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The Wreck of the Norfolk Express

Words: Charlie Ipcar ゥ11/10/12

Tune: inspired by The Tennessee Stud

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Delaware Railroad's Norfolk Express collides with a the schooner "Golden Gate" on June 20, 1904, in Laurel, Delaware, at open railroad drawbridge, photo courtesy of Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA. Now way back when, nineteen and four,
Down the tracks a train did roar末
Her whistle blew as she flew by,
And thick black smoke, well, it filled the sky;
She steamed out of Dover, a-heading South,
To Salisbury Town, with a bone in her mouth末
She rolled into Seaford and roared on past,
And Laurel Station was coming up fast.

Chorus:

The Norfolk Express, she's the train to ride,
Climb on board, 'long the rails you'll glide末
But beware, take care, Laurel, Delaware,
Or you'll end up in deep despair!

Now Laurel's a town below the ridge,
And the boats pass through the Broad Creek Bridge末
As the Norfolk Express steamed into view,
The Golden Gate was coming through;
The bridge was open as the train drew neigh
And all aboard seemed doomed to die末
The schooner's crew had no time to deplore;
They jumped in the Creek and they swum for the shore.

The Norfolk Express, she's the train to ride,
Climb on board, 'long the rails you'll glide末
But beware, take care, Laurel, Delaware,
Or you'll end up in deep despair!

That train took off like a flying squirrel,
Flew halfway around the world末
Landed on the deck with an awful crash,
And the water rose up in a great big splash!
The passengers were saved from a fate bizarre
When the baggage-man uncoupled the car末
But a brave engineer died that day,
And for his soul we all should pray.

The Norfolk Express, she's the train to ride,
Climb on board, 'long the rails you'll glide末
But beware, take care, Laurel, Delaware,
Or you'll end up in deep despair!

There's a Golden Gate in Heaven they say,
But now there's another at the bottom of the bay末
And the Norfolk Express she lies in the slime;
She'll never make Salisbury Town on time!
No, she'll never make Salisbury Town, on time!

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Notes:

Golden Gate Norfolk Express 1904

"It is a rare occurrence when a ship and a train collide, but it happened on June 20, 1904, in Laurel, Delaware, when the Delaware Railroad's Norfolk Express went through an open draw and plunged down into the river just as the schooner Golden Gate was passing under the open draw-bridge. The crew of the vessel jumped into the river and swam ashore. The engineer of the train lost his life in the accident, but no one else was injured. The baggage master turned out to be the hero of the day when he crawled under the moving train to uncouple the cars with the passengers aboard. The schooner was a total loss, but the engine was recovered and repaired."

From Shipwrecks Along the Atlantic Coast, William P. Quinn, Commonwealth Editions, Beverly, Massachusetts, ゥ 1988/2004, p. 41


Photo: Delaware Railroad's Norfolk Express collides with a the schooner Golden Gate on June 20, 1904, in Laurel, Delaware, at open railroad drawbridge, photo courtesy of Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA.

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