In this page we will set out the more significant railway accidents, derailments, collisions etc. that have occurred in the Ottawa area.
The area covers any railway within the boundaries of the following points:
Coteau, Rigaud, Hawkesbury, Montebello, Maniwaki, Waltham, Chalk River, Brent, Madawaska, the Kingston and Pembroke Railway down to Kingston and the St. Lawrence River from Kingston to Coteau.
Because of the great number of accidents it is impossible to list all of them so these are limited to accidents involving:
loss of life or significant injury to passengers or train crew
significant number of cars derailed
other significant accidents or incidents
accidents for which the Transportation Safety Board has produced a report.
Grade crossing accidents with highway vehicles have generally been omitted unless there is a significant number of fatalities as have trespassing incidents and accidents where employees have fallen off trains.
Set out below, in chronological order, is a general listing with hot links, where available, giving further information on the accident concerned. For items marked * a newspaper account is available electronically.
1881, August 13 - Locomotive derailed after hitting a cow, Prescott, Grand Trunk, 1 killed, 7 injured.
1883, February 6 - Collision at Kenyon Road, Canada Atlantic, 1 killed, 4 injured.1884, June 9 - Collision at Papineauville, Canadian Pacific, 1 killed several injured.
1883, December 20 - Passenger car derailed, turned over and fell down an embankment at Conroy's Mills, Aylmer Branch, Canadian Pacific. There were minor injuries.
1884, September 20 - Derailment at Renfrew, Canadian Pacific, 1 killed.
1885, January 24 - Passenger train derailment at Smiths Falls, Canadian Pacific, 2 killed, 2 injured.
1885, September 28 - Head on collision between a mixed train bound for Brockville and a freight train at Stittsville. After the collision the engine rebounded and, being reversed, ran back a couple of miles towards Bells Corners taking the telescoped cars along. There were no injuries.
1886, June 8 - Bridge collapse at Petawawa, Canadian Pacific, 1 killed, 4 injured.
1887, September 27 - A passenger train derails and burns when the track is destroyed by brush fires at Eastman Springs (now Carlsbad Springs), Canada Atlantic. All four passenger cars turned over and burned.
1890-18991891, August 12 - Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Canada Atlantic Railway.
1891, February 2 - Head on collision between two freight trains at Ballantynes, 6 miles east of Kingston, Grand Trunk. 1 dead, several injured, 2 locomotives and 18 cars derailed.
1892, March 30 - Derailment of Canadian Pacific "Soo" express at Hull, 2 killed.
1892, August 21 - Head on collision between two freight trains at Avonmore, Canadian Pacific, 1 killed.
1892, November 16 - Derailment of a work train at Stagg Creek, Ottawa and Gatineau Valley Railway, 4 killed.
1893, February 11 - The passenger train from Aylmer collided with a light engine on the wye on the approach to Broad Street station, Ottawa, Canadian Pacific. 1 injury. The baggage car was telescoped and there was much damage to locomotives and freight cars.
1894, September 24 - Derailment at Britannia, Canadian Pacific Railway.
1897, January 21 - Canada Atlantic wayfreight derails at an open switch west of Barrys Bay, 3 killed, 1 injured.
1897, June, 16 - 25 freight cars destroyed at South Indian, Canada Atlantic Railway when a freight train ran into empty cars which fouled the main line. No injuries.
1897, July 7 - A Hull Electric freight train collided with a Hull Electric car full of picknickers on the wye at Aylmer. 1 injury.
1897, August 3 - 13 freight cars and the locomotive tender derailed at Goshen, Canada Atlantic.
1897, October 14 - Passenger train collides with a freight train at Stittville, Canadian Pacific, 5 killed, 1 injured.
1898, March 1 - Rear end collision of two freight trains, 3 miles east of Smiths Falls, 2 killed.
1898, June 10 - Ottawa and New York Railway work train derailed at Embrun, 4 killed.
1898, July 24 - Two passenger trains collide head on 1½ miles east of Pembroke, Canadian Pacific, 9 injured.
1898, December 4 - CPR freight trains runs into a CAR train at the diamond crossing at De beaujeu (St. Polycarpe).
1899, February 17 - Derailment of a passenger train at Green Valley due to a broken rail. 10 injured.
1899, January 1 - A Pembroke Southern train jumped the buffer at the Pembroke station and the engine ploughed across the yard and landed about twenty feet over the sidewalk. There were no injuries.
1899, March 14 - A Pembroke Southern train derails at Beggs Farm, near Pembroke, and ran into a field. The coaches were partially overturned.
1899, August 8 - St. Polycarpe, Canada Atlantic Railway.
1900-19091904, February 9 - Canadian Pacific head-on at Sand Point.
1901, June 14 - an axle breaks on the tender of an Ottawa and Gatineau Valley Railway train to Gracefield at Hull. No injuries.
1903, September 27 - The west bound Soo express collides with a freight train at Hurdman. Four injured.
1903, November 9 - A westbound Canada Atlantic passenger train derails completely at the switch at Graham Bay.
1904, February 2 - A passenger train from Prescott collided with a light engine while crossing the engine round house yard at Ottawa West. Although the train locomotive was derailed there were no injuries.
1904, February 5 - 16 freight cars and a tender derail at Killaloe, Canada Atlantic. No injuries.
1904, February 27 - Colonist car derailed on the Toronto Express, three miles east of Smiths Falls, Canadian pacific Winchester subdivision. 5 injured.
1905, January 16 - The three freight cars and the combination passenger car on the Brockville and Westport mixed train derailed and rolled down an embankment half a mile west of Lyn. There were no serious injuries.
1905, September 11 - Rear end collision between the Soo Express and the Continental Limited at Hammond, Canadian Pacific M and O subdivsion.
1905, November 21 - Derailment in the yard at Smiths Falls, Canadian Pacific Railway, engineer killed.
1906, September 9 - Freight train rear ended on the Grand Trunk at Renfrew.
1907, March 1 - Head on collison between a passenger train and a freight train at Mountain, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision. 2 killed, 3 injured.
1907, April 13 - Passenger train derailed at Sand Point, Canadian Pacific Chalk River subdivision due to a broken rail. 3 injured.
1907, June 4 - Freight train derails where track crew is replacing a broken rail two and a half miles west of Sand Point, Canadian Pacific Chalk River subdivision, 1 killed.
1907, June 22 - Head on collision between a freight train and a light engine at Carlsbad Springs, Grand Trunk. 1 killed.
1907, September 11 - Collision between a freight train and a extra train of passenger cars (empty) at Plantagenet, Canadian Pacific M and O subdivision. 1 killed 1 injured.
1907, November 12 - Head on collision between two freight trains at St. Polycarpe, Grand Trunk. 1 killed.
1908, February 15 - Derailment at Hawthorne caused by broken rail, Canada Atlantic, 2 killed 7 injured.
1908, February 28 - The "Winnipeg" passenger train derailed completely at Payne (Eganville Junction), Canadian Pacific Chalk River subdivision. Four cars overturned.
1908, September 21 - Canadian Pacific passenger train runs through an open switch at Aylwin, Maniwaki subdivision.
1908, December 3 - Head on collision Pembroke, Canadian Pacific.
1909, September 9 - Work train 1565 collided in the yard at Monklands, Canadian Pacific, Winchester subdivision, 1 killed.
1910-19191911, April 15 - Canadian Pacific train runs into a washout near North Wakefield, Maniwaki subdivision.
1912, March 8 - Collision between a passenger train and a freight train on the Canadian Pacific near Hull.
1912, October 2 - Bay of Quinte Railway, Kingston.
1913, January 12 - Rear end collision, Prescott, Grand Trunk.
1913, February 27 - Derailment at Maxville, Alexandria subdivision Grand Trunk.
1913, June 25 - Derailment of a Canadian Pacific passenger train at Mckellar near Ottawa.
1913, August 16 - Rideau Canal swingbridge, one killed.
1914, January 22 - Derailment at Meath, Canadian Pacific, Chalk River subdivision, 1 killed, 11 injured.
1916, May 3 - Toronto to Montreal night fast express was derailed by a broken rail at Winchester, Canadian Pacific, Winchester subdivision. No injuries.
1916, September 6 - Head on collision at Apple Hill, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision. 1 killed.
1916, December 27 - Rear end collision at De Beaujeu, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision, 6 killed, 5 injured.
1917, June 13 - A freight train is derailed at Mountain, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision by a broken rail. I killed.
1918, May 18 - Head-on collision near Smiths Falls, fireman killed. No details.
1920-19291921, April 30 - Derailment at mile 119.7 Beachburg subdivision, Canadian National. No injuries.
1920, September 23 - The "Trans Canada Limited" collided with a freight train at Alfred, Canadian Pacific M & O subdivision. The 2 baggage and express cars and 7 freight cars derailed but there were no injuries.
1922, January 21 - Derailment at Ellwood, Canadian Pacific Prescott subdivision, 1 killed, 21 injured.
1924, October 23 - Head on collision at Deschenes, Hull Electric Railway.
1925, February 26 - Head on collision in front of Canadian Pacific Glen Tay station, 1 killed, 29 injured.
1926, October 27 - Westbound transcontinental train derailed three cars at Alice, Canadian National Beachburg subdivision.
1928, 30 January - Westbound special train conveying President Cosgrave of the Irish Free State is derailed at a switch at Limoges, Canadian National, Alexandria subdivision. The Road Foreman of Engines, who was running the locomotive, was killed, nine injured.
1928, April 29 - Engineer, fireman and brakeman of Canadian Pacific freight train are killed when their train derails 14 cars after hitting a rockslide at Bolingbroke, Belleville sub.
1928, July 25 - Head on collision at Sand Point between a train carrying horses and men to Petawawa Camp and a freight train. 2 killed and five injured.
1929, June 5 - Train derails and runs into the siding at Alexandria, Canadian National, Alexandria subdivision and demolishes the west end of the station.
1930-19391941, March 31 - Inkerman, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision.
1930, August 28 - Locomotive and four cars of the Imperial Limited derailed at Pembroke, Canadian Pacific Chalk River subdivision. 1 dead and 4 injured.1940-1949
1931, February 8 - three die and two injured (all occupants of the car) when a car is hit by the Imperial Limited at St. Hyacinthe street crossing, Hull Beemer, Canadian Pacific, M&O subdivision.
1931, December 11 - the Canadian National transcontinental passenger train crashes into the rear of the Canadian Pacific transcontinental passenger train in Laurier avenue yards, Ottawa. Ten injured.
1936, September 30 - the night Pool train from Ottawa to Toronto derails three cars near Manotick, Canadian Pacific Prescott subdivision. No injuries.
1936, December 21 - a passenger train derails two wheels on the locomotive on a crossing west of Wyman, Canadian Pacific Waltham sub. No injuries.
1941, December 3 - Pool train 32 derails on the curve at Hurdman, the engineer is killed and 47 injured.
1942, January 4 - 6 fatalities in a car at a crossing at Churchill Avenue, Westboro. (Early Days in Westboro Beach by Robert Granger, pages 187-188)
1942, July 18 - C.P.R. eastbound freight 904 collides with passenger train No.21 at Glen Tay, 12 people injured slightly.
1942, December 27 - Almonte, Canadian Pacific, Chalk River subdivision, 35 killed, 207 injured.
1943, December 30 - Steam pipe breaks on a locomotive of a freight train at Alexandria, Canadian National Alexandria sub. Engineer killed, fireman and brakeman injured.
1944, 26 February - An eastbound passenger train derails seven express cars and two coaches when it runs into 35 cars derailing from a westbound freight train on the adjacent track, at Cardinal, Canadian National, Kingston sub. The passenger engineer was killed and the fireman slightly injured.
1944, December 22 - A freight, headed by locomotive 6218, rear ends another freight on the bridge at Casselman. No injuries.
1945, October 6 - Six killed in a crossing accident at Main Street, Chesterville, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision.
1946, May 10 - The "Dominion" hits a vandalized switch at Renfrew, Canadian Pacific, Chalk River subdivision.
1947, January 10 - Three cars derail from a broken wheel on a Canadian National passenger train near Brockville.Eight passengers injured, one seriously.
1948, January 24 - Canadian National Montreal - Ottawa passenger train derailed two cars. No location details.
1948, July 8 - a Canadian Pacific locomotive No. 853 and nine freight cars run away on the Cornwall Street Railway tracks. Four injured.
1948, August 26 - a railway crane topples over a trestle at the Hydro Electric Company's plant at Fitzroy. One fatality.
1950-19591950, March 18 - Canadian Pacific - Ashton.
1951, January 20 - Canadian Pacific passenger train derailment at Churchill Avenue, Ottawa.
1951, February 11 - Canadian Pacific freight train derails ten cars at Pembroke from broken archbar. No injuries.
1951, February 16 - Canadian Pacific passenger train to Maniwaki is hit by a tank truck laden with fuel oil. No injuries and no escape of fuel.
1953, October 11 - Derailment of a Canadian Pacific passenger train on the Castor grade, Maniwaki subdivision.
1953, December 30 - The last car of Canadian National passenger train No. 1 catches fire at Pembroke. I fatality and one injury.
1954, April 14 - Three people killed in a collision between a Canadian National freight train and an automobile at Wales, Kingston subdivision.
1955, March 26 - Passenger train split the switch and derailed at Hull Beemer, Canadian Pacific, no injuries.
1955, July 18 - Locomotive and 25 freight cars derail at Maxville, Canadian National Alexandria subdivision.
1955, October 15 - Canadian National passenger train 6 hits a car at a grade crossing between River Beaudette and Coteau (Kingston sub.) and derails 6 cars. 41 injured and taken to hospital.
1956, May 9 - Head on collision in a siding at Brockville between two passenger trains. One passenger fatality.
1957, February 28 - Canadian National Continental hits a truck at Bells Corners, Beachburg subdivision, and derails two diesel units and ten passenger cars. No serious injuries.
1957, May 8 - Truck runs into the side of the Canadian Pacific Prescott Mixed at Prescott.
1958, April 13 - 13 cars derailed half a mile east of Morrisburg, Canadian National Kingston subdivision
1958, October 14 - Thurso and Nation Valley Railway train runs into a washout.
1958, December 6 - Canadian National passenger train derails about one and a half miles east of Vars after hitting a broken rail. Ten people were injured.
1959, January 26 - Derailment west of Aylmer, Quebec, Canadian Pacific Railway.
1959, April 23 - twelve freight cars and a caboose are derailed in a switching accident at Broad Street, Canadian Pacific Ottawa West yard.
1959, May 20 - 30 cars derail at Dunrobin, Canadian National Beachburg subdivision.
1959, July 23 - Canadian National Vancouver-Montreal train, No. 4 Continental, jumped an open switch a quarter of a mile west of the Canadian National station at Alexandria, Alexandria subdivision. Passengers escaped injury as the engine plowed into 5 freight cars on the siding.
1959, September 14 - A wayfreight side swiped the diner of the pool train, #559 at Brockville, Canadian National, Kingston subdivision. 3 killed, 14 injured.
1959, October 28 - A family of four is killed in a collision with train #34 at the Canadian Pacific Hunt Club Road crossing.
1959, December 20 - 27 cars derail at Lancaster, Canadian National, Kingston subdivision.
1960-19691964, August 21 - Passenger train derailment, Leonard, Ontario, Canadian Pacific Railway.
1960, January 28 - 15 cars derailed when a freight train hit a tanker-transport truck at Morrisburg, Canadian National Kingston subdivision. No injuries.
1960, October 14 - 11 cars derail in a freight train near Malwood, Canadian National Beachburg subdivision.
1960, December 30 - four people killed in a vehicle-train collision on the Canadian Pacific Carleton Place subdivision in Britannia.
1961, October 13 - 11 cars derail when a car plows into the rear of a freight train at Carlsbad Springs, Canadian Natinal Alexandria subdivision.
1962, January 7 - "The Dominion" derails at St. Eugene, Canadian Pacific, M and O subdivision and derails the three diesels (8474-1902-1910) and several cars.
1962, January 24 - a freight train derails at Hyndford, Canadian National Renfrew subdivision and demolishes the station.
1962, July 4 - locomotive on a passenger train catches fire at Portage du Fort. No injuries
1963 April 17 - three locomotives and 27 cars derailed when a CN train hits a bread truck at Portage du Fort, Beachburg subdivision.
1967, February 2 - A CNR freight train hits a double oil tanker truck at Woodroffe Avenue, Beachburg subdivision. The truck burst into flames which covered the locomotive.
1967, May 11 - an overheated axle bearing caused the derailment of 18 cars just east of Avonmore, Canadian Pacific, Winchester subdivision.
1967, May 25 - Canadian Pacific train #85 strikes maintenance of way equipment at mile 57.3, Lachute subdivision and derails two locomotives. No injuries.
1967, August 13 - Four killed when a dayliner train hits a car between Gatineau and Point Gatineau, Canadian Pacific Lachute subdivision.
1969, January 21* - 34 cars derailed between Carleton Place and Almonte, Canadian Pacific Chalk River subdivision. This was caused by a broken wheel on the fifth car behind the locomotives.
1969, June 14* - A seized wheel bearing derailed 34 cars at Morrisburg, Canadian National Kingston subdivision.
1970-19791977, October 8* - Monkland, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision. 43 cars derailed as a result of a broken axle.
1970, May 1 - 25 car derailment at Cornwall, Canadian National.
1970, December 29* - 10 car derailment of Canadian National eastbound "Super Continental" at Dunrobin, 13-15 injuries.
1971, January 22 - 23 cars derail just east of Long Sault, Canadian National Kingston subdivision.
1971, December - 21 cars derail at Long Sault, Canadian National Kingston subdivision.
1972, January 7 - 22 freight cars derailed on the CNR Kingston Sub east of Long Sault.
1972, February 11 - 36 cars derail at Morrisburg, Canadian National, Kingston subdivision. There was a release of propane gas and the resulting explosions were heard in Cornwall. It was allowed to burn for nearly four days.
1972, February 28 - an oil tank truck hits a train and bursts into flame at Carp, CNR Renfrew subdivision. Three cars derailed, one killed.
1972, August 11 - A truck hits a dayliner, RDC-1 No. 9066, on train 132 at highway 8/148, Calumet, Canadian Pacific Lachute subdivision, 3 killed, 26 injured.
1973, January 18 - A truck hits train #85 at Papineauville, Canadian Pacific Lachute subdivision. This caused a derailment and 300 people were evacuated as a precaution against a possible chlorine leak.
1973, April 11 - CP through freight from Montreal to Ottawa, #85, was hit by a truck at the east end of Papineauville, Quebec at 1030; 3 units were on the train; the third unit, 8565, was buried and caught fire from cars landing on top of it. A house, shed and a trailer were destroyed by flames and thousands of gallons of heavy oil were spilled into a creek which flows directly into the
1974, January 18 - Westbound train 903 derailed a few hundred feet west of the tower at Bedell, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision. Eastbound train 974 ran into the wreckage. No injuries.
1974, June 5* - Eastbound freight train #76 derailed the last 16 cars of its 73-car train at Almonte. The cars ended up over the bridge into the Mississippi River, and hit the flour mill at the highway 44 crossing.
1974, June 20 - a westbound 117-car train derails 29 cars at Apple Hill, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision. A chlorine tank car was derailed but did not leak. No injuries.
1974, December 3 - Canadian Pacific two-car passenger train derailed at Gatineau, six injured.
1975, June 26* - "The Canadian" hit a tar truck at the highway 17 crossing between Haleys and Cobden, derailing the entire train consisting of 2 locomotives, 1409-1412 and 8 cars. No injuries.
1975, September 23 - a Montreal-bound Turbo train catches fire at mile 42.5 Kingston subdivision. No injuries.
1976, July 5 - CP Train 904 derailed 30 cars 4 miles east of Perth on the Belleville Subdivision.
1976, November 1 - 22 cars derailed at the Highway 43 crossing in Monkland, Canadian Pacific, Winchester subdivision.
1977, February 6 - 40 cars derailed while passing through Dalhousie Mills Quebec, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision. One car hit the Commercial Hotel. There were no injuries.
1977, July 10 - 17 freight cars derailed west of Finch, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision.
1979, May 29* - a Via Turbo caught fire near Morrisburg, Canadian National, Kingston subdivision. 210 passengers were evacuated from the train, and the fire took 2 hours to extinguish. The next day, the Turbo trains are pulled from service.
1979, September 19*- An eastbound freight train hits a tractor-trailer carrying logs at Wemyss Ontario, west of Perth, Canadian Pacific Belleville subdivision; 24 cars and 3 units derailed
1980-19891984, June 21* - VIA #44 with unit 6901and four coaches hit an open switch south of Moodie Drive, diverting the train into Kott Lumber siding. The locomotive hit a carload of lumber. 27 passengers injured.
1980, June 7 - 15 car derailment near Cornwall, Canadian National Kingston subdivision.
1981, January 13 - a car is "popped" out of a train on the Beachburg subdivision.
1981, February 10 - 19 cars derailed on CNR #214 at Bristol, Quebec, Beachburg subdivision, believed to have been caused by a broken axle. (Branchline February 1981).
1981, March 19 - Five volunteer firemen are killed in a crossing accident with CNR #532 at Iroquois, Kingston subdivision, m. 98.9 (Branchline March 1981).
1982, June 26 - VIA train 63 derails last two cars at high sped at m. 111, Canadian National, Kingston subdivision, near Prescott. The cars were dragged for about a mile before overturning into the ditch. (Branchline June/July 1982, p. 3)
1982, July 10 - 24 cars derailed at Mountain, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision.
