Part Five - Terror on the Tracks
Tom Harrington was on the night shift, he had been driving trains for Bluelink Rail for five years, previously he had been a bus driver but troublesome passengers on evening shifts caused him to seek other avenues of employment.
Tom had only just contacted the control centre for any information about any route problems, he had been given the all clear and now he was pulling out from Piprickin station on his way to Bluebell Hill. It was 22:45; the night was dark and moonless. Tom sat with his left hand resting on the ‘dead man’s handle’ the constant pressure he applied to the lever kept the train rolling; the repetitive nature of Tom’s job had led to regular boredom on the job and some degree of disaffection. He switched on his iOS Android slate that he kept near him in the driver’s cabin with the aim to continue his game of Jackal Fiend he had started earlier, but something caught his eye. Out front about two mile or so down the tracks there was a bright light.
Tom blinked and rubbed his eyes; was this light another train he wondered? The light appeared to be heading down the same tracks towards his train. Scared and unable to believe his eyes Tom contacted the control centre,
‘This is Tom Harrington, Blue link, driving the ten forty-five from Cushing Hill to East Ambleton; I can see an approaching train travelling towards me on the same track line, emergency! Can you confirm?’ Tom applied the brake and released the power lever; a tumultuous rail squeak pierced the calm clattering of the carriages as the brakes locked. Passengers screamed in panic many tumbling from their seats, those unfortunate enough not to have a seat crashed into one another where they had been standing causing injury. Luggage spilled into the gangway blocking passage from one carriage to another.
‘Tom, there is no train scheduled on the line you specified, please confirm, do you have visual?’ came the controller’s response. Tom dropped the radio link handset, he stood paralysed with fear as he watched the front of an old steam locomotive that was gleaming with an incandescent light tear towards him; the smoke box was only yards away. Tom screamed as the whole engine and adjoined carriages ploughed into his own train, he saw the translucent skeletal form of the driver of the engine pass through him, and the ghostly forms of all the passengers followed behind the driver as the ethereal motorcade passed through the entirety of the Bluelink carriages. The squealing brakes of the Bluelink muted as the train came to a stop. Passengers picked themselves up from the floor of the carriages; many were injured, face after bloodied face looked around for any sign of the remnants of the phantasmagorical spectacle they had all just witnessed.
‘Tom, please confirm, do you have visual, Tom!’ came the controller’s frantic voice. Tom picked up the radio handset; he paused for a moment before answering,
‘I-I, I don’t…’
‘Tom, what the hell is happening, can you hear me?’
‘Something just happened, I’m not sure what, but we are okay, I’m going to continue to East Ambleton’
‘For Christ’s sake Tom, you’ve created a panic here; can you explain what you mean?’
‘I don’t think I can sir!’