A railway engineer is hoping to hit the best sellers chart with his fictional novel about ghosts menacing people living near a Lancashire railway.
The spooky read is based on real surviving parts of the West Lancashire Railway in Penwortham, and the new housing estate that has been built there, not far from where author David Rashleigh also lives.
The father-of-two’s book, Sciron, also features other locally famous landmarks such as Preston’s Harris Museum, and the docks.
The West Lancashire Railway, which used to run from Southport through Penwortham to Fishergate Hill and Preston, has been closed for more than 40 years, and part of its supporting embankment has been dug out to make room for a small housing estate.
The top floor of the three storey flats is at the level where the old railway ran.
It inspired David, who is fascinated by the history of the railway, to write a novel about a pregnant woman living in the top flat who begins to experience spooky visitations.
The 49-year-old, of Fitchfield, Penwortham, decided to pen the story because he was interested in parts of old railway he had seen around the town, including a stone wall on Leyland Road that is part of a structure that used to carry the railway.
He said: “Sciron is my first book and it’s already had some success as an ebook, on sale through Amazon, and growing sales made me decide to have a nice, old-fashioned book printed.
“I think my enthusiasm for old railways and my local connection makes the story come alive, along with strong, interesting characters who people can readily empathise with. At least, that’s what my readers tell me.”
He added: “I want to reassure the people who live today near the old railway line that all events in Sciron, including the hauntings, are completely fictional!”
The book is set in modern times, but involves dramatic events from the past.
The novel’s unusual title is the code name for a fictional German spy during the Second World War, whose role was to stir up communist sympathisers and encourage homemade acts of sabotage in Lancashire.
The printed book will be launched at Hallowe’en, retailing at £6.99.
It will be available to order later this month from branches of Waterstones.