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Discussion: Love Affair With Trains

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THE WRECK OF THE VIRGINIAN NUMBER 3


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JenEllen 19 Jun 02 - 02:42 PM
Bobert 19 Jun 02 - 03:25 PM
Mrrzy 19 Jun 02 - 03:31 PM
Mrrzy 19 Jun 02 - 04:54 PM
Les from Hull 19 Jun 02 - 05:45 PM
Mark Clark 19 Jun 02 - 05:48 PM
greg stephens 19 Jun 02 - 05:48 PM
Eric the Viking 19 Jun 02 - 05:59 PM
Amos 19 Jun 02 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,greg stephens 19 Jun 02 - 06:29 PM
JenEllen 19 Jun 02 - 06:34 PM
Gareth 19 Jun 02 - 06:36 PM
Herga Kitty 19 Jun 02 - 06:40 PM
JenEllen 19 Jun 02 - 06:42 PM
JenEllen 19 Jun 02 - 06:47 PM
Gareth 19 Jun 02 - 06:47 PM
Herga Kitty 19 Jun 02 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,greg stephens 19 Jun 02 - 07:06 PM
Herga Kitty 19 Jun 02 - 07:17 PM
catspaw49 19 Jun 02 - 07:25 PM
greg stephens 19 Jun 02 - 07:26 PM
greg stephens 19 Jun 02 - 07:43 PM
JenEllen 19 Jun 02 - 08:23 PM
greg stephens 19 Jun 02 - 08:40 PM
katlaughing 19 Jun 02 - 09:11 PM
Hrothgar 20 Jun 02 - 07:06 AM
GUEST 20 Jun 02 - 07:55 AM
greg stephens 20 Jun 02 - 07:59 AM
GUEST 20 Jun 02 - 08:04 AM
HuwG 20 Jun 02 - 08:07 AM
GUEST 20 Jun 02 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,greg stephens 20 Jun 02 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,greg stephens 20 Jun 02 - 08:37 AM
53 20 Jun 02 - 09:17 AM
Mark Clark 20 Jun 02 - 09:38 AM
Amos 20 Jun 02 - 09:38 AM
GUEST 20 Jun 02 - 09:40 AM
catspaw49 20 Jun 02 - 02:06 PM
Herga Kitty 20 Jun 02 - 04:00 PM
Herga Kitty 20 Jun 02 - 04:11 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 Jun 02 - 04:53 PM
Lyrical Lady 21 Jun 02 - 01:19 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 21 Jun 02 - 04:09 AM
Banjer 21 Jun 02 - 04:43 AM
Banjer 21 Jun 02 - 04:50 AM
Banjer 21 Jun 02 - 05:04 AM
katlaughing 21 Jun 02 - 11:12 AM
Jim Krause 21 Jun 02 - 11:31 PM
katlaughing 22 Jun 02 - 10:09 PM
JenEllen 23 Jun 02 - 12:24 AM
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Subject: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: JenEllen
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 02:42 PM

I had a nice chat last night with a friend that works for the BNSF, and sparked me a bit. Trains run through here, freight only, but I have lived in areas where trains played a major part in economics and daily life. Obviously, when something is that much a part of a life, songs get written. My questions to start discussion are:

Favourite train songs?
One that's been stuck in my head all day is 'Smoke Along the Tracks'
Bye bye, so long
There's something down the track that's calling me
Bye bye, so long
I guess that's just the way I'll always be
When I get that feelin', don't try and hold me back
I'll only leave you cryin' in the smoke along the track

Is this a solely North American occurance?
I don't know of any other place that relied so heavily on train travel for human expansion, but I'm also an idiot.

How do you feel that relationship has changed over the years?
Riding the rails isn't the same as it was, either for freight or personal travel. Do you know of any music to reflect the change? (L&N already taken into consideration!)

Thanks,
~JenEllen


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 03:25 PM

Me too, Jen Ellen. If you'l PM me an address I'll send you a tape of a couple I've written and poorly recorded over the years. On, entitled "The Legend of the Churchill Tunnel" is about a true story of a tunnel collapsing on a train in Richmond, Va. back in 1925 and the train and people were left there and are still their to this very day...

"Sad day sitting on the B & O line... Don't know why I jumped the train.... Guess life's questions got to me that day.... Had nothin' left there to gain..." (the Bobert in his train jumpin' days)

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 03:31 PM

I love train songs.

