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Discussion: Love Affair With Trains

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THE WRECK OF THE VIRGINIAN NUMBER 3


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Hrothgar 23 Jun 02 - 12:27 AM
katlaughing 23 Jun 02 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,herrhare@hotmail.com 23 Jun 02 - 03:55 AM
Hrothgar 23 Jun 02 - 05:28 AM
van lingle 23 Jun 02 - 09:34 AM
Banjer 23 Jun 02 - 10:32 AM
van lingle 23 Jun 02 - 11:12 AM
katlaughing 23 Jun 02 - 11:14 AM
Bullfrog Jones 23 Jun 02 - 11:58 AM
GUEST 23 Jun 02 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,ely 23 Jun 02 - 10:30 PM
Night Owl 24 Jun 02 - 12:49 AM
Bullfrog Jones 24 Jun 02 - 04:50 AM
bob schwarer 24 Jun 02 - 07:25 PM
Hrothgar 25 Jun 02 - 07:40 AM
JenEllen 25 Jun 02 - 11:14 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Jun 02 - 12:39 PM
Lonesome EJ 25 Jun 02 - 12:50 PM
van lingle 25 Jun 02 - 08:49 PM
HuwG 26 Jun 02 - 08:50 AM
Snuffy 26 Jun 02 - 09:23 AM
katlaughing 26 Jun 02 - 10:08 AM
Gareth 26 Jun 02 - 02:35 PM
NoMattch 26 Jun 02 - 03:48 PM
Herga Kitty 26 Jun 02 - 03:54 PM
bob schwarer 26 Jun 02 - 04:34 PM
katlaughing 27 Jun 02 - 12:54 AM
Art Thieme 27 Jun 02 - 03:57 AM
Art Thieme 27 Jun 02 - 05:12 AM
Art Thieme 27 Jun 02 - 05:32 AM
Hrothgar 27 Jun 02 - 06:42 AM
HuwG 27 Jun 02 - 07:46 AM
katlaughing 27 Jun 02 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,IanB, as a Guest 27 Jun 02 - 12:08 PM
catspaw49 27 Jun 02 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Guest - Carl Ellis 30 Aug 10 - 03:27 PM
Richard Mellish 30 Aug 10 - 05:31 PM
Tootler 30 Aug 10 - 07:22 PM
Clontarf83 30 Aug 10 - 11:35 PM
katlaughing 31 Aug 10 - 12:02 AM
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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Hrothgar
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 12:27 AM

kat, I'm interested in the technical aspects of a tender that causes sparks!!!

:-)


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 02:25 AM

Oops! Did I get that wrong, Hrothgar? On an old steam train, a coal tender? Whatever it is they have the fire in? Or, are ya just funning me?*bg* I 'spose a tender heart could cause sparks, eh?

BTW, I noticed an actor by the first name of Hrothgar on a tv show tonight, I think it was Stargate...made me think of you.:-)

Thanks to you, JenEllen, for this wonderful thread!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST,herrhare@hotmail.com
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 03:55 AM

I mentioned this record in the ivor the driver thread

dave goulder - "requiem for steam" - Big Ben records BB 00.04 recorded june '71

delightful and atmospheric

richard n


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Hrothgar
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 05:28 AM

kat

The tender is the bit that carries the coal and water (depending on the type of engine - I don't think there was a large incidence of tank engines that carried their own water in the US), while the engine itself is the bit with the fire and the boiler and all those good bits. The tender is usually dragged along behind the engine, but is coupled very closely to it to minimise problems of access for the enginemen.

What is "Stargate?" If it ever comes to Australia, I might have to watch it - which will only be if I remember to turn the TV on. That usually happens for football and the occasional old movie, or something really special like a Ken Burns series.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: van lingle
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 09:34 AM

Great thread, Jen Ellen. My father's father was a dispatcher and station manager on the Union Pacific his whole working life (except for a short stint on the SP) and his mother's brothers were engineers and dipatchers. Dad grew up mostly in converted boxcars and as a kid performed various chores around small town railroad stations in various western states and I've inherited his love of trains and locomotives in particular. In fact, you could make a good case for putting steam powered trains back into service as they were as fast as conventional diesels and could certainly be made to operate cleaner. Diesels, of course, would be more practical for yard work and similar tasks.
At any rate, some train songs:

