A sighting of strange aerial activity by a railroad train crew in October 1958 is most definitely one of the most intriguing UFO accounts on record. Not least due to the fact the train they viewed the incident from was speeding along the tracks at the time, pulling no less than fifty-six train-cars behind them. Just to put that in perspective, that is a “more than half a mile of cars”. The incident would last over an hour and take place over many miles of Indiana railroad.
The encounter was documented by the five crew on board and then relayed to UFO investigator, Frank Edwards. It is another of the intriguing sightings to hail from the American Midwest, and while it is unlikely to ever offer any further information or revelations, it is another account that is worth examining, documenting, and discussing, lest such accounts be lost to the vacuum of history. And with it, evidence that can be cross-examined with more contemporary accounts. As well as with those still to come.
- 1 Strange Lights Tailing Freight Train No. 91
- 2 A Much Closer Return
- 3 Increasing Speeds, Brightness, And Colors
- 4 An Attempt To Communicate
- 5 Coincidence? Or A Purposeful Interception?
- 6 The Mount Vernon Railroad Incident
Strange Lights Tailing Freight Train No. 91
At around 3:20 am on the 3rd October 1958, freight train no. 91 was speeding along the track near Monon, Indiana, on its way to Indianapolis. It would be a journey unlike any other.  Engineer, Harry Eckman, head brakeman, Morris Ott, and fireman, Cecil Bridge were in the cab of the diesel locomotive. Two other rail crew, conductor, Ed Robinson, and flagman, Paul Sosbey, were further back in the caboose.
The train had just passed through Wasco, Indiana, a place that Bridge would describe as “just a kind of crossroads” with no actual town. Several moments later, four strange and very noticeable lights were visible in the sky. The men knew they weren’t stars as they were moving. And furthermore, they were moving in a very specific V-formation. Bridge would describe this formation as having no front light but “two ‘wings’ with two lights in each wing”. Bridge believes he was the first of the men to spot the lights. He watched them for fifteen seconds or so and then alerted the others in the cab.
As the two other men focused their eyes on the display in front and above them, the lights “veered west” taking them across the path of the train. Bridge would estimate the lights were approximately a mile ahead of them. They also noted how slow they were moving – around fifty miles per hour. As Bridge would describe them, “four big, white, soft lights”.
The three men discussed whether the two other men in the caboose might be aware of this bizarre aerial show. They would decide likely not. The men brought their attention back to the lights. They stopped their movement momentarily before moving away to the east, eventually disappearing. Then, a few moments later, they returned.
A Much Closer Return
This time, Bridge opened the radio communication to the caboose to brief the two other crew members. Robinson would pick up. The conversation would continue throughout the incident as the train sped from Wasco and to Kirklin, Indiana. Also privy to the conversation was the dispatcher at Lafayette, although he would not interrupt events. As Bridge states, “the boys in the caboose got the best look at things. Especially when they came right down over the whole train”.
Robinson would recall that he was in the cupola “looking forward over the train” when Bridge’s call came over the radio from the cab. Robinson claims he was already aware of the “four gobs of light”, although he wasn’t sure what they were, and not aware they were anything strange or untoward. When the lights returned, however, they would come much closer to the huge moving and precariously connected chunks of metal as it raced along the tracks. The lights would come in from the south towards the train coming out of the north.
They would hover “only a couple of hundred feet” above the moving train. Robinson would also remark at their (relatively) slow speed of “maybe thirty or forty miles per hour”. He would also remark that despite the freight train being “pretty noisy” he didn’t recall hearing any type of airplane engine noise. It was as if the lights were completely silent. The lights were most definitely individual crafts as Robinson would recall they “flew over us one after the other”. His description was almost identical to Bridge’s. They, according to Robinson were “big, round white things” like “fluorescent lights” and “kind of fuzzy around the edges”.
Increasing Speeds, Brightness, And Colors
As they moved across the train, Robinson and Sosbey, also watching the strange lights, would decide to go outside on the back platform of the vehicle to get a better view. By the time they stepped on to the narrow ledge, the lights were “pretty far behind” them. Suddenly they “swung off away from the tracks”. They would head towards the east and would increase their speed dramatically. As they did so, their brightness increased, as if the two were linked. Robinson would recall they “got real bright and white…and (were) moving very fast”.
