Oil Train

There’s an oil boom, the prairies are on fire
Shale gas, all the fuel you might desire
Coming out so fast, no time to lay pipeline
Eureka-ville, it’s like the Days of ’49
Except this time they’re using massive rigs
That poison everything more thoroughly the deeper that it digs
Trains a mile long, load it up in rail cars
Send them west, sent them east, past cafes, schools and late-night bars
There’s an oil train coming through your town

There were dangers, they knew this from the start
But they were minimal, they said, and everyone must play their part
And risk the destruction of their cities each time a train rolls by
Hope it won’t derail, and detonate sky high
There’s an accident each day somewhere but we’re not supposed to fear
That it could happen here
Listen closely, do you hear that whistle blow
Look out the window, do you see the fire glow
There’s an oil train coming through your town

It was after midnight on a Saturday night
A resident called in that a rail car was alight
With that much gas, sitting by the lake
It was no one’s job to watch the car that maintained the brake
On seventy-three massive tanks of fracking gas
Down the hill, gaining speed as they rolled past
Now at the Musi-Cafe that once was on rue Frontenac
There are fifty customers and employees who won’t be coming back
There’s an oil train coming through your town

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Sheet music:
Oil Train

“Oil Train” appears on the Bandcamp album, Spies Are Reading My Blog (2013) as well as on the CD, If I Had A Hammer (2013).

I wrote this song just after the oil train exploded in Lac Megantic, Quebec in the summer of 2013.  Canadian regulations in terms of how many employees need to be on board such a train changed after the disaster, in an effort to try to prevent future such disasters.  In the US the laws are still the same, despite the fact that trains full of oil and gas are constantly derailing and frequently exploding, making it only a matter of time before a similar, or perhaps far worse, disaster strikes in the US as well.