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Two-lane traffic restored following train derailment

Investigations underway at Suicide Hill overpass south of Pemberton

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Traffic is flowing in both directions at the site of the train derailment on Thursday just south of Pemberton.

The highway between Whistler and Pemberton was closed for more than two hours as a result of the incident at the bottom of Suicide Hill.

S/Sgt Steve LeClair with the RCMP reported in a news release that three empty rail cars on a northbound train derailed. One of the rail cars fell from the overpass at the bottom of Suicide Hill onto the highway.

LeClair indicated the police first learned of the situation from a person who saw the derailment as it happened.

"There were no injuries as a result of this incident, however one vehicle suffered some minor damage from flying debris," LeClair wrote in the release. "The cause of the incident remains under investigation."

The incident occurred at about 1:50 p.m. and the highway reopened to single lane alternating traffic at 3:45 p.m.

Patty Carson of Pemberton said she drove through the area at about 9 p.m. Friday night.

“Both lanes were open and the crews were working on the bridge,” said Carson from her workplace at the Pemberton Esso station.

She added that the work at that time wasn’t having any impact on traffic flow.

According to Drive BC, there will be single lane alternating traffic on Monday, Jan. 7 in the area of the derailment.

Carson said she believes that scheduled delay may be associated with the incident on Thursday because she noticed damage to the train bridge that she believes needs to be fixed.

The scheduled delays are set to begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. on Monday.

Mel L'Heureux was driving south from her home in Pemberton to Whistler just after the train cars went off the rails. She saw a rail car hanging off the overpass.

L'Heureux turned around and drive home instead of continuing on to Whistler. She said things could have been worse.

"The cars seemed to be empty and amazingly enough no vehicles got pinned underneath it all," she said.

-with files from Cathryn Atkinson

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