I’m so excited! It sometime pays off to be persistent and stubborn because I think we just solved the mystery. With all the information below I have never been more convinced that the engine still rests at the bottom of the Saint John River and was never retrieved years ago. We now have very precise 3D map of the river bed. We can now clearly see the old underwater bridge piers and ice breaker piers. We can also clearly see a huge mound resting directly where the bridge collapsed. We can now overlap the iron anomaly onto this map and it happens to be located in the same area as the mound. We have even been able to confirm that there are two main metallic object showing up. The first is likely and old rail which was seen in the 2003/2004 dives. The second is much larger piece and is estimated to be in the order of 8 to 10 tons!!! Locomotive 508 was heavier than that but keep in mind the accident likely damaged the engine quite a bit and likely is not intact anymore (Likely also the reason they left it down there). It is also interesting to note that the brake pieces we found in 2003 were from this mound. The divers reported the sand mound between the piers but they were confused why the normal river bed was exposed boulders and gravel and yet the mound was made of mainly sand. When we retrieved those three pieces in 2003 one of them broke off of a much larger piece and we were unsuccessful retrieving it mainly because it was buried in the sand. Little did we realize then that we were tugging at the engine itself. The 2003 pieces were later confirmed to be from the locomotive braking system.
This is the task I set out to do 20 years ago. To solve the mystery was the main focus up till now but will there be interest in retrieving the engine’s remains? This question may be for another interview in the future depending on how much interest there is to do so or not. None the less it would be very cool to reunite the engine with the still standing CPR station nearby. Locomotive 508 never made it to its destination on June 21 1900 but it would be a cool attraction to visit if we ever do get them reunited again one day.
So For now enjoy our findings and maps. There is a lot of info in these. Enjoy. Hard to rebuke science my friends. Happy to have gotten to the bottom of it!
Follow your intuition but be ready to work for the reward!
Eric Ouellette, P.Eng
President Zip Zag Canada