Transport Ghosts and Ghouls.

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I've always been interested in mysteries and ghosts but I tend to be sceptical rather than being a believer. I don't think many people make their stories up, but lots of other things can mean people are deceived by their senses.

I'm busy writing a book of these stories, and another on some fictional ones. I love that these stories describe a world long gone as well, so they are a real window into the past.

47126 A Jinxed Locomotive. 26th November 2015

BR class 47 loco

A clairvoyant foresaw in a dream that locomotive 47216 would be in a serious accident, and so she contacted the Police and gave them very clear details of what she said would happen. The crews who used the locomotive got to hear about the predictions, and some refused to work on it. Rail enthusiasts new nothing of this and were surprised when the number of 47216 was quietly changed to 47299. There were rumours about it but nobody knew why the number had been changed.

Then on the 9th of December 1983 47299 was involved in an accident at Wrawby Junction near Barnetby in Lincolnshire that was almost exactly what the clairvoyant had predicted. The only difference was the number of the locomotive which was 47299 rather than 47126, so this was all that had changed from the prediction. There had been problems with the points at the junction, and they wouldn't seem to properly set. so they were manually set to what they ought to be for operations to continue, but somehow between being set and the locomotive coming they reset themselves again. The result was the 100 ton locomotive and it's train of 100 ton oil wagons moving very slowly, ran up the wrong line and could not be stopped, hitting a stationary passenger train and flipping it's first carriage onto it's side killing student Rachel Taylor and injuring a dozen other people.

Towys Valley Wellington Ghost

Wellington Bomber at Night

Late one evening a man walking his dog in the Towys Valley in Dyfed, Wales spotted a huge aircraft flying overhead, just above the level of the trees. It was obviously old because he could see the propellers spinning, but the strange thing was he couldn't hear the engines. In fact he couldn't hear any sound from it at all. He mentioned it one night in his local pub and a number of other people said they had seen it as well. Nobody suspected it was a ghost until somebody became a little bit curious and decided to do some research. Wellington bombers like many other aircraft had frequently flown over the Brecon Becons in the World War two for training. When he checked out how many were flying now though he was in for a shock. There is only one left in Britain which is on perminant display in the RAF museum at Hendon.

The M6 Ghost, 3 January 2016

M6, Junction 17, Sandbach

To many people it seems quite surprising that a large modern road like the M6 should have ghosts, but it may be a result of it's route. Many people have seen figures appear in the middle of the motorway around junction 17 which is for Sandbach. The location is also a notorious accident black spot. Some people say this is because the junction has a very short and steep slip road, but it is not the shortest. Many of the accidents happened because vehicles swerved for no apparent reason, supporting the sightings of figures appearing in the middle of the carriage way. There is a story associated with the area of Scots soldiers returning to Scotland after the Battle of Worcester. They were on their way home and passed near Sandbach. Unfortunately people hostile to their cause heard of their presence and a fight occurred during which about 10 of the soldiers were killed, and because they are said to buried somewhere nearby there is an area called Scots Meadow. Nobody knows the exact location though, but somebody has done some research and found out that the two most likely locations lie either side of the M6. The sight of an old hotel is nearby, and during a wedding reception it was claimed a ghost playing bagpipes was seen to materialise in the middle of the car park outside the reception. Others have said they have heard the sound of bagpipes sometimes in the area and been unsure of where they have come from. The apparitions are said to happen most often when the area is disturbed by building work.

The Balcombe Tunnel Ghosts. 12th December 2015.

