"A large part of my family works for the railroad and here is what I've heard. My dad, who is a no-nonsense six-foot, six-inch man, came home one night after a derailment and was white as a sheet. He told my mom he met a man walking away from the derailment, which was in the middle of the woods. He didn't think it was too weird because some people check out wrecks and derailments.
Anyway, my dad gets to the derailment and says hey to my uncle, who was on the scene. The cause of the derailment was a truck that had been hit and then pushed by the engine. Now, none of this is weird until my dad saw the man in the truck. He looked like a beat-up version of the man he met on the way to the derailment. He got the man's driver's license when the sheriff's deputy showed up. The way my uncle put it was, 'Your dad almost passed out and had to sit down. He didn't say why because you don't do that around railroad men.'"
"My uncle was walking along the rails, which workers have to do from time to time to spot breakages and prevent derailments, and he had to relieve himself. So he went into some woods. He said he walked up to what he was sure was some kind of animal sacrifice ritual. He called the other workers to see it, and they were very creeped out. They just left and tried to make a joke of it.
He also told me the number of homeless people who are drinkers and pass out on the rails is oddly high.
Once, he said a homeless person was found dead in a hopper train car (the kind that is open and typically hold grain). They figured since it was the summer, he wanted more air circulation and hopped in that one. Well, the car was filled and no one really looks in it. It wasn't figured out until the car was unloaded. Pretty sad, but I'm sure a scary moment when they discovered him."
"I work as a backup janitor when the normal one isn't available, and the weirdest thing I have ever seen was when I was called out to a train yard to clean out some disused engines. These things hadn't been used since the mid-90's and were going to be sold for scrap as they were too battered to be refurbished. I was warned beforehand that there might be a homeless person living in one of them, but I brushed that off since I had seen many of these people at the various places I cleaned, and they usually just ran off when they saw me coming.
As I was driving out there, I noticed that I'd left the keys to the trains back at the office. Oh well, I figured, these things are so old that the door might not even be there anymore. I parked my truck and got out, and nothing was creepy at this point -- just some rotting diesel engines, I had seen much creepier things before. I walked up the railing and kicked in the door with little force, as it didn't even have a lock anymore.
I walked in and I immediately noticed something very odd: the train car is in near-mint condition. 'Great,' I thought, 'one less room to clean.' But then I noticed something very, very disturbing, and nearly collapsed in shock.
It was a skeleton perched against a wall.
Then I noticed that it's wearing a leather jacket and clutching a pill bottle in its bony hands. I walked a bit closer and grabbed the pill bottle from its hand: the prescription date was 10/9/96, over ten years ago.
I couldn't believe it. This guy had been rotting in a train for ten years and nobody noticed his absence. I pressed the button on my radio and told the guard to call the cops. 'Why?'
'There's a dead guy in here and he's been here for over a decade.'
About five minutes later, a cop car pulled up, and an off-duty cop stepped out. He searched the body and found an ID, then ran a search on it. It turns out that this man had been missing since 1997 and nobody cared enough to look for him. He was an elderly man who lost his wife and offed himself in a train, where he laid for 11 years and was never disturbed. When they buried him a few days later, I was the only one to come. All of his family was dead or didn't care enough to come. Sad, and truly creepy!"
"I worked on the signaling for the light rail system in Pittsburgh, USA. We would do all of our testing late at night after revenue hours, and there was lots of wildlife around the tracks. As we were moving along at about 50 mph, a whitetail deer jumped out onto the tracks and that was it for the poor thing.
The engineer didn't hesitate, got on the radio and told central control to call 'Hannibal Lecter,' and gives the milepost. I lookedv at him sideways, but he didn't explain. We continued our run into the city, turned around, and headed back out the same way. As we came up on the site where we hit the deer, there was a guy in full camouflage on the side of the railroad, cutting up the carcass and placing it into packages, with a big pile of steaming deer guts next to the track. Did I mention it was about 15 degrees F and snowing? The engineer gave a toot on the horn and we continued with our run. I was definitely creeped out by the whole thing, but I guess it would have been a shame to let the deer's meat go to waste."
