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Ready to serve the nation

Music dedicated to the Military Railway Service
Here's a variation on a familiar World War II theme, the diverse geographical backgrounds of men serving together in the armed forces. It comes to us in the form of some faded sheet music dedicated to the Military Railway Service. The rousing anthem "Railroaders Always" is of interest in its own right, but the cover of this particular copy is something special.

It belonged to John R. Crosby, a fireman on PRR's Fort Wayne Division before (and after) he was a member of the 717th Railway Operating Battalion, stationed in Ashchurch, England. Crosby had some two dozen of his fellow soldier-railroaders sign his copy; in doing so, the men also put down their hometowns, plus the railroads they had worked for. We can't make out all the signatures, but the railroad initials - NYC, CB&Q, LIRR, KCS, and a dozen others - ring out like a roll call of great names from the past. Like the men of the 717th, they were ready to serve the nation when it needed them most. - Robert S. McGonigal, editor

Click on the photo for a larger view of the first page of music.
Click on the photo for a larger view of the second page of music.
Railroaders Always

Words by Capt. Robert B. Rivers, U.S. Army
Music and arrangement by Sgt. Joe Tomaselli (Joe Elly), U.S. Army


Once we ran the Santa Fe and good old B&O
But now we're laying tracks to Rome, Berlin and Tokio
Along that Army route we'll knock the Axis out
And when we roll up to the front you'll know us by our shout

We're railroaders always
We've got the stuff it takes to do the trick
Railroaders always
We've got a job to do and do it quick
Along the rail we blaze a trail with steam and steel and sweat
We tote your food and feed your guns but buddy don't forget
We're railroading soldiers, ready to "ball the jack" or FIGHT!

From Maine to California and from every whistle stop
From engine and the doghouse and from shanty and the shop
We've come to see it through beneath our colors true
We're soldiers of the U.S.A. who'll fight and work with you

We're railroaders always
We've got the stuff it takes to do the trick
Railroaders always
We've got a job to do and do it quick
Along the rail we blaze a trail with steam and steel and sweat
We tote your food and feed your guns but buddy don't forget
We're railroading soldiers, ready to "ball the jack" or FIGHT!
Read more stories of railroads and World War II in the special Winter 2001 issue of Classic Trains.

Click on the underlined PDFs beneath "Downloadable File(s)" in the gray box(es) below.

Downloadable File(s)

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