1982, September 9 - 10 cars of CNR #397 derailed near Coteau, no injuries, line reopened in 24 hours. All VIAs detoured from Brockville to Smiths Falls and east .(Branchline December 1982, page 7)
1983, February 18 - 15 cars of CNR #396 derailed east of Cornwall. All traffic diverted through Smiths Falls. (Branchline March 1983, page 2 and April 1983, page 7.)
1984, June 4 - 14 cars of CPR #904 derail at Apple Hill, Winchester subdivision.
1984, August 14 - 30 cars of Canadian Pacific train #482 derail at Chesterville, Winchester subdivision. No injuries.
1985, February 24* - 27 cars derailed at Petawawa, Canadian Pacific. 500 people evacuated.
1985, December 31* - Canadian Pacific train #505 with 12 units derailed 8 locomotives and 36 cars while passing Sucker Lake, mileage 31.5 on the Belleville Subdivision. There is still a container in the lake from this mishap.
1986, April 2 - 20 cars of 147-car CNR Train #399 derailed just west of the crossing at mileage 73.9 (Bergin) near Long Sault, Ontario, blocking both tracks of the Kingston Subdivision for almost 2 days. 18 of the cars were loaded with fibre board rools, one carried aluminum ingots, and one was empty. A burned-off axle was identified as the cause of the accident.. A fire broke out as the derailed cars were ignited by butane tanks for switch heaters. (Branchline, May 1986 page 13)
1986, July 14 - 11 cars of train #214 derailed at Achray, Ontario, on the eastern fringe of Algonquin Park, Canadian National Beachburg subdivision. (Branchline, September 1986, page 16).
1986, August 24 - 12 cars of a 131 car CNR freight derailed near the Montreal Road overpass in Kingston. (Branchline, October 1986, page 17).
1987, March 28 - 15 empty flat cars on CNR train #318 derailed at Queens, just east of Kingston, Ontario, blocking both tracks. (Branchline, May 1987, page 19).
1988, June 22 - 23 cars of 134-car CNR train 393 derailed at Coteau East tying up both main lines for a day and a half. (Branchline, July/August 1988, page 19).
1990-19991996, August 29 - 36 car derailment at Dalhousie Mills, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision. Toxic leak, 200 evacuated.
1991, January 13 - 23 cars derail near Carlsbad Springs, Canadian National Alexandria subdivision.
1991, January 13 - 33 cars derail 40 km. north of Kingston, Canadian Pacific Belleville subdivision.
1991, January 25 - 24 cars of an eastbound grain train derail at Dunrobin, Canadian National Beachburg subdivision.
1991, January 31 - LRC club car on VIA train 37 lost a wheel and derailed at M&O Junction. The rear set of wheels on the locomotive also derailed. No injuries.
1991, February 6 - A VIA Rail Canada Ottawa to Toronto train comes close to a head on collision with a CP Rail switching movement just outside Smiths Falls. It was recorded on this YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1q9eBaWY3k
1991, June 19 - 18 cars of Canadian National train 337 derailed at Portage du Fort on the Beachburg subdivision.
1993, April 7 - 19 cars of train 482 derail at Mountain, on the Canadian Pacific, Winchester subdivision.
1995, April 20 - pedestrian fatalities at mile 125.25, Brockville, Canadian National Railways, Kingston subdivision. Transportation Safety Board report R95D0055
1996, August 29 - 36 cars derail at mile 32.6, Dalhousie Mills, Canadian Pacific, Winchester subdivision. Transportation Safety Board report R96H0021
1997, January 30 - truck side frame failure, DuPont Chemicals, Maitland, Canadian National Raiwlays, Kingston subdivision. Transportation Safety Board report R97T0075
1997, August 13 - load shifted striking highway overpass, Bedell, mile 102.9, Canadian Pacific Railway, Winchester subdivision. Transportation Safety Board reportR97H0008
1998, March 1 - 8 cars derail at Lyn, mile 127.54, Canadian National Railways, Kingston subdivision. Transportation Safety Board report R98T0042
1999, June 5 - Crossing accident at Bellamy, Canadian Pacific Railway, Brockville subdivision, 2 fatalities. Transportation Safety Board report R99T0147
1999, July 14 - 16 cars derail in front of the Morrisburg station, Canadian National Kingston subdivision.
1999, August 27 - 6 tank cars run away on Westco spur, Cornwall, Canadian National Railways, mile 69.4, Kingston subdivision. Transportation Safety Board report R99D0159
2000 to 20092005, July 4 - CN freight #786 derailed 51 empty tank cars near Prescott, Canadian National Kingston subdivision. No injuries. The Transportation Safety Board report R05H0013
2001, January 16 - 26 cars derail at Mallorytown, Canadian National Railways, Kingston subdivision. Transportation Safety Board report R01T0006
2002, December 20 - 10 car derailment at Cornwall, Centre Road, Canadian National.
2003, May 21 - 25 cars derail on the site of the station at Green Valley, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision, west of the Highway 34 crossing. Transportation Safety Board report R03T0158
2004, October 6 - Crossing collision, Castleford, Ottawa Valley Railway, Chalk River subdivision, 1 fatality Transportation Safety Board report R04H0014
2005, February 17 - crossing accident at Brockville, Canadian National Kingston subdivision. Transportation Safety Board Report R05T0030
2005, February 19 - a broken rail derails eight cars on a 95 car train at Cotieville, 2 km west of Renfrew, Ottawa Valley Railway Chalk River subdivision.
2005, May 2 - Runaway and main track collision, Ottawa Central Railway, Maxville, Alexandria subdivision. Transportation Safety Board report R05H0011
2007, March 12 - eastbound CN freight derails 32 cars at the Queens switch, Kingston. No injuries.
2007, August 25 - some13 cars on CP container train #230 are derailed at Tichbourne by a broken rail or rail turnover. No injuries.
2008, July 15 - VIA passenger train #60 hits a flatbed truck carrying a bulldozer which had bottomed out and unable to move on a crossing at Mallorytown. The locomotive and baggage car were derailed, minor injuries. The Transportation Safety Board report R08T0158
2009, February 6 - 20 cars of a CP freight train derail at Dalhousie Mills, Winchester subdivision. No injuries. Transportation Safety Board Report RD09D0012.
2009, May 10 - The Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield excursion train derailed one car at a crossing near Larrimac, QC. The train was running at 2-3 mph, no injuries.
2009, August 16* - VIA locomotive 902 on passenger train 46 catches fire at Richmond, Smiths Falls sub., closest crossing McBean Street. 334 passengers were evacuated without injury, ten treated for insect bites and stress. Both engineers were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. The Transportation Safety Board report R09H0010
2010 to date2010, March 2 - CN train 309 derails 27 cars at Morrisburg, Kingston sub. There were no injuries but VIA trains between Montreal and Kingston were diverted via Ottawa on that day.
Ottawa Citizen 28 July 1882
The half past eleven freight train on the Brockville branch, when one mile south of Smiths Falls, collided with a special locomotive and tender coming from Brockville. Engineer Burns was killed. Some ten freight cars were damaged as well as both locomotives.
A special carrying Sir John Macdonald arrived shortly after the collision, but returned to Ottawa after an hour's delay.
Brockville Recorder 29 July, 1882
Only having a few minutes in which to give notice of the disaster on the C.P.R. yesterday before going to press, our report was gained huriedly and was therefore quite inaccurate. It was nearly six o'clock this morning before anyone reached the scene of the accident, and not until that hour could accurate be obtained concerning the affair.
It now seems that Burns collided with the freight train, and not the express as stated yesterday, and he was running a single engine out at the time. He left here about 11 o'clock with a special engine carrying a white flag cleared for Carleton Place. He stopped at Irish Creek, and was there, it is said, given a clearance for Smiths Falls. About 1½ miles this side of Smiths Falls, while rounding a bad curve, he met freight train No. 39 with 21 loaded flat cars, and though the special was running comparatively easy at the time, the smash which followed is described as terrific. The whole cylinder of the special was torn from its platform and both engines left the track. They met just over a culvert at the crossing and as the engines fell into the hole the loaded cars piled one above the other into the wreck. Of the whole train of 21 cars, 16 were smashed, 12 being so completely ruined that they will likely be burned beside the track today. They included rolling stock of the C.P.R., New York Central, Grand Trunk and Utica and Black River Railways. Both engines were also torn to pieces, the headlights being compressed together into a space only a few inches in thickness.
The first thing to do after the accident happened was to look for casualties, and search was at once made for the missing. All hands turned up except Engineer Burns, and in three or four minutes the poor fellow was found beneach the ruins of his engine, still alive, but so horribly burned and crushed as to leave no doubt as to his having met his death blow. When the engines came together he had been thrown against the boiler head and there held while the whole contents of the heated boiler poured from the broken gauge glass directly over his body, liberally parboiling him from the waist up. He was taken out and conveyed to a farm house where he lingered in great agony for about 9½ hours, when death ended his sufferings.
Joe Burke, the fireman of the special, jumed when he saw the freight ahead and escaped almost miraculously. He says that as soon as the freight was sighted he told Burns of his intention to jump. Burns said nothing but at once applied the brake to the tender and seemed ready to jump as well. Just before Burke took the ? he saw Burns give the brake lever another turn as if to still further check the speed and then all was drowned in the crash. Horbridge, of Ottawa, the driver of the freight, stuck to his post and was unhurt. His fireman, young Kelly, jumped and only received a few scratches. The brakeman, George Cavanagh, of Smiths Falls, also jumped and was bruised about the head and shoulders. Kelly, the conductor, also esacped injury.
Of course, to everyone, it is apparent that someone had blundered, but just upon (rest illegible).
Citizen July 31, 1882. A careful investigtion into the accident leaves no doubt that the affair was the fault of the unfortunate engineer Burns, the only person who fatally suffered as a result of the accident.
Mr. Burns, the engineer, was at the time of the accident, returning from Brockville with his engine having gone to that place with a special. He had special instructions to keep the train under his charge clear of all trains and obeyed these orders until he left Irish Creek, about seven miles from Smiths Falls. Here he totally disregarded what had been told him, and instead of waiting there for the regular freight from Carleton Place then almost due, should pass him he pushed on at a high rate of speed in the expectation of reaching the next station before it had left.
From the Ottawa Citizen, 26 January 1885:
Railway FatalityCorrect details of the smash up on the C.P.R.
How the accident occurred - Names of the killed and injured - the company's losses estimated at $59,000.
on Saturday last the people of this city were startled by the news that a serious railway accident had taken place on the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway at Smiths Falls and as a result two parties were killed and several others seriously injured. All sorts of rumours were current throughout the day as to the exact nature and cause of the accident. None of these hitherto published, however, are correct. From investigtions made by Citizen reporters, it has been found that the
FACTS OF THE CASEare substantially as follows: The No. 2 fast express which was due at Smiths Falls at 4.02 in the morning arrived sharp on time. All went well until they arrived at the west switch of Smiths Falls Junction. On arriving there, from some cause one of the axles of the baggage car was broken, the consequence was the
ENGINE BECAME DETATCHEDfrom the train and proceeded along the main line, the baggage car left the track and pitched into the water tank utterly demolishing it. The suddenness of the shock caused the first and second class passenger cars to also leave the track in every direction. The two sleepers, however, were not derailed. The whole affair took place in less time than it takes to describe it. A scene of great confusion at once ensued, and the terrified passengers hurried out of the cars as best they could, which, not many seconds later were in flames. The origin of the fire is not known. The rumour which gined currency to the effect that it proceeded from the stove in the water tank is incorrect, as there had been no fire there for some time previous. It must have originated either from the stoves in the cars or from the coal oil lamps, the probability being that it was from the latter, as the stoves are of the latest and most improved pattern, constructed in such a manner that the coals can scarcely escape from them in the case of their being overturned. As a result of the accident two of the persons who were on the train at the time were
BURNED TO DEATHand a number of other parties were more or less seriously injured. The names of those who lost their lives are Baggage Master M. McDonald of Toronto and a man named Bonsecour of Ottawa. Both of these were in the foremost car, which was a combination baggage, mail and express car. Mr. McDonald was in charge of the Express Department. Mr. Bonsecour, who had had his leg broken at the shanties and was returning to Ottawa, lay on a stretcher in the same car. Both these unfortunate men were entirely consumed by the flames before they could be rescued.
(details of other injured)
Mr. H.B. Spencer received a telegram informing him of the disaster at 4.47 a.m., twenty minutes later
A SPECIAL TRAINleft the Union station in this city under his charge for the scene of the accident for the purpose of carrying the passengers and their baggage to their destination. It arrived here at 9.35 (sic) the same morning and by noon the track was clear and traffic resumed as usual. The mails and nearly all the baggage were consumed. Too much credit cannot be given to Mr. Spencer for the prompt manner in which he acted on this occasion.
More details of rescue
MR. A.F. SHERWOODSuperintendent of the Domiinion Police who was one of the passengers in the Ottawa sleeper, said that only a very slight shock was perceptible in that car. It stopped suddenly, but not in such a manner as to alarm the inmates. The first indication to them that an accident had occurred were the screams of the terrified passengers in the forward cars. Mr. Sherwood , together with most of the other passengers in the sleeper, imagined that some person had been run over by the train. On going out a terrible sight met their gaze - the shrieks of the terrified passengers, the lurid glow of the flames from the burning cars, the bleeding faces of the passengers who had escaped from them, and the small lake caused by the water which had escaped from the broken tank, all combined to form a picture which will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it. The only other Ottawa passengers on the train, so far as could be ascertained, were Mr. Cole of the National Tent and Awning Company and Mr. Dewe, Chief post office inspector.
From the Ottawa Journal of 9 June 1886:
Our Pembroke correcpondent writes: "On hearing the sad news of the accident which occurred this forenoon at Pettewawa (sic) a station ten miles west of Penbroke, I drove to the scene of the disaster (through the kindness of the editor of the Standard). Arriving at the end of a ten mile drive we found the scene of the accident as complete a piece of train wrecking as it is possible to imagine. The whole of the longest span of the new three-span bridge crossing the Pettewawa river had collapsed, and all its iron work, trestling etc. lay in a mangled heterogeneous mass in the water of the rapids flowing underneath the bridge, the same having been mixed up with the remains of the steam shovel and derrick, and also of a couple more flat cars; against the solid stone pier on the westerly end of the demolished arch or space stood the "conductor's van" on end, one end of the van in the rapids, the other leaning against the stone pier just as it rushed over. The bed of the rapids was totally blocked with wreck, at the eastern pier of this demolished arch, with one end also in the waters, and the other reared up against the stone pier, stood, also on her end, boxcar No. 1762, whilst over the edge of this eastern pier hung boxc ar No. 2918, litterally hanging over the impromptu precipice, as it were, half way coupled to car 312, which had escaped and there was standing on the sound span. I would at a cursory glance estimate the length of the gap caused by the accident to the bridge, at say about 120 feet. The bridge was a solid looking structure of iron in three spans and fitted into solid stone piers. The masonry did not show the lease sign of the shock it received. Interviewing the who found poor Williams' corpse, I learned his hat was on his head, one hand in his pants pocket, and a leather mit on his right hand, and it was evident he was about "braking" as he was instantly hurried to his cruel end. John Holyoakes was the driver on the train, John Eldred, fireman, both escaped injury, Stewart Gthompson, in charge of the steam shovel, was badly bruised and cut. A young frenchman from Ottawa, name, unknown, had his left arm badly smashed. Dr. Dickson amputated it at the shoulder this evening. Three tramps said to be stealing a ride were badly injured. Mr. C.W. Spencer and Mr. Harry Spencer arrived with a special about 5 p.m. and investigated and commenced with a gang of men to start clearing the wreck being engaged with two engines. After the inquest, Williams' body will be taken to the station by Lodge 128, A.F.& A.M., of which he was a member.
There is an account of the inquest in Journal 10 June 1886.
The evidence showed that the derrick of the steam shovel caused the accident by catching the bridge overhead --
Verdict "That the deceased conductor, Frank Williams, came to his death in consequence of a railway accident at Pettewawa Bridge on Canadian Pacific Railway on the 7th instant, said accident having been caused by the deceased having failed to take the necessary precautions in approaching the bridge in time as required by his running orders."
National Archives PA 210194
A smash up in which one man was killed and another fatally injured, and many were badly shaken, occurred on the Canadian Pacific Railway near Hull station yesterday afternoon.
The "Soo" train from Montreal, due in Ottawa at half past three, ran through an open switch, wrecking the engine and tender, baggage express, and two colonist cars and killing the fireman Johnson Gloden of Montreal.
The train, being a through train, passed through Hull station without stopping, running at about 25 miles an hour. About two hundred yards south of the station is a switch. At that point begins an embankment that runs to a height of some 20 feet. The switch was open, and the train dashing along left the rails and thundered down the embankment. The engine tore over the earth and snow for some two hundred feet and them dug deep into the mucky soil.
Both driver and fireman stood to their posts. The baggage car, rising up, broke its fastenings to the tender and over turning the engine and tender, was carried through the air and dropped to the ground some fifty feet further on from which place it ploughed through the ground some fifty feet further, the express and postal car following.
1892, November 16 - Derailment of a work train at Stagg Creek, Ottawa and Gatineau Valley Railway, 4 killed.
This accident occurred before this part of the line to Maniwaki was opened.
From the Ottawa Journal of 17 November 1892:
Late last night Coroner Graham of Hull received a message from Farrellton on the Gatineau Valley railway informing him of an accident by which four lives are said to have been lost and requesting him to come up and hold an inquest.
The accident spoken of occurred to a construction train which was engaged in ballasting the newly constructed portion of line north of Farrellton.
A FEARFUL PLUNGEEither from a cave in or from some other cause then unknown, the train plunged over the iron bridge which spans Stagg creek, falling a distance of 30 feet and carrying to death the engineer, Soloman Wilson, fireman, R. Meagher, brakeman, W, Blakey, and a boy whose name would not be ascertained at the time of writing.
Stagg creek is about six miles from Farrellton and is a small sluggish stream emptying into the Gatineau river. A good iron bridge spans the creek.
Engine and thirteen cars, another engine was employed in shoving the loaded train and the engineer of this engine did not perceive anything was wrong until rounding the curve.
Entire train was wrecked - piled up on top of the locomotive.
From the Ottawa Journal of Friday 18 November 1892:
The Gatineau Valley railway officials stated to the Journal today that the road at the scene of the accident Wednesday will be immediately repaired and construction trains will be running again by Tuesday. The engine will not be raised until the water has dried up. There would not be sufficient hold for raising machinery to work and further deaths might be caused. The trucks of the flatcars and the good iron will be taken out and the rest of the wreck burned. Section men are busy all along the road strengthening parts that might have been weakened by the recent rains.
Inquest on the bodies of the four victims.
It was an appalling sight that met the gaze yesterday at the scene of the smash up at Stag Creek on the Gatineau Valley railway, when the special car with coroner Graham, railway officials and newspaper men drew up about one o'clock yesterday afternoon. In the chaotic mess lay piled up the ruins of what had once been an engine and tender and 13 flat cars. On one of the cars less demolished than the others were laid out the bodies of the four victims, who had been recovered a short time before. The faces were covered by handkerchiefs and the clothes besmeared with the soft sticky clay from which they had been dug. All presented a ghastly sight. Driver Sol Wilson was found in the cab of the ill fated engine which had been literally embedded in the mud. His hand was on the lever. The poor fellow, as shown by the story of the rear engine, had neither time to stop the train or jump for his life.
SCALDED AND SWOLLENThe face and chest presented a pitiable sight. They were parboiled by the escaping steam. His watch when opened by his brother-in-law, Mr. Ab. Hudson, was seen to have stopped at just 10 minutes past four. Robert Meagher, the fireman, and John Hammond, the oiler, were dug out near the engine. Both were close together. Hammond's body was the worst spectacle of the four of them. It was terribly scalded and swollen. The trip on which the unfortunate young fellow met his death was the first he had made. For several weeks he had been working as a section hand on the upper end of the road, and the night before had been taken on the engine as an oiler and cleaner. The morning of the accident he came down with the gravel train which passed the ill-fated spot without apparent danger and on the return trip met his death. No one around knew anything of him or his parents but it was rumored that he had deserted from one of the batteries. If friends don't claim his body today it will be buried in Beechwood. Meagher, the fireman, belonged to St. Catharines, N.B., and the remains will be sent home.
William Blakely, the brakeman, whose home was in Aylmer, was found between the upper end of the tender and the rails, between which his head had been jammed. Death must have been instantaneous. One side of his head had been badly gashed. John Blakely, a younger brother of the deceased, went up on the special. He wept bitterly when he saw the bodies.
MIRACULOUS ESCAPEHugh McCann, one of the brakemen, had a most miraculous escape. He was hurled into the middle of the debris yet came out without a scratch. At the time he was on the seventh car back from the engine. According to his own statement, he was looking back towards the rear engine, when he saw the driver jump out of the cab. But before he could think of anything, much less jump himself, he was hurled forward. There was a crashing noise, and that was all he knew. When he came to, he was on the top of one car with the bottom of another just above, but not close enough to crush him. Half unconscious, he worked his way out from the ruins.
Sam Douglas, the conductor of the train, who was on one of the rear cars, jumped when he heard the first crash, but, in falling, broke his left arm and got badly shaken up. He is now at one of the hotels at Farrelton. Alex White, a brakeman, also jumped but was unhurt.
