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'Train Wreck' access under review

CN police ticket pedestrians on Whistler train tracks south of Function Junction

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Tourism Whistler has removed an online profile recommending the Train Wreck site, and the trails leading to it, after learning that CN Police were ticketing people using the rail lines to access the area.

"Our 'Insider' blog is designed to give visitors local's tips," said Louise Walker, vice president of marketing strategy of Tourism Whistler.

"But in light of recent information we pulled the blog... and we are going to investigate if there are alternative access points to get (to Train Wreck).

"It would be a real shame (to decommission the area), because obviously Chili Thom's art work is there, but it will be interesting to see how else we can get to it — that will definitely be the best route to address the issue."

Walker is also hoping that anyone who was ticketed last week will contact Tourism Whistler.

"We would love to connect with the visitors who received the tickets," she said. "We don't want our visitors leaving, having had a bad experience."

Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said she was aware of the issue of people using the tracks to get to the site, as well as enjoying the surrounding trails on foot and by bike. The trails are not authorized and are on Crown land.

"We recognize that it has been a very popular trail," she said.

"I personally hear from people about the crossing-the-train-tracks issue to get to this site — I have heard from several people about this. We don't have it marked as a trail on our Whistler hiking and biking map just because there are issues with CN."

Wilhelm-Morden said the Recreation and Leisure Master Plan group will likely look at the issue as part of its mandate.

"...It may be that a dialogue will result from that work that is being done on that plan," she said adding the report will come to council in July.

"...Hopefully if they look at the Train Wreck site there may be some recommendations about how to start talking to CN about doing something.

"There are ways to deal with CN so let's see the master plan process work its way through and then hopefully we can start a dialogue. It is a very popular site."

In the late 1950s a freight train, believed to be southbound, derailed near the banks of the Cheakamus River just past Function Junction.

Wrecks were not a rare occurrence in Whistler in those times and as it was time-consuming and expensive to remove the derailed boxcars they were just abandoned where they lay. Over the years the boxcars have been painted by artists such as Chili Tom and graffiti designer Kris Kupskay. Now the boxcars explode with colour and are a popular destination on foot and by bike for locals and visitors alike.

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