Arnold and Gerald are bored. They already played every game they found in the house (Checkers, Crazy Eights, Slapjack, Go Fish, Old Maid, etc.). To cheer up the boys Grandpa tells them about the time he worked for the railroad and first heard the legend of the haunted train. The boys listen curiously while grandpa talks about the engineer of Engine 25, who went mad one day, drove his train off the tracks and disappeared and was never ever seen again. He drove the train straight down the "fiery underworld". Since then every year the mad engineer comes back to the old train station to pick up unknowing passengers who are hypnoticed by a blinding white light. They notice a strong smell of "fire and brimstone", and then start to hear a horrible music. After that the train enters the zone of darkness. They can already feels the heat of the flames until the train stops, the doors open and they are welcomed by the red hot demon himself. It happens to be that this day is actually the anniversary of the disappearing of Engine 25. So Arnold, Gerald and Helga make their way to the old train station at 53rd street. There they wait for quite a while. Just when the kids are about to go back home a train actually enters the station - Engine 25! When the doors open the kids see a white light and enter. When they realize the situation they want to get out but the doors don't open anymore. Then Helga catches the smell of sulfur and an inhuman music plays as well. Helga screams and the kids are frightened. After a while the lights begin to flicker until they eventually go out completely. They are convinced that they entered the "zone of darkness". When they see the "flames of the underworld", Arnold has an idea: The fire hose! Arnold aims for the demon who opens the door and tries to put him out. But soon he turns out to be a simple steel mill worker and the engineer tells them that they are inside a steelmill. That explains the smell. And the music was the polka which the engineer had been playing on his accordeon. On the way back home Arnold tells Grandpa everything abouth their adventure and suggests that Grandpa only made up the story in the first place. But that is not entirely true...
- Gerald's song:
- The engineer's song:
Went crazy on that day;
Ran his train right off the tracks
And drove it straight to - Hey!
Where's the engineer?
Been waitin' all night long;
Better show up soon
Or I'm have to say so long!
Been waitin' on the haunted train...[/li]
You can hear the whistle wail
With a spooky, screechy sound
Like a wheel gone off the rail;
And up in the smoky clouds,
You can almost recognize
The ghost of a crazy engineer
With fiery cinder eyes;
I say, Whoo-whoo!
Can't you hear the haunted train?
Waitin' on a haunted train
Crash that engine,
You know, only sticks and stones
And old conductors' bones remain...[/li]