Suicide and Stones
I’ve struggled to find an old railroad haunting in the UK that can still be visited, and this one is iffy. The case involves an engine shed in Chorley, Lancashire. We start with an article from the November 29, 1876 issue of The Manchester Evening News. (The news also spread to London and Wales.)
In the 21st century, ghosts seem to have put down their stones, but I found a surprising number of these nocturnal knuckleballers when working on Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports in U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. It’s interesting to come upon such reports in 19th-century England, too.
First, I wondered if I could find any earlier information about the suicide. I can’t be sure that the sad and grisly incident described below is the same one alluded to above, but it certainly might be. This comes from the February 12, 1876 issue of The Liverpool Weekly Courier.
The Ghostly Shed
Second, I tried to discover if the haunted engine shed still stands or, at least, determine where it had once stood. Well, the Chorley Historical and Archeological Society says the shed closed in 1922, but was it repurposed or completely demolished? I don’t know. I have a rough idea, though, of where it probably had been built. According to the website for White Coppice, Anglezarke, and Rivington, the Lancashire Union Railroad built such a shed in Chorley somewhere between Brunswick Street and Stump Lane. Assuming the names have remained the same (and assuming I’m reading the Google map correctly), those two east/west streets are about a fifth of a mile from each other. Friday Street connects them, running parallel and fairly close to the north/south train tracks. Portland Street also runs north/south — closer to the tracks — but it doesn’t reach from Brunswick all the way up to Stump.
Sadly, there’s a lot I don’t know in regard to visiting that haunted engine shed or hunting the ghost once said to lurk there. Maybe someone on that side of the Atlantic will have better luck. If anyone wanders along either Portland or Friday and spots what might’ve been an engine shed a century and more ago, please let us know. And especially let us know if, during your walk, you heard strange sounds or had to dodge stones thrown from the Great Beyond!