Railway Ghosts

minordrag

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#1
There was the ghost of Joe Baldwin, that haunted the tracks near Maco, North Carolina. Joe was a conducter, and was in the rear of the train when he realized the caboose had become uncoupled and was rolling downhill. He frantically waved his latern at the oncoming train, but to no avail. He was decapitated in the crash.

For years afterward, a light would appear on the tracks, swinging from side to side as it glided down the tracks, sometimes changing colors, sometimes describing a high arc into the grass. Many said it was the ghost of Joe. Other witnesses experienced strange "time shifts;" seeing the light and making it back to their cars without apparantly passing their friends along the way. :confused:

Hans Holzer went to investigate in the 60s and (typically) made the whole story focus on his celebrity as a ghost hunter!

Joe ceased to appear when they pulled the track up.
 

Cavynaut

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#2
I came across this story on a railway enthusiast board that I belong to a couple of nights ago.

Most of the British members of this board will recall the Great Heck crash about three years ago. For those who don't, basically a car driver crashed onto the main East Coast railway line, causing a collision between a goods train and a passenger train. Several people died as a result, including the driver of the goods train. The goods train locomotive was so badly damaged that it was broken up and a replacement locomotive ordered.

Anyway, the upshot of the story is that the company concerned, GB Railfreight, named another of their locomotives after the driver who was so tragically killed.

One of the members of the board I referred to is a driver at the depot (FB, Ferrybridge?, I'm not up on the new codes) at which the dead driver worked, and he happened to mention that he, and the other drivers, have experienced some odd occurences on the locomotive which was named after the deceased driver. Things such as brakes coming on for no good reason, and the engine revving way over what it should do. Apparently it got to a point where the company concerned offered to have the loco blessed by a priest. I find it interesting that these things began to be reported after the locomotive was named in honour of the deceased driver.

As a railway enthusiast of about 35 years standing, I do know of other stories concerning 'bad luck' or 'jinxed' locomotives, and I just wondered if anyone else (principally jima or Escargot, as they both appear to be rail enthusiasts) had heard anything about this or any other case.
 

minordrag

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#3
I'd love to know why they decided that the locomotive might need a priest's blessing as opposed to a good mechanic. Clearly, they must have exhausted the more prosaic, "nuts and bolts" options.

Do you have any more details?
 

Cavynaut

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#4
Minor Drag said:
Do you have any more details?
Not in particular, only that the locomotive concerned was a state of the art, almost brand new machine.
 

SniperK2

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#6
Here's a railway ghost. This was told to me many times by my nan, it was her mother that witnessed it.
Her mother was Scots, a stern, strong, chapel-going woman, but this was in Wales , when they lived in Six Bells near Abertillery.
One night, waiting for my nans Dad to come home, she decided to go and meet him, as he was late, it was dark but she knew the way he was coming home, and he would follow the railway line, which was what she did. She had no torch, but at times the blast furnaces of Ebbw Vale would light up the sky, and anyway, it was not pitch black, apparently. After a time, she heard footsteps crunching along the track, well, it could be her husband, or it could be a stranger, or a vagrant, so she played safe and hid behind some bushes near the track, to see the person go by her.
The steps came level and went on and she looked out, it was dark, but then the glare form the steelworks illiminated the sky and she could see. The man walking down the track was headless.
Not a woman to be easily shaken, my nan said she was nevertheless almost fainting when she got home. She was told the next day, of a fatal rail crash that had ahppened the night before, when a goods train, collided with a stationary train, and the driver had been decapitated. She held to this all her long life, it was not a trick of the light, or her imagination, she swore on the Bible that the man who had walked past her, and who she had seen clearly, for more than a few moments, had no head above his shoulders. I asked once if the ' apparition ' had disapeared, she said her mother had not hung around long enough to find out. :shock:
 

escargot

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#7
That's a scary story!

she said her mother had not hung around long enough to find out.
A sensible woman! :shock:


We have a Ghostly Railway Station in the IHTM archives on here.
 

