Favorite Songs for Kids

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Songs about Trains

July 2003

Can anyone recommend (or remind me of) good, catchy, public domain songs for children about trains. We want to sing some. I can look up complete lyrics and maybe even tunes on the web, if someone can just name them and give a few lines...I may even remember one or two once they're mentioned, but for the life of me can't think of ANY every time my 2-year-old wants to sing about trains.
tired of ''chugga chugga woo woo''

Did you know that John Denver made an album devoted to train songs? It's called, I believe, ''All Aboard!'' We've checked it out from the Rockridge Library (and then I almost bought it from Amazon before my son moved past his train phase). My son and I both enjoyed it quite a lot. Hope this helps! Kerri
We recently borrowed a John Denver train songs c.d from the Diamond library (Oakland). It's very enjoyable- and a little more friendly on the adult ears!
Well: I've been working on the railroad (all the live long day) Little Red Caboose (chug chug chug) Riding that New River Train and the one that goes... ''down by the station early in the morning, see the little pufferbellies all in a row hear the stationmaster blowing on his whistle puff puff toot toot off we go...'' Sometimes we sing songs about other things (like old macdonald's farm) and just put trains in them... Good luck! Mom of a train fan
Take a look at http://www.songsforteaching.com/TrainSongs.html
Lots of train songs. When I was growing up and when my kids were little we always sang ''Little red caboose behind the, little red caboose behind the, little red caboose behind the train, train, train, train...comin' down the track, track, track, track, comin' down the track, track, track, track, Little red caboose behind the train.'' We also sang The Chatanooga Choo Choo. Have fun! Sally
Some old favorites of ours are ...

-I've Been Workin' on the Railroad (Lyrics: http://www.contemplator.com/folk2/railroad.html)

-Freight Train (Jerry Garcia and David Grisman do a great version on their CD ''Not For Kids Only'' and Elizabeth Mitchell does another version we love on her CD ''You Are My Flower'' ... Listen to it here: http://cdbaby.com/cd/idaelizabeth )

-She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain ...

Then there are other train songs not written for kids per se, but that we loved as children ...

-MTA by the Kingston Trio -Chatanooga Choo Choo by Glenn Miller -Choo Choo Chaboogie by Louis Jordan (I have a great Cab Calloway version) -King of the Road by Roger Miller (probably not ideal for a 2 year-old)
Good luck! Kate

Do you know the one that goes: Little red caboose/Little red caboose/Little red caboose behind the train/Smokestack on its back/Whistling down the track/Little red caboose behind the train. There are even gestures that go with it. Also, if you are familiar with the albums by Dan Zanes & friends (music that is great for adults and kids), there is one that has a great song about a train. I think it's the ``Night Owl'' album. Laura
How about ''I've Been Working on the Railroad,'' and ''Little Red Caboose.'' If you're willing to buy a CD, by all means get Buckwheat Zydako's ''Choo-choo Boogaloo.'' It's a whole CD full of train songs, sounds, and a long story about riding the train to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. We gave it to our son for his second birthday and now, at almost three, he still listens to it several times every week. He also likes ''Freedom Train,'' on the CD World Playground Two. Carolyn
Lyrics for these songs are in ''Rise Up Singing''

I've Been Working on the Railroad (starts, ''I've been workin' on the railroad'') Freight Train (starts, ''Freight train, freight train, run so fast'') Morningtown Ride (starts, ''Train whistle blowing, makes a sleepy noise'') New River Train (starts, ''I'm riding on that new river train'') Casey Jones (starts, ''Come all you rounders if you want to hear'') City of New Orleans (starts, ''Ridin' on the City of New Orleans'') Daddy, What's a Train?'' (starts, '''Daddy, what's a train? Is it something I can ride?''') Paddy on the Railway (starts, ''In 18 hundred & 41'') The Wabash Cannonball (starts, ''I stood on the Atlantic ocean'') Wanderin' (starts, ''My daddy is an engineer'') Casey Jones (starts, ''The workers on the S.P. Line'') Five Hundred Miles (starts, ''If you miss the train I'm on'')
anonymous singer

I've been working on the railroad, all the live long day... Here's a shiny choo choo train, shiny dinah is her name....
my son's in the train club too!
Here are a couple popular ones:

''Down by the station, early in the morning, see the little pufferbellies all in a row. See the station master pull the little handle. Chug Chug, Woo Woo, off we go.''

and also ''Little red caboose behind the, Little red caboose behind the, Little red caboose behind the train, train, train. Running down the track, track, track, track, Smokestack on his back, back, back, back. Little red caboose behind the train.''

btw, Sweet Honey in the Rock does a great a cappella medley of these songs on the collection ''A Child's Celebration of Song.''

And of course there is always: ''I've been working on the railroad, all the livelong day. I've been working on the railroad, just to pass the time away....'' etc. Frances

Well, if you don't mind songs in which people die, ''The Wreck of the Old 97'' is great and so is ''John Henry'' (though that is more about train tracks than trains, I guess.) Googling the titles of these songs turns up a lot of fascinating archives and audio files, too. Elizabeth
For the 2-yr-old: Little Red Caboose ''Smokestack on its back, comin' down the track, little red caboose behind the train . . . ''

Since about age 3 my daughter has loved Charlie on the MTA -- ''Let me tell you the story of a man named Charlie, on a tragic and fateful day, he put ten cents in his pocket, kissed his wife and family, went to ride on the MTA. And did he ever return? No! He never returned, and his fate is still unlearned. (Poor Charlie!) He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston, he's the man who never returned. [Many more verses with fun lyrics.]'' mother of 3.5-yr-old train lover

You MUST include ''Freight Train'', performed by David Grisman and Jerry Garcia on their ''Not For Kids Only'' album, in your collection -- it's wonderful!! Christine
There's ''I've Been Working on the Railroad,'' of course, and one my daughter loves - ''Down by the Station,'' which goes:

Down by the station Early in the morning See the little puffer-bellies, all in a row See the engine driver, pull the little handle Chug, chug! Toot, toot! Off we go!

Here are two preschool sites with train songs & rhymes (as well as other forms of transportation). The only song I could think of that wasn't listed among these is ''I've Been Working on the Railroad''

http://www.preschooleducation.com/sland.shtml Shoshana

Malvina Reynolds wrote a great song about our own Berkeley trains! I think it is called ''Morningtown Ride''. Yep, just found the lyrics at http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/belvedere/226/mride.htm Enjoy! Rebecca
Rent or buy the ''Wee Sing Train'' video. One train song after the other for almost an hour, and the video is really nicely done. This is the current favorite of my two year old. (As an added bonus, this contains one of the funniest scenes I've ever seen in a kid's video - the singing vegetable garden. Great musical parody.) Available at www.amazon.com or - a little more affordable - at www.alibris.com. (Disclaimer: I work there.) Berkeley Public Library also has a copy. Angelika