Railroad Stories: Old Smokey the Train Poem

Old Smokey the Train

There is a big black engine and a little red caboose,
in the middle are a few boxcars that won’t turn loose.
It goes huffing and puffing down the railroad track,
I don’t know where it’s going, but I know it will be back.
It leaves a long trail of smoke and lots of steam,
the men who run it make up a good team.
The engineer, fireman, conductor and a man to sweep the floor,
and don’t forget the whistle blower.
It chugs along at a pretty good speed,
when you hear the whistle blowing, clear the crossing and take heed.
It slows down going around the bend,
that is where the hobos jump on and get in.
They get off in some big town,
and spend a few days just bumming around.
To see Old Smokey going through the tunnels and mountains out west,
is a beautiful picture at its best.
When it crosses the river on the trussel,
little boys grab their fishing poles and hustle.
Smoke blows and coal cinders fly,
they can really hurt when they get in your eye.
Old Smokey spent many years going from coast to coast,
carrying troops, passengers and freight to where it was needed most.
The engineer keeps his hand on the throttle and his eye on the track,
while the wheels go rumbling with a clicking and clack.
The fireman shovels on the coal –
that back-breaking job can get pretty old.
Old Smokey is now in its final resting place.
Now they use diesel trains to take its place.
Modern trains are probably the best,
but give me Old Smokey and you can have the rest.
Trains are like people, when they are old and outdated,
they are pushed aside and no longer related.
I’m glad that God has a place for everyone,
no matter how old or how young.

George Likley
Leesburg, Fla.

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.