Bill Mason

Here's a most unusual train wreck song. Actually a near-train-wreck song. Disaster is averted and nobody gets hurt. Best of all, the hero of the piece is the engineer's wife! "Bill Mason" was written by Roy Harvey, a member of Charlie Poole's band 'The North Carolina Ramblers.' The lyrics are based on a Bret Harte poem published in 1901.

Bill Mason was an engineer, he’d been on the road all his life;
I’ll never forget the morning he married him a wife;
Bill hadn’t been married but an hour, when up came a message from Kress,
And ordered Bill to come down and bring out the night express.

While Maggie sat by the window, waiting for the night express,
And if she hadn’t-a done so, she’d-a been a widow, I guess;
There were some drunken rascals that came down by the ridge,
They came down to the trestle and tore off a rail from the bridge.

When Maggie heard them working, “I guess there’s something wrong.”
In less than fifteen minutes, Bill’s train would be along.
No time to get to the telegraph, too far away from home;
She just grabbed up the lantern and made for the bridge all alone.

By Jove, Bill saw the signal, and stopped the night express.
He found his Maggie crying on the track in her wedding dress;
Crying tears of joy, still holding onto the light.
He'd come ‘round the curve a-flying, Bill Mason’s on time tonight.