Solving the mystery of the Carson Lake train derailment

Robert Fisher
Staff Reporter

BARRY’S BAY — Is there still a train engine at the bottom of Carson Lake?

Was there ever a train engine at the bottom of Carson Lake? Or is it simply a matter of local lore not unlike the Loch Ness monster in Scotland or other mythical creatures and sightings?

Frank Burchat, who’s a member of the Carson Trout Lepine & Greenan Lakes Association (CLTG) said the question came up about six years ago at an association meeting.

“One of the main members of the association was asked a question whether or not the train was still in Carson Lake,” said Burchat.

Rumour and local legend has it that in 1909, Aug. 16 to be precise, a Grand Trunk Railway train derailed passing the lake. Supposedly the engine, tender (coal car) and perhaps a couple flatbed cars went into the lake. Even that’s not certain though.

As the story goes, there was rain that washed out and loosened some of the track bed. The train derailed on the loose ground and slid down the hill into the lake. Newspaper clippings from the time confirm a derailment.

From the Renfrew Mercury Aug. 20, 1909: “There was a wreck on the Grand Trunk Railway on Monday through an unusual cause – a cloudburst. The accompanying torrent of rain rushing down a steep hillside undermined nearly a mile of track near Carson Lake…”

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