• Ghosts and railroads.

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by bender
I've always been interested in ghosts/hauntings and railroads. Railroad ghost, ghostly trains have always been an interest of mine. I've been to (not in) the east portal of the Hoosac tunnel many times and the ghosts haven't been kind enough to walk out and wave. I was wondering if anybody has any ghostly railroad stories to share.
If this is in the wrong place I apologize.
there actually is a "ghost" on the bnsf route, between portland and pasco. i'll have to get a track chart, and get the exact milepost, but there is a full body apparition, that is easily seen standing along the ROW, going through a small rock cut. my last trip west i finally saw her, and honestly, i felt it was a real person, sitting on a rock, almost at cab window height, but the crews claim she's been there, for 30 years. her body was very easy to see, but i didnt see her face, which is also what they say is "normal" for her. i'll dig up the exact location. it's hard to imagine it's a real person, because it's miles from any homes, in the middle of nowhere. i laid on the horn, and got no reaction clocking by her going 79......
  by bender
Thanks for the story GOLDEN-ARM. Anyone else?
  by bender
CarterB, The "Hookerman" is legend and I think the first railroad ghost story I heard. Thanks for the Newark Penn Station link I haven't heard about that one before.
reading those stories, in the link, a guy mentions that in the 20's and 30's, the cnj employee timetable had a notice, not to stop for lantern signals, in this area. i'm sure this rumor, is very easy to verify. anyone got an old cnj timetable, from that period?
  by Northwest727
Lets not forget about the Moonville Tunnel in Ohio. Apparently, many people were killed around the tunnel on this line when it was still active, leading to numerous ghost stories and encounters. CSX abandoned the line in the late 80's.
Railroad workers called the line the most lonesome, desolate eight miles (13 km) of track between Parkersburg, West Virginia and St. Louis. They hated the area because it was isolated and trains seemed to show up without warning. The line was "dark" (unsignaled) between Parkersburg and Cincinnati, and traffic was governed by train orders. [2]

In 1981, a signal was erected at Moonville. The railroad said that if a railroad worker needed to stop a train, they had to use this signal, not a flashlight or lantern. Engineers and conductors were ordered not to go into emergency unless the signal was red. All of these measures were put in place specifically for this area because of the numerous and unpredictable ghost sightings that had forced many trains over the years into emergency.

  by bender
Thanks for the links Northwest727.
Here's a link for ghosts of The Hoosac tunnel and the whole webpage is great for info on the Hoosac tunnel.
  by Gadfly
GOLDEN-ARM wrote:.................i'll dig up the exact location. it's hard to imagine it's a real person, because it's miles from any homes, in the middle of nowhere. i laid on the horn, and got no reaction clocking by her going 79......
See there? If you'd quit "digging these people up" there'd be no 'han'ts"!!!!!!!! :-D :-D

GF :wink:
  by 10more years
There's an old story about the Maco Station light outside of Wilmington, NC on old line from Wilmington to Florence (now abandoned). Short version is that local was coming back in to station and caboose came uncoupled. This was back in the 1800's. Conductor Joe Baldwin realized what had happened and jumped off to flag down oncoming following train. Well, following train failed to stop for Joe's lantern in time and crashed into caboose, and Joe. Joe's lantern and body went one way, Joe's head went the other and for years (I think until the late 1950's), late at night, you could see Joe's lantern out looking for his head along the track. There is a book called "North Carolina Ghost Stories" that relates the whole story. That title might not be exactly right.

There was another story of some girl ghost along the Vander spur outside of Fayetteville, NC that old crews told me about in the early-mid 1980's. But, I never saw her. They said they would occasionally see her along the track out in the middle of nowhere.
  by gprimr1
I would think any tunnel built during the early days of railroading would be prone to ghost stories. Based on the technology of the time and the risk of death, they would seem to be a breading ground for stories, especially as many tunnels are located in remote locations. Driving to the Hoosac Tunnel, I have often felt like I could be riding a horse in the 1800's with a kerosene lamp following an old steamer up the mountain. Sitting in East Deerfield I could imagine a storm blowing in from the mountains, and the old lamps blowing out, and people talking about the ghosts up there. Mountains tend to elicit ghost stories.

What I'm curious about; are there any stories related to the tunnels of New York? If I remember right there was a major accident when they first attempted to tunnel using air pressure and the metal shield. Being in a city, I'm curious how it would differ?
  by bender
10more years, Thanks I like the stories that come from straight from R.R. workers.
gprimr1, Since I've lived in and worked in the country I never realised how spooky the the roads could be after turning off RT.2. Until I took my cousins up there one night and they were abit un-nerved by the isolation and the ghost stories I was telling.
  by Gadfly
You oughta be out in a remore yard location, seemingly miles from anyone at 2 AM. That's spooky! :-D I was out one night, one of those perfect dark, foggy nights in a cheap novel, when I wrote up a boxcar and walked ahead to "book" the next car. The plug door was open (not supposed to leave 'em open, but it happened anyway) when all of a sudden..............................................


I almost soiled myself right there! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!

It was a "hobo" stashed in that boxcar who had stuck his head out the door and asked for a light!

No ghost, that, but enough to scare the living daylights outta somebody! :P

One ghost story that comes to mind other than going into black rock tunnel on the old Reading is that,in the early 1990's as a new brakeman on conrail i was in the lead unit with the conductor and engineer on a north jersey coal train going up the river line to tomkins cove,ny. as we pulled thru orange ,nj the train started to hang up and stretch and back run in like a being on a big rubber band.!Amazingly, the engineer said the train did not break,which he could not believe ! After that ,he ran the train slow and, as it was pitch black ........looking up ahead we all saw a red lantren was being swung slowely across the tracks. The engineer brought the train to a stop and we all ran up to see what was the matter but the light just dissapeared..... and no one was there! we looked everywhere and yelled out loud in the "ghost light direction" but got no answer. walking back to our train we departed and the rest of the trip was uneventful.( In my later years , we got plenty of knuckels and never had a train rubber band like that !) A prank or a ghost, who knows?