Posts tagged #train collision

Railway Accidents of January 1929


Orville Thompson: b. 1905 d. 27 January 1929

Alfred Abrahamson: b. 1906 d. 27 January 1929

Bert Woodland: b. 1884 d. 28 January 1929

Jeffrey Griffith: b. 1909 d. 28 January 1929

Cemetery location:

Orville Thompson: Block F, Row 1, Plot 44

Bert Woodland: Block F, Row 1, Plot 48

Jeffrey Griffith: Block F, Row 1, Plot 40

Alfred Abrahamson: Block C, Row 12, Plot 28


There are three graves in one section of the cemetery, of three or four people who were killed in two separate railway accidents, one day apart.

On 27 January 1929, Orville Thompson, aged 24, and Alfred Abrahamson, aged 23 (son of contractor O.W. Abrahamson), died in a head-on collision between two freight trains at Lauretta, 17 miles east of Revelstoke. Visibility was poor due to a curve in the track.  Both men were head-end brakemen on their trains.

One day later on 28 January 1929, Jeffrey Hoban Griffith, aged 20, and Bert Woodland, aged 45, with a wife and family, died when the bridge over Surprise Creek (east of Rogers Pass) collapsed and their engine plunged into the ravine.

It was extremely cold, with temperatures of –40 F in Rogers Pass.  Fireman Griffith and engineer Woodland were in a pusher engine behind Engine 5779 with engineer Doug Fraser. Fraser got the head-end engine over the bridge, then felt a severe tug. When he felt both engines should be clear of the bridge, he went back to investigate. Firstly Fraser could only see clouds of steam, but farther down the ravine the pusher engine was visible.  He sent his fireman to Sturdee to have the operator report the accident, before he set off down the side of the ravine, but could not get close to the engine due of the heat. He climbed up the other side of the ravine through deep snow, back to the main line, and set off fuses as he trudged to Stoney Creek.