"I'm not a railroad engineer, but the last time I went on a train, it was from Seattle to California. On the 2nd night, we suddenly stopped and were waiting for a while. Apparently, there had been a naked woman running along the train track, and she had laid down and let the train go over her.
I looked out the window after we stopped and heard the news. Apparently, she had been laying vertically and managed to not get herself killed, as she had been seen getting up behind the train. Well, sure enough, she was outside, looking right at me. I was 10 and I was the most scared I'd ever been in my life.
After a few seconds of staring at me, she broke eye contact and kept running around naked."
"I'm a locomotive engineer from the Northeastern US with 15 years of service.
Aside from the dead animals that we encounter all the time, I think finding a body that was hit by a previous train might have been the creepiest thing I've seen. I've hit a few cars and, sadly, people before, but I never had to go back and look (that's the conductor's job). The person we found wasn't really identifiable as a human being, just a pile of remains. What gave it away were the scraps of clothing mixed into the pile.
As far as weird things, there are a few people out there that are really 'in love' with trains. You can use your imagination as to what these grown men do in the middle of nowhere at 2 am."
"I'm a Conductor, so I'm the guy that sits directly to the left of the engineer. I haven't been doing it for too long yet so I probably haven't seen the amount of stuff a qualified engineer has. My first week as a trainee on the job, we came across a dead pony next to the tracks that must have been hit only a few hours earlier. The next morning, going back the other way, we passed by it again and it looked like what you would expect to see on a Discovery Channel show. Scavengers had gotten to it that night and it was maybe half a pony at this point. A little creepy, but overall it just reminded me that nature is wild."
"I'm a railway engineer in the UK, this time of year is the worst for people trying to kill themselves, with two in the last two days on the route I work on. I've been track-inspecting before and saw the clean-up of the night before, but they'd missed a few bits, so what appeared to be a bit of skull or kneecap could be seen. The worst bit is the smell. You become aware of the substance use spots across the route, too, with the number of needles under bridges. I've seen paraphernalia made out of all sorts of things, intimate dolls, and worst of all to this day, half a USED adult toy.
My gut wrenched the most when I see pets. Cats and dogs are frequently found.
Some jerks in certain spots are taping or gluing used needles to our access gates too -- total sickos."
"I've been a conductor for about 8 years now. The main thing I have noticed about human behavior since I started working for the railroad is that people seem to view a train as a machine instead of a vehicle being driven by people. Because of this, they are willing to do horrible, ridiculous, and dangerous things that they probably wouldn't do if they thought another human being was going to be involved. Here's my list of stuff my coworkers and I have seen:
More teenagers getting it on than you can shake a railroad lantern at.
Drinkers and substance users lost in the middle of nowhere...like MILES from anywhere.
A co-worker came across a train hopper that had his legs sheared off when he tried to jump in an intermodal car without a bottom. The guy lived, too.
Another co-worker found a teenage murder victim whose trafficker tried to cover up her murder by dumping her body on a remote controlled locomotive track.
My uncle was a conductor on a train that hit a woman who tried to kill herself and decided to take her dog with her. She lived, the dog didn't.
I hit a man who took his own life. I was oblivious to what was going on until my engineer said, 'I think that guy is going to jump in front of us.' I could see the guy trying to time his jump. It was pretty disturbing because there was nothing you could do.
A co-worker came across $250,000 in counterfeit money in a gym bag.
Some guys laid a bunch of landscaping stones and tie plates on top of the tracks for about 100 yards in front of their trailer park. We could see them all standing back from the tracks, having drinks and waiting. It was all fun and games until our 12,000-ton train started crushing all the stones and sending shrapnel everywhere, including right at them.