Golden Rocket
Streamlined Cannonball
Rock Island Line
Bringing in the Georgia Mail (a Bill and Charlie Monroe tune which is my favorite)
Greenlight on the Southern ( a more recent classic by Norman Blake which has become a bluegrass standard)
and did anyone mention City of New Orleans?

vl


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Banjer
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 10:32 AM

Van Lingle just metioned some I had forgotten!! Hank Sows golden Rocket and City Of New Orleans are great. I'll have to look for the Monroe song, I can't remember having heard it...!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: van lingle
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 11:12 AM

Also "Waiting on a Train" by Jimmy Rodgers and Mississippi John's version of "Casey Jones".

Banjer your likely to find that tune on one of the many Bill Monroe compilations out there. The only recording I have is on a cassette from God knows where. Let me know if you can't find it. vl


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 11:14 AM

little more thread drift...Hrothgar...Stargate is a tv series based on the movie of same title. It is not very good, but I was bored last night.:-) Some of the acting is not too bad, though...*g*


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Subject: Lyr Add: STRANGER ON A TRAIN (Bullfrog Jones)
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 11:58 AM

Lovely thread, and a beautiful piece from Spaw. Thank you. My dad was an an engineer too, graduating from fireman on the old GWR (Great Western Railway), then eventually he became an instructor, passing on his skills. We lived near the Tyseley engine sheds in Birmingham and I used to lie in bed listening to the sound of trains being shunted around at night. The memory of those sounds inspired a song I wrote called "Stranger On A Train", which although American in style was at least written in Britain!

Stranger on a Train

It was late and a cold north wind was blowing
The midnight train already overdue
I was six hours away from the place that I was going
An aching in my soul because of you

There was thunder rumbling somewhere in the night
As the southbound train pulled in across the track
When a sudden flash of lightning made the darkness bright
I was looking at a face and she was looking back
And in the lightning's glare I saw a vision of despair
And in that face I looked right through to another place
Where all the pain was just too much to bear

She was a stranger on a train
Seen for a second through a window streaked with rain
Tear-stained eyes and a mouth that spoke of pain
She's burned in my mind, now I always will remain
Haunted by a stranger on a train
Haunted by a stranger on a train

With a clash of steel and an old conductor calling
The southbound train pulled away in a cloud of steam
Well it may have been the night or the way the light was falling
But the face in the window seemed to vanish in a fading dream
But in the lightning's glare I'd seen a vision of despair
And in that face I looked right through to another place
Where all the pain was just too much to bear

She was a stranger on a train
Seen for a second through a window streaked with rain
Tear-stained eyes and a mouth that spoke of pain
She's burned in my mind, now I always will remain
Haunted by a stranger on a train
Haunted by a stranger on a train

BJ


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 06:56 PM

Lovely song Bullfrog....Tune please?
Thanks to all, this has been quite a read.
~JE


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST,ely
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 10:30 PM

My mom just made me go see _Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron_. They destroyed a steam engine, which sort of spoiled the movie.

My great-grandfather worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad; somewhere, we have tickets for Franklin D Roosevelt's funeral train.

Trains were kind of a big deal when I was a kid in Colorado--there are quite a few antique engines still in operation for tourists, and some good museums. My college (Grinnell College, in central Iowa) had a train track running through campus--one semester, hopper cars would carry corn in one direction, and the next semester, Cargill Foods tankers would bring corn syrup back. Funny.

I always liked "Railroading on the Great Divide". I wrote a song when I was in high school about George Root, an engineer who drove his train through a wildfire in Hinckley, Minnesota, in 1894, to save his passengers. It's not a great song--I keep meaning to go back and see if I can fix it up.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Night Owl
Date: 24 Jun 02 - 12:49 AM

Just found this thread....beautiful memories you've got in you Spaw!

My mother was one of the children that those engineers you mentioned thrilled. Her eyes still sparkle when she talks about the engineer, who would blow the train's whistle to let her know he was coming. He gave her enough warning so that she could run out of the farmhouse......through the hay field and down the hill to the tracks....just in time to wave and get a smile and a wave back........AND another LOUD whistle.

I don't think my grandfather appreciated the trains as much as she did though. He had to walk a couple miles of track after the train came through to make sure there were no fires starting in the hay fields from the train's cinders.

