The train tracks can be a thrilling, scary, and dangerous place. Here, railroad engineers and conductors share the creepiest thing they've ever seen on the tracks while driving their train.
22. Plot twist.
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 and reset my counter and went on my way. I arrived at my 2500 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 heroin problem. Drugs Inc. Actually did their heroin episode down there. Anyway, you always find crazy stuff along the tracks there, if it's not a body, it's 500 hypodermic needles.
So in this giant pile of garbage, 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 no chance of a train hitting it) so I went to move the bbq and found, no joke, the biggest, longest, girthiest dildo 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 best 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 dildo into one of the shoes and got it to stand upright all by itself.
With that spot marked for the next guy, I put my truck into reverse and headed back to the crossing we were working at (continued).
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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 trains brakes hammered on and started screeching. 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 CP 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 foremans face was priceless when he looked back at me, after looking at the 4 grown men standing around a 3 foot high dildo stuffed into a dirty Reebok...
We didn't say a word to anybody about it as I'm sure we would all be in shit..
21. Do the locomotion.
I work in Houston, as an engineer, and we usually putt around town between 10-20 mph. Slow enough for a naked crack head to jump out of a bush by a city park and start pleasuring herself in front of the engine. I guess she really likes trains.
20. Well, that really depends.
One time I went skinny dipping with some friends then we all stood next to the track naked as a train went by. Hopefully it brightened the engineer's day.
19. He came back from the other side of the tracks, if you will.
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.
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 sees the man in the truck...it 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."
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18. What exactly, was he waving?
Went by a few movie shoots. Biggest one was the first Transformers movie. The scene where Bumblebee gets caught. A lot of movies are shot in that area by the 1st street bridge in LA.
There is a nudist colony on one run where an old guy would always come out and wave at the trains. Knew we were coming since there were road crossings that we had to whistle for.
Got mooned by some guys on a golf course. Not pretty
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. Nature is pretty rad.
16. It was all fun and games until...
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 drinking beers and waiting. It was all fun and games until our 12k ton train started crushing all the stones and sending shrapnel everywhere.
15. There isn't anything they don't see...
Conductor here. I have hit fridges, hay bales, a few cows, and I've seen a lot of people getting it on beside the tracks. I guess trains are an aphrodisiac of some kind for people.
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14. Did you hear that??
I was working in a tunnel with two other colleagues one time and we all heard a woman screaming down the tunnel. Like in the films when a woman sees a dead body or a man with a gun kinda loud hysterical screaming. Two of us start sprinting towards the noise and after 5-10 minutes we realize there is nothing there at all, no noise or sign of people. We are so sure we heard screaming we go to the next stations supervisor who informs us there is 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.
Have heard a colleague speak about walking alone in the tunnels, again away from all people close to him on the night, and hear someone whispering and another colleague hear chains at an abandoned station.
13. How dare you.
Engineer for twenty years here. Once I was going 40 mph and saw what I believe was a bighorn sheep. As we got closer to him he ran right at us and rammed the engine right in the plow. He then trotted away acting pissed off and shaking his head. I've hit more large animals than I can count at 70 mph, but nothing ever came anywhere close to the impact I felt when we were rammed.
12. The eyes can be deceiving.
I was stopped waiting for my signal and I noticed a bundle of clothes and what looked like the body of a small child underneath the bridge. My heart was pounding like crazy as I approached it. Turned out is was a doll, some used needles, and some discarded clothes. I was relieved.
11. Just hitching a ride!
My uncle's best friend was a conductor/engineer for a train years ago. He told me that one night he was going up through North Florida and saw some deer on the tracks, so he lays on the horn to scare them off. All but one ran off the tracks...the last one ran in front of the train, along the tracks. He had to try to slow the train slightly to keep from running the deer over, but couldn't. The train caught up with the deer and he lost sight of it, believing he had just run it over.
