Former CP Rail conductor seeks passengers from 1978 who came through in a time of need

Click to play video: 'Former Canadian Pacific Railway conductor searches for passengers who came through in a time of need' Former Canadian Pacific Railway conductor searches for passengers who came through in a time of need
WATCH: A chance encounter over 40 years ago has led a former Canadian Pacific Railway conductor on the search for a group of passengers who came through in a time of need – Dec 5, 2021

The search is on for a group of helpful Canadian train passengers who volunteered to remove a large rock from the tracks in 1978.

It was late October that year.

A Canadian Pacific Railway passenger train had just left the town of Golden, B.C.

1978 – A CP Passenger train passes through Kicking Horse Canyon, B.C. John Cowan

Upon entering Kicking Horse Canyon, a railway patrolman alerted the conductor that a large boulder was obstructing the track.

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John Cowan was the trainman on that coach and he explained who came to save the day.

“Eleven male passengers and this strong farm girl from Saskatchewan, all volunteered to help move the rock. They got off the train, hoofed it through the snow and these paying passengers helped us get this huge rock off the track.”

1978 – Large boulder obstructs CP Rail track. John Cowan

After about 20 minutes of heaving with a crowbar, the rock was cleared from the track and the train carried on through the Rocky Mountains.

Cowan happened to be an avid photographer and documented this rocky encounter with a collection of photos.

He gathered up the contact information of the rock moving crew and was able to send them the photos through the mail after they had all reached their destinations.

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1978 – CP Rail passengers pose for a photo after removing a large rock from the tracks. John Cowan

Cowan has recently had a book published that contains photographs from his 35-year career travelling Canada’s rail systems with CP.

Unfortunately for him, he lost all contact information for this group of helpful passengers.

Now he is on a mission to track them down and let them know their unusual story has made it into his book.

Cowan is hoping by getting more eyes on this story it might end up in front of someone who was either there that day or has heard the tale through a friend.

“I have every reason to believe this group of people is still around and I know for a fact they would be tickled pink to know that they are included in this book.”


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