It's true that I don't know any train songs in other languages, although I know a lot of folk songs from other places... the only train song I can think of in French that I learned as a child turned out to mean the "train" of a king, as in, entourage. How many train songs are there that aren't about wrecks or death of hobos or something? I can only think of 2, one was a parody by Shel Silverstein, and one is about catching the end of an old freight train, and I never did come back... Oh, OK, the children's song Clickety Clack along along, the train's a-coming a-chung a-chung.

Blue railroad train
The train that carried my girl from town
Southbound

I always live where I can hear a train roll by, always have, wouldn't move to somewhere too far from railroad tracks. Don't know why, maybe I like my dishes rattling!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 04:54 PM

I've been thinking about this. I know lots and lots of American songs that mention trains even if they aren't the focus of the song... And all the European folk songs I know talk about boats, or horses, if they're going to mention a method of travel. Must be a time thing - we're such a new country that our songs have more recent technology?

Great thread!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Les from Hull
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 05:45 PM

It's true - we don't really have train songs in the UK. And we invented them!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Mark Clark
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 05:48 PM

The largest steam locomotive in the world (12 wheels, 122 ft. including tender) just came through Cedar Rapids again yesterday. I'll link to the video on the local newspapers site.

It's possible you need to be a registered user to see the video. If that's the case, I'm sorry.

      - Mark

QuickTime: Modem | T1/Cable/DSL
Windows Media: Modem | T1/Cable/DSL


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: greg stephens
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 05:48 PM

I think we have to face the fact that the Old World folk must have been drying up on creativity by the time the trains came rolling by. The huge body of wonderful American folksongabout trains, or imitating the sounds of trains, is pretty much totally absent in Brtain.Or to be strictly accurate, loads of songs were produced, and were documented, but they proved ephemeral, and havent been done since ( unless flogged back to uncertain life byrevivalists). Maybe its geography, no thousands of miles to roar across through the night, blowing lonesome whistles.Alas, we havent got our Orange Blossom Specials and Wrecks of the old 97.Sea songs, or tunes imitating fox-hunting, that's another story!!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 05:59 PM

For a start there's "The iron road" by Ewan McColl, he did a series on radio about railways, like he did about fishing. Social commentry. I think there is a CD of his and others railway songs-will try and find out! I am sure there are some others written, but even as a past railway enthusiast, can't seem to remember any at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 06:25 PM

Well, I always enjoyed That Old Fast Freight, probably the first song connected with trains I ever learned except for Malvina's all-time classic Freight Train which back then was the hallmark of the neophyte. I love the Wabash Cannonball in all its variations, dunno why. And the other old saw, Wreck of the Old 97 was one that alwaysgot a guffaw out of my Kentuckian uncle when he was alive, although I don't know exactly why, and Railroad Bill was a reg'lar dogeared old treat for many years. Oh, and The FF&V if that is its proper name. And I'm actually fond of SPirit of New Orleans which shows you what a mushmelon I am. :>) I am sure there are ten others I have forgotten, and these are pretty bland and standard fare but they're what I recall at the moment.

A

A


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 06:29 PM

Good point for a salute to Sonny Terry, who could play train sounds better than anyone I've ever heard.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: JenEllen
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 06:34 PM

Thanks, Bobert. PM sent. I know what you mean about those train jumping days. In Indiana, where I spent a great deal of time growing up, that is a viable source of entertainment to this very day. Sad thing is that in the 3 generations of my family that have been in the US, at least one person in each generation has been maimed by a train. Never killed, but mauled for sure (pinned femurs, missing arms). Something to be feared, but loved all the same.

Mrrzy, I dunno about the wreck/hobo thing, that is kind of what I'm trying to figure out too. I guess that "new River Train" is a riding song, but not necessarily a bad one. I also wonder how much of the technology you were talking about plays a part in the songs. Was the US such a large place to tackle (yeah, manifest destiny!) that horses/boats weren't the way to do it, but also that trains were so slow that a person could spend a lot of time riding one and coming up with songs because there wasn't much else to do?

Mark, beautiful video. We have a passenger train out here that runs around the park at Mount Rainier...I'll look for a link...gorgeous scenery, and the trains are lovely.

Thanks also, Greg. That was kind of what I had figured, without the juice to back it up. I've ridden trains in the UK, France and Italy, but had never heard any folk songs. Mrrzy brought up the children's songs, do you also find them lacking as well? Anything along the lines of the "Little Red Caboose" songs or somesuch?

