This union satire of the popular folksong was written by Joe Hill in response to a strike involving 35,000 shopmen of the Harriman and Illinois Central Railroad System (which included the Southern Pacific), Sep 1911 through 1915, and was first published in the 11 Jul 1912 edition of the Industrial Worker "Little Red Songbook."
The Workers on the S. P. line to strike sent out a call;
But Casey Jones, the engineer, he wouldn't strike at all;
His boiler it was leaking, and its drivers on the bum,
And his engine and its bearings, they were all out of plumb.Casey Jones kept his junk pile running;The workers said to Casey: "Won't you help us win this strike?"
Casey Jones was working double time;
Casey Jones got a wooden medal,
For being good and faithful on the S. P. line.
But Casey said: "Let me alone, you'd better take a hike."
Then some one put a bunch of railroad ties across the track,
And Casey hit the river bottom with an awful crack.
Casey Jones hit the river bottom;When Casey Jones got up to heaven, to the Pearly Gate,
Casey Jones broke his blessed spine;
Casey Jones was an Angelino,
He took a trip to heaven on the S. P. line.
He said: "I'm Casey Jones, the guy that pulled the S. P. freight."
"You're just the man," said Peter, "our musicians went on strike;
You can get a job a'scabbing any time you like."
Casey Jones got up to heaven;They got together, and they said it wasn't fair,
Casey Jones was doing mighty fine;
Casey Jones went scabbing on the angels,
Just like he did to workers of the S. P. line.
For Casey Jones to go around a'scabbing everywhere.
The Angels' Union No. 23, they sure were there,
And they promptly fired Casey down the Golden Stairs.
Casey Jones went to Hell a'flying;
"Casey Jones," the Devil said, "Oh fine:
Casey Jones, get busy shovelling sulphur;
That's what you get for scabbing on the S. P. Line."