A PICTURE OF DESOLATIONThe wreck presented a picture of desolation. The land had slipped completely from under the rails a distance of 150 feet leaving them suspended in the air. Twenty feet or more below, in a bed of thick mud, thrown on its side, lay the engine, considerably smashed, with the tender partly on top and also turned over. In sliding, the land had carried half a dozen or more trees with it and these lay uprooted, adding to the uncanny look of the wreck. Only three flat cars and the rear engine remained on the track. Everywhere around the wreck it was mud, mud, mud. Where the debris lay had been shallow water, and when the thirteen car loads of ballast were dumped into it a vast bed of liquid mud was formed. When the engine with three of the victims went down the slope it was completely buried in the yielding gravel. Only one of the driving wheels was left uncovered to show its whereabouts. As one of the road hands said, the occupants of the cab had just enough time to know they were done for and that was all.
Where the accident occurred there was a sharp curve leading to the bridge, which was about 100 feet further on, and approaching it there was a down grade to always have the engine shut off steam. But just at the point of the slide the road was level.
THE INQUESTFully two hundred persons, sectionmen, special hands and farmers from the surrounding district were on the spot when the special arrived. The coroner had a jury picked from among the farmers and the following were empanelled; Wm. Farrell (foreman), Wm. Moore, Patrick Rice, Henry Beckford, David Brown, John Skillen, Wm. Maxwell, Robt. Reed, J. Cahill and S. Brooks. The jury viewed the bodies at the bottom of the slope and the inquest was then opened in the car. The coroner had to use as a desk the lid of one of the coffin shells which had been taken up by Mr. Maynard Rogers, the undertaker. Sergeant Moylan of the Ottawa police force acted as special constable.
Hugh McCann, the brakeman who had the wonderful escape, as narrated above, told of it. In addition, he said the road at that point seemed solid and good before the accident. That day he had made two other trips. He believed the accident was caused by a landslide, but he had not seen any washouts anywhere along the line. It had been raining heavily off and on for two or three days. He had only been on the road for about a month, but believed the track had been laid for several months.
He did not think any means could have been taken to prevent the accident. That part of the road was not considered any more dangerous than any other part.
To Mr. Hudson, representing Wilson's family. - The train was running about 15 miles an hour. If a flagman had been placed at that point the accident might not have happened, but they had no reason to suspect this part.
John Brennan, roadmaster, said that he had walked over this point at 10 in the morning and all seemed right. The section hands were also over it about 10 minutes before the smash. To his knowledge there had not been any slides around there before. Trains had passed every day for two months past. They were only construction trains, as the road at that point had not yet been accepted by government for passenger traffic. The accident, he believed, was caused by the heavy rains though above the track no water had gathered. A good drain carried it away to a culvert some 100 feet north of where the earth gave way. The road there looked just as solid as anywhere else. He thought the land had started to slide before the engine went on to it.
To Mr. Hudson. - Fifteen miles was the limit of speed allowed. The second engine was on to push up the grade north of the bridge. That day they had three cars less than usual. Where the cars slid was solid earth, there was no filling.
Mr. Rowley, superintendent of construction, stated he had not considered that point of the line any more dangerous than anywhere else.
Thos. Roy, civil engineer in charge of the section, said that part had been graded since May. It had always been quite dry along there. There was no springs around to douse the earth. The roadbed was cut out of the side of a hill. He believed the smash to be purely accidental.
Mr. Hudson asked if the accident might not have been averted if the roadbed was built 30 feet deeper into the side of the hill, as it would not then have slipped from under the tracks. The witness said he could not answer for what might be.
Conductor McGinnis, in charge of the rear engine, had not heard any whistle for down brakes. Steam was off at the time, and the rear engine stopped of herself just near the edge of the slip. He had been over the ground twice that day and saw nothing to indicate danger.
John Cleary, engineer of the rear engine, owned by the C.P.R. swore positively he heard a whistle for down brakes. The next second he saw the front engine go down. He said to his mate "- were down on the dump" and as he did so he reversed.
Mr. Hudson - From this testimony it is plain to be seen that the slide was there before the engine came to it.
Witness - When the front engine began to go he saw the track rise up in front, Driver Wilson was too close to keep his engine from going in. He would not have had even time to jump.
Mr. W.D. Harris, chief engineer of the road, stated the location of the section had been approved by government and built according to government specifications. The accident was caused by a landslide which might have occurred anywhere.
This was all the evidence taken and, after some five minutes consideration, the jury brought in a verdict that the accident and death of the four men was "caused by the landslide under the railway in the township of Lowe on the 16th inst. No blame be attached to anyone."
As soon as the bodies had been viewed the coroner gave permission for burial and they were then taken to the special car and embalmed by Undertaker Rogers of Ottawa and Undertaker York of Wakefield, the latter looking after Blakely's remains. All of the bodies were considerably composed, the result of exposure to water and air.
The casket for Driver Wilson bore the Masonic symbol.
At Union depot, Blakely's friends were present.
1894, September 24 - Derailment at Britannia, Canadian Pacific Railway.
From the Ottawa Journal 24 September 1894:
ONE COW KILLED A SCOREThere was a wholesale butchery of cattle on the C.P.R. track at Britannia at an early hour this morning through the derailing of a stock train from the Northwest.
The train was composed of about twenty-five cars which were filled with more than three hundred head of cattle bound for the English stock market.
As the train was passing through Britannia at twelve minutes past three this morning the engineer noted a cow lying on the crossing only a few yards west of the station. He whistled several times but the animal refused to move, and as the train was travelling at the rate of fifteen miles an hour, it could not be controlled in time to avert striking the animal.
STRUCK THE ANIMALWhen the engine struck the cow, instead of being knocked off the track, the animal got under the cow catcher. It was dragged along under the engine for about one hundred yards rolled up in a ball. Then the cow got before the trucks of the first car of the train and soon the front trucks of this car were wrenched off, and the car and seventeen others that followed filled with their living freight were thrown into the ditch.
AN APPALLING SCENEThe scene which followed is described by an eye witness as appalling.
The groans of the dying cattle could be heard fully a mile away. So pitiful were their moans that they caused one to shudder. Many of the cattle were killed outright, their bodies being horribly mutilated. Others were pinned beneath the timbers of the wrecked train in dreadful suffering.
The train hands and those in charge of the cattle had nothing else to do than to cut the throats of these animals.
Other cattle that were injured beyond hope of recovery were killed on the spot that their flesh might be bought by the city butchers and thus the owner of them recover something that he would not have done had they been left to die.
- - -
City butchers informed. Track cleared shortly after one o'clock this afternoon.
255 head of cattle belonging to Mr. Gordon Ironside, Calgary and three carloads of forty-three belonging to Mr. J. McMullen of Prince Albert. McMullen's shipment was on the rear of the train and was not affected. Of the Ironside shipment, twenty-two were killed, four butchered and three disabled.
The locomotive, No. 282, was rerailed with jacks.
|Ottawa Journal 7 July 1897: A freight train on the Hull Electric Co.'s track drawn by electric motor No. 1 ran into a passenger car filled with picknickers from Bank street Presbyterian church Sunday school bound for Queen's Park, Aylmer this forenoon. The accident took place at the "Y: near Aylmer station. The motor crushed in the end of passenger car No. 15. Mrs. James Dalglish of Slater street was sitting in the centre of the car and received injuries, chiefly about the knees, but not serious. All others escaped unharmed. The motor was derailed. Also in the Shawville Equity, July 17.|
Ottawa Evening Journal, Thursday 14 October 1897
Shortly after five o'clock this morning the C.P.R. Toronto "Cannon Ball" Exress coming to Ottawa and a freght train ran into each other about three miles this side of Stittsville. A bad wreck resulted.
Five are dead and one is badly injured.
The dead are:
Robt. Peden, mail clerk Ottawa.
Jas Hastey, brakeman on the express, Carleton Place.
James Tierney, of Cantley, Quebec, was on the freight and supposed to be stealing a ride.
Engineer, Frank Laurendeau, Carleton Place, of the express is under the wreck and supposed to be dead.
James Fleming of Cantley, Quebec, who was in freight. Not known how he was on.
Engineer McCuaig of the freight Carleton Place. Leg broken.
Mail clerk Birchall and Expressman T.C. Hewton were badly shaken up.
The accident as far as can be learned was the result either of a misunderstanding or non-obeyance of orders between the night telegraph operator and the conductor of the express.
Marion McNish, the night operator at Stittsville got instructions to cross the express and a freight at Stittsville.
Why the express was not held at Stittsville as orered has yet to be ascertained but the fact is it was not held and thundering on along the downgrade met half of the freight that should have crossed it at the Stittsville switch. The result was a terrible collision. At the point where the accident occurred the express runs at a high rate of speed.
Stittsville is at the top of a long steep grade. Just past Stittsville the ground rises slightly and then descends so that a train going east cannot see a train coming west.
The freight train was long and heavy.
The engineer of the freight divided his train in two. He had taken one section to the Stittsville siding and was on the up-grade with the second section when the "Cannon Ball" express came tearing down the grade and quicker than it can be written there was a head-on crash, cries of the injured and wreckage strewn all around. The collision occurred near the Hazeldean crossing.
The wreck was piled up 30 feet high. The two engines are badly damaged and the baggage car on the express and three freight cars wrecked. The scene was a sad one to witness.
As soon as the crash was over and a crowd gathered doctors were set for in all directions. Soon there were on the scene Dr. Richardson of Hazeldean, Dr. Channonhouse and Dr. Danby of Richmond. They worked hard to aid the injured.
Jumped for Life
As soon as the express appeared in sight, Engineer McCuaig of the freight put on the air brakes, but as soon as he saw a collision was inevitable he and the fireman jumped for their lives.
Pinned in the Wreck
Brakeman Hastey of the freight, who had been riding on the engine, did not jump. When the crash was over he was found pinned down by the leg in the wreck of the freight engine. He was conscious. He suffered terribly but lived until 8.30.
The poor fellow could not be taken out. Mr. S. Mann of Stittsville was near him when he died.
"Get the stuff off me", he said weakly, and I will be all right. He then swooned and shortly afterwards breathed his last.
No Time to Think
According to the story of Engineer McCuaig, the trains did not see each other until they were less than 8 car lengths apart, and there was no time to think. As soon as he saw the express coming he told the fireman and brakeman, he says, to jump and jumped himself, getting clear. The air was misty at the time and still comparatively dark.
Descriptions of narrow escapes by crew members
Pen Picture of the Wreck as seen by Journal Reporters
The wreck is a terrible looking scene. Two engines lie bottoms together, with the debris of broken freight cars and tenders piled upon them. They are in a ditch on the south side of the track, in a swamp full of bulrushes.
The telegraph poles on both sides are bent away from the track, the wires broken and down.
The track runs through a swampy land and on both sides are low bushes. The two engines are lying together in a ditch on the south side of the track. The tender of the exress train was half way through the baggage car and the front of the second baggage car is also badly smashed. Of the passenger train, only the engine left the track while the freight engine lies beside the passenger engine and the freight cars are piled in a heap on the north side of the track. Two of the freight cars are smashed to pieces, while parts of the trucks are broken and twisted altogether out of shape. The trees beside the engines are covered with earth for twenty feet back from the swamp and right up to the topmost limbs, while the fences look as if they had been built of mud.
The track where the engines met has been bent considerably, while the sleepers are broken and many will have to be renewed.. While the train hands at noon today are cleaning up the debris the wreckage was so entangled that many ties were further broken. Trains will likely be moving along the line before five o'clock this afternoon.
Ottawa Evening Journal Friday 15 October, 1897. Extensive coverage: Victims taken home, Inquest opened.
McNish in Custody
Operator McNish of Stittsville is being kept in custody at the C.P.R. station. The crown authorities have not yet decided to place him under arrest, but he is being held for the present. He is only nineteen years of age and feels very keenly over the accident. An expression of opinion that he is responsible for the accident should be withheld until the verdict of the coroner'sjury is given.
First Train Through
The first train to get past the scene of the wreck was the Brockville mixed which arrived at Ottawa at three o'clock yesterday afternoon about six hours late. --
Ottawa Evening Journal Saturday 16 October 1897.
Borne to the grave.
This accident occurred before the Ottawa and New York Railway was opened to traffic. It turned out to be the most serious accident in the entire life of the line.
From the Chesterville Record of 16 June 1898:
Four men killed.
Gravel train derailed with terrible results.Accident occurred near St. Onge in Russell county.
Twenty five cars reduced to splinters.
Russell June 11. At 6 o'clock last night a construction train on the New York and Ottawa Railroad, with 22 cars loaded with gravel, left the track at Embrun station.
The accident is supposed to have been caused by an open switch. The engine turned over on its side and ten cars piled up and were smashed into tinder.
Four bodies were taken out of the wreck. They are Mr. Greenley, conductor, Mr. Crysler, fireman, and J.W. Rombough and Greenley carmen.
At 8 o'clock this morning it was impossible to say if any more are under the wreck.
Ottawa June 11. The accident caused quite a stir around the city and was discussed on all sides, although no authentic particulars can be obtained. The Free press sent a representative to the scene and at a late hour this morning he telephoned that the accident was most appalling Only the four bodies had been removed from the wreck and it was not thought any others met death, although an escape after the sudden pitch in occurred would have been impossible to any on the ill-fated train.
From information received, the train was ditched by an open switch near St. Onge, which is about seven miles from Russell village. The train was known as No. 3 and was returning from the pit to Longfield on the last run of the day at the rate of nearly 20 miles an hour. The train consisted of an engine and 25 heavily laden cars. Just where the switch is situated there is a steep embankment and down this the engine plunged at full steam with the unfortunate victims. There was no chance for escape. In a twinkling the cars crashed together and went on top of the locomotive and the poor fellows who were in the cab. The three nearest cars were reduced to splinters and all piled up in a miscellaneous mass on top of the wrecked engine. The scene which followed was frightful. No assistance could be rendered the helpless ones.
Work of rescue started at once by the railway hands, but it was hours before the bodies were recovered.
The bodies of William Rombough, the cable man on the train, and Fireman Crysler were recovered about 8 o'clock but that of Conductor Greenley could not be found until 2 o'clock this morning and by that time two car loads of gravel had been shovelled away. The man's head was badly smashed and his legs broken, Fireman Crysler's body was found near that of Rombough. It was frightfully bruised. A brother of Greenley's who was also on the train was hurled head first into the ditch and one of the cars crushed him. He was killed instantly.
Engineer Murray, as the train approached the switch, notices something was wrong and quickly reversing the brakes, jumped for his life. He escaped with a few bruises and a scalp wound. Jacob Brown, one of the train hands, had one of his hands frightfully crushed and Manson Hollister an ugly scalp wound. Both are in serious condition and fears are entertained for their recovery.
Greenley, a short time ago, moved from the east to Ottawa, and has a wife and two sons here.
Crysler was a resident of Crysler and was a single man.President Hibbard, when seen in referrence to the accident said ""I know very little of the details. There is no telegraph office at Embrun and the nearest telephone is three miles away, so that particulars are meagre. It appears that a construction train belonging to the contractors Messrs. Balch and Peppard was going south. It consisted of an engine and some twenty empty flat cars. The switch at the north end of Embrun siding had been tampered with, possibly by someone who knew very little about it. The wheels of the engine caught in the opening, with the result that the engine was derailed and ten flat cars piled upon one another. The cars were entirely demolished and the engine partially disabled. Fireman Crysler of Crysler; Conductor Greenley, of Ottawa and two brakemen, whose names I do not know, were killed. This was the contractors train, the company had nothing to do with the accident and we are in no way responsible for it. As I said before it was purely on account of some one tampering with the switch.
An inquest into the cause of the wreck on the Ottawa and New York road was held at Embrun. Dr. Ferguson, of Cumberland, presided as coroner, and Duncan McDiarmid was foreman of the jury. There was quite an array of legal talent, R.A. Pringle representing the contractors, and C.H. Cline of Cornwall and C.B. Rae of Chesterville, the friends of the victims. After hearing all the evidence the inquest was adjourned to meet again on 16th instant in the village of Russell. An order was issued for the interment of the bodies.
There was also a piece on the death of Frank Crysler, the only son of the reeve of Crysler and a description of the funeral.
1898, December 4 - CPR freight trains runs into a CAR train at the diamond crossing at De beaujeu (St. Polycarpe)
Ottawa Journal of 5 December 1898.
A CPR freight train pitched into a CAR freight train at St. Polycarpe Junction yesterday morning and wrecked an engine, a number of freight cars and the station house at the junction. Several CPR men were somewhat injured. The CPR engine is a total wreck, several freight cars are ruined and six loaded cars belonging to the CAR were damaged. One car loaded with hay was completely demolished and two others loaded with structural iron for the Hawkesbury pulp mills were very badly damaged. None of the CAR train hands were hurt.
The CPR train from Toronto to Montreal had to come by way of Ottawa yesterday.
This is the account in the Ottawa Citizen of Monday 5 December 1898:
Sunday morning at 3 o'clock a C.P.R. train going east ran into a Canada Atlantic freight which was crossing the diamond at St. Polycarpe Junction, cutting though it and knocking part of the train off the track.
The engine and part of the C.P.R. train also left the track, and struck the station, moving it about three feet. The tracks at that point were blocked for some time yesterday, but the C.A.R. company had everything removed for the passage of the Montreal train leaving here yesterday morning at 8 a.m.
The exact cause of the collision is unknown but was probably caused by the failure of the working of the C.P.R. signals. The C.A.R. train was moving slowly, and was almost stopped when the other engine crashed through the centre with the above results. The trainmen on the C.P.R. engine had a narrow escape but fortunately no one was injured.
Although the papers reported that eight died in this wreck, the total subsequently appears to have risen to ten. This was effectively the end of racing between the CPR and CAR, although on 17 July 1901, the largest 4-4-2 Atlantic was tested over a measured mile at 92.75 mph. However the benefits of this speed were apparently never reflected in running time to Montreal.
It also may have been the last service for the almost brand new Pullman-built car 300, which, although repaired, was apparently destroyed in the Elgin Street car shop fire of 21 March 1902 and never again appeared on the roster.
Here is a newspaper account:
Eight dead in wreck.
Ottawa Aug. 9. The Canada Atlantic fast train, which should have arrived here at noon today, jumped the track at St. Polycarpe Junction and Fireman Geo. McCuaig and a sectionman and a second class passenger, whose name cannot be ascertained, were killed.
It is supposed that the train jumped the track at the switch.
Engineer Orr was slightly injured and five passengers more or less injured.
The accident was the first since the inception of the road and General Manager Chamberlain was at a loss to imagine the cause of it.
The track at St. Polycarpe is as level as a floor and there are no ditches. The track is said to be about the best piece of road on the system and is constructed with 73 pound steel rails. The fast express from Ottawa to Montreal, which leaves the Central Depot at 8.40 passed over the same track ten minutes before the ill fated express, crossing the Montreal train at Coteau Junction.
The wreck train left Montreal at 9.40 o'clock and was due at Ottawa at 12.10. It was the fast express and was made up of a baggage car, a second class, a first class, two parlour cars, a sleeper and the Intercolonial parlour car.
Five of the cars left the track, the Intercolonial car and the sleeper being the two rear cars remained on the rails.
So far as learned, the baggage car, the second class and the engine were piled together in a heap. All the passengers that were injured were in the second class car.
The news spread around town with wonderful rapidity, and the most exaggerated reports were prevalent.
Hundreds of people kept the telephones ringing and called at the station to get news.
Friends of the excursionists, who went to Ste. Ann de Beaupre, were especially anxious as it was feared that some of the victims were on the train.
The special train with pilgrims to Ste. Anne de Beaupre was shortly behind the regular at the time of the wreck. It was due about two o'clock, but it will not likely reach here before six o'clock.
Within an hour after the wreck, six doctors were on the scene attending to the injured.
As the news of the accident spread around the city people flocked down to the Central Depot to await the arrival of the special train sent out to convey the passengers to the city. Many had friends on board and were extremely anxious to hear whatever news was going. Very little satisfactory, however, could be obtained, as the operators at the wires were, according to the rules, forbidden to impart any information.
The killed so far as identified are O'Connor, Rochleau and Roach.
Later - the identified so far are:
Joseph Rochleau and daughter, of Champlain Street, Montreal. Ned Stairs, Ottawa. Wilson O'Connor, Ottawa.
The fatally injured are Nellie Ryan, Aridget Ryan and Ellen McDougall of Maniwaki and Mrs. Jos Rochleau of Montreal.
Most of the dead and injured were pilgrims returning from Ste. Anne de Beaupre.
1903, September 27 - Canadian Pacific collision between Soo express and a freight train at Hurdman
From the Ottawa Citizen 15 May 1936 (sic)
Tale of a railway collision at Hurdman's Bridge in 1903.
Soo train crashed into freight at midnight. Four men injured but no loss of life. Impact heard a mile away. Heavy express engine ploughed through lighter freight locomotive. Crew of both engines saved lives by jumping.
Here is something hundreds of middle-aged Ottawans may recall. It happened in the early morning hours of September 27, 1903. Four people were injured, two engines were badly smashed and thee cars telescoped in a head-on collision on the C.P.R. short line, a little distance north of Hurdman's Bridge. Coming into Ottawa and travelling at a good rate of speed, the Soo train collided with a special freight which, contrary to the rules, had got on the main line while the right of way belonged to the express. The four persons injured were train hands:
Engineer M.J. Doherty, Ottawa; Express messenger R. Thompson, Ottawa; Baggageman Ed. King, Montreal; Brakeman Geo. Gobey, Hintonburgh.
