My First “Rails And Sails” Card, Plus a “Train” Playlist

I had all kinds of hobbies when I was younger, and model trains was (sort of) one of them.  I say “sort of” because I loved to make plans of what my train layout would be like, I read magazines like Railroad Model Craftsman, I dreamed on my ideal  layout… but when push came to shove, I never did anything other than temporarily set up the tracks and play with my trains.

Similarly, I’ve always been semi-intrigued by the 1955 Topps “Rails And Sails” set… not so much the “sails” part, and I wasn’t really that interested in the cards that featured tank cars or refrigerator cars or cabooses or steam locomotives… Which pretty much means I’m only interested in the diesel locomotives.  Well, at a show a year ago (the “Forgotten Show”, for those who read my last post), I found this card, which may well end up being the only card I get from this set.


But if I’m only getting one, this is a fine one to get.  Here’s the back.


I don’t have a whole lot else to say about this, so I’ll fill out the rest of the post with a playlist consisting of songs about trains, subways and all things which ride on rails.

5:15 – The Who
500x (The Train Song) – Sara Hickman
A Poem On The Underground Wall – Simon and Garfunkel
Betting On Trains – Hem
Big Train (From Memphis) – John Fogerty
Canadian Railroad Trilogy – Gordon Lightfoot
Chattanooga Choo Choo – Glenn Miller
Choo Choo Ch’Boogie – Louis Jordan
Don’t Sleep In The Subway – Petula Clark
Engine 999 – The Hooters
Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash
I Often Dream Of Trains – Robyn Hitchcock
If Love Was a Train – Michelle Shocked
I’ll Be Your Train – Health and Happiness Show
Kiss the Train – Sun-60
Last Train Home – Pat Metheny Group
Last Train To London – Electric Light Orchestra
Last Train – Travis
Long Train Runnin’ – The Doobie Brothers
Love Train – The O’Jays
Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight and The Pips
Midnight Train – One Plus Two
My Turn Train – Henry Lee Summer
Night Train – Oscar Peterson Trio
Night Train – Let’s Active (not the same song as the previous one)
One After 909 – The Beatles
Pain Train – The Guess Who
Peace Train – Cat Stevens
Railroad – The Zutons
Spanish Train – Chris deBurgh
Take the “A” Train – Duke Ellington and His Orchestra
The Blue Train – Linda Ronstadt
The El – Rhett Miller
Marrakesh Express – Crosby Stills and Nash
The Metro – Berlin
The Train Kept A Rollin’ – Aerosmith
The Train Song – Eddie From Ohio
The Uptown Train – Joe Jackson
Train in the Distance – Paul Simon
Train In Vain – The Clash
Train, Train – Blackfoot
Trains and Boats and Planes – Fountains Of Wayne (I like their version better than Dionne Warwick’s original)
Underground – Men At Work

Honorable mention (because I don’t like these songs quite enough and it’s my playlist):
Casey Jones – Grateful Dead
City Of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie
Downbound Train – Bruce Springsteen
Hey, Porter – Johnny Cash
Orange Blossom Special – Johnny Cash
Son of an Engineer – Cowboy Mouth
Steel Rail Blues – Gordon Lightfoot
Texas and Pacific – Louis Jordan
Trans-Europe Express – Kraftwerk

I know there are countless songs that would also qualify… Hell, you could probably make a full playlist of train songs by Johnny Cash… But feel free to mention any of your favorites.


15 thoughts on “My First “Rails And Sails” Card, Plus a “Train” Playlist

  1. Yeah, continuing with ones that I know from Johnny Cash, even if others may have done them as well, there is Wabash Cannonball, The Wreck of the Old 97, and Rock Island Line.

    A local singer sings the last two along with Folsom Prison Blues as his train songs package during one of his sets.

  2. Rails and Sails is a set I very much enjoy, the “Rails” portion of the checklist more so than the “Sails” side, as a lot of the ships look a little too cartoony. I just got my first couple of cards from the set a few years ago, unfortunately I haven’t added any sense.

    How about “Night Train” from Guns ‘N Roses. Or, if you want go back a ways, Blind Willie McTell’s “Travellin’ Blues”.

  3. I was the same way with my model railroad as a kid – it’s just too expensive to do anything drastic like that when you’re 10. However, I too was hooked on trains for most of my childhood and still hold a great affinity for rail travel. I may have to hunt down a couple of these “Rails and Sails” cards.

    Also, while we’re all throwing train songs around, might I also suggest the skiffle version of “Rock Island Line” by Lonnie Donegan and “Acela” by Fountains of Wayne (Stacy’s Mom fame). I used to have a whole playlist because that’s what I do when I’m bored; but, it looks like most has been covered above. Also, the City of New Orleans sounds much better when performed by it’s original artist, Steve Goodman. You might better know him as the man behind “Go Cubs Go.”

  4. I really enjoy the Rails & Sails set. Of the trio of vehicular sets put out by Topps in the mid-50s it’s also the hardest one to locate. Wings from 52 being the easiest and 53-54 World on Wheels in the middle.

  5. Not sure what’s more impressive. The awesome card or the list of songs involving trains. My contribution is Black Sheep… The Choice Is Yours:
    “Engine, engine number 9 on the New York transit line”…

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