Ghost Stories

Express Train to Hell

A New Jersey Ghost Story 

retold by

S.E. Schlosser

For days, a ragged old man had hung around the Newark Central Station. The stationmaster kept running him off, but night after night he would return. He kept accosting people, shouting: "It's coming for me! It's coming!" Whenever anyone asked him what was coming for him, he would just clutch his head and cry: "I done wrong! I killed a man that cheated me at cards, and now I'm going to pay!"

The stationmaster finally took the man aside and threatened to call the police if he did not cease and desist. The old man rolled his eyes and replied: "The Express Train for Hell is coming for my soul! You've got to help me." He broke away from the stationmaster and ran for the door. The time was two minutes to midnight. At that moment, new sound introduced itself. A long whistle blew, once, twice. The stationmaster was startled. The next train wasn't due until 12:05.

The old tramp started screaming when he heard the whistle. The stationmaster could hear the roar and chug of a steam train, approaching fast. Approaching too fast to stop at the station. The old man was standing at the edge of the platform, staring down the tracks in frozen terror. The stationmaster ran forward and grabbed hold of the old tramp to pull him out of harm's way.

The train whistle sounded again. A warm rush of air blew against everyone near the platform and the stationmaster heard the roar of an invisible train passing directly in front of him. He heard the hiss of the steam and the screech of flanges against iron rails; he felt the wind whipping our hair and faces, but he saw nothing.

Beneath his grip, the old tramp gave a terrible wail. Then he vanished, leaving the stationmaster empty-handed. The roar of the invisible train faded into the distance and then ceased. The stationmaster glanced at the station clock. It was midnight.

The stationmaster stared blankly at the tracks. Around him, the waiting passengers and other bystanders were gasping and murmuring in fright. "Good lord, he was right," the stationmaster murmured to himself. "It did come for him." He pulled out a handkerchief and wiped his sweating, bald head with it.

A trembling man standing nearby approached the stationmaster: "Sir, what was that?" he asked. "Son, I believe that was the Express Train to Hell," said the stationmaster. He shook his head and that seemed to bring him to his senses. "Why don't you go back into the station and pour yourself a drink?" he suggested to the trembling man.

He pushed the man through the station door and then turned to address the dazed and frightened passengers. "Nothing to worry about folks," he said. "It was just an express train passing through. The next train will be here in five minutes." The stationmaster's reassuring manner calmed everyone. People turned away from the empty tracks and settled back into their seats, whispering to each other about the strange events that had just taken place.

Then the stationmaster went into his office, closed the door, and poured himself a stiff drink to calm his nerves. "Well, that's one for the books," he muttered aloud. "I wonder if I should put it on the schedule; 12 am-Express Train to Hell."

Shaking his head, he fortified himself with one more brandy and then went back to work.


Read more New Jersey folklore in Spooky New Jersey by S.E. Schlosser.



i'm sooooooooooooooooooooo freaked out right now.

That was a good story

Not THAT scary, though. Is it.

not scary

What? I thought that was going to be scary?! The only thing that scared me was when the guy disappeared right when my dog knocked over a box of dishes! AND even THAT didn't make me jump a mile!

that was kinda ok but if it was like late or even better midnight and maybe windy and maybe raining.

i liked it alot but it wasnt scary

this is so scary

that was kinda weird...
but have any of you heard the Happy Hanger?? thats the scariest one ive heard

I won't take train at midnight and won't ever never ever commit a murder....

Great story. Nicely put. Just one question, out of curiosity: If the guy was braindead scared of the Express Train from Hell, why did he keep on going to the train station in the first place, hanging around there for no reason at all? Deathly fear of that train should've kept him away from anything to do with trains, tracks and stations. Unless of course guilt is making him want to die and accept his fate - in which he shouldn't have cried out loud for his sake at all for that matter.


that is interesting ,scary ,and a really good story

that is very cool

lol that was funny
i wonder if i should put it on the schedule 12am-express to hell


i seriously love the story i was almos dying when i was readying it

this is not scary at all

wow this was kind of weird it wasnt even scary it was like a comedey or something LOL

wow this was kind of weird it wasnt even scary it was like a comedey or something LOL

best story ever



that was weirdly scary im gonna be scared to take the train to work tomorow

cool beans

pretty creepy

That wasn't scary at all. Yet it was pretty cool.

it was interesting how the man asked himself weather he should put it on the schedule and the story wasn't that scary but it was interesting

its not scary at all its funny

I thought it was...decent. I've heard it before and I did live near the station for a time so it is pretty weird.

I live near a train station and after I read this a train came by and it scared the crap out of me!

Awesome story but not that scary. No trespassing wAs a scary story. Had me afrAid to wAlk down the corridor by myself for days. ;)

well he should not have killed that man

i dont get it if the train was there to get him why was the man still there?? very confused

Famous characters Ghost Stories Folktales


Schlosser, author of the Spooky Series

About the Author: S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series by Globe Pequot Press, as well as the Ghost Stories deck by Random House.  She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of "let's pretend" quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children's Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author. Read more

About the Author   |   The Spooky Series   |    Facebook Page   |    Folklore Resources   |   Folklore stories A-Z   |   Reprints/Permissions
Comments; the appearing and disappearing 

worm!Comments? Email us at

©| S.E. Schlosser 1997 - 2020.

This site is best viewed while eating marshmallows around a campfire under a starry sky.