SoundDust

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#8
There's this one (the link has a load of pictures of crashed class 47's on it too :? )

An accident occurred on December 9th 1983 which might, had it not involved loss of life, have been regarded as comical. The loco involved was the so-called 'jinxed' 47299 (ex-D1866/47216). 47216 had been renumbered 47299 two years earlier, in response to a warning given to BR by a soothsayer who had foreseen a serious accident involving 47216. I refer the reader to Paul Screeton's excellent and comprehensive account of this incident
link to Paul Screetons account

Theres another I have in a book somewhere about a steam engine, I'll have a look for it in a bit
 

SoundDust

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#9
the one I was thinking of was Grantham in 1906

On the night of 19 September 1906 the 8.45 from King's Cross to Edinburgh, Atlantic Class locomotive no 276, was approaching Grantham. The events that followed are well documented but briefly the steam locomotive entered Grantham station at high speed at 11.03pm and derailed at the north end of the station coming to a rest down the west embankment just past the bridge over Old Wharf Road. The driver, Fred Fleetwood, fireman Ralph Talbot and twelve others were killed. The cause of the crash has never been completely understood.
in O.S Nock's book Historic Railway Disasters it mentions this, plus that the locomotive "was always regarded as one of ill omen. Among Great Northern men she became looked upon in the same way that on the high seas there are unlucky ships.".
 

CoffeeJedi

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#10
what is it about trains and ghosts that go so naturally together? is it the romanticism of the rails? were there this many ghost stories surrounding railways before cars and planes became the dominat forms of transportation?
 
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#11
In one of those bits of synchronicity that occur quite often on this board I was about to start a similar thread to this one when Cavynaut beat me to it.

For a while now I’ve been playing with the idea of compiling a kind of gazetteer, mainly for my own amusement, of the peculiar as it occurs in and around my own stamping ground of the Peak District - and in a haphazard and desultory way I’ve managed to compile quite a bit of information.

Anyway, this story cropped up way back in the days of the old style IHTM. It's stuck in my mind since then, partly because I like it as a story and partly because it allegedly occurred somewhere in my own back yard. I was wondering if any other people from around the region had heard this one from any other source or if it was known to those with an interest both in the supernatural and in the railways. If nothing else I’d be really interested to know where the incident supposedly occurred.

Cavynaut, maybe you could try your mates on the railway enthusiasts message board.
 

SoundDust

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#12
CoffeeJedi said:
what is it about trains and ghosts that go so naturally together? is it the romanticism of the rails? were there this many ghost stories surrounding railways before cars and planes became the dominat forms of transportation?
I suspect there'd be more interesting ones, whether there were more stories from then I'm not so sure, but any ghost stories to do with trains always seem to sound better when they involve steam trains and deserted late night stationsy. It's hard to get so interested in a story that goes, for example "I was sitting at Welwyn Garden City train station and the ghost of an Intercity 225 passed through platform 3 and disappeared :)

or something anyway
 

Cavynaut

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#13
jima said:
in O.S Nock's book Historic Railway Disasters it mentions this, plus that the locomotive "was always regarded as one of ill omen. Among Great Northern men she became looked upon in the same way that on the high seas there are unlucky ships.".
Another 'jinxed' locomotive.

The infamous D326 (40126)
This was probably the most famed diesel loco, but for all the wrong reasons. On Boxing Day 1962 it was hauling the up Midday Scot when it collided with the rear of a Liverpool to Birmingham express due to driver error, killing 18 passengers and injuring 33. On 8th August 1963 it was hauling the overnight West Coast Postal and became involved with the 'Great Train Robbery'. In 1964 a secondman was electrocuted by the overhead wire while working outside the loco. Finally, in 1965 the loco suffered total brake failure on the approach to Birmingham New Street. Luckily in this case, the train was diverted into another platform at the last minute by a quick-thinking signalman, and smashed into the back of a freight train, injuring only the guard.

http://www.cfps.co.uk/40story2.htm
 

colpepper1

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#14
Can I commend 'Railway Ghosts and Phantoms' by W.B.Herbert (Guild pub.1989) It's out of press but there are quite a few knocking about on preserved railways, etc., a splendid collection of yarns and anecdotes.
I believe you can now buy the infamous D326 as a model. I wonder if its reputation, suitably scaled down might continue?
 
A

Anonymous

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#15
Hello everyone,
I can honestly say after many years experience working on our wonderful railway infrastructure that i often meet people who have a spooky tale to tell.These can vary from haunted stations to signal boxes. The one that i come across most is 'that tunnels haunted you know'. I am starting to belive that every tunnel in Britain has either the ghost of a suicide victim or an Irish Navvy who was buried alive during its construction.