None of the passengers were injured although some had very narrow escapes. That none of the train hands were killed outright was regarded as little short of miraculous.
At MidnightIt was just five minutes to one when the accident occurred. The west bound Soo train had left Montreal on time and was in charge of Conductor McIntosh with Engineer M.J. Doherty and Fireman M.J. Walsh. It was customary for freight trains to be moving back and forth between the Chaudiere and Sussex street and the freight in question had arrived a short time before from Prescott and was to be taken down to Sussex street.
From the account of the accident published at the time, it appears that at the tower the freight hands had received orders to do some shunting up to midnight and then go on a siding and allow the express to pass, They mistook the time or forgot the order from the towerman and remained on the main line until it was too late.
Sharp on time the Soo express rounded the curve near the locomotive sheds. It was then that the engineers of both trains saw what was going to happen. The exprss was travelling at a good rate of speed while the freight was barely moving. The engineers and firemen of both trains, seeing the inevitable, jumped for their lives and escaped serious injury.
Terrible impactAn instant later with an awful impact which could be heard a mile away, the two trains came together. Engine No. 303 on the Soo was of a large type and it simply ploughed through the smaller locomotive. Though the brakes were applied they were unable to arrest the velocity of the swiftly moving coaches and in less time than it takes to tell it the express and baggage cars and part of a colonial sleeper were telescoped.
Thousands of people who went out the following morning witnessed a hideous sight. Locked together with the smaller one underneath and partly obscured were the two locomotives. In the rear was an express car badly smashed and then the colonist car with its end stove in. In the express section there was a conglomeration of smashed trunks, valises, parcels and mail bags all mixed together while the cars were piled up in splinters.
On 9 February 1904 Canadian Pacific train 7 collided head on with Canadian Pacific train 8 about two miles west of Sand Point. Thirteen people died and nineteen were hurt in this accident.
Tid Bits by Duncan H. du Fresne, Branchline, May 2006.
The meet of CP trains 7 and 8 at Sand Point, Ontario. Sand Point, is a little town along the shores of the Ottawa River and is located just west of Arnprior. It was not, usually, the meeting point for trains 7 and 8. The meet we're about to read about happened in 1904, just over 102 years ago. And, it was a "cornfield meet", or head-on collision to the layman.
Mr. R. Glenn Jamieson of Sand Point sent Branchline the following article and photograph, as a result of going through the effects of his late Mother. Mr. Jamieson is a retired CN-VIA conductor and a friend of a retired CP engineman, Doug Chalmers (a former colleague of mine) who also lives in Sand Point. So, without further comment, here is the article verbatim, just as I received it:
TRAIN WRECK AT SAND POINT IN 1904
"Thirteen Dead, 19 Hurt, Sand Point Collision". The Citizen (newspaper) Ottawa, Canada, Wednesday, February 10, 1904.
"In a head on collision between two C.P.R. passenger trains near Sand Point early yesterday morning more than a dozen lives were lost and some nineteen people were injured more or less seriously. Travelling at a rapid rate of speed, the westbound Soo train #7 in charge of Conductor Nidd with Engineer Dudley, collided head-on with No. 8, the eastbound Soo train in charge of Conductor Forester and Engineer Jackson. Failure of the up-going train to obey orders and remain on the siding at Sand Point till No. 8 passed, was the cause of the smash.
An official list of the dead follow: Joseph Jackson, engineer, Ottawa W. Mullen, newsagent, Montreal Robert Thompson, express messenger, Montreal John O'Toole, baggageman, Ottawa Ernest Dubois, fireman, Hochelaga Nelson Robertson, express messenger, Montreal Joseph Chalu, Dolphis Seguin, J. Carriere, M. LeBrun, Wm. Pouliotte of Whitney (ON) and two unidentified.
Badly injured were G.T. Price, fireman, Brockville J.M. Dudley, engineer, Ottawa and many others (names on file)
No. 7 left Ottawa about 3 am Tuesday, February 9, 1 904, one hour late. It was given orders to meet No. 8 at Sand Point. When Sand Point was reached the engineer instead of stopping and pulling his train into the siding, went ahead.
The night was cold and frosty and the conductor said they didn't know when Sand Point was reached. The engineer either forgot himself or was unable to distinguish the siding when he came to it.
The train went on travelling at a rapid rate until at a point a couple of miles beyond Sand Point it ran on the time of the down express having the right of way. It was a frosty morning - the mercury away down below Zero - causing the atmosphere to be filled with vapour. While the windows were frosted or beclouded with steam and as a result the engineers couldn't see far ahead. A minute or two later the crash came (about 5 am). Hero that he was, Engineer Jackson shut off the steam and applied the brakes -an act which did much to reduce the momentum of the train and lessen the number of fatalities. The impact was awful but it was particularly No. 7 the up train that suffered. Nearly all the cars save the rear one, were more or less smashed though they stayed on the track space with the engines locked tightly together and badly demolished at that. Beneath the ruins were the mail, express and train hands and a considerable passenger list, largely composed, however of those travelling on No. 7. Many were wedged down and unable to extricate themselves.
On No. 8 the passengers fared much better but three being killed while the occupants of the rear cars were so fortunate as to escape with a shaking up.
No. 7 was made up of the locomotive, a baggage car, a mail car, two second class cars, one first class and a sleeper.
Engineer Jackson on No. 8 was looking for the siding at Sand Point when he saw the headlight of No. 7 approaching. He applied the brakes and reduced the speed of his train. To this is attributed the fact that No. 8 escaped with a lighter death list and smaller damage to railroad stock. Jackson stuck to his post according to Father Paradis, a passenger, who was one of the heros of the post crash, and was killed instantly. The wreckage of the locomotive and cars were piled high above him and "we could only see his hand" the priest said.
The locomotive of No. 7 mounted the locomotive of No. 8. The tender of the westbound train was thrown on top of the baggage car of the eastbound train and the baggage, the express and the second class cars followed suit and piled on top of the eastbound locomotive. It was in this mix up that the list of casualties was greeted. It was a fortunate thing that the wreck did not take fire as the lamps in the wrecked cars made this possible according to Father Paradis.
It was dark and intensely cold (-30 degree F). Some of the injured froze to death before they could be rescued even though fires were lit close by.
A hospital train was sent from Ottawa to transport the injured to that city. Wrecking crews were dispatched.
Most of the passengers on the two trains were shantymen, hired by the lumber companies in Ottawa, going to or coming from the shanties west of Pembroke and beyond."
Well, that's it. Seems to me that newspaper reports are no better (or worse) today than they were a century ago. I can't help but wonder why Mrs. Jamieson kept this old newspaper clipping and photograph. Did she know someone on either of the two trains? Or was an accident like this such a momentous event in the little community that one kept clippings of these sort of goings-on?
When I railroaded as a CP fireman on transcontinental passenger trains on the Chalk River sub. which passed through Sand Point, many years later, on Hudson and heavy Pacific locomotives, I never gave much thought to "cornfield meets" with other trains, and during my time there was lots of traffic on that busy main line. No doubt train dispatching and signal systems had improved in the intervening years. I always enjoyed working on the Chalk River sub. - it was a place for "heads-up" railroading.
My thanks to Mr. Jamieson for sending in this historical gem of a flashback to another time in the annals of Canadian railroading, and to my old colleague, Doug Chalmers, for providing Mr. Jamieson with the Bytown Railway Society's magazine, Branchline.
Carleton Place Herald - Tuesday, November 21, 1905.
Locomotive Engineer Joseph St. Denis Squeezed to Death.
Another very sad accident occurred this morning on the Canadian Pacific Railway, by which, Engineer Joseph St. Denis, of this town, lost his life. Mr. St. Denis left Carleton Place this morning, about 7:45, after spending the night at home, taking a freight train to Smiths Falls.
Whilst crossing the switch in the yard at the later station, the engine left the rails and was like to upset after bumping on the ties for a distance, so the Driver Jumped to one side and the Fireman, Wm. Whyte, to the other. The engine was running toward the Driver's side, so, St. Denis was caught by the wheels and had the breath virtually crushed out of him. He died instantly. His face and limbs bore no sign of injury. Whyte sprained an ankle in his fall. The accident occurred shortly before nine o'clock.
Mr. St. Denis was one of the best known Drivers on the division. A steady industrious man highly esteemed by his comrades and friends, and his tragic death is deeply deplored. He was married, his wife being a daughter of our townsman, Mr. Joe Girouard, and a family of three small children, one boy and two girls, with the widow, are left to mourn the loss of a fond parent and a devoted husband. The eldest child is nine years, the youngest three.
A deportation of drivers went out on the noon train, and will likely bring the remains back on the evening train. The sympathy of the whole town flows toward the bereaved.Carleton Place Herald - Tuesday, November 28, 1905.
A Large Funeral
Was that of driver St. Denis, last Friday morning. One hundred railway employees - as fine a body of men as you would wish to look at - headed the procession, whilst as many more walked behind the hearse, and there was a large number of carriages.
The Engineers, Firemen, Conductors and Trainmen were all represented. There were delegates from Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Montreal, Farnham and North Bay. Ottawa sent some forty men and ten women, the latter representing the Women's Auxiliary of the B. of L. E. The floral tributes were numerous and included a wreath from Capital Lodge, B. of L. E.; a cross from the Engineers of Carleton Place; a wreath from the Firemen of Carleton Place; a broken wheel from B. of R.T. 527; a heart from the G.I.A. to B. of L. E. 213 and a wreath from Mississippi Lodge, A.O.U.W.
mourners from a
distance were the sisters of deceased with their husbands from
sister-in-law and four children from Point St. Charles; and Mrs.
another sister-in-law from North Bay.
Kelly St. Denis for the newspaper reports.
Tidbits by Duncan du Fresne, Branchline November 2006
Here's a bit of history: CN took over operation of the BCR in 2004. About 1 00 years earlier, on the opposite side of the country, another event in the annals of Canadian railway history took place. The Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway (and its parent company, the Canada Atlantic) was taken over by the Grand Trunk Railway (and CN subsequently took over the Grand Trunk by 1923) Yeah, so what? - Read on! From the files of the Renfrew (Ontario) Mercury newspaper, dated September 14, 1906, the following story appeared:
ANOTHER SUNDAY WRECK ON THE GRAND TRUNK
"For some cause or other, since the Booth (J.R. Booth, owner of the Canada Atlantic Railway) Line has passed into the control of the larger railway, things are not running so smoothly. It may be that as part of a large machine there is too much "red tape", or the source of power is too far removed; or labour is too hard to get; or else it is hard to train. At all events, something is the matter. Grand Trunk trains do not run with the same to-the-minute regularity that Canada Atlantic trains did; and there seem to be more runoffs and smash ups. Two Sundays ago the wrecking train came up to Renfrew to raise freight cars which had jumped the track just west of Renfrew. Last Sunday it came back for several hours' work in removing the wreck from a rear-end collision.
A freight train carrying a good many cars containing lumber was stalled nearly opposite the D. Airth homestead, just east of the Fair Grounds, from a "hot box". It had trouble all the way down the line with this box, and had not got as far along in its journey as expected. Engine No. 626, running light, had come east after this freight. It was in charge of engineer Swinwood. It came down through Admaston at a good fast pace, as was observed by those who were attending the funeral of the late W.L Barr. It came through the town also at a swift pace, and on east; and although there was from a quarter to a half mile of straight track between the start of the Fair Grounds and the stalled train, engine No. 626 went dashing ahead as if there were nothing between it and Goshen. It struck the stalled freight with tremendous force. The engine crashed through the van and a flat car; making matchwood of both, and making wreck as well of the front of 626; and jambing the front of the tender close up to the engine. Several of the other cars had the couplings badly damaged as well. Fortunately, there was no loss of life. All of the freight train hands had been gathered around the hot-box, except the conductor who had gone back to flag the light engine which he knew was somewhere behind him, and engineer Rathbone, of the freight, who was under his engine. He had the narrowest escape of anybody. Under his engine, he heard the puff of another engine rapidly approaching. He swung himself out from under his engine, and hardly had his legs clear before the shock of the concussion sent his train forward some ten or fifteen feet.
Had Rathbone been a second later his two legs would have been cut off. The fireman of the light engine was stoking at the time of the approach on the freight, and the shock threw him against the boiler, and piled a lot of coal from the tender against him. He was somewhat bruised about the ribs; and he said it was the most sudden stop he had ever encountered. Engineer Swinwood was on his seat at the time and escaped without injury.
How did this accident happen? The Mercury gathered that there were possibly faults on both sides - that the conductor of the freight, relying on the stretch of straight track to the rear of his train, had not gone back far enough with his flag. Although it is said Swinwood was asleep and did not see the flag. Possibly he was asleep, or it may have been that having passed through the town safely, and expecting the freight was far ahead - not knowing of its frequent trouble with the hot-box - he had been watching his fireman at work and did not look in front. It was almost certainly one or the other, for the engine never slackened a turn of a wheel until it hit the van.
The wrecking train arrived from Ottawa shortly after eight o'clock - it was at 3:30 the collision occurred - and, working all night, had the track cleared in time for the morning express to go through on time.
People walking to the cemetery and going to the funeral had a plain view of the wreck - in fact, some saw the actual collision - and in short order there was a crowd gathered about the trains.
One of the men had left his pocket-book in his clothes in the van. He found the pocket-book on the top of engine 626. Another had been taking home some dozens of eggs and a tub of butter. He saw them not again.
It was fortunate for Swinwood and his fireman that the flat car was between the van and the lumber cars. The flat buckled in two and acted as a buffer. Half of it, as well as the van, was thrown up on to the surrounding banks; while the other half of the flat up-ended against the lumber car. The observation cupola of the van was thrown on to the top of a car two or three lengths ahead. The front of engine 626 rose on the wheels and trucks of the van and flat; and the wheels made a great conglomeration."
The actual date of this reported incident was September 9, 1 906. I received this information from R. Glenn Jamieson, retired CN -VIA conductor of Arnprior, Ontario, with thanks.
with 3 cars standing on the main track (coaling the engine) and extra
east engine 52 with nine empty passenger cars. Extra 52 east
(running from Ottawa to Vaudreuil via Chaudiere Junction) failed to
observe the position of the semaphore signal approaching Plantagenet
and failed to stop before colliding with enginer 1504. The
collision took place at 30 mph at 20:15. Fireman Blackburn on
engine 52 was pinned against the boiler, head in the engine cab and
both his legs had to be amputated to get his body freed from the
wreck. He died in a few minutes after being
Engineer Reynolds on engine 52 was thrown some distance from the wreck
and was severely injured. Engine 52 was smashed up, the
low and lidgerwood unloader which were ahead of engine 1504 were
wrecked and the front of engine 1504 damaged but this engine was able
to assist in clearing the wreck. The main line was blocked
The west semaphore was at stop but it was not Reynold's intention to stop although he should have stopped to register. The conductor told the engineer before leaving to stop at Plantagenet to register but the engineer denied this. (RG 46 C-II-1 v. 1422 f. 6150)
Head on collision between passenger train 78, engine 207 and 3 cars and extra west engine 312. This was caused by the failure of engine #312 to clear for No. 78. The collision occurred at 07:55, the engineer's watch was found to have stopped at 07:36. The engineer of the passenger train, Fred Rowe, was killed.
Chesterville Record 12/10/1908 Pembroke. Another fatal wreck took place one and a half miles east of here on Thursday morning. A light engine from Smiths Falls collided with the CPR local leaving here at 7.50 and as a result, Fred Rowe of Ottawa, engineer in charge of the local was instantly killed and R. Crawford, Ottawa fireman; Mail Clerk Purcell, Engineer Nagle, Smiths Falls, and W.C. Both, Baggageman, suffered slight injuries. The baggage car of the passenger train was badly damaged but none of the passengers were hurt. Both train and engine were travelling at high speed and met on a curve. Both engines were badly wrecked. The engines were almost to each other before the danger was noticed. Engineer Rowe reversed immediately, and in doing so warned Fireman Crawford, who jumped and escaped with a sprained ankle and minor bruises.
Rowe was pinned beneath the engine and tender. Death was instantaneous. His head and shoulders were above the wreckage, but were scorched. His lower limbs were also burned and scalded. Fireman Patton of the light engine was going to jump when he was hurled out of the window and down the bank sustaining a number of bruises, Engineer Nagle got caught at the tender by the coal, which was piled on him. He was quickly released by the men passengers and was able to walk to the station, as he had only a number of bruises and his leg scalded.
The light engine should have stopped at Granges (should be Graham) Station, about ten miles east of here. Instead an effort was made to get to Pembroke and the fatal collision was the result. The engineers watch had stopped which misled him as to the time he should make to Pembroke.
1912, March 8 - Collision between a passenger train and a freight train on the Canadian Pacific near Hull.
From the Woodstock Sentinel Review:
Almost under the shadow of the Parliament buildings this morning, five people were killed and 24 injured, some seriously, when the CP freight train ran into the rear of the Pontiac passenger train, which was backing into the Union Station here. All those killed were in the second class coach, which was completely telescoped by the heavier first class coaches and nearly entirely demolished. The dead are: John Moyles, undertaker, Quyon; John Derby, Hull; Katerine Kehoe, Quyon; one unidentified boy and John Anderson, CPR conductor from Ottawa.
There were not many people in the train, or the casualty list would have been much larger. The injured were conveyed in a baggage car to Hull hospitals. Responsiblity for the accident is placed on a mixup of orders. The wreck took place where there is a sharp curve and a deep cutting.
The official report gave two killed and 15 injured.
This accident was responsible for the installation of the Electric Token Block system between Ottawa West, Hull and Ottawa Union. The Ottawa Citizen of 24 April 1912 explains:
Since the wreck of the Pontiac train at Hull last month, whereby five(sic) persons were killed and several injured, the C.P.R. has introduced a new block system between Hull and Ottawa which if it is strictly observed, will prevent a recurrence of the accident.
According to the rules of the present system a train cannot leave Hull or Ottawa before the conductor has obtained a staff which is locked and unlocked by an electrical arrangement. Only by deliberately ignoring the system could another collision of two trains occur between Hull and Ottawa. The Pontiac train still continues to back in from Hull to Broad Street station, but, by the new arrangement there is little or no danger of an accident.
Bay of Quinte Railway southbound train 12, BQR Engine #1, consisting of six freight cars, baggage and coach derailed 5 miles north of Kingston.. Front truck of second car left track, ditching five cars baggage car and coach. Two freight cars, baggage and coach left the track, ran down as 12 to 15 foot embankment and finished upside down at bottom. The track was in good condition and the car that derailed first was almost brand new. The accident was caused by the failure of the truck to right itself after coming off a curve. This can occur with new equipment, often because of the roughness between the bottom and top centre plate surfaces. Two were killed and fourteen injured.
This is the Ottawa Journal report:
The Bay of Quinte Railway train inbound from Tweed this morning jumped the track. The second car from the engine and four freight cars, the mail car and a passenger car were hurled down an embankment. The engine remained on the track and brought the news to Kingston.
Mrs. Alfred Brown of Moscow was killed. Two women were seriously hurt, Mrs. Fahland of Clam Falls, Wis., who suffered terrible cuts about the head in addition to internal injuries. She is likely to die. Mrs. A.A. Yourex of Moscow received severe injuries to the back.
There were fifteen passengers on the train at the time and it is a miracle that several were not killed.
Train 1273 east (#96) stalled and doubled into Prescott. The first portion of train, consisting of 20 cars, was placed on westbound main track while the engine returned for the rest of train and train extra 2515 and 1220 coupled west collided with these cars. The yard limit boards were subsequently moved. The engineer in charge of engine 2515 had been on duty at the time of the accident 28 hours and 10 minutes. He had left Brockville on an extra for St. Albans and made a good run. He turned back from St. Albans without taking proper rest.
From the Chesterville Record, 3 April, 1913:
In an accident which fortunately caused no loss of life but in which scores of passengers had miraculous escapes, not a few of them, however, without serious injuries, Grand Trunk Pacific (sic) train No. 23 Montreal to Ottawa, was wrecked about a mile east of Maxville station at 11.45 a.m. this morning. Twelve were injured. Stopping dead in a distance of twenty yards when at a speed of about 30 miles an hour the wrecked train tore up the rails at the scene of the accident, one of them piercing the second car along its full length.
The cause of the wreck is supposed to have been the washing away of the ballast by the recent bad weather. The three passenger coaches and baggage car and tender left the right of way and turned over on their sides, but the engine, though turned almost to right angles to its course did not leave the track. One car had to be partially chopped open before some men could be rescued.
A Winnipeg bound Canadian Pacific passenger train, the Imperial Limited, was derailed at McKellar (Westboro), near Britannia, on the Carleton Place subdivision. Eleven people were killed and 40 were injured in this accident which was caused when a track crew had not completed repairs. Three colonist, one first class, one tourist and one dining car were derailed, several lying close to the Ottawa River. All the dead and practically all the injured were immigrants, principally from the British isles.
F. Merino, in company with six others, were members of a lifting gang that took a handcar during the absence of the Foreman after they had quit work on Saturday afternoon. They left Chaudiere Junction after 19:00 and went to Ottawa to get provisions, leaving there about 21:00 or 21:15 to return. The accident happened about 21:30.
The bridge over the canal at mileage 2 had been opened to permit three small motor boats to pass and was being closed when the handcar approached the bridge and ran into the canal. Mr. Merino was on the front of the car and had no opportunity to jump off. He sustained a cut on the right side of the head and was probably stunned although the actual cause of death was drowning.
