Derailment blocks Sinclair Mills, locals take it in stride

By Andru McCracken


According to CN Rail 37 grain cars derailed near Sinclair Mills, east of Prince George. Two crossings were blocked Friday afternoon until the wee hours of the night.

Sinclair Mills is a small settlement on the north side of the Fraser River, roughly 100km east of Prince George.

The derailment produced a “small fire on a rail tie” but it didn’t spread, said CN’s Jonathan Abecassis, from Montreal.

“There were no dangerous goods involved or injuries reported and there was no danger to public safety,” Abecassis said.

“CN would like to thank the first responders for their help and assistance and would like to apologize for the inconvenience caused.”

Lyn Mueller didn’t see the actual derailment, but she was caught on the wrong side of the tracks at about 4:15 pm on Friday in her truck.

The area is without cell service, but that didn’t prevent her from getting on with her day.

She said her friends live on a hill on the other side of the rail crossing. They noticed her truck parked near the tracks and knew from a passing CN worker that the level crossing would be blocked for 3 hours (turns out it took much more), so they drove down to the crossing to tell her.

She climbed up and over the train to get across.

“We all went over to their place, and they brought me home,” she said.

Mueller has a second truck at home, so she was able to pick up her husband and three farm workers who had also spent the day on the other side of the tracks – they also scrambled over the train.

“It wasn’t a big issue for us,” she said. “Next morning we all went and picked up our vehicles.”

Sinclair Mills is technically only 100km from Prince George, but Mueller said it’s more remote than most places in the Robson Valley.

“[In the Robson Valley] you don’t have to go 75km to get a jug of milk,” said Mueller. “It’s 100km to PG and there is nothing in between, no payphones, no cell service.”

Suffice it to say, everyone survived.

“You do what you got to do out here,” she said. “It didn’t shatter anybody’s world that I heard of.”

The trains started moving again on Sunday. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

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