Indian Railway Official Declares Station Ghost-free; Trains Come Back After 42 Years

Josh Clark

Imagine you're late for work, and you're a sensible, conscientious commuter so you take the train into the city. You hoof it to the train station, sweating in the morning heat; it's deserted, but you hear the train coming so you know you've just made it. You lick your palm, grease back your hair and smile real pretty just in time for the train to blow right past you. For the 10,920th business day in a row (assuming a five-day work week).

You, friend, must be a resident of Begunkodor, India. And if you've been trying to catch the morning train to Ranchi for the last 42 years to no avail, then last Tuesday was your lucky day. The BBC reports that on that day, for the first time since 1967, a train actually stopped at the Begunkodor train station.

You may be asking yourself, why would anyone rush to a train station every day to wait for a train that hasn't stopped in 42 years? Forget that question. A better one is, why wouldn't a train stop at a station for 42 years? It abandoned, yes. You got that one. Why was it abandoned? Aha. Excellent question.

The train station at Begunkodor was left to ruin (which should have clued in our hapless commuter) because it was rumored to be haunted. A railway employee swore he saw a ghostly woman in a white sari one night and in short order it became the go-to excuse for bored employees looking for a transfer out of what I take to be the very isolated village of Begunkodor to a station that serves a city of 430 million (rather than a village of 200 million) people.

What's absolutely nuts is that the rumor of a haunted train station allowed for a flight (albeit disingenuous) of employees. Meanwhile, the people of Begunkodor are left to fend for themselves for 42 years because somebody made up a story about a ghost. This explains why the BBC reported the people "danced in joy" upon the arrival of the first train in five decades. Hooray economic redevelopment! You find you loathe it all, wishing for the days when the station wasn't so crowded.

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