Couple of other train songs......(apologies if I missed seeing them mentioned above)....

"Hobo's Lullaby"
"Daddy What's A Train"

and thanks, ely, for remembering "Great Divide"...it's a beautiful song on the autoharp.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 24 Jun 02 - 04:50 AM

Thanks Jen Ellen -- it's unrecorded at the moment but I'll let you know. All this talk of trains, here and in the Jimmie Rodgers threads had me getting up in the middle of the night to write a new song. It's a train-jumping-hobo-gospel-kinda thing, Jimmie Rodgers-style. I'll see if I can get this one recorded too, once I've finished tinkering and polishing.
Thanks for the inspiration!

BJ


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: bob schwarer
Date: 24 Jun 02 - 07:25 PM

Jerry: I used to live 3-4 blocks from the rail yards in Janesville. Remember the sound of the drivers slipping at 2AM. Never fished off a trestle but walked the one over the Rock River many times (the one along Jackson St). I'm still trying to find a picture of the old C&NW depot.

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Hrothgar
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 07:40 AM

Bullfrog When I was working on the trains in London in the early 1970s, the old blokes who could remember the days before nationalisation of the railways in 1947 used to refer to the Great Western Railway as "God's Own Railway.' It had standards and an esprit de corps that can only be vaguely imagined today. Your dad was part of real railway history!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: JenEllen
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 11:14 AM

Great news, Bullfrog! Look forward to hearing the new songs as well. Congratulations.

I was doing some musical archeology last night, for a completely different brainstorm, but came across SO many songs I'd forgotten about. The one that's cruising on multiple plays today is Hank Williams' "Pan American"--beautiful train song.

Great stories folks, and great history. Thank you.

~JE


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 12:39 PM

Hi, Bob:

Wow! What a surprise to read your posting! There's a photograph of the railroad station in the booklet of my Folk Legacy album, Get Down Home which has the song, Milwaukee/St. Paul. When I started writing songs about my home town, I also spent some time at the Historical Society, gathering photographs, several others of which are in the booklet...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 12:50 PM

One of my favorite train songs is a new one from Leslie Smith.

Ghost on the High Rail

There's a ghost on the high rail tonight
No, he ain't what he used to be
His beard's harsh and gray, but he's still got those ways
Of a sixteen year old boy

You might have seen him in your own hometown
Whenever the moon paints a purple sky
Still dodging the bums and the cops and
the railroad bull's eye

But he don't matter much these days
He's the rattle of old steel from another time
Takes a veteran to love them rails anyway
Most of them are gone
Move along, Steam Train

That old ghost don't just appear to anyone
Mostly to the kids skipping stones across the track
He's carrying his bindle and his
tree-branch cane and derby hat
He's been spotted from Toledo to Chicago
They say he's searching for his true love, still
All he wanted was a fair paid wage
for a well-done skill

Don't it sound make-believe in these times
Like the rattle of of old steel down a rusted track
All the campfires are cold along the river bank
and the boxcars are gone for scrap

Five hundred miles, you'll know he's gone
You'll hear that whistle moaning on and on

His true love, she's lying abandoned
Down at that southside rail yard
They bring field trips of children to come see her
And some have even carved their names
In her stubborn old black frame
But that ghost he longs to set her free

And there ain't half a chance, not nowadays
She's the rattle of old steel from another time
Takes a vagabond to tell the story anyway
Most of them are gone
Move along, Steam Train

There's a ghost on the high rail tonight

The song is from Leslie's album These Things Wrapped, and the rest of the songs are just as good as this one.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: van lingle
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 08:49 PM

And from a recent thread the excellent "The Train That Carried Jimmy Rodgers Home" by Greg Brown.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: HuwG
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 08:50 AM

Hrothgar : Not that I dispute any of your post re. the Great Western, but folklore has it that it was frequently referred to as "God's wonderful Railway", a play on the initials, GWR.

Of the other railways in "the big four" (i.e. the four main regional groupings of railways in Britain, created via various amalgmations in the 1920's), the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) was sometimes referred to as "The London and Nearly Everywhere Railway", and the London, Midlands and Scottish Railway (LMSR) was apocryphally called "Long may Steam reign". The Southern Railways (SR) didn't give wags much scope for clever interpretation.

