Reno train trench haunted by ghost train
A workman runs for his life …
“It looked like an old locomotive from the Comstock era,” said the shotcrete nozzleman Damien Shortstack. “It kind of came out of a cloud of steam like that ship came out in that scene in The Fog. There was a clack-clacking, and when the front-end loaders weren’t running, I could hear a kind of mournful whistle, like it was way off in the distance. And then, as it passed, I could hear an evil-sounding laugh. It’s a dang Ghost Train, is what it is.”
Shortstack’s co-workers didn’t see the train, but they did see the concreteman running at full speed west past Keystone and the trench’s newly poured walls. He resurfaced shortly after happy hour at the Gold ‘N Silver Inn. Witnesses said he was shaken.
“Hell, I saw him face down some homeless woman who was having DTs and thought he was her dead son. He didn’t even blink when he found that dead body over by the Amtrak station a couple months ago,” said his supervisor, Will Werkforgrub.
Paranormal investigator Kelly Long says the Ghost Train is nothing new to Reno. In the years before the casinos were built, many residents reported sightings.
“It’s the old Virginia City Zephyr,” she said. “Used to be, you weren’t a real Renoite if you hadn’t heard the train whistle in the early morning hours. I’m not real sure why it went away, but nobody has much heard it since about 1954.” Long also refused to conjecture as to why the train has returned, unless digging the trench might have disturbed it somehow.
“I don’t engage in speculation,” said the renowned specters expert, “and I’m a little disappointed that you’d ask me to.”
But the Ghost Train has returned with a vengeance, and Reno ReTRAC officials are having a tough time keeping employees.
“Hell, it’s a union job, or we’d be pulling workers out from under the bridges and down by the river,” said one foreman, who asked for anonymity. “If it weren’t for all the roadblocks, I’d a probably lost a few more.”
While nobody knows for sure whence the Ghost Train came, many historians believe it’s a revenant from the 1880s. The historical record shows a silver-ore-laden train coming down Mount Davidson was derailed and buried under a massive landslide. Newspapers of the day quoted the sole survivor, a brakeman who went by the handle Lucky Pete, as saying, “I was riding right next to the boiler when all of a sudden, there was a rumbling. Ole Engineer Pyle was about three sheets to the wind mixing laudanum and whiskey. Instead of pouring on the steam, he hit the dead-man switch, and half the mountain came down on us. I high-tailed it right on out of there. I’ll never forget the sound of Pyle laughing like a banshee.”
OSHA officials said regulations don’t cover phantom trains, but as long as workers wear their safety goggles, dust masks and steel-toed boots, “they won’t have to worry about fines or lost hours.”
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