The Last Stop: Canada's Lost Locomotive | Revelstoke Railway Museum Fundraising Event
Shortly after WWII, a dangerous shipping incident on Slocan Lake saw an entire train assembly sink to the depths of this remote lake in British Columbia, Canada. Never recovered, a shroud of mystery and limited records conceal the whereabouts of the final resting place of the sunken CPR locomotive #3512. Colten Wilke, a diver and commercial fisherman fascinated with this local legend, recruits an experienced commercial dive team to locate and extract this historic steam locomotive, 75 years later.
The expedition begins with a calculated look into the limited local records available, and a logistical survey of the mysterious lake, but the expedition really kicks into high gear when Colten finds out that the wreck’s last living survivor, a 99-year-old brakeman, still lives. Bill Chapman was just a young trainman aboard the locomotive on that fateful day in 1947, but his first hand accounts point the team into a general search area, as they prepare for the expedition. Armed with a mini-sub (ROV), industrial barges, a marine crew, and various sonar and GPS technology, the team embarks on a grueling search to battle the elements and search in depths of up to 1000 ft, which make Slocan Lake one of the deepest lakes in Canada. They face trials on the water, technical mishaps and an onslaught of naysayers as the expedition tests even the experienced members of the hardy crew. But as the search goes on, the search team stumbles upon a more intimate discovery surrounding the townsfolk who call these remote mountains in British Columbia home. They observe a dark valley forgotten over time, filled with tales of pioneer riches during a boom and bust silver rush, followed by a major lumber industry which has also since come and gone.
With hopes of salvaging the wreck to create a tourist landmark and reinvigorate the local town, Colten and his crew are pushed to the limit when they are put up against the clock on their expiring expedition. Then… suddenly, after yet another change in search tactics, the needle emergers from the haystack, out of the deep darkness in 700 ft of water. Canadian Pacific Railway’s Locomotive #3512, it’s tender, caboose and snowplow are found. The news of the discovery spreads fast, and a touching encounter with the descendants of the survivors reveals a deep emotional-well that remains in a town deserted by industry, and forgotten by the world.
Plunging like a spear into the heart and soul of a community, the sunken locomotive was an ominous foreshadowing of the decline of the once bustling western frontier town of Slocan, and the adventurers soon discover that they may have dredged up more than they bargained for…
$5 from every ticket sale will go towards The Revelstoke Railway Museum’s fundraising efforts for the restoration of the historically significant 5500 SD40 diesel locomotive.