Feel the Power

I have always had a love for trains, especially steam trains. Living in coal country, in Pennsylvania, I loved seeing the big black engines come rolling down the track. Now in my adult years I refer to them as the Pennsylvania Dragons. Many of them were built in the Baldwin works in Philadelphia. The tremendous power it takes to move all that weight is breathtaking!

Some of the old engines are being restored and changed over from coal burning to oil. That is what was done to the engine in the Video. How can one not stand in awe while watching one of these going down the track.

This is a song I wrote a few years ago in memory of those childhood steam trains I enjoyed so much. The blog won’t let me post a video of me singing it so you will just have to use your imagination!

The Pennsylvania Dragon


Steel wheels keep on turning

Keeping rhythm perfect time

Hauling coke from the ovens

Hauling coal from the mines


Down along the winding river

Monongahela was its name

Comes the “Pennsylvania Dragon”

Belching smoke & shooting flames


Engines 29’s a coming

See the light and hear the steam

As she passes Martin crossing

You can hear that whistle scream


Whistle blowing at the crossing

Black smoke pouring from her stack

On to Pittsburgh she’ll be rolling

Tomorrow she’ll be coming back


Counting coal cars as she passes

Waving to the engineer

100 cars hauling heavy

Red caboose at the rear


Now the trains of my childhood

Are all silent lost in time

And those “Pufferbilly Dragons”

Are just memories on my mind


Down along the winding river

No more smoke or shooting flames

Just the rumble of the diesel

…but it’s just not quite the same

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

I am posting this one for open link night at d”Verse. A diversion from the foolishness going on in our society theses days!

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com Click on the Mr. Linkey box to read our poems.

71 thoughts on “Feel the Power

  1. Dwight, What a wonderfful post! Wish I could hear you sing the beautiful song lyrics! Lovely painting! Awesome video! This post brought back so many memories. ❤

    At 6-8 years old, my family lived in Dayton, PA. We had a train station and a large sawmill within walking distance of our house. Here my four-year-old brother hopped a freight train, and was luckily discovered before the train left the station! We visited the sawmill and used to watch the trains carrying lumber from the mill. I remember, around 1955 marveling at the new Diesel engines. 🙂

    We used to travel through Pittsburg at night. I remember the glow of coke ovens at the steel mills as we passed through Pittsburgh on our way to visit my grandparents, who lived between Pittsburgh and Wheeling. We observed oil wells pumping nearby.

    When my own children were young, we used to take the auto train between Sanford Florida and Washington DC, then Drive to New York and Connecticut to visit my late husband's family. I, too have always loved trains! ❤

    All the best! Cheryl


    • What a wonderful story you share from your childhood. Can you imagine kids running that free these days!! I love all of your stories. Sawmills are dangerous places for kids. You must have been on the main line from New York to Chicago!
      Coke ovens glowed on the hillsides around my town and along the river. I still find them fascinating as well. Florida to D.C. is a long ride on a train! Must have been Amtrack? Our lives were pretty isolated back in those days.
      Thank you again for your most interesting comments.


  2. You sing too 💖
    Beautiful painting of that train puffing through, between those trees. Lovely lyrics those on trains, and the names are so adorable – Pennsylvania dragon, pufferbilly dragon.
    I have a fond relation with trains, my father was in Indian railways, so we used to travel a lot on trains, long long journeys upto two days. I got to see some of those engines very closely, from the coal soot exhaling engines to the diesel engines. I remember the first diesel engine that rolled into our railway shed. My father had taken us to see, the whole station was full of people came to see the new wonder. And somewhere in my mind it occurred that this new Matchbox shaped engine was not quite as majestic as that old smoke and soot monster, with its brightly coloured dome and barrel body 🙂


    • What a great response you share with us. I am someone who likes to sing, but not a singer in the really good sense! :>)
      Your train stories are so delightful. I was very young when the diesel engines started showing up on the rails. It really was not the same after that for me. You had some great first hand experiences with your father working in the Indian Railways. The is very cool!
      Thank you so much for your response.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What version are you using, Dwight? I posted a video of me singing on my blog today. You can do it, too, unless you are using the old Classic version. Do a hard return, click on the X. Write the word “video” in the search bar. Videotape yourself on your cell phone. Upload it to your computer. Then slide it onto the rectangle you created when you chose video instead of paragraph or image or quote. or whatever else. You can do it!! I want to hear you sing this!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I can taste the black smoke and fire! Very vivid poem, Dwight. My father loves trains… Um, well, toy trains but he’ll love this poem when I show it to him.

    I also have fond memories of trains. Not to the extent you describe, but in late hours of the night, I enjoyed hearing the train whistles and the train horns. I don’t know why, but I did. I think I just heard one go by, actually! Hahaha.

    Well, anyway, your poem reminded me of those memories and it brought a smile to my face. Fantastic and brilliantly written piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lucy! I am glad it made you smile! I hope you father enjoys it as well! I used to could hear the train whistles at night when I had my window open, but since my hearing has deteriorated I don’t hear them any more.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This really took me back to my pre-teens when at week end and holidays my brother and I used to cycle up to the nearest main line and note the numbers on the engines and check whether we had seen them before on our lists. I loved your poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. I remember sitting in the car with my father waiting for the long coal train to pass and counting the cars. The caboose is now a thing of the past, since electronic controls and monitoring have taken place.


  6. OH, this is so good and such fun! I’ve always loved trains…everything about them. One of my uncles drove a train (an engineer) for many years. 🙂
    I enjoyed riding them (’twas decades ago, now) and I enjoy watching them, and I enjoy pondering where everyone is going and who they will see…sorta’ romantic to me. 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The last time I travelled on a steam train was the local one for a Halloween ride. Previously I rode on one from Pickering to Whitby in Yorkshire. I love steam trains, especially the ones from my childhood, and miss the smell and the sound of them, which you have captured in your song, Dwight. I love your painting too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sounds like an old ballad, timeless. I like the warm feeling of the painting too. As a child I lived a few houses down from a train track. We loved to watch the trains go by and wave at the caboose. My father worked for C&O. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful poem/song, Dwight. And I enjoyed the memories and your painting, which has a train, but is also seasonal.
    I was thinking about trains the other day, and childhood memories.
    Have you ever been to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia? There’s a Baldwin engine there on a track. Our daughters used to love to get on it, and then it moves (without the coal) a few feet on the track. 😀
    My brother told me that he remembers coal-powered trains in Philadelphia.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s