they gave him his orders in Monroe, Virginia
sayin' "Steve you're way behind time
this is not 38 : this is ol' 97
you must put'er into Spencer on time!"

Steve he said to his black and greasy fireman
"Jes' shovel in a little more coal
and when we cross over White Oak Mountain
you can watch ol' 97 roll!"

oh it's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville
for the line has a three-mile grade
it was on that grade that he lost his airbrakes
you can see what a jump that he made

he was goin' down grade makin' 90 miles an hour
when the whistle broke into a scream
he was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle
all scalded to death by the steam

a telegram came from Washington station
and this is how it read
that brave engineer who ran 97
is a-lying in Danville dead

so come all you ladies : you must take warnin'
from this time on and learn
never part on harsh words with your true lovin' husband
he may leave you and never return