Elmira Ghost Train
Elmira Ghost Train [i]
In March, 1942, 30 people claimed witness to hearing a train on the Elmira Line. It was known at the time that there were no trains at the hour it was heard and when inquiries were made to the dispatcher's office it was confirmed that there was no train that night.
On the line, between East Baltic and Elmira station, was Graham's lumber camp where dozens of men lived during the winter. On that night in March, many of the workers were sitting around playing cards. One man, nicknamed Joe Socrates, caught the mens' attention as to what an eerie night it was. Going outside, the men noted how silent and still the night was. Turning to go back into the bunk houses of the camp, everyone suddenly stopped in their tracks. In the distance they heard a long, low key, mournful sound. It was clearly the sound of a train. Yet, the men had lived beside the track for several months, knew the schedule of the train and enjoyed listening to the engine as it rumbled by the shacks. On this night, no one was enjoying what they were hearing.
The cook and his helper appeared from the cookhouse, saying they too had heard what was clearly a train whistle. Believing it to be a train, some said it was near Fountain Head. Others said it was further, around Harmony Junction. Major Young said quietly “if it is a train, it must be a wing plow because there was is no train up to Elmira tonight.” However, someone pointed out that the wing plow had been taken to Elmira yesterday afternoon.
Most nights, the men stayed up to play cards while the fiddler played some tunes before bed. That night there was a heavy tension in the air. All the men, including the fiddler, quietly sauntered off to bed. In the morning, the men walked to Elmira station. The station agent overheard a few of the men talking about what they had heard the night before. Startled, yet relieved, the man said that he and the section foreman had been talking in the station when they heard the train. “There's no train tonight into Elmira tonight,” the dispatcher reassured the agent when he called[i].
[i] Recollections of an Ol' Salt