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Panama Limited Songtext
von Tom Rush

Panama Limited Songtext

This is a song about a train called the Panama Limited
The Panama Limited′s a train that
Runs from Chicago, down to New Orleans
She's what they call a special
Streamlined train. That means she′s fast
That train's so fast, the hobos don't mess with that train
They just stand by the track with their hat in their hands

Now I had a girl, she was leaving one morning on that train
And she got up singing and crying
She said, "Daddy, you know′n I hate to go
Hey, hey, hey, hey."

I said, "I know you do, baby."

Now we′re going on down to Union Depot to catch the Panama Limited
And off in the distance, she heard a local freight blow
She asked me was that the Panama Limited? I said, "No."
I said, "Babe,
The train you heard blows north of town, sounds like this..."

(Local train slide)


"Panama Limited you hear off in the mountains to the south
She sounds more lonesome, sound like this..."

(Panama Limited slide #1)

Well, my gal she said, "What time is train time?"
I said, "I don't know anything about train time, babe
I′m just hanging out tryin' to pick up a few dimes,"
And she jumped up singing and crying

She said, "Daddy, it′s alright the way you turned me down
Hey, momma ain't got a dime."
And she turned her back on me
And went running down the hill towards Union Depot

And I stood there a minute, and I went running after her
I was gonna beg forgiveness for the words I said
And I went running, and running
And I got down to the big stone steps going up to Union Depot
I looked up. She was way up on top of the steps
I called her name

She heard me call her name and she turned
And called back to me over her left shoulder
"Too late, too late, too late, too late
Hey, momma gonna quit you now."


And just when she said that, you know
You could hear the Panama Limited blow
Thirty-seven miles south of Memphis, Tennessee

(Panama Limited slide #2)

Now my gal she′s running across the depot
Up to the depot agent's window
And she asks him what time train time was
And he said, "Go put your head on the track
When you hear the rail singing, you know train time won't be long."
And she did. She went out across the platform
Kneeled down on a cross-tie
Put her pretty head up on that cold steel rail
She could hear the Panama Limited coming down

(Panama Limited slide #3)

She heard that rail, you know
And she jumped up singing and crying
She said, "Daddy, you know′n I hate to go
Hey, momma ain′t got a home."

And she said that, you know
I went up and stood behind her and put my arms around her
And we stood there a little while
And pretty soon the Panama Limited's on the outside of town

Now, coming down to Memphis
You got a downgrade, you got a crossing
To make that crossing, an engineer′s got to cut down on his air brakes
You can hear that down in the depot
Now my gal and me were down in Union Depot
With arms around each other
The Panama Limited hit that crossing, she cut down, began to squall

(Panama Limited slide #4)

My gal she heard those brakes, she jumped up one last time
She said, "Daddy, you know'n I hate to go
Hey, I may never see your face no more."

The Panama Limited′s coming around the bend
You can see the engineer. He's sitting way up in his big tall engine
He′s just leaning out to watch his drive wheel roll
He's rolling fast
He's got his one hand outside the cabin
He′s waving at all the little kiddies in the station
They′re all jumping around, waving back
He's got his other hand upside inside the cab on the bell rope
And all the time he′s riding her in,
And all the time he's slowing her down
That bell keeps on toning

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