Erik, if you can remember that CD, give a holler, okay?

When I'm old and grey and settle down
If I ever get the chance to sneak away from town
I'll spend my busman's holiday
On the Atchison, Topeka and the Sante Fe

~JE


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Gareth
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 06:36 PM

Eric, John Axon must be turning in his grave !

Yes there are British songs, which have the same connection to folk as does filk, or other "specialities", not to say it aint music, but of a enthisiast nature.

Somehow I can't see much future for the "Song of the HST", or the "Ballard of Railtrack". - Or is this a case of (Big Grin) Country and Great Western ?

And at the risk of having boots, shoes, and other objects thrown at me, or the nearest Monitor :-

Cosher Bailey had an engine,.....

BTW Did you know you can sing "Achy Breaky Heart" to the soundtrack of the old Argo Transcord recording of a 28XX climbing Stormy Bank on the Llanwern Iron Ore trains - Railwayline dancing ???

Gareth - in Anorak mode


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 06:40 PM

Tim Brooks - "Steam again in Goathland", about the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Flanders and Swann - "The slow train" (which is on the forthcoming Patterson, Jordan and Dipper Flat Earth CD).
Roger Watson's "You can't take that on the train" (with help from Rules & Regulations of the Great Central Railway 1903) recorded by the New Victory Band on "One more dance and then". (There's a mention of the railway station in "Pretty little girl from nowhere" as well.)

And moving southwards to Australia, John Warner's "Railway Widow's Blues" (sung by Margaret Walters on "Who was here" but also included in Hen Party's new Heart Gallery show). Also, arguably, JW's Nyora Railway Journal aka Dear Diary, which isn't about railways but about the women left behind in railway camps.

But we look to the USA for great railroad songs (John Henry, Casey Jones, the railroad runs through the middle of the house. Not to mention the Chattanooga choo choo, or the trusty lariat.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: JenEllen
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 06:42 PM

Gareth, your anorak can kick it for my money...LOL... What do you suppose makes those songs 'un-folk'?

For train lovers: Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad

~JE


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: JenEllen
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 06:47 PM

Thanks Kitty! Perfect, and lots of new ones to me. This is not exactly folk (and I'm not sure that 'yearny' is even a word...) but a favourite all the same:

Got my bag, got my reservation
Spent each dime I could afford
Like a child in wild anticipation
Long to hear that "All aboard"

Seven, that's the time we leave, at seven
I'll be waitin' up for heaven
Countin' every mile of railroad track
That takes me back

Never thought my heart could be so yearny
Why did I decide to roam?
Gotta take that sentimental journey
Sentimental journey home

~JE


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Gareth
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 06:47 PM

Jen Ellen These/those songs are folk - its just that they seem to be confined to a restricted circle. I loved your Mount Rainier site, but try this for the UK , Click Here

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:04 PM

JE

Well, "yearny" doesn't appear in my Chambers dictionary, and I bet it isn't an Official Scrabble Word either. However, I know exactly what it means. Of course it's also begging to be used in a song on the lines of "Yearny one morning, just as the steam was rising....." (though that probably means that some adolescent spotty youth had got up early to write down train numbers in a notebook).

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:06 PM

Yes, we have modern English train songs, but they tend to be nostalgic looks on the good old days of steam. Ewan mcColl certainly tried to inject the note of romance( wonderfullywell ) into the "Ballad of John Axon", but that again was a revivalist take on the past, not a glorious contemporary celebration the new technology that we find running through a huge volume of American material. My point is that the many contemporaryEnglish celebrations of the early days of railways completely failed to enter public consciousness in any longterm way.They just werent connected to the zeitgeist, they never became folksongs, or however you would like to put it.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:17 PM

Greg

That might be because the railways in America and Australia were opening up new territory, whereas in Britain they were just providing quicker alternatives to turnpike roads, but then got superseded by motorways.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:25 PM

America's love affair began because of the speed with which trains could traverse this huge country. They were developing as the country developed as well. The technology shared the same path as the growth of the US. Towns were built to coincide with rail service, if there were no water routes, and of course many rail lines centered around getting goods to shipping ports. It was a match made in heaven.

