GHOST STORY: Late turn on ‘The Lanky’

This year our annual ghost story has been written by Robert Lumb

November 1952

The station waiting room was cold during the summer months, but now in the late-November evening the cold was penetrating even when wearing the heaviest of coats.

A fire was burning in the hearth with a weak flame at the head of the room but this gave out little heat.

Wearing a hat and coat the woman had entered the empty room a few minutes earlier carrying a wicker shopping basket, walking slowly down the room she had sat in her usual position on the bench seat alongside the fireplace.

From here, through the window she could observe the station clock, suspended from a cantilever arm and held high above the platform.

Watching the clock intently she rose from her seat as the big hand did its final little movement to pause at exactly five minutes past the hour. After straightening her coat and holding her basket she walked slowly down the room before opening the door that led onto the platform.

Here, she hesitated, a man holding a brief case and umbrella, who looked like a bank manager was standing close to the door.

He tipped his hat in acknowledgement, smiling weakly at her before she continued and passed him by.

Walking down the platform alongside the waiting room wall she halted as she reached the end of the building.

Soon, a whistle was heard from within the tunnel prior to the station platform, and with a glance up at the clock, the woman moved towards the end of the platform as the train exited the tunnel directly onto the platform track before grinding noisily to a halt. The cab of the tank locomotive at the front of the train stopped directly opposite the woman.

The driver of the locomotive, seated by his open cab window, gave her a smile and a few words of greeting as she approached. He then reached across to accept the small parcel wrapped in cloth the woman had taken from her basket. After a brief conversation with the woman, at the sound of a whistle from the platform he turned to observe the guard’s green flag. The train then departed, accelerating quickly with its light load of three carriages.

The woman stood without moving, watching the tail lamp of the last carriage until it dimmed out of sight. Turning, she walked slowly back along the platform towards the subway which had a large sign above its entrance proclaiming ‘Way Out’.

Here, she descended the steps carefully while holding the handrail. Soon she was out of sight.

Read more in the December issue of The RM – on sale now!

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