Posts tagged #rail accident

Alpin Dewar

Dates: b. 1882 d. 9 July 1909

Cemetery Location: Block F, Row 9, Plot 26


On 9 July 1909, Canadian Pacific Railway engineer Alpin Dewar and his fireman J. Beattie were killed when their train left the tracks near Griffith Siding, east of Rogers Pass. The engine and several cars rolled down an embankment, striking a telegraph pole and throwing Alpin from the train. Nine other crewmembers on board escaped serious injury.

It was thought that the track may have expanded in the heat causing the derailment, but the Coroner’s inquest was inconclusive. The jury found no evidence to indicate the train was travelling at excessive speed or out of control. They also found that:

“the train was equipped with a sufficient crew, the said crew were giving proper attention to their duties, and safety appliances were in good working order.”

Alpin had been a long-term resident of Revelstoke and left behind his wife Annie and child. He was only 27 years old at the time of the accident, and J. Beattie, just 25.

Six weeks later, Annie’s brother Stewart McGuire drowned in Loon Lake, near Phoenix, B.C. According to his obituary, Stewart was a well-liked Revelstoke resident who worked at Bews Drug and Stationery Store.

David & James Lyttle (Little)


James T. Lyttle: b. 1867 d. 11 November 1898

David Lyttle: b. 1875 d. 3 April 1905

Cemetery Location:

James T. Lyttle: Block C, Row 6, Plot 24

David Lyttle: Block C, Row 6, Plot 30


On 10 November 1898, engineer James Lyttle suffered severe injuries in a freight train accident, 1½ miles east of Shuswap, British Columbia. He died the following day.

The explosion of the engine boiler, discovered about 20 feet from the overturned cars, was most likely the cause of the incident, which also killed brakeman A. E. Reid and injured one other crewmember.

The sympathy of the community was evident in the large numbers who attended the funerals of Lyttle and Reid. Covering the funerals of both men, the Herald newspaper wrote, “While railroading has its certain dangers, we are apt to forget that much of the loss of life and maiming of good men is largely unnecessary; that it is due to the neglect and indifference on the part of corporations.”

At the time of his death, James had a wife, Isabella J. Lyttle, and a young son, Frederick. Another son, James, had died at the age of one year, just a few months prior to his father's death.

Sadly, seven years later, James’s brother David Lyttle was also killed in a CPR accident, six miles from Golden. The freight train ran into a rockslide and was derailed, the locomotive and four cars going over the embankment into the Kicking Horse River below. Engineer Lyttle was caught under the wrecked engine and killed instantly, while Fireman Dickey had an arm and two legs broken (he later died in Golden hospital). The rock that had caused the accident was so large that it had to be blasted out afterwards.

David was just 30 years old when he died, leaving behind a widow and two young daughters.