A Train They Call the ‘District Of Scarborough’

(To be sung to the tune: City of New Orleans)

Riding on the ‘District of Scarborough’
Union Station, Monday morning rail
Thirteen cars, two thousand restless riders
Two Conductors; we don’t carry mail
All along the southbound odyssey – the train pulls out of Kennedy
Rolls past malls and condos made of steel
Tanker cars that have no name, freight yards back to work again
And megalots of high-end automobiles

Good morning, Toronto, how are you?
Say, don’t you know me? I’m your native son
I’m the train they call the ‘District of Scarborough’
I’ll be done 10 circuit trips when the day is done

Dealing transit plans with Toronto City Council
None agree – ain’t no one keeping score
As the paper war that freezes movin’ forward
Feels the wheels grinding ‘neath the floor
And daughters of long-time residents, sons of the ‘newly here’

Ride our fathers’ carpets made of steel
And mothers with their babes asleep rocking to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel

Good morning, Ontario, how are you?
Say, don’t you know me? I’m your native son
I’m the train they call the ‘District of Scarborough’
I’ll be done 10 circuit trips when the day is done

Sunset on the ‘District of Scarborough’
Changing trains again at Kennedy
Almost home –  repeat again tomorrow

Through Rouge Hill’s darkness, there’s no guarantee
As Guildwood station closure seems – to fade into a bad dream
And Government still ain’t heard the news
Birchmount bike lanes gone again – the voters will please refrain
This borough’s got the ‘growing poverty blues’

Good night, Canada, how are you?
Say, don’t you know me? I’m your native son
I’m the train they call the ‘District of Scarborough’
I’ll be done 10 circuit trips when the day is done

With apologies to Steve Goodman, composer of the ‘City of New Orleans’ whose song is, as John Prine once noted – and I paraphrase here -the “best damned railroad song I ever heard”.

Perhaps the best version of the song was performed by Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody Guthrie.  

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