[Some jealous railwaymen had it that "GWR" stood for "Great Way Round". This was sheer slander; the GWR was easily the biggest single pre-amalgamation operator, and it took over only some small and easily-assimilated operators such as the Taff Vale Railway. The other members of the big four were each created from two, three or four equally-sized operators, and it took many years before they settled down to single standard procedures and equipment, if they ever did].

A good impression of life on British railways, made up of vignettes which span more than a century, is the book, "Red for Danger", by L.T.C. Rolt. If you can get it, that is; it has probably been out of print for years.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Snuffy
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 09:23 AM

Great Way Round arose because Brunel's original broad gauge lines avoided steep gradients, going round obstacles rather than over them. (But he was not shy of tunnelling when necesssary to keep the track as flat as possible - i.e. Box).

Certainly the route from London to Exeter was a great way round via Swindon and Bristol until they built the line via Westbury (ca. 1900?). It is possible that the nickname was coined in circles not unconnected to the LSWR, whose route was much more direct, but by no means as level.

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 10:08 AM

LeeJ, beautiful song, thanks!

Love hearing the stuff from across the pond, too, guys! Was the Red for Danger book written by Rolt? If so, there are several copies available at www.bookfinder.com

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Gareth
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 02:35 PM

Yes "Red for Danger" was writen by the late L C T Rolt. I have a copy myself. Interestingly R for D was ( and may be still is) used as a text book in the Insurance industry for prime examples of Chain of Causation.

Also worth reading for working life on the Railways is the late Gerry Fiennes "I tried to run a Railway"

Gareth.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: NoMattch
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 03:48 PM

If you want to hear a more recent tear-jerking train song, try "Trains and My Grandfather" by Brian MacNeil.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 03:54 PM

Re red for danger - the signals used on roads were based on those used on the railways

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: bob schwarer
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 04:34 PM

Jerry,

I've got that record(Get Down Home) around here somewhere. Don't know why I never noticed the depot. Maybe I did and just forgot.

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 12:54 AM

Our PBS station showed a neat film on Trains of the Americn West, tonight. It was wonderful. One thing I remember is they said at one time there were over 20,000 steams trains running in this country; now, there are only about 200.

One of the engineers who considers himself lucky to be working one of the old ones said people who know him joke that when he dies, he will be cremated and they will put his ashes in the firebox and let him go up with the coal smoke! (there's a song in that!)

There was another thing mentioned which I am going to put in a different thread as I'd like to see if anyone knows of any songs about it. Watch for it...I will include "train" in the thread title.:-)

kat


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Art Thieme
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 03:57 AM

Old friend and co-producer of my '98 CD, Paul Stamler, recently sent me a link to a song which could (possibly) be the missing link to where "Wabash Cannonball came from. It might've been more recent than we thought----like from the first third of the 20th century or so. I'll dig that up if I can and try to present the link here. Kind of fascinating.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Art Thieme
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 05:12 AM

Pat, I just read your long post and it is special beyond words. Thanks to Kat for pointing me to this thread. My last day on the steamboat came back to me as I read it. I could smell the steam, see Paul Anton polishing the dials down at the engineers station, see the long flow of the Pittman Arms as they turned the huge red paddlewheel. And most of all, I could see Denny Trone and John Hartford up in the pilot house struggling together to hold the wheel against the massive force of a half dissipated hurricane that had, like an invisible and gigantic python come blowing up Mississippi River from the Gulf Of Mexico to hit us broadside and force the starboard rail to touch the water and then right itself shaking and spraying showers like some great and wet dog (to borrow an image from Stan Rogers in "White Squawl".) A hand hold from the wheel broke off in John's hand just as the worst gust of that splendid and sublime and terrific (in the best use of that word meaning terrifying) hit the five rudders and nearly tore the wheel from their exhausted hands. I had to jump up off the lazy bench and help with the wheel. The broken hand-hold wound up in my pocket, and it still sits on my desk in front of me as I write this.