A train one of my coworkers was on snagged a chain link fence that was being installed, and actually rolled up the guys installing it inside the fencing, like piggies in a blanket. They don't think anyone got hurt. It was a pretty rough area, though, so they didn't stop to find out."
"My first time on a train, I was traveling in Germany with my grandfather, and he noticed and pointed out to me that we were riding on the 'wrong' tracks -- we were northbound on the southern track. Our curiosity got the better of us when I pointed out that there were some guys in bright yellow vests doing some kind of maintenance. And then we noticed that there was blood and what looked like animal remains all shredded up on the tracks. We were going really slow because of the workers, and we watched intently, trying to figure out what kind of animal it had been, but no hooves or fur were discernible.
Then we went quite a distance without seeing many chunks of remains, but the tracks were still bloody. Then there it was: a blue dress."
"I'm a Conductor. One night, in the middle of winter (it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit and there was a foot of snow on the ground), my train went into an emergency alert. I had to walk the length of the train to see what the problem was.
The train was right in the middle of a very small town. As I was walking by one of the houses on the outskirts of this town, I saw a guy standing in the driveway about 50 feet from me, wearing a trench coat and a sock-hat type thing. The first thing that struck me as odd is that it was way too cold to be wearing just a trench coat. I shined my lantern on the guy, waved, and said, 'Hi.' Nothing. The guy didn't even move.
I continued walking past the guy to the end of the train while looking back very often. I got to the end, turned around and headed back. I got back to the house where this guy was standing and he was still there in the same place in the same position. I didn't even say anything this time. I just speed-walked back to the head of the train.
The next day, I was taking a train back home during the day. I was paying special attention to this house as we went by it. There was nothing there. The drive wasn't shoveled. Nothing was there that could have been mistaken for a guy in a trench coat. I have since been by this house dozens of times and I have never seen a car parked there, or a light on or anything at all."
"I'm not an engineer, but I do operate a HyRail truck with train wheels on it that zips down the railroad tracks, and I've got a funny story that was creepy for everyone else but me.
I was working in the port of Metro Vancouver and had to measure out 2500 feet from where we were working to do a certain regulatory test, so I jumped in my truck, reset my counter, and went on my way. I arrived at my 2,500-foot stop and jumped out to spray paint the railroad tie, to mark that spot for the rest of the crew. I then realized I had no spray paint, nothing in the whole truck. I searched for a little flag I could put up but had none of those either. I ended up searching the ground for something like a stick or garbage that I could just leave there in the middle of the tracks for the time being.
Now, down in the part of Vancouver, the tracks basically run parallel to Hastings Street, and for those of you who have never heard of it, it's basically the world's biggest confined substance problem. The place is a mess, always covered in refuse.
So in this giant pile of garbage adjacent to the train tracks, I find an old bbq, complete with a set of bbq tools like tongs and brush etc. I thought it would be pretty funny if I just set up a bbq in the middle of the tracks (we were working there, so there was no chance of a train hitting it), so I went to move the bbq and found, no joke, the biggest, longest 'intimate toy' I have ever seen in my life, even to this day. It was at least 3 feet long and had to have been almost a foot in circumference. Who is buying this type of thing?
I decided this would be the funniest thing to mark the location with. I ended up finding a couple old random shoes in that pile and, armed with my tongs I found earlier and a pair of gloves, I managed to jam the toy into one of the shoes and got it to stand upright all by itself. I really wish I was able to have my phone at work, I would have taken pictures.
Anyway, with that spot marked for the next worker, I put my truck into reverse and headed back to the crossing we were working at. I arrived and the foreman at the time was asking how I marked the footage without taking the paint, I told him that he would eventually find out when we got there.
We packed everything up and were waiting for a train on the opposite track to go by us when the train's brakes hammered on and started screeching. This scared the crap out of all of us. Now when a train goes into emergency, everything stops and the traffic controller is on the radio immediately. We were all told to stay where we were as there had been a person struck by a train just half a mile from our job site. We took our truck off the tracks and headed down the parallel road to see what had happened.
