Paoli Local

(c) 1987, G. Johanson / Reformschool music

Hi, Folks:

What songwriter would be worth his salt unless he wrote about mom, trucks and trains? Well, at least i got the train part anyway. This song was written during a time when i just happened to have Teac's first portable offering to the home/ off site studio world, the "PortaStudio", a grand 4-channel cassette deal that was supposed to replace the 3340-S simulsynch (cough). Actually, it wasn't a bad machine although the Dolby A/B/C sucked, and if you had a strong signal on channel 1, the power supply was unregulated enough to allow you to see pulse-dips in the remaining three VU metres. I guess it was handy to keep a beat, but i prefer a click-track, thankyouverymuch.

The Paoli Local was an old rail car from the old PRR, which was later absorbed into the Penn Central line. It was dark green, with the old imitation wooden awnings all around her. She was a steel passenger car which which was retired around June of 1969. Someone bought her and set her on a length of track just large enough to accomodate her on a strip of property adjacent to Rt. 30, between Wayne and Berwyn, Pa. I used to live in Devon, and would walk the tracks to Conestoga High School and back. It was interesting to see the reaction of the locals to this old retired railcar, as she was being turned into a bar and grille. The name "Paoli Local" was affixed high on the side of the car facing the traffic, between the two end doorways. The way the folks that lived around her put it, "She won't carry people anymore. What a shame!" It so happened that for her short life of two years, she probably "carried" more folks than she did the last years of her active rail years, and to further destinations . . . poetically speaking, that is.

Ah, yes, it was a neat idea. Alas, the owner's wife discovered, apparently, some reason to pull the plug on the Paoli Local, and being 51% shareholder in the Grill, liquidated her assets.

But the Paoli Local lives on in my mind as a piece of Delaware County lore, and a grande attempt to provide a new, albeit short lease on life for one of the great workhorses of the Industrial Revolution. Long Live the Rails of America! And long live the Paoli Local!

To hear the original analog recording of this song, click here.

To hear the more recent digital re-recording, click here.

Paoli Local

Box cars and diner Cars

would roll by the old

gravel piles

Conductors yell out

"Philadelphia, thirty miles!"

And tho i never rode them,

they're still a sight to see

Penn Central, roll by

. . . play me a memory

Paoli Local

was a car they retired last june

Somebody bought her

and turned her into a Saloon.

Her name was written

high above her doors

but they'd say

"Paoli Local won't carry people anymore!"

People would stop by

and have themselves

a drink or three

I'd hear folks laughing

half a mile down the street

. . . broken hearts were settled

over the golden brew

Paoli Local would carry these

and other's too.

But what's the point of telling them

the picture that they paint ain't true

. . . Paoli Local

would carry these and other's too.

And in the evening

i'd walk along the old Main Line -

i'd hear folks talking

and having them a real' fine time

-and tho they didn't know it,

they still felt the thrill . .

they just had a journey on

the Paoli Local Bar and Grille

Box cars and diner cars

would roll by the old gravel piles

Conductors yell out

"Philadelphia, thirty miles!"

And tho i never rode them,

they're still a sight to see

Paoli Local, play me a memory

Paoli Local, play me a memory.