The Signalman by Charles Dickens

The Signalman by Charles Dickens

The railway signalman told me that his haunts by ghost. After each appearance of ghost a tragic event on the railway occurs. The signalman works in the booth that is located next to the entrance into the tunnel, it where he controls the movement of trains. When there is any danger, his colleagues signalmen alert him via telegraph and siren. Three times he gets ghostly signals of danger when his bell rings in such a way that only he can hear it. During each alert ghost appears, and then a horrible accident happens.

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The Signalman by Charles Dickens


When I called the signalman, I was above him on the hill. But he did not look up. He looked along the railway line towards the tunnel.

‘Hello, down there!’ I called again.

Then he looked up and saw me.

‘Where’s the path?’ I asked. ‘How can I come down and speak to you?’

He did not answer me. Just then a train came out of the tunnel. The signalman had a flag in his hand and he showed it when the train passed. Again I asked him where the path was. He pointed his flag at the hill, and I saw a path that went down.

‘Alright! Thanks!’ I shouted.

The Signalman by Charles Dickens

I went down the wet path. The signalman was waiting for me at the bottom of the hill. He was standing between the railway lines with a strange, nervous expression on his face.

The place was quiet and lonely. High walls blocked out a lot of the sky, so there was not much sun there, and it was dark. I looked along the line and saw a red light in front of the entrance to the black tunnel. Then I went up to the signalman, but he moved away from me. He looked at me strangely.

‘It’s very lonely here’ I said. ‘You don’t get many visitors. Am I disturbing you?’

He did not answer, but looked at the red light near the tunnel.

‘Why are you watching that light?’ I asked. ‘Is that part of your job?’

He answered quietly, ‘Don’t you know it is?’

Suddenly the horrible idea came to me that he was a ghost, not a man. So I moved away. But then I saw fear in his eyes.

‘Are you afraid of me?’ I asked.

‘I was thinking perhaps I’ve seen you before.’


He pointed to the red light. ‘There.’

‘Why? I’ve never been there before.’

‘No, perhaps you haven’t.’

Then he began to relax. He took me into his signal box.

‘Have you got much work to do here?’ I asked.

‘No, not very much. But I have to be very attentive and careful,’ he replied.

‘What are your responsibilities?’

‘I change the signal, pull these switches, and check that the red light is working,’ he explained.

‘Do you ever feel lonely?’ I asked.

‘No, I’m used to it…

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