“The Fatal Run”

Author: Cliff Carlisle
Earliest date: 1931 (recording, Cliff Carlisle)
Keywords: train death mother warning


"Frankie's mother came to him, with his dinner under her arm." She warns her boy of all the crews killed making up for lost time. The lad says he has to take his dead father's place as an engineer. He dies on Dead Man's Curve, and the mother mourns again


Another composed song with no evidence that it has gone into tradition. Cohen notes that some lines (notably "There's many a poor man has lost his life, making up for lost time, If you will run your engine right, you'll never be behind time") are directly derived from "The Wreck on the C & O" [Laws G3]. - RBW

Cross references



  1. Cohen-LSRail, pp. 181-182, "The Fatal Run" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #14012
  3. BI, LSRai181