Mangled iron. Crushed trees. And loads of eye-popping graffiti.
That’s the pay off after hiking the 3-kilometre trail to ‘Train Wreck’, located on the outskirts of Canada’s resort town of Whistler.
After an easy stroll down a wooded path, across some train tracks and alongside the Cheakamus River, you’ll stumble into a train graveyard that dates back to the 1950s.
Here rusted hulks sit pinned between mammoth cedars — one even juts out a few feet over a small cliff. Many of the cars are in decent shape, making them the perfect canvass for some impressive urban artwork — it actually gives the place an oddly up-beat vibe.
If you want to see Train Wreck for yourself, you’ll have to chance a $115 ticket for trespassing — but that hasn’t stopped folks from checking out these modern relics…
Back in 1957 or 1958 a freight train derailed, sending its freight cars crashing into the forest. Yanking all 7 of the cars out of the woods was too time-consuming and expensive back then, so they left ’em.
Being so close to town, the place became a popular spot for nature strolls and late-night parties. And over the years, local graffiti artists turned the rail cars into an unofficial art gallery.
That attracted more hikers. Eventually, CN made it clear that it would start ticketing people who trespassed on the railway tracks to get to the site. At the moment, walking the track is the only way to get there.
So Tourism Whistler stop promoting Train Wreck. But by then, tons of people (mostly locals) had fallen in love with the place.
Now some residents want CN to build a new trail to the site — one that doesn’t require trespassing. BTW: CN has owned the tracks since 2004, but decided to speak up just last year.
But considering the swack load of people we saw strolling around the rusted hulks that Friday afternoon, the threat of a $115 fine hasn’t kept hikers away.
You can find more information about Whistler’s Train Wreck, including how to get there, in this article by Whistler Hiatus.
Been on a unique trek lately?
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— Dustin Walker