In A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck, what story does Grandma tell regarding the phantom brakeman?
Grandma claims that the ghost of the brakeman still haunts the scene of his death years after his demise. According to Grandma, the brakeman died in 1871 when a train full of firefighters collided with a freight train. The brakeman died a gruesome death as a result of the collision.
Grandma claims that, on hazy nights, "somebody'll see the brakeman down there between the rails, swinging an old-time railroad lantern. Or they'll spot a dim yellow light deep in the timber, like he's a wandering soul, still trying to head off the oncoming train." By all indications, the phantom brakeman makes his appearance when people least expect him to. As for Grandma, she tells Joey and Mary Alice that she can't confirm the existence of the phantom brakeman, but she knows that some superstitious people actually avoid the railroad at night, for fear of running into the brakeman's ghost.