Although the train tracks north of the village of St. Louis, Sask., were removed years ago, the community still has a mysterious ghost train lighting the path where the tracks once were.
For local resident Edward Lussier, the legend of the ghost train was part of growing up in St. Louis.
“There’s certain things that your community is known for. It put us on the map. It made us feel proud,” Lussier said.
He estimates he’s seen the light 50 to 60 times.
“It was something to do in St. Louis. There’s not much else to do in a small town,” Lussier said.
The small village, located 35 kilometres south of Prince Albert, is home to around 450 people.
Although the tales have taken on different versions throughout the years, one main legend dates back to the 1920s.
It’s said a Canadian National Railway conductor was out examining the train tracks one night, when he was decapitated by a train.
Locals now claim to see a mysterious white light, and sometimes even a light that shines red.
“It was very prominent, the light coming through the bush. It was so obvious what it was. It actually did look like a train. It just was weird. The light would come out, and it would reach the bush line and it would fade away,” Lussier explained.
The railway’s records don’t go back far enough to confirm the event, but even when the tracks were removed years ago, the village’s famous light didn’t stop.
Local residents Les and Betty Rancourt have memories of seeing the ghost light that date back to when they were in high school.
“We did that all the time as teenagers growing up, then as we got older, and got married, then our kids started to do that,” Betty said.
“You’d always see the light coming, always. I don’t think I’ve ever gone, when I haven’t seen the light.”
Like Lussier, the couple estimates they’ve seen the light more than 50 times.
Les moved to St. Louis as a teenager and clearly remembers the first time he saw the light when he was 16.
“We came here and walked down the track and I saw this light, which looked like, pretty much a car light from a distance but interesting thing, it had a little red light that moved around it, up and down,” Les explained.
The site is located across the river, a few kilometres north of St. Louis in the rural municipality of Prince Albert. The land where the railroad once was is now private property, so the village hasn’t been able to promote it as a tourist attraction or put up any landmark.
“A lot of people do come to St. Louis asking where are the ghost lights,” said Marc Caron, the mayor of the village.
“It gets the name of St. Louis out there in a fun way and a mysterious way,” Caron said.
Throughout the years, sceptics have tried to solve the mystery. Some say the light is from vehicle headlights from a nearby road, but for local residents, they’re content leaving the mystery as is.
“It’s there. It’s weird. We have no idea what it is,” Lussier said.