Robert Coulson was dropping off a load of lumber in Calgary when he got the news.
All he remembers is being in shock when he heard that his 22-year-old son Robbie had been killed by a freight train in Hope.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I didn’t want to be in Calgary for another second. The company let me drop my trailer and I drove non-stop straight to Hope.”
Robbie was struck on the tracks near Fraser Avenue at about 1:50 a.m. on Sept. 5. The RCMP said there’s no evidence of foul play, but alcohol is believed to be a factor.
“Hope RCMP got a call from CP Rail that a westbound train had struck a male lying on tracks,” said Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth. “Nobody knows how he ended up on the tracks and the circumstances after that.”
Robbie graduated from Burnaby South Secondary and moved to Hope about two years ago to save money for acting school. He got a job as a host at Home Restaurant before starting work at the former Movie Gallery and Hope Video Store.
Robbie performed regularly in school productions as a teenager and worked as an extra on movie sets, which ignited his passion for acting and directing. He was also an avid video game player and skateboarder.
As a child, Robbie was obsessed with superheroes. His sister Leah still remembers the day she was saved from an attacking dog by her brother dressed in a red Superman cape and boots. The Rottweiler was about twice his size at the time, but Robbie was able to tackle the dog and return it to its pen.
Leah said she’s going to miss her brother’s positivity and outgoing personality.
“He was always extremely optimistic,” she said. “He was always smiling and laughing and going out of his way to make sure everyone was having a good time. He had this glow about him that kind of drew people to him.”