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Amtrak Crescent: The Poem

A Tribute to Trains 19 and 20

by Stephen Oliveri

New Orleans, Louisiana

Stephen Oliveri

Heading up the Norfolk Southern.
On a bright summer's day.
Fifteen minutes out of New Orleans.
My journey is just underway.

As I cruise over Pontchartrain's trestle,
I think back on what I've seen.
All the good times and bad times.
All the places I've been.

But today is a new day.
I'm always thankful for that.
As I pull my ten car consist.
Over the ground so flat.

Passing through towns and cities,
Which have counted on me for years.
I've brought people together through
All their heartache, joy, and tears.

Passing through Atlanta.
It's getting dark out.
We just picked up fifty people.
Some skinny, short, and stout.

The Dining Car is now closed.
But the Lounge Car is full.
The miles and miles slowly drift away.
On and on I pull.

Through the Carolinas now.
And everything is fine.
All the passengers are happy.
This journey has been sublime.

My engineer blows my whistle.
As we cross a country road.
My mood has been dampened some.
The pace has obviously slowed.

Finally we pass what has slowed us down.
Some clown in a truck got stuck on the line.
I just wish people would be more careful.
A truck will lose to a train every single time.

Back up to speed as we roll though Virginia.
Charlottesville is just a few miles away.
Getting closer to D.C. where I take a breather.
And a new locomotive for the rest of the way.

We're really flying now on the Northeast Corridor.
Business and industry as far as one eye can see.
Even though this part of the route is exciting.
It's in the South where my soul will always be.

Lunch is served as we cruise through Wilmington.
Closing in on Philadelphia PA.
Another Northbound trip is coming to an end.
There's more fun to be had on another day.

And so after thirty hours,
The Big Apple comes into view.
Always a stunning sight, under the sky so blue.

Pulling into Penn Station,
I hear the air brakes kick in.
Another journey has ended.
Another will soon begin.