British Columbia·Video

Overnight evacuation train brings more than 150 stranded travellers from Hope, B.C., to Vancouver

A late-night evacuation train carrying more than 150 stranded for days by British Columbia's mudslides and floods in Hope arrived in Vancouver around 2:30 a.m. PT.

Passengers had been stuck for days after mudslides shut highway

Over 150 weary passengers arrived in Vancouver around 2:30 a.m. PT Thursday morning on an evacuation train after being stranded in Hope, B.C., following mudslides that cut off highway access to the Lower Mainland. (CBC News)

There were a lot of smiles and a lot of snacking at Pacific Central Station in Vancouver in the wee hours of Thursday after a late-night evacuation train carrying more than 150 people stranded for days by mudslides and floods pulled in.

Most passengers on the train, which pulled in at 2:30 a.m. PT, had been staying in Hope, B.C., since Sunday, when disastrous floods and mudslides cut off some of the province's major highways.

Passengers on board who spoke to CBC expressed their gratitude to Canadian National Railway (CN) and the people of Hope, which lies about 150 kilometres east of Vancouver, for their generosity.

"It's like a godsend for so many people," said Faith Baker about the train that brought her and her partner to Vancouver, from where they intend to fly home to Vanderhoof, B.C.

WATCH | Passengers arrive at Pacific Central Station:

Special train arrives in Vancouver from flood zone

9 days ago
0:33
An emergency evacuation train arrived in Vancouver Wednesday night from Hope, B.C., with dozens of people who had been stranded after roads were cut off by mudslides and flooding. 0:33

She said the couple was sleeping in their car before billeting with a family in Hope. Baker said the people of the city — who have been helping hundreds of stranded travellers since the weekend — have been "awesome."

The Via Rail train stopped in Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Surrey before arriving in Vancouver.

CN spokesperson Jonathan Abecassis said the evacuation train is the result of efforts between Emergency Management B.C., Via Rail and CN.

Faith Baker, from Vanderhoof, B.C., decided to leave her and her partner's vehicle in Hope and take the evacuation train to Vancouver in order to fly home. She expressed her gratitude to CN for providing a train and the people of Hope for providing comfort in a trying time. (CBC News)

Erin Alefounder, the director of an international school for teenagers, was in the station to greet dozens of students who were trapped after a trip to the Rocky Mountains.

"It's been nerve-wracking," said Alefounder. "But now, we get to celebrate."

Many people who stepped off the train were soon digging into doughnuts and pizza. There were hugs and tears and, for many, a huge sense of relief.

"We were pretty anxious," said Baker, who has one flight to go before she is finally in her own bed.

Earlier Wednesday, B.C.'s transportation ministry announced the reopening of Highway 7 between Agassiz and Hope to westbound traffic only, to allow people to make their way back down the Fraser Valley toward Metro Vancouver.

B.C. declared a state of emergency following the unprecedented flooding that has displaced residents, severed highway access, trapped motorists and resulted in at least one death of a woman and thousands of livestock.

PHOTOS | Scenes of the flooding and mudslides in southern B.C.:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bridgette Watson is an associate producer and writer at CBC Vancouver. You can reach her at Bridgette.Watson@cbc.ca or @Beewatz on Twitter.

With files from Corey Correia and The Canadian Press

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