There's a little black train a-comin' Comin' down the track You gotta ride that little black train, But it ain't a gonna bring you back
—Woody Guthrie, 'Little Black Train
"Yet another colorful folk legend involves the recurring image of a "ghost train" -- a spectral locomotive that materializes from nowhere, glides across the haunted track for a short period of time, and then disappears as mysteriously as it came.
This story did not originate among the first white settlers, of course; obviously it only came into being after the advent of the steam locomotive in our burgeoning Machine Age. The earliest known recorded version of this story, in fact, is dated 1882. Nonetheless, the legend provides us with an interesting example of how the collective unconscious adapts itself to changing aspects of our culture, cloaking old symbolism in the trappings of new technology."
—A Historical Overview of Superstitions by J. Arnsworth Frazer, a book found in the Interactive Fiction Anchorhead
Old Boomer: (weakly) The Heavenly Express ... has stopped for me too. I sure hope so. But you fellows -- it'll punish. It'll follow you, as sure as I'm laying here. Joe: Who'll follow us? What're you talking about? Old Boomer: The Judgement Special. It punishes fellows who wreck trains on purpose. It runs any place that has tracks. It follows them until it gets them, one way or another. Because murdering a train is like murdering a man - you gotta pay for it. You'll pay for it. Think I'm crazy? You'll see. You'll see.
—The Mysterious Traveler, 'The Locomotive Ghost', original airdate July 6, 1947