zzzf | Trains (2)


In this column: Colorado Central, Narrow Gauge Railways, The Chief, Santa Fe's Fleet Of Famous Trains, Freight Train Blues, Yellow Dog Blues, Smokestack Lightning, Trixie Smith, Louis Armstrong, W.C.Handy, Howling Wolf


In the episode about C.C.Rider you can read that C.C. the acronym could be for Colorado Central.

The Colorado Central Railroad operated in Colorado and southeastern Wyoming in the late 19th century. Originally founded in the Colorado Territory in the wake of the Colorado Gold Rush to ship gold from the mountains.
Iit eventually expanded from its initial Golden–Denver line to form a crucial link connecting Colorado with the transcontinental railroad and the national rail network.
Although its historic 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge mountain lines were dismantled by the mid 20th century, a portion of its connecting lines paralleling the Front Range survive as active lines of BNSF Railway.

Many narrow gauge railways were primarily industrial railways rather than general carriers. Some common uses for these industrial narrow gauge railways were mining, logging and the conveying of agricultural products.
Note: the Shorty George Train drove on a narrow gauge track.

The chief train

The Chief was one of the named passenger trains of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Its route ran from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California.
The heavyweight began its first run on November 14, 1926, scheduled 63 hours each way between Chicago and Los Angeles.
In 1954 the Chief reduced its schedule to equal its cousins, the Super Chief and El Capitan.
The Chief's last run was on May 15, 1968.

Santa Fe 3770, The Chief in 1937
Santa Fe 3770, The Chief in 1937

Santa Fe's Fleet Of Famous Trains
El Capitan: (Chicago - Los Angeles)
Grand Canyon: (Chicago - Los Angeles)
San Francisco Chief: (Chicago - Amarillo - San Francisco)
Texas Chief: (Chicago - Houston - Galveston)
San Diegan: (Los Angeles - San Diego)
Super Chief: (Chicago - Los Angeles)
Tulsan: (Kansas City - Tulsa)
Chicagoan/Kansas Cityan: (Dallas - Kansas City - Chicago)
Golden Gate: (Los Angeles - San Francisco)

Santa Fe 3770, 1937


Freight Train Blues by Trixie Smith (1924)

I hate to hear that freight train blow, boo-hoo
Every time I hear it blowin', I feel like ridin' too

I asked the brake man to let me ride the blind
He said "Little girlie, you know this train ain't mine"

Smokestack Lightning

Howling Wolf had performed "Smokestack Lightning" in the early 1930s, when he was performing with Charley Patton.
Wolf said the song was inspired by watching trains in the night: "We used to sit out in the country and see the trains go by, watch the sparks come out of the smokestack. That was smokestack lightning."

Ah, oh, smokestack lightning
Shinin', just like gold
Why don't ya hear me cryin'?
Ah, who ho, oh

The M-K-T Railroad

A Katy map showing the cities mentioned in the train episodes (click to enlarge)


"I Wonder Where My Easy Rider's Gone?"
The lyrics tell the story of a Susie Johnson who bets on a horse race using a tip from Jockey Lee, who subsequently runs off with her money.
W.C.Handy wrote an answer to this song "Yellow Dog Blues".

E'er since Miss Susan Johnson lost her Jockey, Lee
There has been much excitement, more to be
You can hear her moaning night and morn
Wonder where my easy rider's gone?


Down where the Southern cross' the Dog
Every kitchen there is a cabaret
Down there the Boll Weevil works while the darkies play
This Yellow Dog blues the live long day


Easy rider's gotta stay away
So he had to vamp it but the hike ain't far
He's gone where the southern cross' the Yellow Dog

The "Yellow Dog" was the local name for the Yazoo Delta Railroad; the "Southern" is the much larger Southern Railway.

YD alias Yellow Dog. Historian Paul Oliver claims that in Rome, Mississippi, "they declared that it was named after a mongrel hound that noisily greeted every train as it passed through".

a mongrel hound, a yellow dog
a mongrel hound, a yellow dog

The Yazoo-Delta Railroad was a branch line that opened between Moorhead and Ruleville, Mississippi. It was extended to Tutwiler, Mississippi, and Lake Dawson.

The Southern Railway was a US class 1 railroad that was based in the Southern United States.

Louis Armstrong with Yellow Dog Blues (1954)

Sources: pancocojams.blogspot.nl, americanbluesscene.com, YouTube, Wikipedia, Hudson Motors Compagny, Archive Minneapolis, The Cruel Plains, M.H.Price a.o., truewestmagazine.com, The Austin Chronicle, Cambridge Free English Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, TheSaurus.com, dragonjazz.com/grablue/blues_travel, Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture, Blues by Paul Breman, Blues by David Harrison, Quora.com, urbandictionary.com, Blogs.loc.gov, The Ballad Hunter by Alan Lomax, Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920th by Daphne Duval Harrison, jopiepopie.blogspot.nl, redhotjazz.com, The Blues Lyrics Formula by Michael Taft, American Ballads and Folk Songs by Alan Lomax and John Avery Lomax, The Past Is Not Dead: Essays from the  Southern Quarterly by Douglas B. Chambers, EarlyBlues.com, railroad-line.com,  Jason Lee Davis' RailFan Pages , centertruthjustice.org