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Texas | Features | Texas Railroads

The Crash at Crush

by The Last Texas Troubadour Brian Burns


The Crash at Crush  event
The Crash at Crush
Photo Courtesy The Texas Collection, Baylor University

Ragtime composer Scott Joplin commemorated the Crash at Crush with "The Great Crush Collision." It wasn't one of his most memorable tunes and it was left out of the soundtrack for The Sting. Fortunately, though, contemporary composer, singer and Last Texas Troubadour Brian Burns, was inspired enough by the event to record his song about the collision in 2001.

Mr. Burns unique specialty is blending Texas history and music. Playing to schools (where he says the students inspire him as much as he inspires them), events and venues, he leaves behind enthusiastic audiences and a rapidly growing following.

The following lyrics are provided by permission of Mr. Burns:



The Crash At Crush

Brian Burns - 2001 - Brian Burns Music (BMI)


In the year of 1896, when the Katy railroad was king,
and the fruits of farm and industry were carried by steel and steam,
the town of Crush was christened for a day, and folks came from far and wide
to gather there in the sweltering heat and watch two trains collide.


Two locomotives, breathing steam, sat face-to-face on the track,
then slowly their wheels began to turn as the engineers throttled them back.
Both climbed a grade leaving two miles between, on the hills they drew to a hush,
and forty-thousand people waited down below to witness the crash at Crush.


Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, wheels a-rumblin' on the railroad track,
once they go they can't turn back, once they go they can't turn back.


He locked the lever back to the second notch just after the signal came,
he stayed on board for sixteen exhausts, and then he jumped off of the train.
The young engineer watched her roar down the hill and a chill ran through his soul,
for he knew that neither man nor God above could stop what would now unfold.


The engines met in a thunderous crash and climbed each other toward the sky,
the impact rattled the earth for miles around, and the twisted wreckage did fly.
In a moment more the boilers exploded, and the steam blocked out the sun,
some lost their lives while others lie bleeding, and the rest of them could only run


Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, wheels a-rumblin' on the railroad track,
once they go they can't turn back, once they go they can't turn back.


In a cotton field near Waco, Texas between two peaceful hills
a sign reminds us to hold respect for the power of the beasts we build,
and you and I in our lifetimes will never get to feel such a rush
as the people who saw and lived to tell of the awesome crash at Crush.


Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, wheels a-rumblin' on the railroad track,
once they go they can't turn back, once they go they can't turn back.


For more information, including scheduled appearances of Mr. Burns, please visit his website: www.brianburnsmusic.com.
March 28, 2004



Related Articles:

  • The Crash at Crush by John Troesser
    The Crash at Crush, and why it never became an annual event. 6 photos

  • The Crash at Crush by Bob Bowman
    ("All Things Historical" Column)



  • CD with
    Crash at Crush
    Brian Burn's
    Audio CD



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