The semaphores were set at danger and shewed red and the signal light on the bridge itself was burning brightly and shewed red on the side towards the track.
The brakes on the handcar were in perfect order and the accident seems to have been due to the fact that none of the men on the car noticed the bridge was open until they were within a few feet of it.
1914, January 22 - Derailment at Meath, Canadian Pacific, Chalk River subdivision, 1 killed, 11 injured.
Train #19, engine 2609 and six cars derailed as a result of a broken rail at Meath, about mileage 96 (from Broad Street), some of the cars plunging down the embankment on the north side of the track. Sleepers "Bolton" and "Guernsey", first class 1597, second class 1991, baggage 4159 and mail car 3492. The engine remained on the track while the rest of the train derailed. The ars were all in good condition.
1916, December 27 - Rear end collision at De Beaujeu, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision, 6 killed, 5 injured.
From the Chesterville Record of 28 December 1916:
Five people are dead and another at an early hour this morning was not expected to live more than a few minutes as the result of a bad railway smash on the CPR line at St. Polycarpe Junction. The Chicago-Montreal train, through failure of a switch, it is reported, crashed into the rear of the Cornwall local telescoping the rear four cars. Four people were in addition seriously hurt and another slightly injured while all passengers got a bad shaking up.
The coroner's jury concluded that neither the brakeman, Arnett of the Cornwall train nor the operator for Soulanges Junction were to blame but that it was a clear case of misunderstanding. The brakeman phoned Arthur Lalonde, Assistant Agent at St Polycarpe and asked if the Chicago express had passed. The jury recommended that the CPR should have a man stationed at Soulanges Junction.
A rock from the side of a gravel cut fell on the track and rolled under engine, cutting the ties and allowing the track to spread derailing engine tender, baggage car 8647 and leading truck of colonist car 2786. The train was travelling about 25 mph when about 1600 feet east of mile 120 engine 5138 struck a stone 24x33 inches square which demolished the pilot and went under engine. The engine ran into side of curve and down a 10 ft dump and turned on its side, tender going crosswise of track and leading truck of baggage car 8647 going nearly down a 25 foot embankment on north side. Occurred at 1.30 a.m.
The Track Foreman inspected the cut 8.15 previous day and did not consider there was any danger of rock becoming loose. Roadmaster Ogden also passed this point at 9.00 a.m. on the previous date at which time there was no apparent danger of rock falling. This is the first time that a large boulder had become dislodged in this cut.
An examination of the rock in the cut immediately after the accident plainly showed that a portion of rock became detatched from a large rock that was lodged near the top of the cut apparently caused by severe electric storms which occurred during the night of the accident. The crack in this rock took place approximately 12 inches under ground from slope of cut and could not be seen by ordinary inspection from track.
The Section Foreman was assessed thirty demerit marks.
This from the Chesterville Record Thursday 26 January 1922.
"Jump for your life" cried Engineer White to Fireman Elliott as he felt his engine wheels leave the track about a quarter of a mile south of Ellwood (formerly Chaudiere Junction about five miles from Ottawa) at 4.35 Saturday afternoon. Elliott leapt from his cab and fell bruised in the ditch on the left hand side of the embankment. White applied the brakes. The engine bumped along on the ties pulling the rest of the train consisting of the mail and baggage cars and a second and two first class cars as they swayed along the ties for 500 feet. Then the engine and tender veered to the right, plunged down the steep 15 foot embankment with a hiss of escaping steam it turned a somersault and imprisoned the faithful engineer in his cab. He was instantly killed.
The baggage car followed the engine and fell on the side while the mail coach shoved its nose in the ditch but stood up. The two rear first class coaches in the meanwhile lurched over on the left hand side of the embankment and toppled on their sides. The second class coach and smoker, which came immediately behind the mail coach did not leave the embankment.
The accident was due to a defective rail.
Although there were 175 passengers on board it is marvellous that only 15 were injured and most of these but slightly.
That the second class coach didn’t follow the other coaches in their headlong fall into the ditch is due to the quick action of brakeman John Riordan. He was in the vestibule of the second class coach when he felt the wheels on the ties. He immediately applied the brakes. This quick action, no doubt, saved many lives, and there were 80 pasengers in this coach.
The official accident report gives the number of injured as 21.
"Talking about Glen Tay; while I was dispatching in Smiths Falls back in the last century, several guys brought up the subject at this time of a wreck at Glen Tay back in steam days. Apparently a westbound passenger train was sitting at the station at the end of double track from Smiths Falls waiting for an eastbound passenger train, and the eastbound ran through the interlocking on a red while the switches were still lined for the westbound and hit him head-on."
These pictures were obtained by Bill Sanderson.
From the Toronto Star
Sixteen are injured in head-on collision
One man thought seriously hurt - others receive but bruises
Perth Ont. Feb 26 Sixteen people were slightly injured, one seriously, when a C.P.R train crashed head-on into a waiting freight train at Glen Bay (sic) three miles from here this afternoon. Albert Labelle of Montreal, who is not expected to recover, is in hospital there.
An open switch threw the passenger train into a siding where the freight was standing at the station at Glen Bay (sic). The engine crew, Walter Norris and A. Bourne, Toronto leaped to safety when they saw the crash coming and escaped with bruises. Norris is the most seriously injured of the two and is in hospital here.
One of the Tornoto people who were slightly bruised was Mrs. J.W. Hobday of the Bernardo Homes, 538 Jarvis street, Toronto. The passengers included the Ottawa professional hockey team and a number of the players received bruises. They are Frank Ahearn, manager; G. Boucher, E. Campbell, P. Green, Alex Smith and Alex Connell. Others who received minor injuries were: W.O. Sobel, Philadelphia; W.O.L. Hazel, Montreal; Mrs B.G. Cullen, Florence, Italy; Mrs. T.G. Potter, Montreal; Sister St. Stephen, Montreal; S.S. Etienne, Montreal; Miss H. Page, Ottawa and Miss A. Dodds, Hamilton.
The train was the fast Canadian Pacific passenger No. 20 ("The Canadian") bound from Chicago to Montreal. It is due in Montreal about seven o'clock to-night.
|From the Ottawa
Unforgettable scenes as Pres. Cosgrave stands beside dying engineerAfter he and members of his party have miraculous escape in wreck of special train at Limoges, near Ottawa, Irish Free State Chief Executive plays gallant and leading part in rescue work.
Wreck due to locomotive traveling at high speed splitting switch. One observer thinks rail broken. Dr. Stoness of Vars makes epic trip on hand car. One dead nine injured.
President William T. Cosgrave of the Irish Free State, when he returns to Ireland will carry with him a vivid rembrance of the thrilling experience which befell him, when the special C.N.R. train on which he and his party, with railway officials and newspapermen, were travelling from Montreal to this city yesterday, was wrecked at a point just east of Limoges, formerly South Indian station, at 12.05 noon.
That President Cosgrave and all members of the party escaped unscathed, in view of the terrific smash which occurred when the train, travelling at fifty-five miles an hour, became derailed, is considered by railroad authorities to be little short of miraculous.
Indeed, grave fears had been entertained as to their safety when the news reached the capital of the wreck, specifically when word went around that a special train with nurses and doctors aboard had been despatched to the scene.
The wreck, stated by C.N.R. officials to have been due to the locomotive splitting a switch, and crashing into some boxcars on a siding, then demolishing a granary near the track before turning over in the adjacent field, brought death to one of the train crew, and injuries to nine others, one of them seriously.
The dead man, Pilot Engineer A. Boyd of Montreal, who was at the throttle of the big locomotive speeding at fifty-five miles an hour to the Capital was crushed to death in the wreck of the engine, and thrown from the cab when the locomotive overturned.
Three teams of horses kileld when granary demolished by locomotive.
The most seriously injured of the train crew, was brakeman Frank Lafleur, who when the ?? came was sent flying to the ?? of the car and his right leg was broken when it became wedged ? a seat.
Engineer R.G. Day and Fireman Legault escaped with injuries to their heads and the others, dining car employees, H. Sadler, H. McIntosh, ? A. McLaurin and B. ? were only slightly injured by being thrown about when the dining car fell over on its side. All of the injured were from Montreal.
Three teams of horses standing at the granary near the station were killed outright when the engine demolished it.
President Cosgrave and the members of his suite escaped unhurt, although they were badly shaken, and thrown to the floor of their car when the crash came, and their escape is ?almost miraculous.
Entire train derailed.The train which was composed of heavy locomotive and four coaches derailed entirely. the engine and tender were torn apart and the dining car turned over in the ditch. The other cars remained upright, although that containing President Cosgrave and his party came near to ? the fate of the dining car and was badly smashed.
Locomotive uncoupledThat there was not greater loss of life and that the distinguished visitor and members of his party escaped ? death or at least serious injury, is attributed to the fact that when the locomotive jumped the switch and crashed into the box cars on the siding, it became uncoupled from the train and continued on its mad ? alone to crash into the granary.
President Coagrave apparently realised the crisis through which he had ?, by the statement he made when he and the members of his ? had recovered somewhat from the shock, "God in His Mercy has ? the rest of us."
? about the president of the Irish State government when the ? crash came which betokened something untoward had happened to declare that he displayed the ? sang froid, and with Dr. J.J ?, of Chicago, his personal physician, helped render first aid.
The distinguished statesman was very distressed upon hearing of the tragic death of engineer Boyd, and had a telegram of condolence at once dispatched to his widow in Montreal.
Rumors DisposedSinister rumors were at first abroad to the effect that the wreck was an attempt on the life of the distinguished visitor, but an immediate investigation by CN.R. officials on the spot, and by officers of the R.C.M.P. despatched to the scene on a special train, disposed of these.
Mr.J.P. Hanratty, of the C.N.R. Natural Resources department aboard the wrecked train, stated that the cause of the wreck had been undetermined, but that there was absolutely no ground for any asumption that the switch which figured in the disaster had been tampered with.
"The cause of the wreckis one of the mysteries of railroading," said Mr. Hanratty. "The regular motor train due at Limoges at 11.16 had passed this switch less than an hour before we came to it, and there had been no movement at that point prior to our arrival. It is certain, however, that the wreck of the train was due to an accident, the cause of which only a technical investigation will reveal."
The late pilot engineer of the train, Mr. A. Boyd was one of the most experienced engineers in the employ of the company.
Threw on EmergencyAccording to Engineer R.G. Day, who was in the cab of the locomotive with his fireman Mr. A. Legault, just prior to the engine taking the siding, he saw Engineer Boyd throw on the emergency brakes, thus indicating that he had either seen something on the track ahead or else realized there was something wrong. Immediately the engine took the siding and he remembered nothing more until he and his fireman were crawling from the wrecked locomotive.
As soon as word of the wreck reached the city, a special train with Doctors McKinnon and Gardmer, and railway and R.C.M.P officials was made ready and left within ten minutes, making a quick run to the scene of the accident. There the injured were given first aid, especially brakeman Lafleur who was suffering intensely and the return trip was made to Ottawa where a huge crowd had gathered, attracted by the news of the accident to the presidential train, and who gave President Cosgrave and those who accompanied him a great welcome.
The special train bearing the distinguished visitors to the Capital was travelling at a speed of fifty-five miles an hour when the accident occurred.
When the train plunged into the open switch the engine rolled over on its left side and crashed into a line of standing box cars. The coupler between tender and diner gave way and the dining car rolled over three times on the right side of the rails. President Cosgrave's private car came next and wobbled dangerously, but did not overturn. Behind this was the press car which remained on the rails.
President Renders Aid.Immediately after the crash, President Cosgrave, who had been chatting in his coach, looked to the safety of his sister-in-law and her husband who were in the dining car. Learning that they were safe, the Irish statesman plodded through snow drifts almost waist deep, going from place to place visiting the injured and inquiring as to their hurts. The president then took an active part in the direction of the rescue work and offered his valuable advice.
A Touching SceneAs Pilot Engineer Boyd was breathing his last Abbee V.M. Pilion of South Indian arrived just in time to recite prayers in unison with another clergyman. During the reciting of the prayers the president and his minister stood with bared heads. After Boyd had passed away President Cosgrave gave the priest a photograph of himself and inscribed upon it: "In Memory of your devoted services to the dying in the regrettable accident at Limoges."
Doctor on Hand-carAs the rescue work was going on a black bobbing speck appeared on the tracks coming toward the wreck. The approach was watched eagerly and the speck turned out to be Dr. F. Stoness of Vars, who, on learning of the smash, leaped to a hand car, and desparately pumped his way to the scene to render any assistance possible. Dr. Stoness came a distance of eight miles, braving the cold wind, and was well nigh exhausted when he pulled up at the wreck.
"We were lucky", said Conductor Albert Johnston, when he stepped into the check room at Union station after the special train sent from Ottawa arrived back in the Capital. The conductor received only a slight cut on one of his hands.
- - more eyewitneses accounts of the wreck.
A wrecking gang succeeded in getting the right of way clear by ten o'clock last evening so that traffic to and from Ottawa and Montreal was not nterfered to any extent.
- - more eyewitness accounts of the wreck.
Tribute to braveryPresident Cosgrave said he wished to associate himself with the remarks of premier King in his message of sympathy to the bereaved. In a fine passafe President Cosgrave then paid tribute to those in the accident. "I have witnessed some stirring incidents," he said, "but never finer examples of bravery and coolness."
There was not the least bit of panic, and one man lying with a broken leg, kept inquiring: Are the guests all right? The country that produces men like that is bound to be all right."
Sleigh runner caused wreck.C.N.R. officials establish cause of special train derailment after searching probe
Mr. A.E. Warren, general manager, Central region, Canadian National Railways and engineering and other officers at noon today definitely established the cause of the derailment of the special train carrying President W.T. Cosgrave to Ottawa.
A searching investigation was carried out immediately following upon the accident and continued throughout the night. Evidence was given that two horses drawing a heavy log sleigh had run away from the loading siding at Limoges a few minutes before the arrival of the special train.
One of the runners of the sleigh jammed in and wedged over the switch point at the east end of Limoges yard, some distance from the station. The horses were later brought to a standstill and returned to their driver,
The incident attracted no special attention in the rural community, and it was not known that the runner of the sleigh had turned the switch forcing the points open by the force of its impact, but as a result, when President Cosgrave's special train came along a few minutes later, it went through the switch on to the passing track, and by reason of the sharp turn became derailed. The sleigh and the switch were examined by experts this morning and it was established by the paint marks on the switch and the marks on the runner of the sleigh, along with evidence given by local witnesses, that this had been without doubt the cause of the accident
From the Reading Eagle January 31 1928
Welcomed as the representative of the youngest of the British Dominions, William T. Cosgrave, head of the Irish Free State, faced a light program today, his last at Canada's capital.
Seemingly none the worse for the derailment of his train yesterday, in which one man was killed, Mr. Cosgrave had only a luncheon engagement ahead of him before he entrained for New York via Montreal. During the morning hours a drive around the city was the only event on his schedule.
President Cosgrave aided in the work of rescue when his train jumped a switch at Limogese (sic) about 23 miles from Ottawa, while making 55 miles an hour. He aided in extricating the injured from the overturned engine and cars and sent a telegram of condolence to the family of J.A. Boyd, railroad foreman of Montreal, who died at the throttle of the Presidential train. His private car left the rails, but did not overturn, and no member of his party was injured.
Following an enthusiastic wecome at the station, Mr.Cosgrave was taken to the Parliament House where Premier MacKenzie King called attention to his presence in the gallery as members cheered.
In the evening he was guest at a dinner given by Premier King. Tribute was paid at the dinner to President Cosgrave's coolness at the time of the accident and his work in aiding the injured and calming the fright of the other passengers.
Not work of plotters
Although the Royal Canadian mounted police and railway inspectors were convinced today that the derailment of President Cosgrave's train yesterday was purely accidental, the guard abut the head of the Irish Free State was increased.
Railway officials said that investigation of the wreck, which cost the life of a railway foreman, had definitely put to rest rumors that it was caused by plotters against the Irish president.
Additional pictures can be found here:
April 30 1928
Smiths Falls. Engineers Body Only recovered, 2 are missing
Believed fireman and brakeman of C.P.R. freight are killed when a fall of rock causes derailment.
Though three men are believed to have been killed when the engine and a number of cars of a Canadian Pacific Railway freight train were derailed in a rock cut 30 miles west of here last night, so far only the body of Engineer M.M. Caterine has been recovered from the wreckage. Brakeman D.R. Wood, who with the engineer was from Smiths Falls, and Fireman M. MacKenzie, of Havelock are missing.
The derailment was caused by a fall of rock from about 30 feet up on the north side of the cutting according to the railway officials.
Fourteen cars altogether left the rails.
Caterine was 40 years of age, MacKenzie 26 years old and Woods 33 years old. Mrs. Caterine, mother of the engineer, is in critical condition following the shock of her son's death.
The body of Caterine when recovered was severely burned by the steam from the boiler, which had burst. The engine throttle was shoved in, indicating he had seen the danger and had ineffectually tried to stop the engine.
The rock which fell and caused the accident is thought to have been loosened by spring freshets. A huge pile of rock had blocked the track of the locomotive.
August 28, 1930 - Canadian Pacific - Pembroke
Tidbits by Duncan du Fresne, Branchline September 2006
On August 28, 1930, train No. 7 left Ottawa with engine 2217 (4-6-2) on the point. The 2217 was not the regular engine, however, and one of the newer and larger 2300's would normally have been assigned. The engineer was George Clark, and the fireman was John Shouldice. In any event, it seems the trip was going along normally when, approaching Pembroke (mile 93) at about 12:40 A.M., someone had left the east switch of the passing track open and No. 7 went into the passing track at a fair rate of speed and overturned onto the Ottawa River side of the track, but did not roll over into the river. George Clark was seriously injured and scalded in the wreck and John Shouldice was critically injured and scalded and died as a result of those injuries. Interestingly enough, John Shouldice was the fireman on a troop train en route to Petawawa a year earlier, which was wrecked at Sand Point, and he survived that one unscathed! I guess John's luck had run out as he was working on No. 7 as a spare fireman as the regular fireman, Robert Baugh, had booked off.
Two of the heavyweight cars list toward the Ottawa River without even breaking a window. Photo courtesy Lorne Blackburn.
Another interesting point is that back in the 1904 head-on at Sand Point, (see May 2006 Branchline) George Clark, who was a fireman at the time, missed the trip when the head-on took place, and the spare fireman who replaced him was killed in that affair. Train No. 7 at the time of the Pembroke affair went by the name of the "Trans Canada Limited". As near as I can determine 1930 was the last year for this name to be used and by the following year the train was called "The Dominion". That name stuck right until the end, when on January 11, 1966, the last "The Dominion", ever, made its final run from Ottawa to Montreal behind RS-10 8470, with engineer Johnny Gillespie doing the honours.
The all steel Combine on the head end of No. 7 came to rest at quite an angle, but intact. The main line is in the foreground and that's an N-2 class, 3700 series 2-8-0 with the "big hook" in the background. There's little doubt about the mileage on the Chalk River sub., that Combine just about took out the milepost. There was no shortage of on-lookers, the whole town showed up. There was a definite shortage of security forces - can you imagine the Company or the local constabulary allowing that to happen today? Photo courtesy Lorne Blackburn.
Actually there was a third person in the cab of the 2217 that night. He was Basil Watson. I'm not sure if he was even a CP employee or not, but, in any event, he was along for the ride, - a ride that almost killed him, and certainly left him badly injured. According to retired CP locomotive engineer Lome Blackburn, (step) grandson of George Clark, the fact that George had allowed Mr. Watson to ride on the engine, he had contravened Company policy (or rules) or something, and when it came time for George to take his pension that incident came up and adversely affected his pension! I'm not surprised, - Lome wasn't either.
Two more tough heavyweights lean precariously toward the Ottawa River. In the lower right of the photograph is one of the trucks off the tender of the 2217.
One of the very interesting facts about the "affair" in Pembroke is that the cars on No. 7, by 1930, were all of steel construction, unlike those cars involved in the head-on at Sand Point back in 1904. In the 1904 affair, about a dozen people were killed and many others injured as the wood constructed cars "telescoped" into each other and were prone to burning. An examination of the poor quality photograph above, taken the following day at Pembroke, shows what a difference steel construction makes. Only one employee on the train (other than those on the engine) was hurt, although I'm certain the sleeping car passengers got a rude awakening!
CP light Pacific 2210. The 2200 series coal burning, hand fired engines were old (1906-14), well designed, and all were modernized to one degree or another as the years went by. They were good engines and well liked. The 2210, is much like the 2217 in this month's Tid Bit. The 2210 got an Elescp water pump and heater, a vestibule cab, a cross compound 81A" air compressor, new frames and cylinder saddle and other refinements by the time this picture was taken by the author at CP's Glen Yard in Montreal in 1947.
Inkerman - 60 Years Ago
By Duncan du Fresne
Inkerman is a small village in eastern Ontario, 33 miles east of Smiths Falls. At the time I'm writing about it, it was located at mileage 91.1 on Canadian Pacific's Winchester subdivision. Nearly 60 years ago Inkerman was made famous, on an international scale, by its junior hockey team, the "Inkerman Rockets". That team, and succeeding ones for the next decade, were the talk of the hockey world, but that's not the reason why I'm writing this Tid Bit. The year 2001 is the 60th anniversary of a terrible train wreck that took place at Inkerman back on March 31, 1941.
