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‘I saw the wheels start smoking’: Witness recounts train derailment in Revelstoke

Tyane Hopkins had a clear view of the derailment as it happened on Sept. 20
A CP train derailed on the portion of the tracks adjacent to Victoria Rd. in Revelstoke on Sept. 20. (Zachary Delaney/Revelstoke Review)

Tyane Hopkins heard the train derail before she saw it.

Working in the mall across the street, Hopkins had a clear view of the train derailment that happened on Sep. 21. From inside her work, she watched as the car came to a grinding halt in the gravel. As tourists with RVs and trailers cleared out of the way, Hopkins got a clear view of what the noise was.

“It was very slow, very loud…very awesome,” said Hopkins.

When Hopkins heard the initial sounds of the train, she looked up to watch it happen.

“I heard gravel. So, I thought that buddy had his swing arm out just to like grate the gravel,” said Hopkins before adding “then I saw the wheels start smoking,” she said, pointing to a spot on the track.

She said that this section of the rail has had a lot of activity recently, so the sound itself wasn’t out of the ordinary, but the volume was.

“When the train engages the brakes, it usually screams and I was quite surprised that it wasn’t really doing that. It almost sounded as if the grater sound –like the rocks being dragged– was what was slowing the train,” said Hopkins.

The train ran down a section of ‘dead track’ around noon on Wednesday. As it had just left the Revelstoke stop, it was still moving slowly when it drove off the end of the track.

With her work across the street from the tracks, Hopkins often watches the trains come and go. Over the past year, she’s developed an interest in trains and will sometimes even watch them in her spare time on YouTube on train cams.

“I would say quite a few people probably saw it. I just happen to– I love trains. Like, I’m constantly watching the track. And that was where I was like ‘hm, that one’s not doing what it’s supposed to do,’” said Hopkins.

She said that incidents like the one on Wednesday rarely happen.

The derailment didn’t block the main track, and was cleaned up by the following day. Canada Pacific Railway representative on scene said they would be doing an investigation into the cause of the derailment.

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Zach Delaney

About the Author: Zach Delaney

I came to the Revelstoke Review from Ottawa, Ontario, where I earned a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University.
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