Back in the cab at the front of the train, Bridge and the two other men could also see the objects sudden increase in speed and brightness. Bridge would recall that “they lit up in sequence” and in order of their position in their aerial procession. Then, they changed their course once again. And again, they would head towards the moving train. As they passed over them, the objects once more increased in brightness and did so in sequence. They would continue to make passes over them. As they did, however, the lights now changed color when their glow increased. Instead of a glowing bright white light, they would instead turn a “kind of yellow, then to orange when they went real slow. A king of dirty orange”.
At the back of the train, Robinson and Sosbey could no longer see the lights. Robinson, however, would remain in communication with Bridge. Suddenly, the lights were visible to the two men again leading Robinson to conclude “they must’ve circled us”. The lights were now heading directly at the train from behind, “real low” and “a lot faster”. The lower altitude allowed the two men to see the objects behind the lights.
An Attempt To Communicate
Robinson would recall that, from their position on the back of the train, they could see the lights were “round things. Circular shaped on the bottom”. He would estimate that each object was around forty feet wide and perhaps ten feet thick.
Both groups of men would use their flashlights in an attempt to signal or communicate with the mysterious objects. Whether the objects coming much closer to the train was a result of the men’s use of their flashlights or not remains unknown. Bridge would state, “…they didn’t flash any lights back at us”.
Robinson, however, at the back of the train, had access to a sealed beam flashlight “that throws a pretty good beam a long way”. When the objects came at the moving train, low and from behind, Robinson would arm himself with the heavy-duty torch and switched it on, its beam appearing very much like an extending, white laser beam. What’s more, it very much had that effect. Upon the glow from the flashlight hitting the crafts “they jumped sideways out of the beam”. Wondering whether the movement was coincidental or not, Robinson aimed the light at them again. Once more, they moved out of the way. He would recall later “they acted like they didn’t care for that light at all”.
The lights would then remain at a considerable distance after that. By the time they changed at Frankfort, they simply hovered “up on the tracks”. When the train moved off from the station, the lights followed for several more miles before finally “zipping off to the northeast”. In all, from the first time the crew noticed them to the moment they vanished (around forty miles outside of Indianapolis) over seventy minutes had passed.
Coincidence? Or A Purposeful Interception?
The account of this bizarre 1958 train journey was compiled by UFO researcher and investigator, Frank Edwards. It would come from each of the five men present, with Robinson and Bridge the main sources of information.
Just what the four lights might have been is still open to debate. We know they were individual craft due to the changing of formation, but mostly due to how they would approach the train one by one. Robinson would also recall being able to see a rounded shape to which the light was merely a part. Essentially, he is describing a flying disc.
Perhaps most interesting, though, are the recollections of the how the lights would change color the faster or slower they went. This is a detail that often comes up in UFO sightings. So much so, that some researchers suggest a definite link between such details. Also worth bearing in mind, at the time of the sighting in the late-1950s, this (then) trivial detail really wouldn’t have carried as much weight as it does now. Perhaps this, then, should allow us to treat the incident as authentic and credible.
If we accept then, for argument’s sake, that the incident occurred how the five men claimed, what exactly was trailing the train that evening? Was it an alien craft? Or might it have been a secret military vehicle? And why? Was it merely coincidental that the train happened upon the same route as the mysterious flying lights? Or was the interception planned? If so, why? There was, after all, no interaction between the two besides the bright beams of the heavy-duty flashlight. Might something have been retrieved unbeknown to the crew? Something they were unaware they were even carrying?
The Mount Vernon Railroad Incident
It is perhaps worth spending some time examining another UFO sighting to occur on the railroads of Indiana a decade and a half later at a little before 7 am on 20th October 1973.  The incident comes to us from the research files of UFO investigator, Francis Ridge, who worked for numerous UFO organizations including the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), and the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).
On the morning in question – right at the time the United States was at a peak of UFO sightings in the wave of 1973 – Ridge was contacted by a conductor on a L&N train claiming he had “just had an encounter with a UFO” near the town of Evansville. Ridge immediately set off to speak with the witnesses, arriving a short time later.
They would state that they had began experiencing trouble with the train’s engine around three to four miles from Mount Vernon. They noticed that one of the rear units was overheating and eventually became useless. They managed to make it to Mount Vernon, even though took them around 25 minutes more than it should, at around 6:50 am.
