My Train of Thought

By Gary Lloyd         

The questions, outrage and jokes posted to Facebook in recent months have persisted longer than the waits at the Trussville railroad crossings.

My intention for this column was to give you some history of the railroad tracks in Trussville, which reached this area in 1870, with locomotives carrying sandstone throughout the Southeast. I was going to write a little bit about the $250,000 contribution from Trussville in 1992 for the Watterson Parkway overpass construction, which was completed in 1993. I planned, since answers are often demanded in newsprint, to provide you with statements from Norfolk Southern, Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat and members of the Trussville City Council.

Judging by the social media posts in recent months, you would not care, even if I secured quotes from Indiana Jones about his escape from graverobbers and close encounter with a lion on a circus train, or Harry Potter about Dementors attempting to kill him aboard the Hogwarts Express. So, I’m going to try to help you through these long waits blocked by stalled steel and halted aluminum. You have hardly anything else to do as you idle in Trussville Springs, remain parked in Stockton, and curse that long, long back way out of Carrington. I’ve created a playlist for you to make these delays a little more bearable. Call it your Train Tracks playlist. God, I love a double entendre.

Just searching for train-related songs could pass the time for you. For the purposes of this playlist, I’ll give you 10 songs, five if you’re in a decent mood and five more if you’re ticked off.

If you’d like to spend your time stopped at the railroad crossings being reflective, just sort of spending some time with yourself, I’d suggest these five: “Stop This Train” by John Mayer, “Night Train” by Jason Aldean, “Mystery Train” by Elvis Presley, “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & The Pips, and “Here Comes The Freedom Train” by Merle Haggard.

If that stopped train has frustrated you to no end, and you’re fixated on getting where you need to be, then these five are for you: “Robbin’ Trains” by Justin Moore, “Rock N Roll Train” by AC/DC, “Midnight Train to Memphis” by Chris Stapleton, “Waiting for a Train” by Jimmie Rodgers, and, of course, “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne.

So, that’s 10 songs, probably a little over half an hour of train-themed music, both literal and metaphorical. But what good is a playlist or album without a bonus track, a hidden gem that brings it all together? You know, the one that blends the hard times with the exhale on the other side? For that, I’d suggest you give “Ain’t A Train” by Cody Jinks, the most recently released of these 11 songs, a listen. The chorus stands out:

Maybe holdin’ on to something hurts you more than lettin’ go
It hit ain’t hurtin’ maybe it ain’t workin’, it ain’t worth it no.

Maybe that rain that brings the thunder, will help put out the flames
Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel ain’t a train

If my Train Tracks playlist finishes before the train has moved, ponder on those lyrics a while. You’ll spend your time at the railroad crossing thinking, hoping and praying, but not about a stalled train.  

Gary Lloyd is the author of six books and is a contributing writer to the Cahaba Sun.

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