The Julia Belle Swain had to be sold by it's builder Dessis Trone because of extreme financial pressure and hardship caused by the early advent of gambling boats on the venerable Mississippi---circa 1993. The J.B.S. used 800 gallons of fuel for it's 2-day excursion trips. The diesel boat, Twilight used a fraction of that --- so the decision was made to divest. The last trip I was there as a folkiesinger on the stemboat was a hard one for me. The mate had taken a piece of the red paddlewheel and inscribed it to me with the blue paint that covered the decks of that good vessel. A tear (or two) did eascape right then---but heading home the 70 miles from the river I had to pull over a few times and let it all come out. ------------- The back of John's fiddle was inscribed with the words of one of his main mentors, Captain Fred Way.

--- "Nothing is real but the river, and all else is sham.

A photo I took of that fiddle-back is in a frame above my desk too. For river people, that is pretty much a true statement. The river is the only reality even though Eisenhower's superhighways roar just beyond the trees along the riverbanks.

Today I took my electric powered scooter, the one the National MS Society amazingly and thankfully gave me, the one with enough POWER to climb the bluffs here from the Illinois River that flows so beautifully past our town, and I again descended to the river as I try to do on any half-way pleasant day. A beat up old diesel with about six old cars pulled up in front of me, stopped, and blocked my view of the river. I was content to look at the train and try to decipher the autographs of hobos inscribed on the cars. The train pulled back, though, seemingly, to give me my view again -- and the crew descended and went into the Maze Lumber Yard for some air conditioned talk and a Coke or two. When they came out again, I gave them the two-handed wave that rivermen use to salute each other-----and the train went on it's way saluting me with the whistle----two longs, two shorts and a final long and excruciatingly mournful blast. I hadn't realized diesel engines could do that. Only the Julia Belle Swain could emulate the old steaboat's whistles I had thought.-------- It was an honor to be proven wrong.

Yeah, Pat, I know just a bit of what you're talking about. Thanks for your lovely and heartfelt remembrance of your dad. It was wonderful.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Art Thieme
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 05:32 AM

Sorry for the thread drift folks. I guess steamboats ain't trains. But steam is steam is steam as Va. Wolf mighta said if sh'e been here to read this thread. And I'm sorry about my lousy spelling. Some day Max will get a spell checker here at Mudcat. We are moving and my dictionary is packed away.

And, oh, yes, I meant to write DENNIS Trone-----not Dessis Trone. It was Dennis Trone who designed and built the Julia Belle Swain. The old girl has a new owner now, but she got her lifeforce and her loveforce from Denny. Yeah, Pat, she IS, as you said, alive. Funny thing about those steam engines...

Art Thieme (up late tonight)


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Hrothgar
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 06:42 AM

Thanks for the tip about bookfinder, kat. I used to have a copy of Red for Danger. Somebody else must have liked it, too.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: HuwG
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 07:46 AM

I'm surprised and glad to see that so many people are fond of Red for Danger. Tony Rolt had a gift for bringing a subject alive, which isn't shared by too many authors on technical or learned subjects. Bruce Catton (historian on the American Civil War) and Isaac Asimov shared this gift, in my humble opinion.

Before I start thread drift ...

My childhood was spent in the declining years of steam, and one of my memories is of myself running around in frantic circles on the platform at Bridgend (Penybont) station in South Wales, trying to beat out my hair which a cinder from a passing locomotive had just set alight. We may lament the passing of steam, but many fires (and Michael Jackson impressions !) were caused by sparks from steam engines. [Note: the offending locomotive was one of the hundreds of hard-worked 0-6-0 pannier tank engines used in Wales and elsewhere on the Great Western].

One other interesting point; the family later settled in North Yorkshire, where my little brother still lives; he and his family bought and renovated an old railway house. It looks no different to many country farm buildings, but the track bed still exists. It gives excellent scope for exercise for dogs, horses, children (and uncles and grandparents !)


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 10:17 AM

Art, what a wonderful story, FineArt, as always. Thank you!

You're welcome, Hrothgar...someone here pointed me to bookfinder a few years ago and I like to pass it on.

HuwG...it's great to hear about other places, too. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST,IanB, as a Guest
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 12:08 PM

You never forget the smell of a steam train. We were deep into Germany last year, and from somewhere I sensed that curious mix of steam and coal and oil and thought 'steam engine!' And sure enough, along came a preservation special.

Amazing how a momentary sniff can bring memories instantly back into focus.

