Thunder Bay·Video

Train found at bottom of Lake Superior, 106 years after derailment

The final resting place of a freight train that derailed near Schreiber, Ont., more than 100 years ago has been located.

'We were the first people in 106 years to see something that hasn't been seen,' Tom Crossmon says

The wheels of locomotive CPR 694 were seen for the first time in 106 years in July. Tom Crossmon used a remote operated vehicle to find the wreck in 60 metres of water in Lake Superior, near Schreiber, Ont. (photo credit: Pete Mesley)

The final resting place of a freight train that derailed more than 100 years ago near Schreiber, Ont., has been discovered.

Tom Crossmon, a Minnesota-based underwater recovery expert, found CPR 694 on the bottom of Lake Superior on July 22.

The train derailed on June 9, 1910, near Mink Harbour, when it hit a boulder on the track, Crossman said. It then dropped 20 meters to Lake Superior, and descended another 60 metres to the bottom of the lake.

"I think all of us on the boat were pretty blown away," he said 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."

Three men from Schreiber were killed in the wreck.

One of the bodies was never recovered.

Crossmon said he used a remotely operated vehicle — or ROV — fitted with a video camera, to locate the wrecked locomotive.

"We weren't able to be successful with sonar," said Crossmon."But we used the ROV and were able to find it using the video." 

Tom Crossmon, of Hermantown, Minn., beams on July 22 as he gets the first glimpse in 106 years of locomotive CPR 694. He used a remotely operated vehicle with camera to find the wreck. The freight train derailed near Schreiber, Ont., in 1910, taking three lives with it. (photo credit: Tom Crossmon)

Crossmon said they were able to pinpoint where the locomotive was resting with the help of information provided by a London, Ont., diver named Terry Irvine.

Irvine located two of the train's boxcars in 2014 and gave Crossmon the GPS co-ordinates to that initial find.

Crossmon said the locomotive was found close by, tucked into some boulders. 

It's too damaged to be raised, but some items may be removed, depending on permission from government, he said.

The museum in Schreiber has expressed interest in the locomotive's whistle and bell, Crossmon said, but as of yet, neither of those items have been located.