Haunted Loco's are new to me Caveynaut!, I think you will find the owner of the said Loco are Freightliner and not GB Railfreight as you stated in your original post. Sorry to pull you on that one mate, as we had that loco (Class 66) from brand new, tipping ballast on the CTRL in Kent about 2 years ago.

Ive got a couple of stories about hauntings on the track but to me they sound a bit far fetched.(Arthur Askey in the film the Ghost Train springs to mind) !
 

SniperK2

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#16
Box Tunnel is supposed to be very unpleasant, I know. Even if they are far fetched Gazwaz, please post your tales!
I also have read ' Railway Ghosts and Phantoms ' and recommed that too, although I haven't read it in about 4 years.
 

Cavynaut

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#17
Gazwaz said:
Haunted Loco's are new to me Caveynaut!, I think you will find the owner of the said Loco are Freightliner and not GB Railfreight as you stated in your original post. Sorry to pull you on that one mate, as we had that loco (Class 66) from brand new, tipping ballast on the CTRL in Kent about 2 years ago.
Whoops! :oops: My mistake. All these silly bloody companies. Gimme my British Railways back!

What interests me about it though, is the fact that drivers only began to report problems after the loco was named.
 

Yithian

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#18
http://www.thevirtualbookshelf.com/si/008638.html

I have this on my bookshelf: it's not terribly well-written but the subject matter is interesting.

Vivid and factual account of a series of murders which took place on trains in the Victorian era, when passengers were helpless if attacked in the box-like compartments of the corridorless carriages. Describes the work of the police in tracking down the murderers, the trials, the public hanging of the first railway murderer and public attitudes to crime at the time.
 
A

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#19
http://www.miac.btinternet.co.uk/66526.htm
The Loco in question.
It was definatley named when we got it Caveynaut, as i would'nt know one class 66 from another without a nameplate.(My apologies we got it after it was named)
I can't recall any of the drivers having any probs with it though.

A good tale was told to me by a mate about a handsignaller who was walking through a tunnel up by Blackburn way one night:-
The guy was on his way up to his blocking points(to lay protection on the tracks to stop any trains coming into the area where the engineering works were to take place).Normally access to the track is pretty good but on this occasion the guy had to walk a couple of miles up to the blocking points.He set off with his kit(stop boards,detonators,handlamps etc.) thinking no more about it, so he comes to this tunnel,he already had his lamp on his hard hat switched on so he gets his hi-beam torch out of his bag and switches it on for extra vision whilst walking through the tunnel.
So off he goes walking through the tunnel, now here comes the creepy part, as he gets about halfway through he hears footprints in the ballast coming towards him so the guy shines his torch in the direction of the noise, needless to say there's no one there but the footprints are still walking towards him.
The guy is now shitting himself in the middle of a tunnel with nowhere to run to with this crunching noise in the ballast still coming towards him.So he stands still and hopes it will go away untill whatever it is that is walking towards him untill it walks straight in to him and knocks him to the ground.
So he gets to his feet and he can now hear the steps now going away from him.
He now gets himself together and runs like the clappers out of the tunnel.He now gets on the phone to his supervisor and reqests to be picked up further up the line to avoid going back through the tunnel.


I personally take it with a gritter full of salt hence the Ghost Train reference in my earlier post. I still have to laugh though becouse everytime you're alone on track at night (i will be this weekend!!) you think of these stories wich have probably being going as long as we started maintaining our railway.
 
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#21
Gazwaz said:
I personally take it with a gritter full of salt hence the Ghost Train reference in my earlier post. I still have to laugh though becouse everytime you're alone on track at night (i will be this weekend!!) you think of these stories wich have probably being going as long as we started maintaining our railway.
I've got a feeling that story is a retelling of a classic Victorian/Edwardian ghost story although I can't remember which one - I'll have a dig around. Of course that doesn't have to mean that it's not actually happened to somebody...allegedly.

A couple or three years back there was a thread on haunted supermarkets in which I think I mentioned the supermarket in Glossop which was built on some old railway land and was (or is) supposedly haunted by an old ganger. Which goes to show that railways can be haunted even when they aren't there any more!!
 

raven186

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#22
Its considered unlucky to rename ships isn't it? Is it seen as unlucky to rename trains? What about other forms of transprt?
 

