Ridin' on the City of New Orleans Illinois Central Monday morning rail
15 cars and 15 restless riders 3 conductors and 24 sacks of mail
All along the southbound odyssey the train rolls out of Kankakee
And moves along past houses farms and fields

Passin' trains that have no name and switchyards full of old black men
Of graveyards full of rusted automobiles
Good mornin' America how are you say don't ya know me I'm your native son
I'm a train they call the City of New Orleans

I'll be gone 500 miles when the day is done
Dealin' cards with an old man on the club car many a point nobody's keepin' score
Hey now pass that paper bag that holds the bottle And feel the wheels a rumblin' neath the floor

And the sons of poor men porters and the sons of engineers
Ride their daddy's magic carpet made of steel
Mothers with their babies asleep rockin' to that gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel

Night time on the City of New Orleans changin' cars in Memphis Tennessee
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Half way home and we'll be there by mornin'
Through the Mississippi darkness rollin' down to the sea
And all the towns and people seem to fade into a bad dream

And the steel rails still ain't heard the news
The conductor sings his song again the passengers will please refrain
This train's got the disappearin' railroad blues