Balcombe Tunnel

The ghosts of three people have frequently been sighted around the Balcombe tunnel in West Sussex, which is on the line between London and Brighton. The sightings are still happening right up to this very day, and frequently drivers on the line are known to have to slow down or stop and check because they think they have hit something or seen something strange which means they have to continue with extra caution. There is also known to be more than one event in the hauntings here. The most common story is of coming face to face with three soldiers dressed in World War 1 uniforms around the mouth of the tunnel. During the first world war the tunnel was guarded by soldiers, and it is these who are thought to be the hauntings. The story is that on a very dark moonless night in the first world war there was very heavy and persistent bombing in the railway line, which probably aimed to destroy it because it was an important supply link to the Channel Islands and British Forces in France. The bombing was so severe that the soldiers guarding the tunnel feared for their lives and went into the tunnel for shelter. The train services did not stop and while they were in the tunnel a three were hit and killed. During the second world war the line again came under attack. And during a particularly heavy episode the sentry on duty in the night became alarmed and decided to take refuge in one of the refuges in the tunnel wall. After a few minutes he saw a peculiar sight before him. Three soldiers were approaching him in the gloom. He was surprised but nonetheless the less he went to challenge them as was his duty, and as he did the figures became blurred and dissapeared. He was shocked and worried because he had been guarding the tunnel for many months in the night and thought he might be seeing things. He chatted to a colleague about it the next day and that's when he told him about what had happened in the first war. The stories have kept on through the years, and there are also stories of the sound of crashing, collapse and the cries of trapped men. Another story says that when the tunnel was originally built many years ago there was a roof collapse and the noises are from that time.

Entwhistle Station Ghost. 20 December 2015

Entwhistle Station

At Entwhistle station between Bolton and Blackburn the lonely visage of a child has often been reported running over the station tracks, across nearby fields and off into the distance. The child is believed to be a boy who was killed on the tracks by a train during the first world war. Entwhistle signalmen have complained on still, cold nights of hearing an erie terrible scream across the hills and valleys.

Severn Railway Tunnel Ghost, 23 January 2016

Severn Tunnel

The Severn Tunnel is Britain's longest railway tunnel at over 4 miles long. It was a huge achievement when it was built, but extremely difficult to build and it still requires a huge amount of pumping twenty four hours a day to stop it flooding. During building a wall collapsed creating a hole and it had to be filled in as quickly as possible to stop a more catastrophic collapse. When they finished they discovered a man was missing, presummed dead and buried beneath the collapse. This man is believed to be the ghost. The apparition is said to appear as a white and ghastly face at the windows of trains passing through the tunnel on certain days of the year.

The Horwich Walker, 30th January 2016.

Horwich Locomotive Works

A young apprentice at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways locomotive works at Horwich was assigned to act as a look out on the test run of a newly repaired locomotive in the early 1900s. The Horwich works was at the end of a four mile branch line and he would be watching as other workers checked the work that had been carried out on the locomotive. It was a cold but clear day and they set off down the line with 4 inches of snow on the ground. After a time the apprentice saw a figure walling directly toward the train down the middle of the line. He signalled to the driver and he slammed the brakes on and the train eventually screeched to a halt. He and the fireman got out and went to the front of the train to help the seriously injured man, but when he got there he saw nobody. Shocked he looked around and under the engine, but couldn't find a sign of a thing. Next he heard laughter coming from his bosses on the footplate. They shouted to them to look around at the snow and that there were no footprints to be seen anywhere in the snow around the engine. The apprentice was shocked, he just couldn't believe it. Worse still as time went on he became the butt of jokes and caught the wrong end of other peoples laughter at work and outside. One night he was in a local pub and chatting to the landlord, and he told him what had happened. The landlord asked him to wait and went upstairs to find one of his books. When he returned he showed him and old bound book containing the story of a man who had been out walking along the railway line in the snow fifty years before who had been knocked down and killed by the train where he saw his figure.

The Waverley Haunting, 6th February 2016.

