When, at the end of the story, the narrator returns to visit the signalman once more, he is gripped by a sense that something is wrong, not least because a "little low hut" has appeared on the railway line by the Danger-light. This fear is borne out when one of the men waiting by the light tells him that the signal-man has been killed that morning.
He was, this man explains, run over by a railway engine, having not managed to entirely clear the outer rail. He was standing at the Danger-light with his lamp in his hand, his back to the tunnel, when the train came out of the tunnel and hit him. The driver of the train explains further that he saw the man at the end of the tunnel as he came through it, and, having had no success blowing his whistle, he called out to him: "Below there! Look out! For God's sake clear the way!" He also waved his arm continually to try to alert the signal-man, but to no avail—he was hit by the train and killed.
The words recounted to him by the engine-driver cause the narrator to start in alarm, because they represent not only the phrase which the signal-man had been haunted by, but also "the words which I myself—not he—had attached, and that only in my own mind, to the gesticulation he had imitated."