Republic Ghost Train

REPUBLIC Ghost TRAIN BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD REPUBLIC, OHIO Along the old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, in and around the small town of Republic, is the site of one of Ohio’s first documented hauntings. A ghost train repeatedly travels its ill-fated route, and the guardian spirit warns too late of a fatal disaster that occurred more than a century ago.

On the cold evening of January 10, 1887, a passenger express train was traveling west at 60 miles an hour. It was due to arrive at the Republic train station at 2 a.m. On the same tracks, and from the opposite direction, a slower-moving freight train was heading east. The freight train was supposed to arrive and pull off at the Republic station well ahead of the passenger train. Workers on the freight train grossly miscalculated the time and distance between them and the speeding passenger train. At just past 2 o’clock that morning, one-half mile west of Republic, the passenger train rounded a bend and violently collided with the freight train. It is said that the force of the head-on collision was so great that both engines rose in the air and crumpled into one another. An engineer was impaled by steel beams that lifted him more than 10 feet. He died a slow, painful death three hours later. The crash site was overcome by a massive fire, which quickly consumed the sleeper cars containing 15 people. Most did not survive and were burned beyond recognition. Among the dead were two young boys and their father, who had just sold the family farm and was carrying the proceeds with him. His wife and daughters, who were in a different sleeper car, survived the accident but were left penniless. It is unknown exactly how many persons died that night. Many human remains that were recovered consisted of nothing more than burnt fragments. Since the disaster, a “ghost train” has been witnessed in and near Republic. Its lights glow in the night as it races along the tracks and over the trestle, reenacting the events leading up to the accident. Reports of another haunting came just weeks after the accident. As reported in a Tiffin newspaper article on March 4, 1887, submitted to me by railroad engineer Fritz Keunzel, train workers repeatedly witnessed a ghost at the scene of the disaster: “[T]he engineer saw a red light, the danger signal ahead, and applying the brakes and reversing the engine, the train came to a stand still on almost the exact spot of the great wreck. Strange to say, when the train came to a stop, the light had disappeared, and could nowhere be seen. Before stopping, both the engineer and fireman noticed that the light appeared to be carried by a woman wearing white. Puzzled by the disappearance of the signal, the conductor walked over the track for some distance ahead, but could discover nothing.” Workers witnessed the same ghost on three separate occasions.

Written by —Stephanie Lane Webmistress,


Encyclopedia of Haunted Places -Ghostly Locales from around the World – Compiled & Edited by Jeff Belanger – Copyright 2005 by Jeff Belanger