Ronnor

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#24
Work weirdness

I work for Network Rail in Scotland, as a relief signalman. I have had a couple of odd experiences in one of the 6 signalboxes I work. The signalbox in question dates from 1874 and although it has been modernised with a small extension containing a toilet and new kitchen, still retains the Victorian lever frame to work the signals and points. I work 12 hour shifts, both days and nights - from 11:30 to 23:30 and vice versa. The box is in a fenced compound beside the railway (obviously) with locked gates across the sole access road.

The first strange event happened at the end of a dayshift in January this year, around 23:15. I was sitting alone in the box, as usual, with no trains around. I heard footsteps climbing the stairs and a knock on the door. I thought it was my relief coming in a bit early (though normally he would come straight in without knocking) and went to open the door. There was no one there. It was then I realised that the steps I had heard had been on the wooden stairs that were removed when the box was modernised in 2006. The new staircase is metal and makes a distinctive clanging noise. I said nothing to my relief when he came in 10 minutes later...

The second encounter occured on another day shift a few weeks later, at around 22:30. The next signalbox along the line had just closed for the night, I had carried out the appropriate procedures for this and then went to use the toilet. I had just *ahem* sat down when I heard the sound of a train approaching and felt the distinctive rumble of a train passing the signalbox at speed. I hurried out of the toilet to see what was up, thinking that my mate in the next box had made a mistake (you are not allowed to close a signalbox unless the line is clear of trains). There was nothing there, no train, no lights and no little line of red LEDs on the box diagram to indicate the presence of a train. I was understandably not very amused by this, and was worried that I had done something wrong. Eventually I settled back down and all was normal until my relief came in at 23:30. It was the same chap who had taken over from me after the last incident and I decided this time to tell my story to him. Instead of laughing as I had expected, he became thoughtful and told me that he had once looked up from his book in the early hours of the morning to see his mobile phone floating in mid air. As he watched with growing horror, the phone slowly moved from side to side then lowered onto the desk where it had been sitting previously. He reckons to have pinched himself to make sure it wasn't a dream with such force that he drew blood.

As the weeks went on, I told the other regular signalmen at the box about what had happened to me and asked if they had ever had anything strange happen to them. One of them claimed to have heard the phantom train on a few occasions in the late evening over the last 10 years and another had heard someone climbing wooden stairs. I was prompted to write this post after a conversation earlier this week with mobile phone man. He told me that on Thursday evening last week he had heard a loud and insistant knock at the door, which he had opened to find no one there.

Nothing spectacularly Fortean here, but I know all the signalmen involved and can vouch that all are honest and straightforward types, who pride themselves on doing a responsible job well.
 

SHAYBARSABE

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#25
Re: Work weirdness

Ronnor said:
Nothing spectacularly Fortean here, but I know all the signalmen involved and can vouch that all are honest and straightforward types, who pride themselves on doing a responsible job well.
I would say that it was all spectaculary Fortean! Thank you so much for writing up these events. Please let us know if these occurrences keep happening.
 

escargot

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#26
Fantastic Fortean railway experiences there. 8)

Reminds me of a lovely book I once read, called something like Railway Ghosts' or 'Ghosts Of The Railway', in which haunted signalboxes featured prominently.

One story that stuck in my mind was of a signalman called Aubrey, who used to be seen turning up for work as usual in his distinctive scooter clobber for some time after he was dead. :shock:

I'm from a town with a strong railway culture so I particularly appreciate this sort of weirdness. ;)
 

Unwell

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#27
railways and the supernatural have for many years enjoyed a partnership.

your post was lovely, thanks for sharing!
 
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#29
I'm guessing that the signal box is out in the wilds somewhere? I was just thinking, 'what a great job!' But, sitting there, on your lonesome, night after night, with the occasional ghostly doings to look forward to, might take the edge off, a bit.

The shade of a fellow signalman, from way back, who got a bit too attached to the job?

Excellent! What a great story. :yeay:
 

tilly50

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#30
What a great post, really spine tingling! I was sitting alone in my office reading it when the chair at the other desk gave a loud creak. :shock:
 
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