Building railroads and rail operation were a major job source for immigrants as well. As steam and steel technology developed, the more complex engines involved more shops and more maintenance which again built towns centered upon the railroad as their chief industry. I grew up in one of them. But everything develops around technolgy and as the airlines came along and better highways and vehicles became available, moving goods and people by rail became less cost effective. The Diesel helped keep the railroads alive but they took the nostalgia away.......It's hard to get excited about a Diesel. They're pretty neat things and pretty economical too, but a steam engine was a living, breathing, entity, each having very personal characteristics. You could hear them breathing!!! The men who mastered these behemoths were special too. Looking into the cab of a big steamer is to be awestruck by the gauges and levers and assorted handles.....as mystical to most as looking into the cockpit of a jet.

The Enginemen were almost heroes and to many kids that watched them pass they were something akin to gods. Each engineer had his own special sound to his whistle and they leaned out of the cabin window and blessed us with a wave. Each had a reputation and some of the more colorful were the meat of many songs. Firing these magnificent creatures was no mean feat and the ability to build and bank a fire to maintain and attain maximum steam made a Fireman's job an artform as well as hot, sweaty, and dirty. And of course a railroad accident was quite similar to a plane crash today but with the added bit of them occuring quite often in places well witin our view. The tales of what an engineer, fireman, brakeman, flagman, or conductor, did in the wrecks was the stuff of folklore and often reached mythical proportions. The truth of what actually was done or even could have been done was frankly not as interesting. For all those reasons it is only natural that this country should have fallen in love with trains and the things surrounding them.

My Dad was an engineman on the Pennsylvania Railroad for the whole of his adult working life. He started out of high school on the section gang and went into engine service a couple of years later. He was in a Railway Batallion during WWII and came back to the Pennsy as soon as it was over. The PRR was early in converting to Diesels but Dad fired the last of the steamers. Advancement on the roads was based on seniority and although he had qualified as an engineer he stayed as a fireman for many years until he could hold a regular slot on the board. So when the last of M1's and K4's made their final runs on the PanHandle Division, Dad fired those engines. I remember years later in about 1962 when the last of the steamers were cut up for scrap in the Columbus Yards, it was about as close as I ever came to seeing him cry at that point in my life. He was an engineer for the rest of his life and even with the Diesels, an engineer still had a reputation of some sort and the Ol' Man was known as a "smooth rider"....a term used by those in the caboose to describe a good engineer who could stop and start, take in or run out slack as needed, without disturbing their rest or their pinochle game.

Railroaders back then were still a special breed who loved what they did. 30 years later, one of the most poignant memories I have of my Dad is from a time when he was quite ill within only a few weeks of his death. He had me take him to the Yards so he could pick up some things out of his locker. We cleaned it out and packed up his "Grip" for the final time. But on the way out we sort of had to "detour" through an engine shop and though I protested, he went that way. Walking through the shops, we stopped at an idling GP9 and he slowly started up into the cab. Again, I protested that this was way too much effort that he shouldn't be wasting, but he looked down at me and said, "Just one last time." So we climbed up and sat in the cab for awhile and if I was ever closer to him, I don't know when it would have been.

The rails were close at hand for people to see and hear and feel and they grew with us. For those who long for older and simpler times, the sound, feel, and the smell of a great steamer are all that is needed to trigger visions of a different life in a different world, far removed from this current time and place.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: greg stephens
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:26 PM

I think youre quite right Kitty.That sense of new space and going somewhere different is not there in British Railways. The lack of lasting canal songs is the same as the railway thing, their building was celebrated in contemporary songs which were quickly forgotten. But the sea obviously went right through British life, language and music, and is still going strong( in spite of the channel tunnel).


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: greg stephens
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:43 PM

Spaw thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. A wonderful read. No wonder Americans made great train songs. Back here we didnt have the songs...but everyone of my generation wanted to be an engine driver! And still do..everyone volunteers(and even pay) to help on the the re-opened old steam lines. Mind you we helped, over here. There was the steam engine, for a start! (anybody know that George Watt also made bagpipes and flutes for a living, when the inventing wasnt paying the bills...but I digress). And I think you can hear the old British/Irish fiddle rhythms, harmonies and song structures well up front in the mix.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: JenEllen
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 08:23 PM

Spaw, THANK YOU. Owe ya one.