Canadian Pacific passenger train No. 29, known along the Winchester sub. as "The Perth Local", was on the westbound side of the double track main line on its way to Perth, Ontario, from Montreal behind light Pacific No. 2658. The local had slowed down to make its station stop at Inkerman at about 6:30 P.M. There would be a few passengers and the ever present milk cans, now empty, to unload after their shipment earlier in the day on train No. 30 to various Montreal dairies. As the local was about to make its station stop an eastbound 68-car freight train, making good time, was passing the local on the eastbound track, - and then it happened. A broken axle (according to the Ottawa Journal and the Winchester Press) on a car well back in the freight train resulted in 24 cars of the freight to start piling up. Of course some of the cars ended up on the westbound main line, sideswiping the 2658 in the process. This resulted in the 2658 rolling over on its right side right in front of the station. The local's engineer, Fred Plato, and fireman Wallace Plunkett, both of Smiths Falls, were killed. Inside the station were two C.P. employees, William Maxwell, a C.P. Section Foreman from Mountain, Ontario, and Edward Pennett the Station Agent. Both these men got out of the station, which was physically moved and structurally damaged by the impact. Maxwell and Pennett went through two windows to escape. Unfortunately, both were seriously injured, Pennett losing a lot of blood from a bad cut in his arm and suffering also from burns and shock, while Maxwell, who was badly scalded, was also suffering from burns and shock as the station was immediately filled with smoke and steam from the overturned locomotive. Pennett, taken to Winchester for medical treatment, lived through the ordeal, however. Maxwell, who was taken to the Ottawa Civic Hospital, died the following night from his injuries. Apparently Plato was seen trying to get out of the cab of the overturned engine but just couldn't make it and died in the scalding steam.
In the meantime the crew in the van (caboose) on the freight train got bounced around pretty good but the van remained upright so they got out more or less unscathed. Train 29's conductor, H. Guppy, and brakeman C. Riley suffered minor injuries, but nothing worse - lucky!
There were two other people whose number hadn't yet turned up that evening. One was Asa Hanes of Inkerman, a mailman who was standing on the station platform waiting to collect mail bags off train 29. Hanes, who had bent over to pick up his mail bags, was thrown over by flying ballast as the engine and rolling stock starting flying around. A military truck from a flatcar went right over Hanes' head and he lived to talk about it! Another individual who escaped with his life was Danny McDonald, a 50 year old hobo who had climbed onto the back of the tender of No. 29's engine at Chesterville hoping to ride to Smiths Falls in search of a job. McDonald escaped the wreck with severe bruises to one of his legs and required medical attention. Seems ironic that McDonald was subsequently charged with vagrancy and spent 10 days in a Cornwall (Ontario) jail cell.
There was an eye witness to this terrible affair. He was George Suffel. George lived and worked on the family farm adjacent to the track and was only 35 yards from the station building when the wreck occurred . He and his family had been listening for the local train to arrive, a habit common to farm folk in those days. Usually George would have been at the station to help unload their milk cans but on this particular occasion it wasn't necessary as they hadn't shipped any milk out that morning on No. 30. This might very well have saved George's life. George remembered seeing Maxwell and Pennett running away from the station. Both were covered with black soot and were obviously in need of medical attention. George and his father ran to the wreck site along with their hired hand, Donald Burleigh, to give whatever first aid they could. George remembered putting a tourniquet on Pennett's arm and removing clothing to relieve the pain from scalded wrists and hands.
Other crew members on the train were A.J. Slack of Smiths Falls who was the mail clerk and Fred Forrester of Smiths Falls who was the C.P. Express messenger. Slack had a fractured rib and Forrester was uninjured. About 25 passengers on the local were also uninjured.
It was the best part of a week before the wreckage was cleared and the track rebuilt. In the meantime Toronto - Montreal passenger trains were rerouted through Bedell, utilizing the Prescott sub. and passing through Ottawa. About 75 yards of main line track had been torn up and wrecked cars and lading were scattered all over. Two auxiliary cranes, one from Smiths Falls and the other from Montreal, were sent to the site for the cleanup. Thirty yards from the point of impact one freight car crashed through the platform of a feed storage building, reducing the platform and building to kindling wood. According to the Winchester Press in 1986, the old station, which had been rebuilt, was sold off a few years later and moved to the village of Mountain to be used as a private residence. It was still extant in 1998, on County Road 1. This rebuilt station bore little resemblance to the one in the wreck, however. Its order board was removed (along with its operator), the bay window was gone, as was the extended front roof over the platform.As a P.S. to this story, all you (ex-CP 4-6-2) 1 201 fans out there will be pleased to know that four or five years after the tragedy she was the regularly assigned engine on train 29 and 30. She escaped unscathed until the end of the steam era, and beyond.
Tid Bits by Duncan du Fresne, Bytown Railway Society,, Branchline, December 2001, pages 12-13.
From the Ottawa Citizen 18 July 1942
12 persons hurt in train collision in Lanark county
9 passengers, three crewmen slightly injured as freight and express crash at Glen Tay.
Nine passengers and three train crew members were injured slightly early today when a fast freight train collided with the Montreal - Toronto express at Glen Tay station in Lanark County, the Canadian Pacific Railway announced.
The C.P.R. said the cause of the collision, at 2.28 a.m., has not yet been definitely determined. The line was blocked until 6.55 a.m.
C.P.R. train No. 904, fast eastbound freight, puling into Glen Tay at 2.28 this morning, struck passenger train No. 21, which was standing on westbound main track in front of the station," the C.P.R. said.
"Eight cars on No.904 and one coach on No. 21 were derailed. Two members of the crew of No. 904 and one member of the crew of No. 21 and nine passengers were injured, none of them seriously. The line was cleared by 6.55 this morning.
List of injured. (included F.E. Lindsay, baggageman, Toronto; M. Cousineau, fireman, Smiths Falls; J. Duffy, fireman, Smiths Falls.)
News of the derailment caused considerable excitement in Ottawa this morning. Many Ottawans were aboard the train which left Union Station here at 11 o'clock last night. The newspaper and railway offices handled many calls from friends anxious to find out whether any of the passengers had been killed or seriously injured. They were relieved to hear that only a small number of the passengers had been hurt, and these slightly.
The morning train from Toronto, due to arrive in the Capital at 7.30, was two hours late, coming in at 9.30.
These pictures are with the paermission of The Museum of Canadian Scouting, Ottawa:
By Duncan H. du Fresne
As I write this Tid Bit it is just over 57 years since tragedy struck on the evening of December 27, 1 942, at the Canadian Pacific Railway station in Almonte, Ontario, when a Canadian military troop train operated by Canadian Pacific struck the rear of a local C.P. passenger train.
Thirty six people died and 207 were injured, many very seriously, when the regular first class passenger train, No. 550, "The Pembroke Local", hauled by light Pacific No. 2518 and consisting of ten wooden cars was proceeding eastward toward Ottawa from Petawawa. At the time operation on the Chalk River Subdivision was by Timetable and Train Order, there were no automatic block signals. The train was crowded as a result of holiday traffic, the weather, and wartime conditions, and was consistently losing time at each station stop. If that wasn't enough fireman Frank Dixon was having trouble keeping the boiler pressure up on the 2518 due, in part, to a leaking flue in the rear tube sheet. The engineer on train 550 was Joe. Sauve and the conductor was M. O'Connell, assisted by J. Morris with Trainmen J. Tunney and T. Gilmar. The weather certainly wasn't helping, in addition to it being dark, there was a rain and sleet storm to contend with.
Following train No. 550 was a 13-car troop train from western Canada, bound for Montreal, via Chalk River, Carleton Place and Smiths Falls on the Chalk River subdivision, and then via the Winchester sub. to its destination. It was designated by C.P. as Passenger Extra 2802 East, (2802 being its engine number, a C.P. Hudson [4-6-4] type locomotive), crewed by engineer Lome Richardson and fireman Sam Thompson. Train 550's engine and train crew were unaware that they were being closely followed by a passenger extra but, even so, at Almonte, under the rules of the day they should have been "protecting" (with fusees) the rear of their train as it was outside "station limits" by 170 feet (as defined by the rule book). At Almonte the local was 40 minutes late, arriving there at 8:32 P.M.
CP 4-6-4 2802 stands on the shop track at Smiths Falls, Ontario, with those big smoke deflectors. Date unknown.The crew of Passenger Extra 2802 East, with conductor John Howard in charge, were aware that they had been closing up on No. 550 since the operators at both Renfrew and Arnprior had been ordered by the dispatcher to hold their train in order to maintain the required 20 minute "block" behind the local. In fact the troop train had arrived at Renfrew only five minutes after No. 550 had departed and arrived at Arnprior only eight behind the preceding train.
Approaching Almonte, Passenger Extra 2802 East was proceeding at about 45 MPH at which time speed was reduced to about 25 MPH after a 12 pound brake pipe reduction had been made. The approach to the Almonte station is on a left hand curve approaching from the west, followed by the crossing of the swift flowing Mississippi River. The train order (board) signal at Almonte was briefly observed by Sam Thompson through the mist from the river and the rain and sleet as being "green" (indicating that no train orders were to be picked up). Lome Richardson, on the right side of the 2802 as it rounded the left hand curve could not see the signal or the rear end of train No. 550 because the length of 2802's boiler obscured his view. It wouldn't have mattered much anyway as a train order (board) signal has nothing to do with indicating whether or not the track is clear. In addition to those other restrictions to visibility, 550 was also partially obscured by escaping steam from the tail end car heater line. On the assumption that train 550 had left the station at least 20 minutes before, engineer Richardson released the brake to drift through. As it turned out the train order was green alright, however, this was because the rear end of No. 550 had not yet passed it, the train still being stopped at the station, so the operator had not yet changed it. Neither Richardson nor Thompson saw the local until they were only about 400 feet from it when 2802's headlight reflected off the glass in the rear coach door. Richardson put the brake in emergency, but it was too late. At 8:38 P.M. it happened, engine 2802 struck No. 550, completely telescoping the last car, coach 1028, and partially telescoping coach 1516, the second to last car, stopping midway through it. Both of these cars were reduced to scraps of metal and kindling wood. The troop train consisted of engine 2802, 1 3 heavy steel cars and a caboose, and weighed more than a thousand tons. The elderly wooden coaches offered little resistance to the onslaught or provided safety for the passengers. Fortunately, there was no fire as a result of the collision and there were lots of rescuers. A not-to-heavy jolt was all that was felt by engineer Joe. Sauve and fireman Frank Dixon on the 2518 which shows the frailty of those wooden coaches.
Lome Richardson suffered an injured chin, inflicted by flying debris from the wreckage of 550. Sam Thompson came through it without a scratch. Military personnel on the troop train got a minor shaking up, probably as much from the emergency application of the brake as the collision itself. On the local, things were very different. A massive rescue operation began, first by local people in Almonte and the surrounding area, by military personnel from the troop train and Sam Thompson off the 2802. Soon local doctors and nurses arrived and later medical people from Carleton Place, Smiths Falls and Ottawa. A nurse I know was ordered to come to work sometime after midnight at the Ottawa Civic Hospital from her home in Ottawa, as were other nurses and doctors. She didn't know why, and didn't ask, but responded to the call. An Ottawa to Petawawa passenger train was turned into a hospital train at Carleton Place, and the remains of train 550 was similarly made into a hospital train to transport the injured to Ottawa. The town hall and the O'Brien theatre in Almonte were turned into temporary morgues and a place of refuge for the injured. The Smiths Falls auxiliary was called out, however, it wasn't until after 5:00 a.m. the following morning that the line was cleared. Despite the amount of damage to the wooden rolling stock, the rails and ties were, basically, left undamaged. The 2802 had its pilot damaged and the engine truck derailed, really quite minor. Without a doubt it was one of the worst train wrecks in Canadian history.
Looking back at that terrible night, from the year 2000, the thought of wooden coaches being used as late as 1942 seems incredible to most outsiders, but was quite well accepted by railwaymen and the rail travelling public alike. Those old cars would outlast the wartime years and still be in service into the very late 1940s, and many into the 1950s.
A coroners inquest was established, with a jury of five men, and was held immediately after the tragedy. It was headed up by Dr. Smirle Lawson, the Chief Coroner of Ontario who, after hearing the evidence, was convinced that the C.P.R. should shoulder all of the blame. Obviously the Company disagreed, as did the Board of Transport Commissioners, who blamed many of the employees involved for rules violations.
"The inquest concluded that the blame for the wreck must be placed entirely on the Canadian Pacific Railway Company for three reasons:
First, they had no operator stationed at Pakenham when in (our) opinion the accident might have been avoided by the 20 minute block system.
Second, there was no protective signal at a most dangerous curve, at the entrance to the town (Almonte).
Third, the green light showing above the Almonte station gave the engineer of No. 2802 the impression that he might proceed. Had this signal been red, according to the testimony of the engineer and fireman, this train could have been stopped.
We place no blame whatever on the crews of the trains No. 550 and No. 2802, but we do feel that an effort could have been made from Smiths Falls to call an operator at Pakenham and Almonte.
We recommend that in order to prevent the occurrence of a similar catastrophe and to safeguard the travelling public, especially under wartime conditions:
(a) That an operator be placed on steady duty at Pakenham.
(b) The immediate installation of an automatic station protective signal west of Almonte.
8 That a standing order be issued for a speed limit not exceeding 25 miles per hour through Almonte and that this order be strictly enforced by the railroad officials.
(d) That the block signal device at the station here be changed to give protection to standing trains".
At the inquest a great deal of the time was spent discussing the operating rules used by Canadian railways and by which train operation is governed. It is obvious the Chief Coroner didn't understand train operation, or the rules, and became very agitated when they were cited over and over by the various witnesses. In inquest recommendation d) it is obvious he had still not found out what the "block signal device" as he called it, (train order signal), at the station signified. Of course, it only signifies that there are, or there are not, orders for a train. It conveys no meaning whatsoever as to the status of the railway. In retrospect, it could have been a much more meaningful inquest in the opinion of this writer at this late date.
The 2802, standing on the shop track at West Toronto on November 1, 1957. The 2802 likely looked much like this in 1942, without those "elephant ear" smoke deflectors.
Parties involved at the inquest were, of course, passenger survivors of the wreck, the railway employees involved, the Brotherhoods representing the running trades employees, both minor and major officials of the railway, the Dominion Board of Transport, and others. The Brotherhoods put the blame on the C.P.R., mainly for not keeping the operator on duty at Pakenham, the first train order station west of Almonte. Had that operator been on duty the dispatcher might have had him hold the troop train at that location. The second war years and the holiday season presented a busy time on the railway with extreme demands on the system, as well as the men and equipment, even the Coroner said that current conditions demanded new rules and equipment. Had the troop train been following the rules, to the letter, they should have been able to stop, and had the crew on the local made an effort to protect the rear of their train, there would not likely have been a collision. Fault all round? Probably.
Three rules violations were cited in the Board of Transport Commissioners report. First, the crew of No. 550 did not follow rule #36, which states that "a red or yellow fusee, as the case may require, will be used for protection of a train which is not making the speed required by schedule or train order and is liable to be overtaken by a following train". The Board's report also stated that: "The crew of No. 550 had no advice that passenger extra 2802 was following them, but in view of the fact that the train was losing time due to the very heavy traffic incident to the holidays, and having in mind that the rear end of the train was two car lengths out side the west switch at Almonte, good judgment should have dictated to the crew of this train that some protection was necessary, and fusees should have been dropped in accordance with the above mentioned rule".
Secondly, rule 91, paragraph 3 states: "Schedule speed must not be exceeded by schedules of trains other than the first section, nor may a train following a train carrying passengers, exceed the schedule speed of such train unless clearance shows arrival at a station ahead". In the Board's report, they elaborated by saying: "This rule was applicable to passenger extra No. 2802 immediately that train was stopped by the train order signal at Renfrew for the twenty minute block on No. 550. It again became applicable when this train was stopped by the train order signal at Arnprior, as has been pointed out [supra] in both instances, namely, between Renfrew and Arnprior, and Arnprior and Almonte. The schedule speed of train No. 550 was exceeded in the first instance between Renfrew and Arnprior by six minutes, and in the second instance between Arnprior and Almonte by five minutes. These two instances of exceeding the schedule speed of train No. 550 form a clear and most serious violation of the said rule, and a major contributing factor to the accident". And, in addition, they also said: "It does not appear that there was any determined effort on the part of the engineer or conductor of passenger extra No. 2802 to actually check their times with the schedule speed of train No. 550, which they knew was ahead of them".
The engine that powered the ill-fated local train at Almonte, Ontario, on December 27, 1942, was CPR's light Pacific No. 2518, shown in Montreal in 1933 with open cab, little 5,000-gallon tender and single cylinder air compressor. A fine engine that had a life span of 49 years.
Without a doubt the worst of the three rule violations cited by the Board was rule 93a which states, in part: "The outer main track switches of passing tracks will be considered 'station limits', and main track may be used inside of such limits by keeping clear of first and second class trains. All trains except first and second class trains must, unless otherwise directed, approach and pass through such limits, prepared to stop unless the main track is seen to be clear..." They also said: "It is abundantly plain that the main track ahead had not been seen to be clear and it is equally plain that passenger extra No. 2802 did not approach the 'station limits' prepared to stop".
While I have only quoted the most salient points from the Board's report I am going to quote the Board's findings in total so that the reader may compare them with the findings of the Coroner's Inquest, which are very different:
"There can be no other conclusion drawn from the facts but that had the rules been observed there would have been no accident. Departure from the rules, resulting in the accident, may be summarized as follows:
30. Failure of the crew of passenger extra No. 2802, and in particular the engineer and conductor thereon, to observe the provisions of paragraph 3 of Rule 91 and Rule 93(a) of the General, Train and Interlocking Rules of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, in that passenger extra No. 2802 exceeded the schedule speed of train No. 550, and that the engineer of passenger extra No. 2802 did not have his train under control and prepared to stop as he approached Almonte Station. It is also felt that the company's official who was riding this train at the time erred inasmuch as he failed to take such necessary action as would ensure compliance with the rules.
31. Neglect of crew of first-class passenger train No. 550 to provide protection by way of red or yellow fusee, as required by Rule 36 of the General, Train and Interlocking Rules of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, to the rear end of No. 550 when it was known that their train was not making the speed required by schedule, and that the rear end of the train while standing at the station at Almonte projected some 170 feet west of station limits.
32. The west approach to Almonte Station is on a curve, and under certain weather conditions a mist arises from the falls near this west approach to the station. The combination of these facts having been disclosed, it appears that the erection of a station protection signal west of Almonte would be an additional safeguard to a train standing at Almonte Station. A direction to this effect will go to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company accordingly".
Engineer Richardson was taken out of service. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers fought long and hard to have him reinstated and were moderately successful in getting him a job as a permanent locomotive fireman on a yard engine in Prescott, Ontario. Sam Thompson went on to finish his career as an engineer working out of Ottawa West. The conductor of passenger extra 2802, John Howard, became victim number 37 when he took his own life (by drowning) before the inquest got underway. He left his son a letter which stated that taking the blame for the disaster was more than he could bear. Nine months short of retirement, John Howard had never been involved in an accident of any kind after 40 years of service. Truly a night, and a nightmare, to remember.
One night, about 10 years later, I was the fireman on one of those late night westbound through "western" passenger trains. The engineer I was with, whose name I have forgotten, said he felt sick, probably his heart, after leaving Carleton Place. In any event he stopped the train at the Almonte station, got off the engine and asked the station operator to get help and medical attention, which he did. In the meantime the Smiths Falls dispatcher, after an hour or so delay, got another engineer out to the train and we continued on to Chalk River. I'm sorry that I no longer remember any further details of that incident, but don't think I didn't remember the "Almonte Wreck" on that terrible night 10 years earlier while I was sitting on that engine at Almonte, protected, I might add, by automatic block signals.
As an occasional visitor to the town of Almonte, well over 50 years after that fateful night, when I cross the tracks on the road crossing immediately west of the location where the station used to stand, and where the Almonte town hall building still stands, I think about the infamous Almonte wreck and its devastating horror, shattered lives, broken bodies, and the sadness it brought to so many innocent people.
The story of the Almonte wreck was first printed in Branchline in December 1988 and was written by Ron Ritchie. Ron, a BRS member and friend, finished up his railroad career as Assistant to the President of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and now lives in Hudson Heights, Quebec. I have somewhat embellished his original story with details I have learned in the interim, and remembered, and thank Ron for his diligence in keeping so many of the facts of this incident logged as well as so many other "happenings" on the railway. A big tip of the old Tid Bitter's cap to Ron.
Tid Bits by Duncan du Fresne, Bytown Railway Society,, Branchline, April 2000, pages 8-10.
1943, December 30 - Canadian National - AlexandriaFrom the Cornwall Freeholder 31 December 1943
STEAM KILLS RAIL ENGINEER AT ALEXANDRIA
(Ottawa) Two railroaders, A. Valliere, 30, of Limoges, Que., and M.S. Cybulski, 30, of Barry's Bay, Ont., were in hospital here today in "quite serious condition" following the burst of a steam pipe in a Canadian National Railways freight engine near Alexandria, Ont. which fatally injured T.C. Reasbeck, 54, of Ottawa, the engineer.
Cybulski, fireman, and Valliere, brakeman, suffered scalds to the hands, face and ankles when the pipe exploded and Cybulski also suffered a deep scalp wound.
Live steam shot into the cab of the locomotive as the train was pulling 55 cars up a grade near Alexandria, about 55 miles east of Ottawa. Reasbeck was thrown through the cab window by the explosion.
