Scuba divers are familiar with discovering sunken wrecks, but in Lake Superior recently the subject of a historic discovery was not a ship, but a locomotive that had plunged into the depths some 106 years ago.
For the first time since it went missing on July 22, 1910, humans laid eyes on Canadian Pacific Railway Locomotive 694 some 235 feet below the surface. After a collective effort by several hunters in search of the notorious steam engine, an underwater ROV camera shot pictures of the site and the remains of CPR 694.
“I think all of us on the boat were pretty blown away,” Tom Crossmon told the CBC of the discovery. “To think that we were the first people in 106 years to see something that hasn’t been seen. It’s pretty impressive, that feeling.”
It wasn’t as though the location of the site was a mystery. It’s a train after all, and everyone knew where it derailed. A rock slide across the tracks near Mink Tunnel drew the fatal blow to the mighty D10 steam locomotive just four years old pulling two box cars. Three engineers were killed in the accident, one of their bodies never discovered.
Although no one had ever put in the effort to locate the wreck, the local community and especially future rail workers remembered the accident. At the spot where the accident happens, the track runs along the edge of an embankment 60 feet above the water.
“We heard about this accident when we were in our 20s, when we hired on the railway,” Doug Stefurak of Schreiber, a retired CPR locomotive engineer, told the Superior Telegram. “It always fascinated me, and we used to go by that location pretty much every other day for years and years and years.”
While the wreck itself will not be likely raised because it’s too fragile, pieces of the train may be recovered in the near future.