~JE

PS: George Watt? James Watt's evil bagpipe-building twin brother? (just pulling your leg, greg *g*)


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: greg stephens
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 08:40 PM

Well the thing is JenEllen I'm enjoying a pleasant evening at home,my significant other is away working in Manchester and I'm sitting here watching the TV and talking bollocks on Mudcat and maybe enjoying more than a glass or two of South African White (a complete snip at £2.49 atthe local shop) and somehow James turned into George(much like what happened when we got rid ofthe Stuarts and got in the Hanoverians).I admit it I made a blooper...anyway track twenty nine boy you can give me a shine and I hate to hear that lonesome whistle blow zzzzzzzzsnorrrrrrreeeeeeeee


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 09:11 PM

Ah, PatSpaw, that should be read on NPR and every other media that would reach as many people as possible. Absolutely beautiful, though hard to read through the tears.:-)

No one has made mention of our own Art Thieme's tape That's the Ticket which is full of wonderful train songs, including Zack - the Mormon Engineer, The Hobo's Last Ride, Me and Jimmie Rogers, Dobie Bill, & East Texas Red among others. As far as I know, Folk Legacy still offers it on cassette. It is Number FSI-90.

I am not up on the more recent (last 20 years or so) kids' stuff, but surely Ringo must've had some train songs with his series for children with "Thomas?"

One of my earliest memories of a train song is of sheet music mom and dad had of A Railroad Runs Through The Middle of the House, at least that's the name I remember. Oh, the railroad runs through the middle of the house, the middle of the house, the middle of the house...Oh, the railroad ruuns through the middle of the house...All the livelong day. It had a black, white, and red illustration, kind of a caricature of a house with a train coming out of the page, splitting the house right down the middle. We used to sing it a lot and I remember my little kid's mind imagining what it would really be like to have a RR running through our house!

I was fortunate to grow up, most of my childhood, near where the California Zephyr runs with its Vistadome cars giving a 360 view of the magnificient scenery of the West, from Chicago on. Had many fabulous rides on it, as a child and adult. Have also been on the narrowgauge which runs from Silverton to Durango, CO. And, collected old RR spikes at what I think is the highest narrowguage tunnel in the US, the Alpine Tunnel up above Pitkin, CO. I'll post some links, later on.

I have always loved trains and still have some ticket stubs my brother saved for me as a child. The first time I remember riding one was on what was jokingly referred to as the "Toonerville Trolley" which mom and I rode from Casper, WY to Denver, CO, to see my grandma.

One of my favs. is, of course, Hank Williams' I'm so lonesome...I always think of that song when I can't sleep and hear the 2am freight train coming through....

thanks, Jendarlin'...great thread...

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Hrothgar
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 07:06 AM

Dan Bilston did some good English train stuff, especially about the railway working life.

Eric Bogle's "No Use For Him" is on a railway theme, even if it's not about a train or a railway. It goes back to the days of the wholesale closures of British railway lines as a result of the Beeching Report.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 07:55 AM

Excellent piece, Catspaw.

You really are a very good writer.

Shame that you waste your talent on 'fart jokes' much of the time.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: greg stephens
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 07:59 AM

oops the Man with No Name is in town again


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 08:04 AM

Why do you hate me Greg?

It's getting close to racism


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: HuwG
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 08:07 AM

One British Railway song which I heard fleetingly on Channel 4 some months ago, and have been trying to trace ever since, was called "The Late Freight Blues". It dealt with the delights (!) of working on British Railways in the last days of steam haulage, with run-down track and rolling stock, members of different unions not speaking to each other and a general fed-up feeling. Does anyone know more about this song ?

Soot in my hair
Smoke in my eyes
Cinders in my shoes
Something, something, something
Singing the Late Freight Blues


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Subject: Lyr Add: SLOW TRAIN (Flanders & Swann)
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 08:18 AM

SLOW TRAIN

Flanders and Swann

Millers Dale for Tideswell
Kirby Muxloe
Mow Cop and Scholar Green


No more will I go to Blandford Forum and Mortehoe,
On the slow train from Midsomer Norton and Mumby Road,
No churns, no porter,
No cat on a seat,
At Chorlton-cum-Hardy or Chester-le-Street
We won't be meeting again on the slow train.

I'll travel no more from Littleton Badsey to Openshaw,
At Long Stanton I'll stand well clear of the doors no more,
No whitewashed pebbles,
No up and no down,
From Formby-Four-Crosses to Dunstable Town,
I won't be going again on the slow train.