When we arrived, we found a railway police officer and 3 port authority vehicles there, all parked right beside where I had left my, uh... 'marker.'
With the way that it had looked, how thick it was and the fact that the top of it was red, I guess one of the port authority officers thought it was a severed leg and called it in to stop all trains in the area and call the police force as well.
The look on my foreman's face was priceless when he looked back at me, after looking at the 4fourgrown men standing around a 3-foot high intimate toy stuffed into a dirty Reebok.
We didn't say a word to anybody about it, as I'm sure we would all be in deep trouble."
"Up in the coal mines of Wyoming, they have what rail crews call the golden arches. It's just a yellow-painted framework that has speakers on it, that the empty coal trains pass through. A warning is played on repeat saying in Spanish and English, 'Danger! Get out! This car is about to be loaded!' Loaded coal cars then get dumped at power plant pits, where huge augers break up the coal.
I guess more than a few poor souls have been augered up accidentally after having coal dumped on them. What a gruesome way to go out."
"I was working in a railroad tunnel with two other colleagues one time. We all heard a woman screaming down the tunnel. It was like in the movies when a woman sees a dead body or a man with a weapon, that kind of loud, hysterical screaming.
Two of us started sprinting towards the noise and after 5-10 minutes we realized there is nothing there at all, no noise or sign of people. We were so sure we heard screaming, we went to the next station's supervisor, who informed us there was absolutely no one working around that was close enough for us to hear. We were in the deep underground section and we all heard that same noise. That was creepy, and I still wonder about that.
I've heard a colleague speak about walking alone in the tunnels, in a remote area at night, and hearing someone whispering to him. Another colleague said he heard chains at an abandoned station. I'm not someone who believes in the supernatural, but I have no reason to doubt these guys' stories as they were told to me 1-on-1 when I asked them about creepy experiences they had had. It's very quiet when you're on your own underground, so it could be the mind playing tricks, I guess, but these are still creepy experiences.
Also, to lighten up the spookiness, there are a few women who actively flash train drivers from the back of their houses that face the train lines. I've never seen any of them myself, but I've been in a cab with different drivers talking about it happening."
"My brother was a lifeguard and used to walk to work across several train tracks. One day, a train was stopped on one of the tracks and my brother saw a figure lying prostrate next to the train in a pool of blood.
It turns out the guy had tried to crawl underneath the train while it was stopped, only to have the train start moving while he was underneath it. The guy must have been about 60 years old. The train had crushed one of his legs. Being a lifeguard, my brother made a tourniquet, called 911, etc. The man survived, but his leg had to be amputated. The paramedics said that he would have died within the hour from blood loss if my brother hadn't been there."
"I'm not a train engineer per se, but I've spent lots of years working on the signals of the east coast.
I'd say one of the most interesting things I've seen are the villages of people that really pop up in the right spots. Tons of people, dogs, and sort of homeless villages with friendly people who aren't afraid or embarrassed ever at all.
Also, in some mountain towns of West Virginia, there are some unique folks with tracks running through their properties."
"I work in the Electric Traction department of Amtrak in the northeast. One night, we had a report of wire theft in a remote location along the Harrisburg run and we were sent out to investigate. Typically, the work crews get there before the police, so we'll usually hang back a bit until the men with weapons get there, in case the perpetrator is still there.
We show up and see some wire hanging and some guy laying on the ground. We assumed he hit a live wire, got fried, and was now dead. We walk up and shout to the guy, but we didn't get a response. After about 10 minutes, the police show up and start taking pictures of the scene. One cop grabbed a stick and poked the dead guy a few times just to make sure. No movement, definitely dead. The cop with the camera takes a picture of the dead guy.
When the flash goes off, the dead guy jumps up, screams the loudest scream I've ever heard, and takes off running. The cop with the stick starts chasing after him with the stick above his head, while his partner and our crew just stand there trying to figure out what just happened."