Jumped From Cab
Cybulski is believed to have jumped from the engine cab. The train, which continued to roll forward after the explosion, finally was stopped about three quarters of a mile east of the point where Reasbeck was found.
Conductor Ross Conley of Ottawa and other crewmen put out flares to stop the fast C.N.R. Transcontinental No. 1 train from Montreal which was following the freight. The Transcontinental was halted at Alexandria however and later pushed the freight into Greenfield, Ont. and took the injured men aboard.
Two Alexandria doctors, E.J. Dolan and D. Primeau, boarded the Transcontinental train here and went to the scene where they were assisted in treating the injured by Miss Edna Hill of Apple Hill, Ont., a trained nurse.
From the Ottawa Journal 31 December 1943
Engineer T.C. Reasbeck, 54, of 128, Hawthorne avenue, was killed late last night when a steam pipe burst on the locomotive of an eastbound freight train en route from Ottawa to Montreal at a point between Greenfield and Alexandria, about 50 miles east of Ottawa.
Injured seriously in the mishap were Fireman M.S. Cybulski, 30, of Barrys Bay and Brakeman A. Valliere, 30, of Limoges, who were taken to the Ottawa Civic Hospital on arrival of the Trans-Continental train from Halifax to Vancouver.
The explosion did not cause derailment of the freight train, but delayed the Trans-Continental about two hours and 20 minutes on reaching the Capital.
Injuries to Fireman Cybulski and Brakeman Valliere consisted of burns and severe scalds, and early this morning the hospital reported their condition quite serious.
Cause of the explosion is under investigation, according to a statement issued by Superintendent Paul Fox of the Ottawa C.N.R division.
It was learned that Engineer Reasbeck died of a fractured skull suffered when he was hurled out of the engine cab following the explosion. Fireman Cybulski jumped and Brakeman Valliere remained in the cab and was the least injured. The brakeman suffered scalds to the hands, face and ankles while the fireman was also badly scalded on the face, hands and ankles and, in addition, suffered a deep scalp wound.
The freight train had travelled its entire length past the point where Engineer Reasbeck was found lying beside the track. It took a searching paty some time to find the unconscious man.
Dr. D.J. Dolan of Alexandria, where the injured were taken first, treated them until they were put aboard the Trans-Continental for Ottawa. The injured were met by the ambulance of George H. Rogers Ltd.., which took them to the Civic Hospital.
Superintendent Fox stated there had been no boiler explosion. If there had been the roadbed of the track would have been torn up.
On arrival of the injured men in Ottawa, Dr. R. Lorne gardmer, C.N.R. physician took charge. An inquest will be held, but Dr. Dolan said he would have to communicate with the Crown Attorney Harkness in Cornwall to learn who would officiate at it.
The Trans-Continental train which was delayed two hours and 20 minutes should have arrived at 10.45 p.m.
Montreal. William Eccles of Montreal, engineer on an eastbound express and passenger train, was killed today when his train collided with derailed cars of a westbound freight train 1 1-2 miles east of Cardinal, Ont., Canadian National Railway officials announced here.
1944, February 26 - Canadian National - Cardinal
The 95-car freight train was just abreast of the eastbound train on double tracking when about 25 cars were derailed. The eastbound train collided with the cars.
A fireman, W. Houle, of Verdun. Que., was "slightly injured," but there were no passengers hurt, railway officials said.
Seven express cars and two coaches on the eastbound express and passenger train were derailed when it collided with the freight cars. Cause of the freight car derailment was not known, officials said, and an investigation will be conducted.
A relief train pulled the coaches to Brockville and they were re-routed to Montreal.
1944, December 21 - Rear end collision on the bridge at Casselman
The Ottawa Citizen December 22 1944.
No one hurt in C.N.R. collision near Casselman.
The caboose and two cars of a C.N.R. freight train were destroyed by fire about 2.18 p.m. yesterday after a second freight train had crashed into them. The accident occurred on a bridge located about a quarter of a mile west of Casselman, Ont. No one was injured in the collision. Casselman is located about 31 miles southwest of Ottawa. Traffic on the main C.N.R. line was disrupted due to the accident.
According to witnesses, the one freight train had stopped near the bridge. The second freight plowed into the rear three cars of it, badly wrecking them and setting them on fire. the engine of the second freight was said to be slightly damaged. Both trains were east bound.
None of the cars on either train was derailed. C.N.R. officials last night could give no immediate cause for the accident. They stated an immediate investigation would be made. Late last night men were still working to clear the main line. It was stated normal traffic would be resumed about midnight.
The locomotive involved was No. 6218.
1946, May 10 - Canadian Pacific - Renfrew.
On May 10th, 1946 Canadian Pacific passenger train #7, 'The Dominion', westbound, hit an open vandalized switch just west of Renfrew station and the locomotive, Royal Hudson 2858 and a baggage car rolled onto their sides. There were no injuries. Auxiliary cranes from Smiths Falls and Chalk River rerailed them. 2858 is currently sitting in the locomotive bay at the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Ottawa.
Bytown Railway Society,, Branchline, July-August 1994, page 16, and April 1998, page 17.
From the Ottawa Citizen 30 May 1946.
With a picture
Renfrew - Lucky escape says Engineer
Ottawa Crew Crawls Unhurt from Cab after 97-ton Flyer Turns Over at Renfrew.
"We were lucky to escape with our lives" said Wilson Creighton of 125 Bayswater avenue, Ottawa, engineer of the CPR's crack transcontinental train whose locomotive, tender and refrigeraor car turned over in a derailment near a downtown crossing here about 1.30 this morning.
Although the engineer and fireman, J.A. Roger of 22 Barrington avenue, Ottawa, were severely shaken, they were uninjured as were the several hundred passengers aboard the westbound train which had left the station less than a minute before the accident.
Railway officials declined to offer any explanation for the derailment but it is generally believed to have been cause by an open switch. An investigation is being made by the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Looking tired and shaken as he stood watching the wrecking crews trying to raise the locomotive from its resting place in the soft shoulder of earth beside the tracks, Engineer Creighton told his story to the Evening Citizen, more than seven hours after he had narrowly escaped death in the toppling locomotive.
He described how he had driven the train into the Lochiel street station, stopped for a few minutes to permit passengers to alight and get on, and then, after receiving the customary signal, had started the engine and begun to head out of Renfrew,
Tossed around in cab.
"We couldn't have been travelling more than eight to ten miles an hour when the engine hit the switch and began to topple. There was nothing myself or the fireman could do to help ourselves, We were really tossed around in the cab."
Mr. Creighton and Mr. Roger crawled from the left window of the cab. Fortunately no steam pipes broke when the engine floped ponderously over, otherwise the two-man crew might have suffered the same fate which has killed so many other railroaders.
As the engine fell, it slashed a telephone pole from its position beside the tracks and part of the wood lodged in the stack of the engine.
The switch which was believed to have been left open, was manually operated and led from the main line into the siding of the Ottawa Valley Grain Products Company. If the transcontinental train had succeeded in entering the siding it would have smashed into the end of a line of boxcars which were standing on the track beside the company building.
The accident was investigated by constables of the Renfrew police force and in a report signed by F. James Burke it is stated that "the switch was thrown open in some way and was also unlocked when he examined it."
On Page 12. with Picture. This morning's wreck at Renfrew of the CPR's Transcontinental train, in which the locomotive, tender and a baggage car were derailed, brought to an end a record of 34 accident-free years behind a throttle for Engineer Wilson Creighton, 125 Bayswater avenue.
Mr. Creighton was still standing beside his overturned engine at eight o'clock this morning about seven hours after the accident occurred. He said he became an engineer in 1912 and until the present had never been in an accident "worth mentioning."
From the Ottawa Citizen, 11 January 1947.
Brockville Jan. 10. Eight persons were injured, one seriously, when a broken wheel derailed three coaches of the Canadian National Railways Toronto-Montreal passenger train as it approached the station just west of here this afternoon.
Commercial traveller M. Hornstein of Montreal , most seriously injured, was detained in hospital but the seven others continued their trip after receiving first aid. They were: Arthur Freeman, Murray Goldstein, E.M. Evans, H. Milner and William Ledger, all of Montreal; E.R. Price of Galt, Ont., and E. Dalgleish of Kingston, Ont.
One of the three derailed coaches toppled over on its side but the other two remained upright. Some 75 passengers were distributed among the three cars.
"I don't know how any of us escaped." said Hornstein later in hospital. "I took three somersaults in the air and landed against the window. The train was delayed in Brockville only 40 minutes, but wrecking crews from Montreal would not have the main line cleared before late tonight. Section gangs, laboring to replace twisted rails and shattered ties at the scene of the deraiment, were still working at 10.30 tonight and the line was still closed to traffic,
The accident occurred only 50 feet east of the 30pfoot embankment leading to the western limit of the railway yards. Two telegraph poles were sheared off by the overturned coach, but the telegraphic communication was not interrupted. The injured were given first aid treatment at Union station by Dr. E.J.F. Williams, of Brockville.
After two coached were added to the train, it continued on to Montreal.
With the exception of Mr. Hornstein, the injured passengers received only cuts and bruises.
1948, January 27 - Canadian National - Derailment of a passenger train on the Alexandria subdivision
From the Ottawa Citizen 27 January 1948:
The CNR last night issued a statement concerning the event which delayed the Montreal -Ottawa train last Monday night, first reported in Wednesday's Evening Citizen. The official explanation differs slightly from the newspaer.
According to the railway, a 4 1/2 hour delay was caused when a broken equalizer n the rear truck on the third car from the engine derailed that truck as is passed over a switch. The truck and the two on the fourth car then went into a side track. The train at that time was travelling at only 30 mph.
The engineer brought the train to a halt almost immediately. Slight damage was caused to the roadbed by the dragging truck, but no cars overturned, no ties were torn up and no one was injured.
No further details - Ottawa Citizen for the previous days not available.
From the Ottawa Citizen 7 September 1948
1948 , July 6 - Canadian Pacific Runaway on the Cornwall Street Railway Tracks
Locomotive Wrecks Auto, Crashed Cornwall House
A runaway freight train that lumbered down street-car tracks on the main street, Pitt street, gave Cornwall residents a scare last night,
An unscheduled trip ended when the locomotive broke loose from its nine freight cars, toppled on a sharp curve and smashed into a verandah on which two people were waiting for one of the city's red street-cars.
Engineer William Nicholson, 52, of Montreal and Fireman Gerald Suffle, 25, of Ottawa leaped from the cab just before the locomotive overturned. Nicholson suffered a head cut which required five stirches to close. Suffle sprained his ankle. Both men were released after treatment at hospital for their injuries.
Albert Lalonde who, with his wife, had been waiting for the street-car, suffered burns from steam after the engine landed almost on the verandah. Both Mr. and Mrs. Lalonde were taken to hospital, where Mrs. lalonde was treated for shock.
Afer the accident, thousands of curious onlookers converged on the scene of the crash. cars and bicycles blocked many roads and at times police traffic constables were unable to clear Pitt street of the surging mob.
The locomotive, in addition to wrecking the verandah, flattened an automobile and damaged a light truck parked near the car.
"It was awful".
"It was awful, terrible," one witness, Mrs Arthur Parker of Cornwall stated. "Steam and water spurted all over the place, coal scattered all over the lawn and the cement curb was all torn up."
Timbers from the wrecked verandah lay strewn over the dug up lawn, some scattered several feet away.
Arnold Pitts of Cornwall was sitting in his automobile when he saw the train come around a corner of Pitt street, the main thoroughfare. He jumped from the car seconds before the toppling engine flattened it.
A panel truck near the Pitts car was damaged.
All the freight cars remained upright after the engine became uncoupled. They coased to a stop.
Railway officials said the locomotive, a switching engine, had been standing on a siding which connected with the street-car track system when freight cars broke loose on another siding and struck it. The impact apparently jammed a gear and started the locomotive off in reverse, pushing the nine freight cars.
City firemen extinguished the fire in the toppled locomotive firebox. CPR wrecking equipment was being sent from Montreal to remove the locomotive from its resting place on Pitt street three blocks north of the main business area. At midnight the wrecking crews had not yet arrived in Cornwall but were expected "any minute now."
The Cornwall Street Railway System operates a switching service for the many industries of the city. These firms have sidings at the three railway yards in Cornwall and their freight is hauled from the sidings to the factories by the street railway system.
But where the companies have no direct siding from a railway yard, the street railway hauls the freight and tank cars along their own recently-installed rails on back streets. Until a few years ago freight cars ran on Pitt street
The locomotive had been standing on a siding which runs into Pitt street opposite the foot of Sixth street. When the nine freight cars, shunted from a parallel siding, rammed into the rear of the standing locomotive, the engine began to move in reverse, pushing the freight cars towards Pitt street.
At the curve leading on to Pitt street, the freight cars became uncoupled but continued to roll south down the main street. they eventually coasted to a halt.
The locomotive, however, jumped the tracks after rounding the corner and crashed into the verandah of the Lalonde home, the sixth house from the junction of the street railway and the railway tracks.
26 August 1948 - Railway Crane Topples from Trestle at HEPC Fitzroy.
From the Ottawa Citizen 26 August 1948
Man Killed At Fitzroy
Peter Lalonde, 50-year-old resident of Fitzroy harbor, was instantly killed at 10.45 o'clock this morning when the electric crane he was operating in moving box cars at the Hydro Electric Company's plant at Fitzroy jumped the tracks and plunged from a trestle onto rocks 25 feet below.
Joseph Bowman, 45, who was riding on the crane with Lalonde at the time, smashed a window in the cab and leaped out just before the heavy piece of equipment went over the side of the trestle. He suffered only a broken nose and minor cuts and bruises.
Peter Lalonde, who was widely known in the Fitzroy area, leaves a wife and four children
Extract from an article by Duncan duFresneBytown Railway Society,, Branchline, January 1982, Pages 10-11-12.
But Travie Short is remembered better for another story. Ironically train number 83's return from Smiths Falls as an extra is involved, as is Fourth Class train number 89 3 another Ottawa West - Smiths Falls via Carleton Place job that also handled much of the CIP production from Gatineau. On the night of March 18, 1950, 83's extra and 89 were to meet at Ashton, Ont, The extra had a car to set out at Ashton anyway, on the business siding parallel to the passing track. The extra planned to pull their train into the passing track, cut off head end cars to the one they had to set out, pull out through the east end switch and then back into the business track. It was a bad night, a heavy March snow storm with very high winds was lashing the valley. The extra pulled slowly into the passing track, 89 was west of Stittsville and eating away the time and distance over to Ashton. The crew of the extra had correctly left their headlight on as they were not "in the clear". The story goes that the wind was whipping the smoke and exhaust, as well as the snow, around the extra's front end. As westbound 89 got the extra's headlight in sight the wind caused the smoke, steam and snow to obscure the light, then clear up, then obscure it again. In the cab of the onrushing 89 this was mistaken for a deliberate "highball" signal indicating (illegally) that the extra was "in the clear". The hogger on 89 opened, up his throttle and roared past the east passing track switch not knowing that just ahead, obliterated by the flying snow, was the tail end of the Extra, still foul of the main line. Standing on the west switch was a ballast car of rock. The 2624 plowed into it, rolling over in the process, cars piled up in all directions. The little station on the south side of the main was demolished. When all motion had ceased, 89's engine crew were dead and her head end brakeinan, Tom Gilmer, had saved his life by jumping just before the collision. The dead fireman was George Hannam, - the engineer was Travie Short.
From an Ottawa paper 19 March 1950:
Like the Toys of an Angry Giant (with picture)
Smashed and tossed by the trenendous impact of tons of steel, the wreckage of CPR freight No. 83 lies scattered across the main transcontinental line at Ashton, 20 miles southwest of Ottawa. The broken cars spew their cargo across the snow, the one in the right upper background spreading hundreds of cases of beer about. Seven cars, the engine and the tender are spread around in much the same confusion as would result if a small boy in temper had upset his toy train. The early morning collision Saturday of No. 83 with the rear end of an eastbound freight affected train schedules and connections from Montreal to Sudbury, while dispatchers rerouted freight and passenger to by-pass the smash-up in which two crewmen died and two others were injured. The wreckage was cleared, 250 yards of ripped up track replaced and the line opened for traffic again late Saturday. At either end of the torn right-of-way, the railway wreck-clearing cranes can be seen beginning the job of working their way to the centre of the pile-up.
From Stittsville/Richmond Region EMC 22 March 2012
Collision of Freight Trains at Ashton on 18 Mar 1950
Ashton Ontario - March 18 was
unseasonably warm this year, one day in an extended warm period that
has seen most of the snow disappear from the landscape. But March 18
has not always been so lamb-like. Indeed, back in 1950, it was a March
lion, with a blinding snow storm hitting the Stittsville and Goulbourn
The Westboro Wreck
By Michael Iveson.
Canadian Pacific Train No. 8, "The Dominion" was better than an hour-and-a-half "off the advertized" on January 20, 1951 when it crested the grade near the suburban Ottawa station of Westboro and struck a coal truck at the Chuchill Avenue crossing, just east of Westboro Station.
The truck driver and his helper, employees of the nearby Independent Coal and Lumber Company, were able to jump clear of their vehicle and were uninjured. The train and its crew were not so lucky.
Powered by Royal Hudson No. 2821, the "Dominion" was rolling along at better than 70 mph when the collision occured. Upon impact, the truck was thrown against a switchstand just at the crossing. The force of the blow opened the turnout, diverting the train into the siding of the Cummings Coal Company.
The engine was unable to negotiate the tight curvature of the siding. It derailed and ploughed down the track embankment on its side, coming to rest some 500 feet from where the Westboro transitway station is now located.
The wreckage also included a heavy weight baggage car, a 2200-series coach, a heavy weight diner, and a sleeper. The balance of the train stayed on the rails.
The train's Engineer, Albert Scharf, was trapped in the cab of the 2821, suffering fatal burns. His Fireman, Earl Fergus, miraculously survived, retiring from CP engine service a couple of years ago. In all, some 30 passengers and crew members were injured that day.
The 2821 was hauled out of the mud and snow and rebuilt. Ironically, it was involved in yet another collision - a cornfield meet with sister 2823 on the North Bay Subdivision. She was rebuilt after this incident, and was scrapped in December of 1959.
On a personal note, my mother and I had just waved at the crew of Number 8 as it had passed our home not two minutes before the accident. My father, who worked on Saturday morning in those days, was driving down Churchill Avenue and witnessed the accident. He was one of the first to reach the crew trapped in the cab.
I spent the next few days after the accident watching the equipment being rerailed. After its retrieval, the 2821 was stored on a siding at Westboro Station until it could be shipped to Montreal for repairs.
To this day, as I approach the intersection of Scott Street and Churchill Avenue, I still think of that awful wreck of January 21, 1951.
Bytown Railway Society,, Branchline,March 1987, page 6
1951, February 11 - Derailment of ten freight cars at Pembroke, Canadian PacificFrom the Ottawa Citizen 12 February 1951:
Pembroke - No injuries resulted but considerable damage was caused and the main line of the CPR blocked for several hours here yesterday, the result of a derailment of a freight train near the Pembroke Shook Mills, just inside western Pembroke limits.
Ten box cars were derailed two of them overturned beside the track which happened about 7.45 a.m.
Traffic along the transcontinental line was immediately halted and interrupted until late yesterday afternoon when wrecking crews completed clearing up the wreckage and repaired the damaged rails.
Railway officials revealed that the accident occurred when a mechanical defect caused a broken arch-bar on the underside of one of the cars.
Ten cars were derailed and the tracks torn up for several hundred feet. Two of the derailed cars, the one with the defect and another, were overturned one on each sde of the right-of-way with the wheels torn off both.
The officials revealed also that the train, eastbound at the time, was an extra freight under the charge of Conductor Tom Spooner of Smiths Falls. They emphasized that no blame was attached to anyone with respect to the accident.
One wrecking train and crew arrived from the west early yesterday morning while another from Smiths Falls reached the scene about noon and both worked rapidly to clear the line. Eastbound trains were held at Chalk River, about 20 miles west of here, while those westbound were stopped at Pembroke.
1951, February 16 - Tank truck loaded with fuel oil hits Canadian Pacific Ottawa to Maniwaki passenger train.From the Ottawa Citizen 17 February 1951
None hurt in crash of truck train.
Ernest Bastien, 35, of 154 Hinchey Avenue, narrowly escaped injury yesterday afternoon when his loaded fuel-oil truck with its inflammable cargo skidded into the side of a moving passenger train at a Hull crossing.
The CPR Montclair Street crossing was the scene of the truck-train crash, when the truck plowed into one of the rear coaches of CPR Ottawa-Maniwaki passenger train, locomotive No.2927, that had just pulled out of Beemer station at 4.45 p.m.
Although the cab of the heavy tanker tractor owned by Hall Fuels, 339 Preston Street, was totally wrecked, the efforts of the driver in pulling the truck sideways was credited with saving the 1,200 gallon oil tank from damage.
None of the oil escaped and there was little danger of fire or explosion following the crash.
Although the railway coaches were slightly damaged as a result of the accident, officials reported last night that none of the passengers were injured.
Engineer William R. Creighton, of 125 Bayswater Avenue and Fireman George Tapp, of 158 Beach Street were in charge of the locomotive.
1953, October 11 - Derailment of a Canadian Pacific passenger train on the Castor grade, Maniwaki subdivision.Bytown Railway Society,, Branchline, January 2005, pages 12-13.
