The wreck of the old 97
Update 2002-07-14

On one cloudless morning I stood on the mountain
Just watching the smoke from below
It was coming from a tall slim smokestack
Way down on the Southern railroad

It was 97, the fastest train
Ever ran the Southern line
All the freight trains and passengers take the side for 97
For she's bound to be at station on time

Well, they gave him his orders at Monroe, Virginia
Saying Stevie you're way behind time
This is not thirty eight, but it's old ninety seven
You must put her into Spencer on time

He turned and said to his black greasy fireman
Just shovel on a little more coal
And when we cross that White Oak Mountain
You can just watch old ninety seven roll

It's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville
On that line is a three mile grade
It was on this grade that he lost his airbrakes
And you can see what a jump she made

He was going down the grade makin' ninety miles an hour
When his whistle broke into a  scream
He was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle
He was scalded to death by the steam

Did she ever pull in? No, she never pulled in,
And at 1:45 he was due,
For hours and hours has the switchman been waiting
For that fast mail that never pulled through.

Did she ever pull in? No, she never pulled in,
And that poor boy must be dead.
Oh, yonder he lays on the railroad track
With the cart wheels over his head.

97, she was the fastest train
That the South had ever seen,
But she run so fast on that Sunday morning
That the death score was numbered 14.

A telegram came from Washington Station
And this what it read
That brave engineer that drove '97
Is lyin' in old Danville dead

Now ladies, you must take warning
From this time now on learn
Never speak harsh words to your true loving husband
He may leave you and never return
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