Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the physical evidence for the paranormal has been stacking up since the first railway whistle blew. I too have experienced some strange goings on over the years and as the nights draw in for the winter I thought it might be interesting to reflect on one or two of the ghostly tales.
Many tales from around the country have a similar ring to them with sounds of old steam engines, and the clanking of carriages heard around former stations, even though the last train to pass through them was in the 1950’s. Tunnels are said to be haunted by the sounds of footsteps that crunch on the gravel, and some say that a ghostly train still travels through them…
Just a normal train journey can encounter the unexplained as it is reported that between London & Carlisle a woman dressed in black and wearing a veil has been seen sitting quietly and disappearing without warning. She is believed to be a bride whose new husband had stuck his head out of a window and was decapitated. Found holding his body once they reached London, totally insane, her spirit has been making the journey ever since. At Norwich it is reported that the station is home to a frightful entity which takes the form of a rat-like creature with large teeth and obnoxious breath. You may snigger and sneer and put forward that maybe the traveller who experienced some of these might have been a little worse for drink, late at night on the last train home from a darkened platform but over in Nottingham at Mapperley Tunnel, two school children playing in the tunnel heard a steam engine rapidly approaching them and terrified they ran out into the fresh air. A few seconds after their escape they realised that the train could not have existed, as the north end of the tunnel had been bricked up! Not far away at Sherwood Rise Tunnel near former New Basford station a phantom man swinging a lamp was seen emerging from the tunnel and walking a short distance along the track before vanishing. He was thought to be an engine driver killed during the 1890s
Lets take a closer look at some other stories as reported across the country.
– Halsall (Lancashire) – Disused railway bridge at a nature reserve – While videoing on the bridge, one man picked up the sounds of railway carriages running along the disused tracks, though nothing could be actually seen.
– Exeter (Devon) – St Thomas railway station – Sitting on the platform with her dog, a women heard the sound of heels walk past her twice, although no one could be seen. The dog circled and barked before rolling over and acted as if being stroked.
– Falmouth (Cornwall) – Penmere Station – While walking home, a witness heard loud, distorted music coming from the station. He went to investigate, and encountered two girls dressed in Victorian clothing (but no source of the music). One pointed down the tracks, as if she wanted the witness to follow, but he decided to turn around and leave the site.
– Garsdale Head (Cumbria) – Area around the railway station – A local legend says this area is haunted by a person killed on the track. One signalman spotted a figure pass his box, but could not find anything after investigating.
– Glasgow (Lanarkshire) – Track between Kelvinbridge and Hillhead stations – Cleaning staff working late have reported hearing several women’s voices softly singing along the tunnels.
– Hallington (Lincolnshire) – Area where the station once stood – In 1956 the last train travelled along the Louth to Bardney line before it was declared uneconomically viable and closed. Even though the track was removed, people still claimed to hear the sound of an old train passing by at night for many years afterwards.
– Harrietsham (Kent) – Railway ticket office – Removing the wartime stretcher from the wall is said to result in unseen hands vandalising the office.
– Hatfield (Hertfordshire) – Station – The driver of a steam train passing through Hatfield Station reported a phantom man who stepped from the platform into the engine (even though the vehicle was travelling at 55 mph). The icy, dark-clothed entity forced the driver to stop the train, which ground to a halt at Hitchin station; the driver then noticed that the track ahead was blocked, and that the steam engine would have crashed into the obstruction if it was not for the ghost.
– Haughley (Suffolk) – Railway line running past church – A woman travelling by train watched a small man dressed in clothing from two hundred years ago emerge briefly from the floor of the carriage before sinking back.
– Isfield (Sussex) – Lavender Line railway station – This railway museum is haunted by a woman in white who is said to wait for a lover who never returns home. This Victorian woman later took her own life by throwing herself under a train.
– High Wycombe (Berkshire) – Rail Station – The sound of someone walking along the stones on which the track lies have been investigated by several staff who expected to find a trespasser – no one is ever found, but the footsteps continue.
– Huddersfield (Yorkshire) – St George’s Square Station – A former porter at the railway station, Jonah was hit by a train and forced to retire early due to the injuries received. His spiteful laugh can sometimes be heard when there is an accident on the site, or a narrowly avoided mishap.
– Hunstanton (Norfolk) – Disused rail track between Hunstanton and King’s Lynn – A train crashed in August 1863, killing six people. Even though the line was removed from service during the 1960s, people still reported a phantom locomotive travelling along for several years after.
– Kenley (Surrey) – Road bridge that crosses the railway line near the station – While walking home, a witness spotted a phantom gentleman walking towards the railway station. The entity appeared to be deep in thought, and as it reached the station, suddenly stopped before dissolving away.
– Kentsford (Somerset) – Site of former railway – A collision between two steam engines at the site in 1857 resulted in several people dead and seriously injured – locals have reported hearing the accident repeated at night, some even seeing the engine pass by.
– Keynsham (Somerset) – Rail Station – Several porters, at different times, reported seeing a phantom locomotive pass silently through the station along the Bristol line. A few said that they could see the driver of the train looking out, a concerned expression on his face.
– Kyle of Lochalsh (Highland) – Locals say that the construction of the railway upset the natural balance; now a black train which spits flames uses the track at night, disappearing into nearby hills
– Liverpool (Lancashire) – Walton Junction Station – It is said that ever since the last steam engine left this site, an evil, repressive presence has descended upon the area.
One place I would suggest you avoid is the area below Crystal Palace Park as a local legend states that there is a train bricked up under the park, complete with dead passengers and crew – sometimes the hands of the dead reach up from the ground and try to grab the living..!
Maybe its not just the old buildings but the railway vehicles that we preserve and restore that can hold dark secrets as is the case at Butterley Station railway museum where a visitor to the museum reported seeing a dark-haired man dressed in green clothing that looked like it was from World War One. The entity sat in an old box coach, used mainly for storage because of bad condition. Other people have complained of a strange atmosphere in the car……
So maybe you ought to keep an eye out for who is standing on the platform with you, the next time you travel!