Shankend Viaduct

The Waverley route runs from Carlisle to Edinburgh through the difficult border country of Scotland. The line was closed in 1969 but in a turnabout has just re-opened in 2015. Just before it closed an enthusiast wanted to record the sounds of the line, and set up his equipment near the line at Whitrope Summit. He spent many hours setting up his equipment to catch the sounds of the railway as well as he could, but was really dissappointed by the results which never quite seemed to record properly. In desperation he decided to move and try another location, so he set up his equipment near a place called Stobs on the line. Again the result seemed really poor, but by now it was too late to move to another location being almost midnight. Then as he went to go to bed he started hear weird and eerie sound sounds, moaning and chuckling, which seemed to be coming from around a clump trees in the distance, but he could see nobody there. It was getting late so he decided he would retire to bed and try to make his recordings in the morning. In the morning the enthusiast packed up his things and decided to try to find another better location to make his recording, but he decided to investigate the clump of trees as he left. When he got there he found a group of metal markers which marked the graves of German POWS who died when an outbreak of typhoid and Cholera had taken hold in their camp.

Mayfield Station, Manchester.

Mayfield Station

Mayfield disused railway station has recently been used for arts events, but is now scheduled for demolition as part of a rail improvement scheme. The station has been home to two suicides and a gruesome accident. A night watchman opened a baggage hoist and stepped in thinking the lift was at his floor. It wasn't and he fell fifty feet to his death. The two suicides were also station staff. A station foreman hanged himself in the station toilets and another in an electric signal indicator box on the station platform. Mayfield Station is next to Manchester Piccadilly Station and was used in two situations. The first was when the railways were very busy it was used for the overflow from Piccadilly that could not be accomodated at peak times. The other time it came into use was if works were taking place in Picadilly and it was difficult to use. Other than that it was used for shunting and handling freight and parcels. Given this atmosphere of dilapidtion and neglect, with rusty iron collecting cobwebs, broken roofs and crumbling walls, it isn't surprising that on a wild and windy night strange events took place. The station foreman was sat in the foreman's office when he heard pronounced footsteps walking past and towards the baggage hoist. This happened to him on 3 random occassions but not once did he see anbody on the platform. A station porter and shunter gave similar accounts around about 3 O clock in the morning of being disturbed by these footsteps, and describe a chill going up their spine.

The Old Brake Van, 5th March 2016

Old Brake Van

Railway workers would turn up for their shifts with little knowledge of what they would be doing that night or day, but knowing that the routes and vans old be roughly the same. A very experienced guard turned up one night and was not surprised to find out which train he was taking that night, nor that it's size was about thirty wagons, so after he'd finished logging in he walked out to his train checking it as he did. The trains would be fairly randomly formed of what ever needed taking that day form one depot to another. There would always be at least one guards van though on what were called unfitted trains, so that the guard could help the locomotive driver manage the wagons. The worker got to the brake van and met another guard who was just ending his shift. They had a short chat and the leaving guard said he had built up the fire in the van's stove as much as he could so that it would stay warm. The worker climbed up into the van, but as he did he was surprised to see a small huddled figure in one of the van's alcoves asleep, next to the brake wheel, since the leaving guard had not mentioned this. He sorted his things out and sat down in the dimly lit van deciding he would not disturb the man since he was asleep. The driver whistled at the other end of the train, so he stuck his lamp out and waited for the acknowledging whistle and the train started off. He went back in and sat down and had a bit more of a look at the small huddled figure opposite him. He couldn't really see anything to indicate who he was on his uniform. The train got to it's destination, so he went outside to check the train and make sure everything was fine. When he finished this he went back into the brake van, but he noticed that the figure had gone and he was alone. He checked the doors were still secured, which they were. Still he had the train to look after so he did what was required and they set off again. He had a good look around the van and especially where the figure had been, but nothing was out of place. Again they got to their destination, so he went outside to deal with his work and check that everything was as it should be. He said nothing of the figure he had seen because he was worried about ridicule. Just before he left he was curious so he went back to the van to check it and there on the brake vans verandah in the shadows was the small figure he had seen earlier. He was convinced it was a prank so walked over to climb up onto the van, and as he did the figure faded and disappeared into the dark night. A while later he was talking to another guard he knew well and mentioned what had happened. The other guard knew of the apparition and others had occasionally seen it. It was believed that it was the ghost of an elderly guard who had died on his way back home in the van one night.

TGV Book Reference Files.

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Audio Samples download here

Copyright Hannah Lane, 2015.