When he got to the next city and slowed down for a turn, he noticed something on the side of the engine. He leaned out to see the deer laying on a set of steps just out of the view from his seat...it ended up jumping off in the middle of the city, a few hundred miles from its home.
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10. Maybe it's like a movie to him.
Im an engineer but other than a few fatalities (unfortunate part of the job) I dont have much to report.
If youre a passenger locomotive engineer like me, youre up in the cab by yourself. Sometimes you see things trackside and youre not really sure if its real or imagined, and theres no one else to verify. I was running a train once at about 930 at nightpitch black, middle of nowhere. I come around a curve and just clear of the main is an old man sitting in a lawn chair. Not rail fanning, not waving, just sitting there.
9. The man in the trench coat.
Conductor here. One time in the middle of the night in the middle of winter (10 degrees and a foot of snow on the ground) my train went into emergency. 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'm walking by one of the houses on the outskirts of this town I see 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 shine my lantern on the guy, wave, and say, "Hi."
Nothing. The guy doesn't even move.
I continue walking past the guy to the end of the train while looking back very often. I get to the end, turn around and head back. I get back to the house where this guy is standing and he is still there in the same place in the same position. I don't even say anything this time. I just speed walk back to the head of the train.
The next day I'm taking a train back home during the day. I'm paying special attention to this house as we go by it. There is nothing there. The drive isn't shoveled. Nothing is 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.
8. I would have done the same.
I'm no engineer, but I saw a Dominos delivery guy make a delivery to a train that had been stuck at a crossing for an hour or so.
I work in the Electric Traction department of Amtrak in the northeast. I was on a standby crew at night during a storm with two other guys. I was put on a piece of equipment called a Cat Car, while the other two guys decided to hang out in the truck. With the Cat Car running to keep it warm, I decided to lock up and take a nap. I locked both doors with padlocks on the inside so there was no way anyone could get in without me letting them in. A few hours later I awoke to some heavy wind and decided to check with the other guys to see if our supervisor had called with any trouble. When I got to the door, the lock was missing, but I couldn't open the door. The same with the other door. I called the other guys to come help and when they got there they asked how I managed to lock the Cat Car from the outside.
If you're not quite following that: the padlocks that were originally on the inside, locking the only two doors into the equipment, we're now on the outside. The 3 of us couldn't figure out what happened, but someone had to have been in there with me.
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6. It's not worth it.
Freight train conductor here, wanna know what's creepy or weird? When people try to get across the tracks last second or play chicken with my 30 million pound train. You're not playing chicken with an inanimate object you're playing with me and my engineer. When you lose, and it happens far too often, we have to deal with the overwhelming feeling of guilt. Please don't try to beat a train.
5. A sad ending.
Well, I'm not in the railroad industry, but my buddy is a conductor and while he was driving (operating? conducting?) his train, a girl ran out of a chapel in her wedding dress right onto the tracks, and well, you know the ending. He was in therapy for quite a while.
4. Good thing they checked.
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 guns 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 mid now dead. We walk up and shout to the guy, but we don'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 the heck just happened.
Early one morning I was coming around a bend, in the fog about 40 MPH. Someone had taken a stick, and propped up a doll with it right in the middle of the track. Looked just like a little 3-year-old girl standing there. Scared the hell out of me.
2. Just passing through.
I saw a bunch of old luggage laying along the tracks in Newport News, VA. Grass and shrubs were growing threw it. What were creepy was the dozen or so dolls laying around the luggage rotting away. We were working nights so that added to the creep factor. I really don't want to know where they came from.
1. What a day, indeed.
I worked for a short line in the 80's. A girl crashed into the middle of our train at a crossing. The mustang was rolled several times and completely destroyed. She got out wearing only a wedding veil....nothing else...a boy got out wearing only tighty-whities. She was crying saying her boyfriend was going to kill her. But he seemed calm. We didn't understand until the owner of the car got there...her boyfriend! The kid who was bleeding ran away through the woods with car owner in hot pursuit. What a day.