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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Legend of the Lost Engine

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There’s a bit of a legend in Montreal involving a locomotive sitting somewhere underneath the former Turcot Yards. While I’ve always liked the idea of an old train sitting around somewhere underground, I had my doubts that it could still be there. This snippet from a 1937 copy of the Montreal Star helps clear things up, claiming that it was eventually recovered. No word as to whether or not the body of the boy who “suffocated in soft, slimy mud” was ever recovered, though so maybe that’s still buried under there. Who knows? (Article source: City of Montreal Archives)



  1. Here is the legend as I found it.

    “Here in Montreal there are two Grand Trunk locomotives
    (probably 4-4-0s) that were lost in separate derailments in the
    old Turcot swamp during the last century. The good news is that
    given the soil conditions these locomotives should be well
    preserved. The bad news is that hundreds of thousands of cast
    iron railway wheels were used as fill to expand CN’s Turcot
    yard. This means that metal detectors are useless as a means of
    locating the locomotives.”

    I like this story except that that sounds like more steel wheels than the railroad would want to part with.

  2. Wow! Thank You for the old clipping regarding one of the sunken locomotives at Turcot!

    Some of these legends get a life of their own and continue eon after eon.

    There was a photo, supposedly at Turcot of a modern-for-steam CNR 6100 or 6200 series canted way over having stopped on a ‘soft spot’ the photo taken in the Thirties or Forties, but, I do not know if it did indeed actually fall over, as no photos have surfaced of it on it’s side.

    It does not take much different in respective rail elevations to overturn a locomotive.

    No doubt there are still TONS of ferrous metals beneath the ground at Turcot including old rail, pipes, brake shoes, knuckle pins, chain and the like.

    About ten years ago we were walking along an abandoned right of way that is now submerged in high water behind a dam, and thru erosion, a ‘brass’ from a freight car journal was protruding from the old road bed along with a train line cut out cock.

    I later found out their had been a wreck at location c. 1910, and this debris was ploughed under to get the line open.

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