Out in the darkness a mournful whistle howls, the ground shakes, and steam hisses as the Fright Train rumbles into the station. From the Victorian Age to contemporary times, fear rides the rails in these tales set on and around trains of all kinds. Climb aboard and let 13 of today’s best and two classic horror writers take you on night journeys to destinations unknown.
There is something inherently creepy about trains. Don’t think so? Anyone who has ever been awakened late at night by a distant train whistle knows there is no lonelier sound. It is a mournful howl from a soulless traveler on a night journey to destinations unknown.
Writers have long known the macabre romance of trains. Charles Dickens’ story The Signalman is considered a classic of horror. Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, wrote of The Hellbound Train in the fifties. Manly Wade Wellman wrote about The Little Black Train, which comes for a sinner’s soul. Clive Barker took us for a ride on The Midnight Meat Train.
This anthology came about because co-editor Tony Tremblay and I were having a social-media discussion of horror stories involving trains. We said we’d enjoy writing that kind of story, and writer/publisher John McIlveen joined in and said he would publish such a book if we could get enough stories. The following summer at the North Eastern Writer’s Conference, aka Camp Necon, we firmed up the plans, and Scott Goudsward joined as third co-editor.
We decided to call ourselves The Switch House Gang, after the small buildings where manual track switches were housed. Those switches were used to direct trains to different sets of tracks, sending them to varying locations. That’s what we hope to do with this book. Send readers on many dark and dangerous journeys.
We wanted a wide range of stories, and we got them. They vary from Victorian-era ghost stories to contemporary chillers to dark fantasy. Some are just plain creepy. One or two are humorous. Many are terrifying. None are boring.
Anyway, the conductor keeps glancing at his watch. Your seat is waiting. Don’t worry about the shadows in the car or the strange-looking passengers. You don’t need a ticket. Just a willingness to travel to places unknown.
Featuring stories by:
James A Moore
Stephen Mark Rainey
Charles R Rutledge
Mercedes M Yardley
And Classic Stories by:
Arthur Conan Doyle
Praise for Fright Train
“I was both pleasantly surprised by not only the uniqueness of every story but also the quality of every story. There wasn’t a single story that disappointed, and each was so good, it compelled me to read the next without hesitation.”
—Reed Alexander, Nightmare Feed