CANOE – Residents of this small community are used to rumbling of trains only 10 metres from their homes, but what they heard in the darkness of Monday morning was something else.
"There was a loud bang," said Brian Mortensen, who lives about three houses back from the CP Rail tracks.
"At the same time you hear screeching metal and twisting up."
Only metres away from quaint homes that line Shuswap Lake just east of Salmon Arm were 11 rail cars, most of them dumping their load of coal on the grass and on 75 Avenue Northeast in Canoe.
The black material was tracked up and down the road by emergency and clean up vehicles.
CP Rail spokesman Kevin Hrysak said westbound coal train derailed at 5:30 a.m. Monday. Locomotives remained on the track and there were no injuries.
"This happened at the tail end of the train."
Eleven cars left the tracks, eight of them spewing coal on and around the rail line. One of the trains hit a rail storage shed, which was completely taken apart by crews with heavy machinery within a few hours. Rail cars were smashed and twisted.
The train hit a fire hydrant and crews were on hand to restore water service to residents. That was expected by 4 p.m. Monday.
Janice Ellis and Wes Carlson, who live only 10 metres from the tracks, where they sandwiched between the trains and lake, said they saw CP Rail workers check a section of track immediately in front of their house frequently during the past month.
"They were there every day," Carlson said.
They checked it out themselves several days ago and saw a hockey puck-sized piece of steel missing from one track. They wondered if that caused the accident.
Hrysak said CP Rail won't speculate on the cause, which will be investigated internally as well as by regulatory and safety agencies.
CP said the derailment caused only minimal delays on lines, as the rail company was co-operating with CN Rail to use alternative routes.
"I don't think we'll see any trains for four or five days," Carlson, surveying the trackside wreckage.
Another neighbour, Eko Dance, said he was awoken by a tremendous "bang," which he immediately knew was a train that left the tracks.
"It didn't surprise me," said the 11-year resident. "I knew it would happen one of these days."