She listened in the howling dark--and heard a sundered scream,
    When ninety tons of steel went down into the boiling stream.

    "My father was a section man--he reared me for the road.."
    She climbed the gashed and sullen grade while oaken saplings bowed;
    She prayed to gods of spade and pick, she prayed to tie and rail...
    The river bridge was like a priest in rainy vestments pale.

    The midnight coaches from the west plunged in the dripping rain;
    West of Moingona ties were sound--east was a broken train.
    (East in the bile of Honey Creek in one drowned, twisting curl,
    Lay ninety tons of twisted steel.) Between them was a girl.

    Under the river bridge was death--black fathoms frothing down.
    Beyond Moingona sang the train on to a lonely town;
    The engineer swayed in his cab, he could not see ahead;
    "Two hours more...I leave the run and get me home to bed."

    Two hours more...The whistle whined shrill in the driven rain,
    Two hours more...(A broken span, a ghost where there was a train).
    Across the river bridge a girl came creeping on the ties;
    The wind wiped out her lantern flame, but still she had her eyes.



    And still she had her Irish soul, and still she had her heart!
    The spikes cut furrows in her skin and tore her flesh apart,
    Two yards beneath, the river's tongue clove at the shaking span...
    A wraith beside her urged her on: "I was a section man..."

    Down in a pocket of the hills Moingona hid its head--
    And men with muscles pillowed down, slumbering as the dead,
    One light shone thinly through the night under the battled din,
    A bleeding hand clutched the door--a torn shape staggered in.

    No song of thanks, no valiant yell: "God! and the train is saved!"
    None but wheels which tightened down when crimson lanterns waved;
    Nothing but brandy held to lips by someone of the crew...
    "I'll ride the cab," she said, "and show just where the boys went through."

    She rode the cab and guided them. (The anxious whistle bawled.)
    She rode in torn and bloody rags the ties where she had crawled.
    And if the station mice were there they saw the sundered heap,
    And watched the rescue party toil before Kate went to sleep.

    And nine and forty years are gone; the trains no longer come
    Along the crest of Honey Creek before Kate Shelley's home.
    Oh, there were songs for other years when all the road was hers--
    And there were men to bless her name, and gold to fill her purse.

    But if you go to Honey Creek in some dark summer storm,
    Be sure you take a lantern flame to keep your spirit warm,
    For there will be a phantom train, and foggy whistle cries--
    And in the lightning flare you'll see Kate Shelley on the ties.
  14. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

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    And, of course, Harry Chapin's "Cory's Coming"

    "Old John Joseph
    Was a man with two first names.
    But they left him in the railroad yard when they took away the trains.

    Now only one run a week
    Comes roaring down that line,
    So all he's got to worry 'bout is time." ...


    And Jimmy Rankin's (The Rankin Family / The Rankins) "Orangedale Whistle"

    "The station master looked all around
    Along the track both up and down
    But the train could not be found,
    for there was neither sight nor sound..."
  15. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

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    Does anyone recognize this one?

    A few years ago this tune was played on a local radio station, i heard it only once. It was one of what a local C&W radio station called a 'mandatory train tune' - whenever the DJ looked out of his studio window and saw a train on the nearby grade crossing, he played a train tune. Usually when hearing these train tunes i was on my way home from work waiting at a different crossing for the same train!

    Anyway, it was a female vocalist singing a very pleasant yet sad blues song, part of the chorus went like this -

    "I'm going down to the railroad yard,
    to watch them lonely boxcars roll."

    If anyone recognizes this, would like to know who sang it and the name. can't find anything with an internet search. thanks.
  16. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

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    1st verse (if i remember right)

    Oh you wake up in the morning boy,
    And there's no Pork-up in the pan,
    But you'd better not complain boy,
    Or you'll get in trouble with the man..
  17. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    You mean this for the Midnight Special as the first verse?

    Well, you wake up in the mornin', you hear the work bell ring,
    And they march you to the table to see the same old thing.
    Ain't no food upon the table, and no pork up in the pan.
    But you better not complain, boy, you get in trouble with the man.

    CHORUS:
    Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me,
    Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me,
    Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me,
    Let the Midnight Special shine a everlovin' light on me.
  18. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

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    Thats it! Been a lonnnnng time....
  19. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

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    The Silverton

    Lyrics for "The Silverton" -- C.W. McCall

    She was born one mornin' on a San Juan summer
    Back in eighteen an' eighty an' one
    She was a beautiful daughter of the D & RG
    And she weighed about a thousand tons
    Well it's a fourty five miles through the Animas Canyon
    So they set her on the narrow gauge
    She drank a whole lotta water, and she ate a lotta coal
    And they called her The Silverton (Silverton train)

    Here comes The Silverton up from Durango
    Here comes The Silverton, a shovelin' coal
    Here comes The Silverton up from the canyon
    See the smoke, and hear the whistle blow

    Well now listen to the whistle in the Rockwood Cut
    On the Highline to Silverton town
    An' yer gonna git a shiver, when ya check out the river
    Which is four hunderd feet straight down!
    Take on some water at the Needleton tank
    And then ya struggle up a two-five grade
    And by the time ya git yer hide passed the Snowshed Slide
    Ya had a ride on The Silverton (Silverton train)

    Here comes The Silverton up from Durango
    Here comes The Silverton, a shovelin' coal
    Here comes The Silverton up from the canyon
    See the smoke, and hear the whistle blow

    Now down by the station, early in the mornin'
    There's a whole lotta people in line
    An' they all got a ticket on the train to yesterday
    An' it's a gonna leave on time
    Well it's a fourty five miles through the Animas Canyon
    So they set her on the narrow gauge
    She drinks a whole lotta water, and she eats a lotta coal
    And they call her The Silverton (Silverton train)

    Here comes The Silverton up from Durango
    Here comes The Silverton, a shovelin' coal
    Here comes The Silverton up from the canyon
    See the smoke, and hear the whistle blow

    {Reapeat Chorus}
  20. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

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