Most people are familiar with claims of UFO sightings made from planes. And many of us will have heard or read about UFOs witnessed from the deck of a ship or tracked on the radar of a submarine. However, what perhaps does not come to mind quite so quickly are UFO encounters with locomotive trains, often as they are speeding down the tracks in an otherwise lonely part of their respective countries.
There are many such sightings on record. And what’s more, they span decades, from the start of the modern UFO era to our contemporary times. Here are ten of the most intriguing and bizarre railroad UFO encounters.
Related: 10 UFO And Alien Encounters From America’s Early Years
10 The 1702 Incident: UFO Drags Train Along Tracks in the Soviet Union
Without a doubt, one of the most fascinating encounters involving a moving train occurred on the evening of February 17, 1985, on the Petrozavodsk to Suoyarvi section of the Oktyabrskaya Railway in Soviet Karelia (now the Republic of Karelia). A short time after setting off, the crew noticed a strange, ball-like object moving over the trees alongside the track. What’s more, the object appeared to be following them.
Suddenly, the glowing orb rushed toward the train, coming to within around 100 feet of it. It then moved to a position in front of it, again at about 100 feet. The driver, Sergy Orlov, slammed on the brakes and turned off the engine. However, the train failed to slow down. In fact, it appeared to Orlov and the other driver on board that it was being dragged along the track.
They continued down the tracks, eventually coming up on Novye Peski Station. It seemed as if the object would smash right into the station house ahead. However, it moved from in front of the train at the very last second and circled around the building before moving back in front once more.
It continued to drag the train before disappearing several minutes later. As soon as it vanished, the train began to slow down, eventually coming to a stop at the next station. When Orlov exited the cabin to see if there was any damage, though, a beam of light struck him from above. In fact, he would later claim the light pressed him against the train itself. He eventually struggled back into the cabin and remained there until the light vanished.
The object would return a third time once the train had set out on its final part of the journey. It once more dragged the train for some time before finally disappearing for good.
9 UFO Crashes Into a Train in Kentucky
Although there is debate as to the authenticity of the account, an incident that unfolded near Paintsville, Kentucky, in the early hours of January 14, 2002, wasn’t merely a sighting of a strange, unknown object, it would result in substantial damage to the freight train in question.
As the train made its way along the tracks, the driver noticed a strange light in the distance. This was followed by the malfunctioning of the train’s electrics and the train slowing down. At this point, the driver noticed that the lights were, in fact, silver disc-shaped objects. What’s more, they appeared to be scanning the river below.
The next thing he knew, as the train made its way around a bend on the track, one of these silver objects was heading straight for him. It would ultimately crash into the front carriage before rising into the air and ascending out of sight as if nothing had happened. The damage to the train, though, was substantial.
What made the alleged incident even stranger was when they finally arrived in Paintsville, a mysterious team of engineers and workers were waiting for them. As was a gentleman named Ferguson, who interviewed the men for several hours. He would eventually tell them that the incident was a “national security matter” and requested they keep the encounter to themselves. The damaged train cars were taken into the strange unit’s custody. 
8 The Monon Railroad Incident
One of the earliest recorded encounters involving a UFO and a speeding train unfolded at around 3 am on October 3, 1958, on the Monon Railroad in Indiana. On its way to Indianapolis, the crew of Freight Train 91 would witness several strange objects flying over them. The train itself was carrying almost half a mile of cars, with two of the five-man crew being positioned at the back of the train.
While the drivers at the front noticed the lights first, it was the two men at the back—Ed Robinson and Paul Sosbey—who “got the best look at things” when the UFOs circled around the train and then approached them from behind.
Robinson would reach for his flashlight and flash the light toward the objects in an attempt to communicate. This received no response. However, when he aimed the beam of the torch at the object, it moved purposely out of the way. This happened several times and seemingly caused the glowing objects to “zip off” and disappear into the distance. In total, the objects pursued the locomotive for over an hour.
7 The 1977 Fostoria C&O Railroad Sighting
On the evening of October 21, 1977, Howard Albert was seated in the cabin of his train on the private line of the C&O distribution warehouse in Fostoria, Ohio. He was waiting for the train to be guided into the warehouse when he noticed what he thought was a “shooting star” fly overhead. However, when the star began to “curve downward,” he realized he saw something truly strange.
The object descended to the ground and began to slowly approach the train. At a distance of around 200 feet, it suddenly stopped, hovering about 15 feet from the ground. He looked on in awe before reaching for the walkie-talkie he used to stay in contact with his conductor, Donald. He informed him to “come up to the engine…we got a UFO here!”
Howard described the object as disc-shaped but similar to a “birthday cake.” It also had “glowing banks of vertical tubes” all around it and was “rotating counter-clockwise.” He would estimate that it was around 50 feet high and at least 90 feet wide and was completely silent.
After several moments he decided to let the train’s headlight glow brightly for several seconds to see if the object responded. To his amazement, it did, suddenly glowing brightly for the same amount of time. At this point, Donald had arrived from the back of the train and also saw the object. Both men would later state that while they believed the craft was friendly, both had a bizarre feeling of “knowing” not to approach it. After around 20 minutes, the object began to spin faster, eventually rising into the air and disappearing until it became nothing but a “yellowish star.”
