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Haunted Train (episode)

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Episode of Hey Arnold!
Haunted Train, episode
Haunted Train
Season 1, Episode 8b
Written by: Josie Nericcio
Air date: October 9, 1996
Don Del Grande's

Haunted Train is an episode of the Hey Arnold! TV series.


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, and the other kids playing in the street, listen curiously while Grandpa talks about the engineer of Engine 25. The engineer went mad one day and drove his train off the tracks and disappeared — he drove the train straight down to the "fiery underworld". Since then every year, the mad engineer comes back to the old train station to pick up unknowing passengers who are hypnotized by a blinding white light. Once inside, they notice a strong smell of "fire and brimstone", which smells like rotten eggs, and then start to hear a horrible music. After that the train enters the zone of darkness. They can already feel 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 at the train station on 53rd street. As Arnold, Gerald and the other kids gossip widely about the train, Grandpa goes inside and chuckles "Well, so much for being bored!"

Arnold and Gerald discuss the train as Helga jumps rope right next to them. Helga says she doesn't believe a word of the story unless she can see physical proof of the train. Arnold says some things can't be proven with evidence, but rather with faith. He then taunts Helga for being 'scared,' which Helga quickly denies. Arnold tells her to prove it by meeting up with him and Gerald at the train station that night. Gerald (reluctantly) and Helga agree.

Arnold, Gerald and Helga make their way to the old train station at 53rd street (Union Station). There they wait for quite a while. Helga becomes annoyed as Arnold plays the harmonica and Gerald sings a blues song about the train (Haunted Train Blues). 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 bright light and enter. When they realize the situation, they try to get back out but the doors close and the train pulls out of the station. Then Helga catches the smell of rotten eggs and an inhuman music plays as well. Helga screams, freaks out and tries to exit the train again.

After a while the lights begin to flicker until they eventually go out completely. They are convinced that they entered the "zone of darkness" and the next stop is the underworld. Helga mentions she can feel breathing down her neck. She turns to see a figure hovering over her and wheezing eerily. Helga screams again as Arnold and Gerald run over to help her. Just then the lights turn back on and Brainy is standing there before them! When they ask why he's there, Brainy replies "Uh... I don't know." Disgusted, Gerald then opens the door as Helga tosses Brainy out of the train into a muddy ditch.

When they close the door, they see the "flames of the underworld" and shadows walking among the flames. Arnold gets an idea: the fire hose! The kids take it out of its safe and point it at the door as the demon lord opens it. Arnold aims for the demon and tries to put him out. But soon he turns out to be a simple (and now slightly angry) steel mill worker. The engineer appears and tells them that they are inside a steel mill, which explains that the smell is the sulfur, typical in a steel mill. He also explains that the lights in the train are always flickering and going out. And the music they heard was the polka which the engineer had been playing on his accordion.

The engineer takes the kids back to the station where Grandpa is waiting in his Packard. On the way back home Arnold tells Grandpa everything about their adventure. He asks if Grandpa set them up and Grandpa replies that at least they weren't bored. Arnold suggests that Grandpa only made up the story in the first place. But that is not entirely true! Brainy is then seen sitting on a fence as the Haunted Engine 25 rides past and the ghost of the mad engineer sings about the train, making him the only person to see the train.



  • In the broadcast and DVD release, the mad engineer's song fades out at the end of the credits before it fully finishes. On the urban adventures VHS (which has longer credits due to more episodes) the full version of the song can be heard. The full version is also on the hulu version.
  • When Arnold, Gerald and Helga are mystically "pulled" onto Engine 25, Helga marvels, stating, "We are victims of forces we can't possibly comprehend." This is an allusion to a line in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. 
  • Arnold and Gerald claim to have played every game in the boarding house, including Old Maid. But in the season 5 episode Gerald's Game, Arnold claims that Gerald hates old maid.
  • The melody of Haunted Train Blues is a parody of the David Bowie song The Jean Genie.


  • As the kids gather around Arnold's house, Helga walks up and puts her hands on her hips. A few minutes later, her jump rope is mysteriously in her hand and stays there for the rest of the scene.
  • Grandpa starts out eating orange ice cream on a cone. The ice cream turns white when Arnold and Gerald sit closer to him. Then it turns orange again.
  • How did Brainy get on the train?
  • Why would the train stop at the old abandoned train station in the first place? This is also not explained.
  • When Helga, Arnold and Gerald are waiting for the train, the clock strikes midnight, except it goes counter-clockwise
  • Sulfur does not actually have a smell. It's the aftermath when it smells like rotten eggs.

See also

External links

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