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On February 8th 1986, VIA train No. 4 and CN freight train symbol 413 collided head-on at mileage 173.13 Edson subdivision, just west of the two-tracks-to-single-track switch at Dalehurst, around 11 miles east of Hinton, Alberta, with significant loss of lives.  Next year, 469 days later on 1987-05-23 to be precise, I visited the area to see the aftermath, then just a cleared-to-bare-ground opening in the forest where the wrecked equipment had come to rest, only one shard of blue-painted metal noted.  A simple dated cairn on the south side of the main track right near the collision point commemorated the spot.

By coincidence, on the day before the mishap I had seen VIA No. 4 as it passed through Port Coquitlam, so I felt a personal link to that incident, then years later realized it had occurred on an anniversary of my CP hire-on date.  One result of the incident was a widespread installation of locomotive event recorders, with which I became deeply involved for maintenance, downloading and data analysis in later years, so that link is strong for me.

See https://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.818270/publication.html for details.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Ken Perry all rights reserved.



Caption: On February 8th 1986, VIA train No. 4 and CN freight train symbol 413 collided head-on at mileage 173.13 Edson subdivision, just west of the two-tracks-to-single-track switch at Dalehurst, around 11 miles east of Hinton, Alberta, with significant loss of lives. Next year, 469 days later on 1987-05-23 to be precise, I visited the area to see the aftermath, then just a cleared-to-bare-ground opening in the forest where the wrecked equipment had come to rest, only one shard of blue-painted metal noted. A simple dated cairn on the south side of the main track right near the collision point commemorated the spot.

By coincidence, on the day before the mishap I had seen VIA No. 4 as it passed through Port Coquitlam, so I felt a personal link to that incident, then years later realized it had occurred on an anniversary of my CP hire-on date. One result of the incident was a widespread installation of locomotive event recorders, with which I became deeply involved for maintenance, downloading and data analysis in later years, so that link is strong for me.

See https://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.818270/publication.html for details.

Photographer:
Ken Perry [171] (more) (contact)
Date: 1987-05-23 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: VIA 6566 vs CN 5586 (search)
Train Symbol: VIA No. 4 vs CN 413 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Edson sub. (173.13) (search)
City/Town: Dalehurst (search)
Province: Alberta (search)
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Photo ID: 52521

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

Full size | Suncalc
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3 Comments
  1. Thanks for posting the photo Ken.
    It is a somber reminder of that terrible incident, and of the need to be fully aware and alert while on duty.
    I passed by the monument in the early morning hours of January 24, 2024, and then again on the afternoon of January 27, 2024 on my recent journeys on VIA #1 & #2. There was no mention of the incident or monument by the on-board crew.

  2. The crash site is still a large clearing. Spilled sulphur from the freight train seems to have salted the earth in places, the little yellow pellets can still be found and there are spots where nothing seems to grow.

    Paul, you would have passed another memorial cairn on your journey between Jasper and Edmonton, about 6 miles east of Edson. That one commemorates the August 12, 1996 crash at Yates between a westbound intermodal train and a runaway cut of cars which had rolled out of the Edson yard, killing three people.

  3. Yes, that one, and so many others across the system reminding those of us who spent our entire working careers in the railway industry of the dangers of being a railroader.

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