I Hear a Train A-Comin’…


A brave teen by the name of Todd McHugh saved a mother and her two young children from what sounds like certain death on train tracks in Folsom, California, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Their car was stuck on light-rail tracks Monday night with the train approaching; McHugh, who’s 17, was sitting in his truck when he saw the Honda Fit go off the road and get stuck on the tracks. He then jumped out and pulled the three people–including girls age 7 and 10–to safety.

Ninety seconds later, the train smashed into the car.

Apparently, the mother had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Here’s how the Bee tells it:

McHugh took the woman’s hand and helped her from the car. She unbuckled the kids.

Another driver who had pulled over to help shouted that a train was coming, McHugh recalled Tuesday.

Police said the other good Samaritan, who was unidentified, ran along the tracks and tried to wave down the train. It was dark, there was a bend in the tracks, and the train operator probably never saw him, Hillman said.

A Regional Transit spokeswoman said the speed limit on that section of tracks is 55 mph.

McHugh said the driver applied the brakes, but the train was still going fast when it came up on them.

The woman, her daughters and McHugh took shelter behind his truck as the train smashed into the subcompact, dragging it down the tracks, the teen said.

Appropos to absolutely nothing, the incident took place in Folsom, which is of course also the setting of one of Johnny Cash’s most beloved songs, called “Folsom Prison Blues. ”

Coincidentally, the song has that same train in it. Cash hears the train from prison as it rolls down to “San Antone”; the prison’s horn makes him wish he was on the outside.

He sings:

Well if they freed me from this prison,
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on a little farther down the line
Far from Folsom prison, that’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away…..

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1 Response to I Hear a Train A-Comin’…

  1. Justin N says:

    Actually, the train that Mr. Cash’s character was singing about was not a Sac-RT light rail, which is what slammed into that woman’s automobile. The RT light rail opened in 1987, and wasn’t expanded to Folsom until 2005, while the song was released in 1955. The train that’s featured in “Folsom Prison Blues” was probably the Southern Pacific Railroad’s City of San Francisco, bound either for San Francisco or Chicago. (Amtrak’s California Zephyr now runs this route.)

    Mr. McHugh remains a hero.

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