- ian B


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 12:46 PM

Thank you Art for the kind words and even more for your great posting as well. You took me there beside you....Beautiful.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: GUEST,Guest - Carl Ellis
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 03:27 PM

The descriptions of your British Railroads' nicknames reminds me of my favorite here in Vermont, USA. The original builders of a railroad out of Saint Johnsbury, on the the Connecticut, on the eastern side of the state, had a western terminus at Lake Champlain in mind, so their road began its life as the Saint Johnsbury & Lake Champlain. When the money got scarce, it was found that it had reached, or nearly, Lamoille County, so it was able to remain the SJ&LC. To parties awaiting its arrival nearer Lake Champlain, it became the Slow as Jesus & Long Coming, or Slow as Jusus' Last Coming. It is now long since dead.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 05:31 PM

Seeing as this thread has been refreshed after a long dormancy, it's perhaps worth pointing out that one reason why Dave Goulder wrote his railway songs was the dearth of them in Britain. Of course he also has the talent for song writing and personal experience of working as a fireman.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Tootler
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 07:22 PM

Taken from a book of Graffiti we had some years ago (now lost, sadly).

Painted on a Railway Bridge over the line between Darlington and Middlesbrough/Stockton

Jesus Christ is Coming

to which someone had added underneath

Only if he remembers to change at Darlington!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Clontarf83
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 11:35 PM

Don't think anyone has mentioned the classic "Freight Train"

My brother (RIP) was a train fan and railway historian in Ireland. He loved to videotape steam engines (out on loan for the day to the historical society) roaring across green valleys at full stretch. Looked like serious carbon emissions, with hindsight...


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 12:02 AM

Clontarf, will any of his videos be available online, ever? That's really neat that he captured the history.

Tootler, LOL!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: open mike
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 01:11 AM

if you really love trains you should join the travellers on the Cowboy Train or other train trips organized by Flying Under Radar. See the schedule at www.flyingunderradar.com. some are cross-canada trips, some are on the California Coast Starlight, and others are old fashioned steam trains in the Rocky Mountains or even in the Copper Canyon in Mexico!! Some trains take artists and canvas and paints to scenic destinations or even to see polar bears. Roots on the Rails can be seen at this web site It is kind of like re-enacting this movie:
http://www.festivalexpress.com/


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Ebbie
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 02:15 AM

This is a fun thread. I've never had an 'intimate' relationship with a train but even at that, trains hold somewhat the same mystique for me as a plane or a ship. All three speak to me of the far reaches.

In 1949 when I was 13 I moved with my family from Oregon to Virginia. We traveled by train. Most of the trains we were on were steam but I remember the first diesel train I saw. My parents were rather disdainful of the diesel and I tried to be, too, but I thought it looked very sleek and clean. I wasn't sure what the problem was...

I know a train song that not too many people do- or at least no one that I know.

It was written by Phil Halliday, a Canadian, and he called it 'That Train Song'.

It goes:

Well, he gave all he had to my maw and me
Just another boy child he would never see
My maw and my paw went their separate ways
I was born on a midnight train.

Well, I was raised in a railside shack
And I'd fall asleep to its clickety clack
All day long I'd run along side
Learned real young how to hop a ride

         Well, I got a soul like a runaway train
         I got a heart that feels no pain
         When you're born with a track beneath your bed
         You sleep one eye open pointing straight ahead.

It's a cool song. Does anyone else know it?


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: open mike
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 02:35 AM

Tom Hunter sang a kid's song based on a sign in a train.
It has hand gestures and is a fun one.

To stop the train in cases of emergency
pull on the cord, pull on the cord
penalty for improper use 5 pounds.

it makes a fun song to sing as a round


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Mooh
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 08:38 AM

There's a guy who has hung around the Stratford Ontario Canada train station for at least 30 years. Talks incessantly about trains. Interesting character. Love or OCD?

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 09:43 AM

Dave Goulder has written manyn wonderful railway songs. There is a new compilation CD of his railway songs available, it's called The Golden Days of Steam.


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: chazkratz
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 01:43 PM

I first heard this done by Belle Monroe and her Brewglass Boys (how's that for a great band name?), and later heard Doc Watson doing it on his album of train songs. The melody for the verse is the same as Merle Haggard used for the verses of "Mama Tried," and the last two lines of the chorus also use that tune. I find the subdominant seventh chords do a good job of suggesting the sound of the steam whistle.