On the main line and the goods siding,
The grass grows high,
At Dog Dyke, Tumby Woodside, and Trouble House Halt.
The sleepers sleep at Audlem and Ambergate,
No passenger waits on Chittering Platform or Cheslyn Hay,
No-one departs, no-one arrives,
From Selby to Goole,
From St. Erth to St. Ives,
They all passed out of our lives,
On the slow train,
On the slow train.
Cockermouth for Buttermere
On the slow train.
Armley Moor Arram
Pye Hill and Somercotes
On the slow train.
Windmill End.....


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 08:36 AM

Cyril Tawney's "You're in the sidings now" is a good'un, also about the Beeching cuts. While I'm at it, somebody told name how to a linebreak, so I'll try.
Wonder if that worked.
Hope so


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 08:37 AM

Yippee, it did. Now I can write out song lyrics properly.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: 53
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 09:17 AM

Folsum Prison Blues has to be my favorite song about trains, of course cause I used to sing that when I was playing in the band. Bob


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Mark Clark
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 09:38 AM

Pat, That piece is truly wonderful. It needs to be preserved somewhere, why don't you write a book? Even an e-Book? I'd buy it.

I remember Dave Prine (John's brother) and Tyler Wilson, who used to perform as The National Recovery Act bemoaning the dearth of new train songs. Dave observed that while trains used to be “comin' down the grade makin' 90 miles an hour” they now travel 30 miles an hour down a straight track and just fall off halfway along. Not much romance there.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 09:38 AM

Guest:

That (20-Jun-02 - 08:18 AM) is a stunning piece of work; magic all through. Thanks!

A


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 09:40 AM

You're welcome Amos.

Even better with the tune


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: catspaw49
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 02:06 PM

Thank you all for the extremely kind comments. There are wondeful train songs that are being pointed out from other countries. But the American love affair with the rails is different due to that pioneering/inventing parallel that helped bring many diverse people together in a large and growing country. America in general has always had some kind of close bond with "machinery" and the railroads were a step along the way.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 04:00 PM

Amos

A friend of mine also wrote "Sloe gin" to the same tune as "Slow train" - I wonder if he's still got the words....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 04:11 PM

Oh, and as Guest didn't mention this, the lines in Slow Train in italics are spoken, not sung - like station announcements


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Subject: ADD: Milwaukee/St. Paul (Jerry Rasmussen)
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 04:53 PM

Hi, Jen Ellen:

I wrote this song about the railroad line that went through my home town when I was a kid growing up in Southern Wisconsin. Trains always held a mystery to me. Lying in bed at night, I could hear the train whistles moaning as they headed off across the prairie, and the railroad tracks always promised a freedom and adventure that a little kid found fascinating. I lived four blocks from the railroad tracks and "wasted" much of my summer days along the tracks. We'd walk the tracks out to the country to abandoned gravel pits where we'd build rafts and have titanic battles to try to sink each other, or go shooting frogs or pop bottles with our bb guns. When I got older, we'd climb up under the railroad trestles and catch pigeons at night. Or, we'd stop by the ice house and beg chips of ice from the man when he came to the back door. Railway Express was the way to ship larger items, and it was always exciting to go up there on the rare occasion when someone shipped something to us. In the early 60's, they tore the railroad depot down in my home town, and stopped passenger service, even though the town is over 60,000 population. I wrote this song in the mid-60's.

MILWAUKEE/ST. PAUL
(Jerry Rasmussen)

Walking down the track on a dusty day
With the long steel rails so shiny
Now they tore the railroad depot down
And the tracks have all gone rusty

Fishing off the edge of the railroad bridge
You can feel the steel rails humming
Better put your bait and your bucket down
'Cause the train will soon be coming

All you got to do is to walk those ties
And they're bound to lead you to the country
Lie on your back in the tall, sweet grass
Or you can take your dog and go hunting

I could sit and watch those trains all day
And the cars just keep on coming
Chicago Northwestern, Milwaukee St. Paul
And the steel rails keep on humming

I sang this song at a folk festival out here on the East Coast, and someone came up to me afterwards and said, "I fished off that bridge." I got excited, and figured that he'd grown up in my home town. I said, "Did you grow up in Janesville?" and he answered, "No, Colorado... but it was the same railroad bridge."

And it was

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Lyrical Lady
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 01:19 AM

Growing up in "ferryland" (on the coast)...I've never had too much to do with trains...in fact I've never been on a train. I have had love affairs that have left me feeling like a train wreck though! Lovely piece Pat... I do hope that you write that book...you are a brilliant writer. I'm so glad that I peeked in this thread!