They continued on their way heading toward the Lamont crossing when the two engineers in the front cabin of the train suddenly noticed a bizarre light in the sky overhead. It appeared to be heading toward them out of the north. When they noticed that it was growing brighter then dimmer in a “pulsating” kind of way, the dismissed the idea that it was an aircraft or a helicopter. They continued to watch the object moving through the sky before it changed direction and disappeared in an instant.
“There is a headlight behind us. I can see it. It’s real bright!”
Several moments later, the lead conductor communicated to the crew at the back of the train of what they had seen. The rear crew reported back that there was a “train” behind them on the tracks. And what’s more, they had been following them for a while.
What followed was an attempt to communicate with the train behind them in order to have them fall back from their own position. There was, however, no response. Their “red-board” units continued to alert them to something on the tracks behind them and the light of the train continued to follow them.
What’s more, it appeared as though their own vehicle had somehow taken on an extra weight, as if the train behind had some kind of “pull” on them.
At this point, the crew communicated with the control room at Howell Round House in Evansville asking for information on just what was on the track behind them. The response was certain – there was no other trains on the track with them. As the rear conductor hear this, he interjected into the conversation stating, “There is a headlight behind us. I can see it. It’s real bright!”
The train would eventually come to a stop on Belknap Hill. The conductor immediately got out of the cabin and made his way to the rear unit. Once there, he restarted the system and to his amazement it “kicked right off”. He also noticed that the glowing object that had seemingly been following them was now heading in the opposite direction. It didn’t take too much of a stretch of the conductor’s imagination to connect the lights presence and the disabling of the train.
Even more intriguing, there were suggestions in the days and weeks that followed that the United States Air Force had taken possession of the engine in order to study it. There were even reports that crew had been “reprimanded” for even filing an official report in the first place.
A Suppression Of Evidence For Multiple Reasons?
It would appear that there was, then, an attempt to suppress the incident on the railroad near Mount Vernon that October morning in 1973 – at a time, remember, when the United States was in the middle of a surge of UFO sightings. Aside from the obvious, why might that be? There are certainly several points of interest.
What interest, for example, might these UFOs have with the vehicles of the railroad. Are they merely just coincidental sightings in the same way as many motorists see UFOs while driving on the roads and highways of the world? Or might there be a more specific interest, perhaps in the engines or fuels used, or even the cargo on board (many sightings appear to revolve around freight trains). As Ridge points out, by comparison there are far fewer sightings of UFOs reported by tractor drivers, which run on the same fuel.
If we accept that the reason for UFO secrecy is the propulsion systems of these strange crafts, might it stand to reason that there is a similar interest from the extraterrestrial perspective?
And where does the military’s interest in all this reside? Why would they have an interest in the train engine itself as opposed the strange object? That suggests that there is an interest in how the train’s engine was affected by the UFO’s presence, and why? And this makes sense. After all, the same thing might happen with a military or commercial plane.
It also suggests to us, though, that there has to be a certain amount of intelligence build-up on the issue for there to be an interest in the first place. And that suggests a closer study of the UFO phenomena on the military and most likely the intelligence services’ part. And might they indeed know much more than they publicly let on?
Whatever the depth of interest and knowledge it is perhaps in our collective interest that such authorities study any potential affects to a vehicles’ engine due to being in close proximity of these unknown vehicles? If, for example, a commercial airliner with hundreds of people on board happened to suddenly fall from the sky due to such an incident, it would undoubtedly be a disaster. Perhaps the fact that such an incident has not occurred – at least to the best of our collective knowledge – might suggest that the intentions of the apparent otherworldly visitors is not an aggressive one.
The video below looks more recent UFO sightings from Indiana.
The stories, accounts, and discussions in this article may go against currently accepted science and common beliefs. The details included in the article are based on the reports, accounts and documentation available as provided by witnesses and publications - sources/references are published above.
We do not aim to prove nor disprove any of the theories, cases, or reports. You should read this article with an open mind and come to a conclusion yourself. Our motto always is, "you make up your own mind". Read more about how we fact-check content here.
Copyright & Republishing Policy
The entire article and the contents within are published by, wholly-owned and copyright of UFO Insight. The author does not own the rights to this content.
You may republish short quotes from this article with a reference back to the original UFO Insight article here as the source. You may not republish the article in its entirety.