The Greenville Trestle

       C                   F7                   C                         F7
I remember as a boy how in wonderment and joy
      C                                                 G7
I'd watch the trains as they'd go by
                   C                            F7                           C                            F7   
And the whistle's lonesome sound you could hear from miles around
                C                               G7                         C
As they rolled across that Greenville Trestle high.

(Chorus)
                   F7                              C
   But the whistles don't sound like they used to
             A7                                           G7
   And lately not so many trains go by
             C                            F7                      C                               F7
   Hard times across the land mean no work for a railroad man
                      C                           G7                              C
   And the Greenville Trestle now don't seem so high.

On the riverbank I'd stand with a cane pole in my hand
And watch the freight trains up against the sky
With the black smoke trailing back as they moved along the track
That runs across that Greenville Trestle high.

When the lonesome whistles whined I'd get rambling on my mind
Lord I wish they still sounded that way
As I turned to head for home Lord she'd rumble low and long
Toward the sunset at the close of day.

Another good Doc Watson railroad song I haven't seen mentioned here is the following:

The Wreck of 1262

She just left Dupoint at Chikahmee, the freight numbered 1262,
And on down the mountain she traveled, so brave were the men in her crew.

Then the engineer pulled at the whistle, for the brakes wouldn't work when applied,
And the brakeman climbed out on the car-top, for he knew what that whistle had cried.

With all of the strength that God gave him, he tightened those brakes with a prayer,
But the train went right on down that mountain, her whistle still piercing the air.

She traveled at 60 an hour, gaining speed every foot of the way,
And then with a crash it was over, and there on the track the freight lay.

It's not the amount of the damage, or the value of what the wreck caused,
It's the sad scene they found in the cabin, where the lives of two brave men were lost,

They found them at their post in the wreckage, where they died when the engine had fell,
The engineer still held the whistle, and the fireman still clung to the bell.

Now this story is told of a freight train, but it should be a warning to all
We need to be prepared every moment, for we can never tell when He'll call.

Doc's "Lonesome Jailhouse Blues" has a couple of railroad references and uses the same tune as "Golden Rocket" for the verses and the last two lines of the chorus.

Charles


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: chazkratz
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 01:51 PM

Sorry. Previous times I've entered chords with the lyrics, they stayed in the right place, but in the song above they spread out a bit too much. I think you can figure out where they go by matching them to the accents in the lines.

Charles


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: open mike
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 02:34 PM

Greenville Y reminds me of a trestle near here....between Greenville and Quincy near Keddie. It crosses over the Spanish Creek.
here are a couple of pix and flix of the Keddie Wye Trestle.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc8F9rmMwGY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRVgSEGfHKA

i think this is the train track featured in an episode of Lassie
the dog show http://episodes.lassieweb.org/lassodsy.htm

included on this page is a pic of one of the most photographed bridges
just a couple miles from me (as the crow flies) Pulga Bridges
where hiway 70 and the rr trax cross the feather river. Pulga is Spanish for flea.

http://www.californiazephyr.org/resource_library/photo_archive/albums/frc_railfans_view.php


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 03:13 PM

I can't think of any UK train songs that haven't been mentioned, but I must compliment Spaw on his terrific posting. Maybe you could have a look at this Spaw? It's a link to the men of Lostock Hall, which was the last steam depot in the UK (last service train 4th August 1968)

http://www.lostockhallmpd.org.uk/men.html

The whole site is really good, done by a chap called Alan Castle who photographed steam in the 60s and is still at it!

I know that these locomotives might look a bit Mickey Mouse compared to a Pennsylvania K4s, but the spirit of the enginemen was just the same as Spaw's description of his Dad. Unbelievably, well over a hundred of the old steam men turned up for a reunion recently; some in their 70s and 80s, some from abroad, most for the beer!


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Subject: RE: Discussion: Love Affair With Trains
From: chazkratz
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 03:34 PM

Oh, and I was so caught up with adding some songs that neglected to mention Spaw's sublime account and Art's great story about helping John Hartford* and the other pilot keep the steamer from going aground in the hurricane. Good on yer, lads.

Charles

*I don't think I'd like to ride out a hurricane in a deck chair on a Steam Powered Aereoplane.


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