The Final Run Of Engine Number Nine

     This is one of my longest poems, an epic if you will, and one of my story poems. Please take a minute (or 3) and put yourself in the engine compartment of Engine Number Nine.. But don’t stay there too long..

Have a freakin’ fabulous Friday, and a superlative Saturday as well.


While I am thinking about it, I would like to welcome and thank those of you who have joined us recently. “ALL ABOARD”…


Rocky Mountain Roller Coaster.

Rocky Mountain Roller Coaster.

The Final Run Of Engine Number Nine

Well they pulled out of the station

without fear or trepidation,

though the weather it seemed,

was getting bad.

They were headed for the Rockies

they were confident not cocky,

for they had the best damn engineer

that railroad had.

His name was Charlie Hoyt

he had hailed from near Detroit,

where he was born

in Eighteen Sixty-Two.


For twenty-seven years

he worked those valves and gears,

just one more run

and then he’d be all through.

Now the fireman, Leonard Moore,

had made the run before

but the brakeman, Jimmy Scott,

he was brand new.

Under dark and snowy skies

they began to make the rise,

and to Jimmy Scott

it all, seemed like a dream.


They were filled with wood and water,

as well, they knew they oughta,

for the climb was gonna take

a lot of steam.

Well, the snow was coming fast

as they rolled through Eagle Pass,

and the wind was blowing drifts

across the tracks.

But, once you start your climb

you just gotta stay on time,

’cause there ain’t no turning ’round

and going back.


Now the wind began to howl

but in weather, fair or foul,

the mountains hold surprises

every day.

It matters not the season

there is no rhyme or reason,

there’s always danger in that sky

when it turns gray.

It was only mid-September

in a year that most remembered

as the worst they’d seen in almost,

forty years.


Now, they kept on climbing higher

as Lenny fed the fire,

Charlie did his best

to work the gears.

So when they made twelve hundred feet

their run was half complete,

and the final leg

was straight downhill from there.

But by then, the snow was blinding

and they were having trouble finding,

the landmarks that would tell them

where they’re at.


When they crested Carson’s Ridge

they were looking for the bridge,

that would take them across

to Bridger Flats.

But, when they came around the bend

Charlie knew it was the end,

For an avalanche

had taken out the span.

Jimmy pulled back on the brake,

with all the strength it takes,

just praying he could bring it

to a stand.


But, the train it didn’t stop

and two hundred feet it dropped,

and with it went the crew

of Engine Nine.

So now they’re riding Heaven’s train

where there’s no snow or rain

and you can bet your life,

that they’re on time.

Well now, this story is pure fiction

but I’ll say with some conviction,

that there are many like it

that are true.


Yes, many left their homes and wives

and sacrificed their lives

to open up this land,

for me and you.

So, when those red lights flash

and that train rolls slowly past,

all that you are losing,

is some time.

And if it’s mid-September

I hope you will remember,

that final run

of Engine number Nine.


                                                                       Jack Downing

                                                                          Jan. 2009

Copyright© Jack Downing, aka Jake All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or disseminated in any manner without the expressed written consent of the author. JRD. 5/31/13

About poemsandponderings

Hearth and Health are wonderful things and if you're without either such sorrow that brings So I cannot express enough thanks to my Lord and to my family and friends for the support you afford! ~Jack Downing~
This entry was posted in Americana, epics, Family, history, mountains, Promise Land, Rocky Mountains, Spirits, Winter, Words on Wanderings and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Final Run Of Engine Number Nine

  1. loopyloo305 says:

    Wonderful poem Jake and what a reminder that we never know what waits in the next few minutes. God bless you!

  2. Beth Ann says:

    Fabulous and epic!!!

    • Thank you so much.. BTW I’m changing my e-mail to Gmail same name just the different,. Coming soon. Yahoo has forced their people into a horrible format.. Advertising all over the place and just impossible to figure out how to do things that were self-explanatory before.

  3. Sally says:

    1) I love the phrase “heavens train” very nice and
    2) I just thought it was something I did on yahoo..because you are right…I want to scream with all the popups!!

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