WRECK OF THE 97

Steve Brady kissed his lovin' wife
By the rising of the sun
And he said to his children, 'May God bless you
For your dad must now go on his run'

'Twas the twenty-second day of that November
And the clouds were hanging low
He took old 97 out of Washington station
Like an arrow shot from a bow

I was standing on the mountain that cold and frosty morning
And I watched curling smoke below
It was smoke from old 97's smokestack
Way down on that southern road

97 was the fastest mail train
Ever run the southern line
But when she reached into Richmond, Virginia
She was twenty-seven minutes behind

He received his orders at the Richmond station
Saying, Steve you're far behind
Now this isn't 38 but it's old 97
You must put her into Spencer on time

When he read his orders, he said to his fireman
Do not obey the whistle or the bell
And we'll put old 97 into Spencer on time
Or we'll sink her in the bottom pits of hell

He saw the brakeman signal and threw back his throttle
Although his air was bad
And his signalman said when he passed Franklin Junction
'You could not see the man in the cab'

Steve looked at his watch and said to his fireman,
'Just throw in a little more coal
And when we reach those Cumberland Mountains
You can watch old 97 roll

He went over the grade, making 90 miles an hour
And his whistle broke into a scream
He was found when dead with his hand on the throttle
And was scalded to death by steam

When the news went in oe'r the telegraph wires
This is what the Western said,
'That brave, brave man that was drivin' 97
Is laying in North Danville dead

The people waited at the depot
Till the setting of the sun
It was hours and hours the dispatch was waiting
For the fastest train ever run

Source: The Arizona Wranglers 'The Wreck of the 97'. Recorded in 1929 in Holl
ywood, California. Reissued on Various Artists 'Train 45: Railroad Songs of the
Early 1900s' Rounder CD 1143.

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