Halloween season is always filled with spooky and scary stories of ghosts and ghouls, but did a spirit actually stop a train crash?

It did if you believe this terrifying tale from the late 1800s.

Beginning operation in 1850, the Great Northern Railway ran from London King’s Cross to York, bringing coal from the mines of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire down the south and ferrying passengers up and down the country.

After overextending itself financially, the line was absorbed into the London and North Eastern Railway in 1921, but not before our ghost story could take place.

Unlike today with stops at Hatfield, Potters Bar, Welwyn North and Welwyn Garden City, back in the 19th century, the GNR line ran straight from King’s Cross to Hitchin.

According to a post on Herts Memories, it was as a train passed through Hatfield station at full speed that the ghost of the Great Northern Railway stepped onto the footplate of the engine, much to the shock and fear of the driver.

“It was the saddest face I ever come across,” he would later recall.

“The eyes seemed to look you through and through; and when on top of that I saw that he was all in black, I never was so afraid in my life.”

The fireman also on board the locomotive did not see the spirit, but the driver felt compelled to stop the train after the ghost indicated he should do so.

The train came to a halt just outside Hitchin, and little did the driver know, he had averted disaster.

He would later find out that even though the signals had been set fair, which would have allowed him to pull into the station, there were two trucks on the line ahead of him.

Had he not stopped the locomotive, it would have crashed into the trucks and almost certainly led to fatalities.

Whether the driver saw a ghost, or his imagination simply ran away with him, will forever remain a mystery - but what is for certain is that his quick-thinking actions averted disaster at Hitchin railway station.

With trains still running between Hatfield and Hitchin to this day, maybe you’ll catch sight of the Great Northern Railway ghost for yourself this Halloween.