I had a live interview today at C.J.E.M. 95.1FM (one of our local French radio stations) in Grand Falls. It went really well but coming out of the interview my phone wrang. Unknown number.....mmmm.....I answer and its a man identifying himself as the divers that found the wreck back in 2000. YES…the one I saw with my own eyes getting ready to dive back in September 2000, when I was doing the water main pressure tests nearby.
It was always a mystery of where they were from because this is a peice of information the landowner had forgotten to ask. We assumed they were from Edmundston but turns out they were from Moncton. During my short call with them they insisted the train is still resting in the bottom of the St-John River. This is what they told me:
- They found it in September 2000.
- Locomotive is on its side.
- It was not (at the time) covered in silt or buried.
- It was found exactly where it plunged all these years ago.
- It was also in fairly good condition for what it’s been through.
- All other cars of the train where gone except for the locomotive.
The year and month they told me was bang on with my personal eye witness account of when I saw divers getting ready to dive back then.
Why only the locomotive and no other cars present? The other lighter cars where likely pulled out or floated away but the locomotive was much heavier would have dropped like a rock. Current wasn't that strong as you can witness men standing on top of the debris piles in the broken bridge picture.
The Moncton divers also told me that the best time to dive in the St. John River is in the fall. The low water level and the lack of current result in better underwater conditions.
I suspect the urgency after the accident was the reconstruction of the bridge. The busted up locomotive recovery project was far from being the critical task. It doesn’t mean they didn’t take it out later but even that would depend on its condition. There were no environmental regulations back in those days.
On that note, we are going diving on Saturday and with this new information, I can’t wait to see what we will find? We now have one diver from Baker Brook (Luc Pelletier) five divers from Quebec, and possibly a few more in the days to come. The Moncton divers might also show up to give us a hand. We are also planning on having a BBQ at the Marina on Saturday. Gilles Laforest will have some festivities in conjunction with the search on Saturday. When you gas up at his station on Saturday, a portion of the proceeds will be going towards the local Children's Foundation. So let’s gas up and go hunting for a train!