LL


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 04:09 AM

Arriving late as usual I would like to add my appreciation too of Spaw's piece...sat here in Olde Englande reading it quite misty eyed...very moving.

Although we have a plethora of preserved steam railways here, to a child it gives only an impression of what the golden days of steam must have been like (maybe not so golden for the railway company employees), but for one who does remember I'm extremely grateful to the bands of enthusiats who keep this stuff running.

The man who captured the American railroad scene for me was surely O.Winston Link . His evocative photography is sheer magic and to an Englishman reflects not only the magnificence of steam but also speaks eloquently of the lives of folk in small rural towns grown up beside the railroads. Try checking him out...a remarkable man with a checquered career and a bizarre marriage! There, that should whet your appetite!

Oh!, back on course, I seem to remember Dave Goulder was well known known for his railway songs and think he was a railway man himself. All that was long ago though.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Banjer
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 04:43 AM

Thanks 'Spaw, for the moving story about your Dad and his love for the trains...leaves this old goat damp eyed!

To answer one of the original querys:

Favourite train songs?
'Wabash Cannonball', "From the great Atlantic Ocean, to the wide Pacific shore....." would have to be among the top ten.
'Midnight Special' also in that mix.
'The Dying Hobo', "His partner swiped his shoes and sock and hopped the eastbound freight...."
'Eastbound Train' "....you'll not need a ticket as long as I'm on this car."(first song I learned ALL the words to and still remember most of them!)
'Orange Blossom Special'
'Paradise', talking about 'Mr. Peabody's coal train.

As soon as I hit the submit button, I will probably remember more!!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Banjer
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 04:50 AM

I meant to mention also that I get a lot of enjoyment out of Microsoft's Train Simulator. It has both steam and diesel engines and you can adjust the amount of realisim you want. There are many activities from passenger runs to freight hauls, and many situations invoving coupling and uncoupling on various sidings or running a passenger line on certain schedules. You can choose to fire your own steam engine or let the game do it for you. Water levels in tenders can be manipulated along with a miryad of other neat features. I saw the Train Simulator at Best Buy, (a computer chain type store in our area, possibly national also) for under $30. Worth looking at if you enjoy trains.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Banjer
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 05:04 AM

I knew just as soon as the submit button cooled down I would remember more:

Fireball Mail,
Wreck of the Old 97'
(I'll stop now)


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 11:12 AM

Jon Dudley, thanks for the heads-up about Link. Here is an interesting article about him, with some about that strange wife of his(!) and, if one clicks on some of the book titles, there are also a few photos, well worth the read and look: O. Winston Link

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Jim Krause
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 11:31 PM

Well I'm not quite old enough to remember the days of steam. Although I have been told that there were a few of 'em left when I was very young.

Living here in the middle of the Great Plains, one can on a still, frosty autumn evening hear away off in the distance the sound of a diesel blowing her horn at a crossing. And while it may not do much for those a few years older than I, that sound is about the lomesomest sound I have ever heard.

That sound just sounds like crying to me. But not the kind of crying that makes you feel better. It sounds like the forlorn crying of a broken hearted lover. The metaphore may be a little hackneyed perhaps. Describing such a mournful sound without singing is near impossible for me. It's a sound that pinches inside you. It's a sound that attaches itself indellibly in your memory to a time and a place. And every time you hear that sound, you won't be able to forget that time or that place. That's what a diesel engine's horn sounds like to me.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Jun 02 - 10:09 PM

Here are the links I promised:

(this is where we used to pick up old rr spikes and sell them to the tourists for fifty cents a piece)
Alpine Tunnel lots of pictures;

Alpine Tunnel Historic Dist. Auto Tour description;

Alpine Tunnel scroll down for the pix;

and, this one is not to be missed if you ever get a chance to ride it. Sadly, right now, it has been stopped lest any sparks from the tender cause more forest fires since they run in Durango and over the top to Silverton: Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge 120 years running!

And, one I've been on several time and which Amtrak still runs:

1949 brochure describing the new California Zephyr and its Vista Dome cars;

California Zephry History.

When I get my pix unpacked, I'll try to get some up of coming across the Rockies on the Zephyr. It is really dramatic and beautiful.






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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: JenEllen
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 12:24 AM

*refresh*

and thanks to all for some VERY interesting reading


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