6 Black Triangular Object Photographed in Plymouth, New Hampshire
According to “Joy P’s” claims on the radio show Coast to Coast, she photographed a bizarre triangular craft while on a moving train near Plymouth in New Hampshire. What’s more, the sighting occurred in broad daylight on the afternoon of October 25, 2003.
Joy would claim that she was attempting to capture pictures of red deer she could see in the forests that lined the train tracks. However, when she studied the photos later that day, she noticed the black triangular craft over the treetops.
Since the object only appeared in one of the photographs, it was deemed unlikely to have been a reflection from the window. And what’s more, the camera had been checked and cleaned only hours earlier in preparation for the journey. It would appear whatever the object was, none of the other passengers reported seeing anything unusual. And the fact that Joy herself didn’t see the object at the time has led some researchers to suggest it was simply not visible to the human eye.
5 The 1957 Whitley Strieber Account: Abducted by Aliens on a Train Journey
Author Whitley Strieber is no stranger to UFO and alien encounters, having released the book Communion in the mid-1980s, telling of his own abduction experiences. However, if we believe Strieber’s claims, it would appear that his encounters with otherworldly entities have been happening since he was a child. One specific incident that is of interest to us here occurred “at some point in 1957” during a train journey from Wisconsin to Texas with his sister and his father.
In a truly bizarre case, without realizing what had happened, all three of them went from being on the speeding train to being on some kind of strange vehicle. Both Strieber and his sister could hear their father screaming in terror somewhere nearby.
In later years, using hypnotic regression, it was revealed that the incident was indeed a case of alien abduction. It also suggested that not only had Strieber seemingly been abducted repeatedly since he was young, but other members of his family had been as well. Perhaps also of interest, Strieber had vague memories of soldiers in uniform being present during the encounter.
4 UFO Photographed from a Train in Germany
As Harry Hauxler passed through the German town of Oberwesel on a train on the afternoon of March 8, 1964, he suddenly noticed a disc ascending into the sunlit sky. Realizing he had his camera with him, he pointed it toward the strange object and took a picture.
The object appeared to be a dark grey or black color and was a similar shape to a spinning top with a “dark vortex” underneath it.
Many skeptics who have viewed the picture have claimed the object is nothing more than a road sign or lamppost that has been produced by brief exposure because of the speed of the moving train. However, those who believe that Hauxler managed to capture something truly strange argue that, unlike other cases where the object was not seen until later, Hauxler claims to have seen the apparent craft rise with his own eyes at the time.
The picture (above) was soon released to the public and is still regarding as one of the most intriguing of such photographs.
3 UFO Witnessed from on Board an L&N Train near Mount Vernon
At just before 7 am on October 20, 1973, a conductor and another crew member on an L&N train witnessed a very bright light heading toward them from the north as they passed near Mount Vernon, Indiana—a period of active UFO sightings in the state. They noticed that the light appeared to be some kind of craft, but unlike any either had seen before. As they continued to watch it, they noted how it seemed to pulsate, going from blindingly bright to much dimmer. After several moments, the glowing object changed direction and headed away from the locomotive.
The conductor reported the sighting to the crew at the back of the train. Several moments later, they responded that there was now an unknown object at the back of the train, and it appeared to be following them. The unknown vehicle would follow the train for a considerable distance before eventually moving off as quickly as it had arrived.
According to the research and investigative work of Francis Ridge, the U.S. Air Force eventually confiscated the train in order to “study it.” Their findings, however, are unknown.
2 Senator Richard Russell Sees Disc-Shaped Object While Traveling Through the Soviet Union
While on a train journey in the Transcaucasia region of the Soviet Union on October 4, 1955, Georgia Senator, Richard Russell, witnessed a disc-shaped object while looking out of the window. He would claim that as the object rose into the air, he could see “a flame shot” from its underside.
He watched in amazement as the disc sped across the tracks in front of the train. At this point, Russell stood and approached his companions to tell them what he had just seen. As the group stared out of the window, they noticed another disc-shaped object approaching the moving train from the same direction as the first.
As the three men watched the bizarre incident unfold, a Soviet conductor approached them and pulled shut the curtains. He ordered them not to look out the window, which they duly obeyed.
They would report the sighting to the United States embassy as soon as they arrived in Prague, and news of the incident soon reached reporters in the United States. However, adding another layer of intrigue to the encounter, when Russell was asked about the sighting by a Los Angeles Examiner journalist, he responded that the agencies he had reported it to “are of the opinion that it is not wise to publicize this matter at this time.” The incident was eventually declassified in 1985.
1 Train Passenger Sees Six Disc-Shaped Objects over the Arizona Desert
More recently, in the summer of 2017, a train passenger traveling through Apache County in Arizona claimed to have seen “six hovering, two-story objects beaming light to the ground” below. According to the report submitted to MUFON, the witness was unable to sleep and so was looking out of the window at the time. It was then she noticed a “bright light that became brighter as the train approached.”
She soon realized there were multiple objects and that they were disc-shaped. She estimated they were approximately 100 feet from the moving train. The witness managed to capture several pictures of the moving objects, three of which were submitted to MUFON in the report.
The mother’s son—who filed the report—stated that his mother was “not one to exaggerate or seek attention” and that her claims should be treated as genuine. As we might imagine, there were many differing opinions on what the woman might have witnessed. And these ranged from a vehicle from another world to them being nothing more than a Chinese lantern. The sighting remains unexplained.