Reader Submission: The Railway Encounter


“I’ve had quite a few spooky experiences over the years. This one is probably the strangest.

A few years ago on a Sunday morning, I was walking down to my mum’s house to pick up my son. It’s about a 10 minute walk, and to get there I have to walk over an old railway level crossing. No trains have run from my town since the 1970’s, so the tracks on either side of this level crossing are safe to walk on.

On this particular day, there was nobody around when I got to the level crossing. When I was about halfway across, a young boy approached me from the left. I couldn’t say where he sprang from. When I had looked a few seconds before, I saw nobody on the tracks in either direction, but I supposed I could have missed him.

The boy started walking next to me, so I just assumed he was heading the same way. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something not right about him. I can’t quite remember the whole conversation, only that he started asking me about the railway line and how long it had been shut down and why. I didn’t know the answers, so I told him that there was a railway museum and asked if he had spoken to them. He just sighed and said no. He didn’t speak with a local accent. I couldn’t put my finger on his accent, but it was definitely not a local one.

At that time, we were coming up to the car park at the top of my mum’s road, and I started feeling uneasy. I stopped, and for the first time I got a good look at him. He was dressed like a 1920’s or thereabouts schoolboy. I suddenly felt very uneasy. I had realized there was something not right, but up until then he had been walking by my side and I hadn’t got a proper look.

The boy looked at my shopping bag and asked ‘What’s that?’ I thought he meant what I bought, but now I really don’t think he’d ever seen a plastic bag! He then asked me where I was going, and I took my chance to end this creepy encounter and said I was going to my mum’s and had to rush. I walked around the block to my mum’s just in case he followed me, but I never looked back. I can’t even remember if he said bye. By the time I got to mum’s I was shaking.

Everybody I told thought I was a psycho, so I stopped talking about it and thinking about it eventually. I didn’t have internet at the time so couldn’t really research the history of the railway line. However, I knew that child was not of our time.

I did ask around, but nobody knew anything. I pushed the incident to the back of my mind for years until my friend went on a ghost tour for Halloween. One of the stories was about how a train carrying Sunday school students on a day out from Manchester was in a terrible accident a few miles away and how you can still hear them crying and screaming to this day. She remembered my story and told me straight away. I’ve never heard any crying or screaming, but have I met one of the children?”

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