Tid Bits by Duncan H. du Fresne
Death and Disaster on the Castor Grade
(This article is a reprint, with some embellishment, from an original article written by the author in May 1982)
Castor grade was the railroader's name for a part of the long grade on Canadian Pacific's Maniwaki subdivision which began at a point approximately one half to three quarters of a mile north of the railway's Gracefield, Quebec, station, at mile 57.8. The grade was several miles long and contained a number of left and right hand curves, with a steep embankment on the east side for most of its length. It is hard to believe that the Maniwaki sub. is nothing but a memory north of Wakefield now, but back in 1953, the time of our story, it was still quite a busy pike, and steam power and wooden consist passenger trains still reigned.
Let's go back to October 10, 1953, and a bit of background information. It's a Saturday afternoon and the regular passenger engine crew that brought the daily, except Sunday, train No. 534 down from Maniwaki have "booked off after their 11:05 A.M. arrival at Ottawa Union Station (CD) and after having brought their engine back to Ottawa West shop. This was the regular crew's normal practice at the time for it gave them their only chance to sleep in their own beds for two nights out of the week and have what remained of Saturday, and all of Sunday at home. All other nights were spent in the company's Maniwaki bunkhouse. This crew would "book on" again sometime late on Sunday so that they could go out on their regular assignment, train No. 535, on Monday afternoon.
This arrangement meant that a spare engine crew had to be called to take the Saturday afternoon passenger train, No. 539, on the return trip back to Maniwaki. In those days, the Saturday afternoon return trip departed Ottawa (CD) earlier than the regular Monday-Friday schedule (2:20 P.M. instead of 4:15 P.M.), and would more likely than not, for the reasons stated, have a spare list engine crew assigned. There was also a Sunday morning passenger train scheduled out of Ottawa and this job would also be worked by a spare list crew. It left CD at 9:15 A.M. as train No. 537. The crew that went north on Saturday came back to Ottawa on Sunday evening on train No. 538, departing Maniwaki at 5:50 P.M. Similarly, the crew that went north on Sunday morning came back to Ottawa on Monday morning, on the regular schedule of train No. 534, departing Maniwaki at 7:40 A.M., arriving at CD at 11:05 A.M.
In addition to these passenger movements there were two way freight jobs on the sub. which operated daily, except Sunday, as trains No. 79 and 80, often with a spare list crew on the weekend. This job left Ottawa West yard (UY) for Maniwaki early in the morning, arriving in Maniwaki in the late afternoon-early evening period. The northbound Saturday morning crew on this job had the pleasure of spending their weekend at C.P.'s little "resort" bunkroom in Maniwaki until Monday morning. Their Monday morning departure for Ottawa West was after the departure of No. 534. Lots of freight extras were operating on the pike at that time, as well as the odd passenger extra, but we'll not be concerned with them here.
On the weekend of October 10-11, 1953, train No. 79 left UY on Saturday morning, as per usual, with a spare engine crew. The engineer was "Sergeant-Major" Lou Brunet, and the fireman was Ray Higgins, quite a good friend of mine. In the afternoon of that day the Saturday only passenger train, No. 539, left CD with light Pacific No. 2221 on the head end of a train consisting of a wooden bodied baggage car and two wooden coaches. As usual there was a spare engine crew on board the 2221 with Richard (Dick) McNally as engineer and C. Kenneth Learmonth as fireman on the hand-fired coal burning 2221. Fireman Learmonth was a Smiths Falls "north end" fireman who had been "cut off the list" (laid off) in Smiths Falls and had come over to Ottawa West to exercise his seniority and work, rather than sit around Smiths Falls until he was once again assigned to the spare list there. This was to be Learmonth's first trip over the Maniwaki sub. Dick McNally was an "A" list spare passenger engineer who knew the branch (Maniwaki sub.) extremely well. By Saturday evening the engine crews of 539 and 79 were both in the Maniwaki bunkhouse and there they spent the night. At 12:35 P.M. on Sunday, train No. 537 arrived in town. I no longer recall who her crew was, but now there were three engine crews in the Maniwaki bunkhouse. As stated earlier, the crew off 537 would spend the night in Maniwaki and leave for Ottawa Union Station on train 534 on Monday morning.
The Plot Thickens
Sometime after 537's arrival it was decided by some, or all, of the three crews now in the bunkhouse to have a beer. Normally this would have resulted in the boys walking the short distance over to the main street and frequenting one of the several drinking/dining establishments. But for some reason or other it was decided to get some beer and bring it back to the bunkhouse. My friend, Ray Higgins, allegedly went over to town, got the beer, and brought it back. I have no idea how much was consumed, but some was. In any event at 5:50 P.M. it was time for train No. 538 to depart with McNally and Learmonth on the 2221, hauling three cars. They left town and headed south for Ottawa. It was to be their last trip!
The Castor Grade.
At about mileage 60, approximately two miles north of Gracefield, the train got rolling down the grade at too high a rate of speed for the curvature when, suddenly, the 2221 left the rails, plunged down the steep east embankment and rolled over on her left side. The tender jack-knifed, ending up on its left side, at about a 60 degree angle to the 2221, spilling out her 7,000 gallons of water and 10 tons of coal in the process. The baggage car followed the engine and tender down the embankment and lost both its trucks along the way. Nevertheless the baggage car's body remained upright, almost touching the back of 2221's tender and the front of the wrecked engine. The three pieces of equipment formed a sort of triangle where they lay. The leading coach left the rails and rolled almost completely over on her right side but, along with the second coach, which remained upright, remained on the right of way. By the time Conductor D.H. McDiarmid made his way to the head end to review the situation and get his portable 'phone set up on the dispatcher's wires, both McNally and Learmonth had climbed out of the wreckage and had made their way back to the embankment. Both had been burned and scalded badly and were writhing in pain, but they were alive. McDiarmid made contact with the dispatcher and briefed him on the situation, and I'm sure his description of what had happened was vastly different to the one that got out to the public.
Somehow or other the whole thing got blown out of all proportion. I was at home in Ottawa that evening and what I heard on the radio was that there had been a train wreck near Gracefield, Quebec, that it was a "major disaster" and that C.P. was assembling a "mercy train" at Ottawa West station to take "anybody who could help" up to the wreck site. Two Ottawa hospitals took action to get nurses and internes just coming off duty to the "mercy train". They alerted operating room teams, called in their blood bank staff, drew donor lists from files, notified local wholesale houses of the possible need for extra cots, mattresses and stretchers and sent out a "code A" radio alert. While all this was going on two ambulances were "racing" up Quebec highway 11 (now 105) to Gracefield. It wouldn't be much of a race on that road as it is now, let alone as it was in 1953. As it turned out the "mercy train" was cancelled when more accurate information became available and cooler heads prevailed, however, the two ambulances got to Gracefield, still several miles from the remote location of the wreck. In the meantime both McNally and Learmonth had been brought down to Gracefield by a section man's track-motor "speeder" to await the arrival of the ambulances. They received some emergency treatment by Doctors Ren6 Lafreniere and Arthur Desjardins of Gracefield and were subsequently taken to the Ottawa General Hospital by a St. John Ambulance Brigade crew, alive, only to die 20 and 23 hours later respectively. Three of the passengers, out of a total of 35, required hospital treatment for leg and ankle injuries. All of the other passengers were somewhat shaken up and a few suffered minor cuts, bruises and shock, mostly from broken glass and luggage flying around when the first coach rolled over. It was not a major disaster in the normal sense, but it certainly was for Dick McNally and Ken. Learmonth.
As in such cases a C.P.R. investigation was held, as was a Coroner's Inquest. There was some debate about the location of the Coroner's Inquest inasmuch as the accident happened in Quebec, but the two deaths occurred in Ontario. Autopsies were carried out in Ottawa and copies of the report were turned over to Quebec authorities to deal with near the scene of the derailment.
Canadian Pacific's investigation into the events that led up to the tragedy was thorough. Their investigation team comprised the following officials: Mr. T.E. Wheeler, Superintendent, Smiths Falls Division; Mr. G.E. Pielow, Assistant Superintendent, Ottawa; Mr. G.E. Mayne, General Manager, Eastern Region, Toronto; and Mr. F.A. Pouliot, Quebec District General Superintendent, Montreal. Their investigation resulted, basically, in putting the blame on certain employees for the consumption of beer and the violation of rule "G" by the engine crew before going on duty. The way freight engine crew of Brunei and Higgins were fired for the same rule "G" violation as it was, allegedly, either one or both of them who brought, and consumed, alcohol on the company's premises. 537's engine crew was exonerated. Rule "G", by the way, in the 1951 Uniform Code of Operating Rules (UCOR), stated: "The use of intoxicants or narcotics by employees subject to duty, or their possession or use while on duty, is prohibited". But, was this really the only cause?
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen argued that a mechanical fault on the 2221, and fireman's Learmonth's total lack of familiarity with the branch were the causes. How?, Why? The 2221 was one of the Gl light Pacific's with an Elesco boiler feedwater pump in her tender. Water from that pump, under high pressure, made its way to the boiler through a flexible pipe connector between the tender and the engine known as a "Barco" connector. That particular connector had been leaking badly just prior to the accident, and this had been documented. Both of the Brotherhoods took the position that Learmonth was carrying the water low in the boiler, and as he didn't know the road was not aware that they were about to descend a long grade and that the water should have been up high just before the long descent. Furthermore, and to compound Learmonth's problem, it was early evening, dark, and it was raining. As the train rolled over the top of the down grade the boiler water ran ahead in the boiler and disappeared from sight in the water glass. Learmonth opened up on the water pump throttle to recover the water but due to the leakage at the Barco joint it was taking too long for the water to rise in the boiler. Dick McNally in the meantime, becoming aware of Learmonth's problem, started work to get the right side Hancock non-lifting injector in operation to get some vital'water into that boiler. While he was working at this his concentration on running the engine was broken and his exact position on the grade was lost. During this process the train gathered too much speed, and very quickly got out of control. A few seconds later the 2221 hit a right hand curve, left the rails, and plunged down the embankment.
Dick McNally, 57, and Ken. Learmonth, 36, were dead. The beer drinking incident, regardless of how little (or how much) might have been consumed prior to the start of that fateful trip, was strictly against the rules. The Brotherhood's position, however plausible, and there was documented evidence to support the leaking Barco joint argument, was still only speculation. Brunet and Higgins never got their jobs back. Both Learmonth and Higgins had young families. I'm not sure what happened to Brunet, but Ray Higgins went into retail sales and got back on his feet. Dick McNally was survived by his wife, Grace, two brothers and one sister.
I worked with Dick McNally on the branch and main lines. Dick was a character, but a pleasant guy to work with and one who knew what he was doing. My most vivid memory of Dick occurred on a trip on the main line from Ottawa to Montreal one day on a Royal Hudson. We were roaring along at high speed with one of those heavy western passenger trains and Dick was having a bad time getting the throttle to stay "latched". Each time he would set the thing where he wanted it, it would slip out of place and begin to close. Dick tried to jam it in position by sticking a wad of cotton waste between the latch and the lever, but to no avail. I can still see him on that seat, with both arms raised holding the throttle open, with his "trade mark" red bandana around his neck flying in the breeze, and yelling over the roar of the Hudson to me: "mate, it's like trying to hang onto a mad bull". Dick was missed by us all.
Serious railway accidents, like all accidents, really strike home when you are intimately involved. I had been the fireman on the 2221, on that job, at that time, for that engineer. I might have been on 538 that night just as easily as Learmonth. Would it have been my last trip? Many of us at that time asked that question. Railroading, for all the interest and pleasure the fans get from it, is a serious business. For those who earn, or have earned their livings from it see it as a very unforgiving "game" if played carelessly. One has to be fully aware of what's going on about you, especially when handling steam power, if you are to survive. It's a sound message for BRS members who enjoy it as a hobby. Let's keep our accident free safety record intact by practising "heads up" railroading.
The 2221 was mortally wounded that night. With the aid of the Ottawa West auxiliary, DIG 4-6-0 #1059, a Lidgerwood winch and a crew of men, the 2221 was dragged back up to the right of way and subsequently put back on the rails. It was towed to Ottawa West where it stood on the rip-track for disposal for a short time. Some time later she went to Angus (shops) in Montreal and was scrapped. For those of us who had to deal with the 2221, we were glad to see her go for she was a pain in the neck. This engine had gained a reputation on the Division for not being a very good "steamer", that is to say it was impossible to keep her "hot" (maintain maximum boiler pressure). This was unusual for the Gls were really good engines and all the others steamed quite well. Getting rid of her was no loss, but two of our Brothers were dead and two others had their lives put in a turmoil, a bad situation.
I'm not finished with the 2221 just yet. In the next issue of Branchline I'm going to write about one of those Pilgrimage trains that we got from time to time out of Ottawa (and Hull), and a trip I had on a Pilgrimage train with that same 2221 only months before the Castor Grade accident. Stay with me!
This is how CP 4-6-2 2221 looked after her arrival on the Ottawa West rip track. She was no where near this bad after her fatal plunge on Thanksgiving weekend 1953, but her recovery resulted in just about wrecking her. Note the missing door panel on the left side of the tender, the location of the Elesco feed pump. Photo by Addison Schwalm.Bytown Railway Society,, Branchline, March 1997, pages 18-19.
Tidbits by Duncan H. Dufresne.
TRAGEDY ON CASTOR GRADE: Still, another memory, a very unpleasant one, comes to mind. On the evening of October 11,1953, a news flash came over the local radio stations in Ottawa that a terrible passenger train wreck had just occurred on the Castor grade north of Gracefield, Quebec. It was a Sunday evening so the engine crew would be the spare crew which went north on Saturday. In any event an appeal for medical help was being broadcast and for a time it seemed that there was a great loss of life and many injuries. This, however, was not the case and for reasons I no longer recall the radio people, and perhaps others, had badly overreacted. The fact of the matter was that the engine on train 538, powered by G1 class light Pacific No. 2221, had left the rails on a curve on the downgrade, rolled over on her left side down the steep embankment, quite a distance from the tracks. The wood bodied baggage/express car followed the 2221, lost both its trucks in its plunge, and ended sitting upright in a position 90 degrees to 2221's tender which, itself, was 90 degrees to the 2221 and lying on its left hand side. Its forward truck was missing. The engine, tender, and baggage/express car sort of formed a strange looking triangle at the foot of the embankment. The first of the two all wood coaches left the track, rolled over to an extreme angle to its right, but remained on the right of way. The other coach, also remaining on the right of way, rolled over to an angle of only about 15 degrees. Only 3 of the 35 passengers reported on the train were seriously hurt. The most serious injury was a broken ankle, but everyone, at the very least, was given a good shaking up, together with cuts and bruises. No doubt it scared the living daylights out of all of them.
THE REAL INJURIES: Yeah, there were others in more serious condition. The engineer, Dick McNally, and the fireman, Ken Learmonth, both survived the wreck, but they had been badly scalded. They in fact had climbed off the overturned 2221, crawled up the embankment, and were ultimately taken to hospital in Ottawa where both succumbed to their injuries. Dick McNally was a local Ottawa West engineer working on the spare "A" list. Learmonth, on the other hand, was a "north end" (working out of Smiths Falls) fireman who had recently been "cut off" the spare list there and had come over to Ottawa where he "stood" for work. The trip up the Gatineau was in fact his first trip over the Maniwaki sub and, unfortunately, his last. The 2221, the only G1 class engine in Ottawa that nobody was too fond of (it wouldn't steam worth a damn), was hauled out of there, and sent to Angus Shops in Montreal where it was scrapped. (People like me did not shed a tear over that).
A big investigation followed this accident and you can be sure the cause was attributed to human error. The BLE (Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers) and the BLF&E (Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen & Enginemen) didn't agree with the findings, and with some very good reasons, but there was no denying there was human error. The circumstances leading up to the accident, the accident itself, the fallout from it and most important, the people involved in it, is a story itself and has appeared in other issues of Branchline.
And lest you wonder in those days before train radio how the word of the accident got out so quickly from the wilderness, it goes like this. Parallel to the railway were the telegraph lines that linked the station operators together with the dispatcher. The train's conductor, Harvey McDiarmid, went over to the line, hooked up his portable 'phone to the dispatcher's "pair" (of wires) on the cross arms and presto, he was talking to the Smiths Falls dispatcher's office. Space age communication it ain't, but it worked!
Next month I will write about the various jobs (trains) that ran on the Maniwaki sub.. What working on them was like, or more precisely, what earning a living on them was like toward the end of the steam era, the branch line era, and the branch line passenger train era, wooden cars and all!
|From the Ottawa
Citizen 26 March
Train Derailed At Hull (with picture). No one was injured when a CPR Toronto-bound passenger train jumped the tracks at the Hull station at the height of the snowstorm Saturday afternoon, The engine, coal car and a number of baggage cars left the tracks when a faulty switch shoved the slow-moving train onto the Maniwaki line. Train crews working with cranes righted the derailed cars about six hours after the mishap. Meanwhile, passengers were taken back to Ottawa where they boarded another train bound for the Queen City. The derailed cars blocked Hull's St. Redemp-teur and St. Hyacinthe Streets until close to 9 o'clock in the evening. Hull police rerouted traffic and stayed on the job until engine and cars were placed back on the rails and taken to Ottawa.
1955, July 18 - Locomotive and 25 freight cars derail at Maxville, Canadian National Alexandria subdivision.From the Ottawa Citizen 18 July 1955
Engine and boxcars tossed like toys. (with aerial photo)
This was the scene from above near Maxville after a CNR freight train smashed through an open switch. Twenty-nine of the 32 cars wpre derailed and tossed like toys atop each other in a scene of awesome damage. Miraculously, no members of the crew were injured in the spectacular wreck. The 250-ton locomotive rammed through 125 feet of earth smashing through a coal shed before it came to a shuddering stop at a grotesque angle, half-buried, as shown here. Adding to the damage were casualties among livestock in cars on a nearby spur line. The hurtling freight smashed them to bits.
From the Ottawa Citizen 10 May 1956.
1956, May 9 - Head-on collision between two passenger trains at Brockville - one fatality.
Brockville - Two inquiries were underway here today into the cause of the switching error that led to a fatal train collision here Wednesday afternoon.
Mrs. Robert Crummy, of 588 Chapel Street, Ottawa suffered fatal head injuries when she was thrown to the floor of a coach. Thirty other passengers were shaken up but suffered only minor hurts.
The Board of Transport Commissioners sent an official here from Montreal to make an inquiry while CNR officials on whose line the wreck occurred were also questioning all employes seemingly involved.
Coach on siding
Mrs. Crummy, 56, whose body was taken to Ottawa for funeral services there, was in the coach from the Ottawa-Brockville train which was to be attached here to the Toronto train.
The coach was on a siding waiting for the Montreal-Toronto train. Apparently through error, the westbound mainline train was sent on to the siding on which the coach, hauled by a diesel switcher, was waiting while the mainliner drew into Brockville station.
The mainline train was travelling about 10 miles an hour when it hit the diesel head-on. Mrs. Crummy had just risen from her seat and the impact threw her to the floor.
The engineer and fireman on the locomotive. Martin Sheridan and A. Gifford, respectively both of Brockville, jumped clear when they saw the Montreal-Toronto pool train bearing down on them.
Damage to the two trains was slight.
Railway men attributed the accident to a switching error. The Montreal-Toronto train due in Brockville at 1.15 p.m. daily, evidently was directed into a wrong siding in which the Ottawa transfer coach was standing.
An Ottawa man who was a passenger on the coach said only the slow speed of the pool train resulted in less serious injuries being caused.
H. Gibson Caldwell, 442 McLeod Street, said that he had stepped out of the coach - it had been parked for about 20 minutes - when he saw the Toronto-bound train heading up the side track.
"It was only the slow speed of the train that saved the day for a number of the passengers," he stated.
1957, February 28 - Canadian National Continental hits a truck at Bells Corners, Beachburg subdivision, and derails two diesel units and ten passenger cars.
Public Archives PA-208687-90
From the Ottawa Citizen of 28 February 1957:
Close to 100 in miraculous escape as train hits truck.
Ten cars spill off the track at 55 mph clip.The CNR's eastbound Continental today knifed into a braking tractor-trailer at a level crossing on the city's outskirts, derailing a two-unit diesel and ten cars.
About 75 passengers and about 15 crew members aboard were violently shaken up. Damage was estimated at $1,000,000.
The smash left a 300-yard tangle of wreckage and scattered cars at a crossing just north of Bells Corners.
Further Reports, Pictures Page 7.
It was incredible that there was no loss of life or serious injury.
Both the train and the tractor-trailer - the latter was northbound on Highway No. 15 - were heading towards Ottawa at the time of the 6.05 a.m. crash.
The train - the CNR's Continental due to arrive at Union Station at 6.35 a.m. - was travelling at about 55 miles per hour, the conductor, Daniel J. Pickett, of Capreol, Ont., told The Citizen.
Evert Bergsma, of St. Anne's, Ont., 33-year-old driver of the heavy vehicle owned by Zavitz Bros. Ltd., of Wainfleet, Ont., escaped unscathed from the accident which drew thousands to the scene.
15,000 tins of baby food.Included among the 75 passengers who were abruptly jolted out of their sleep were more than a score of wives and children who were proceeding to Halifax enroute to join their husbands and fathers serving with NATO forces in Europe. They were due to leave Halifax on the liner Scythia on Saturday.
Spread along the railway roadbed for more than 100 yards on either side of the crossing were the contents of more than 500 unit cases of canned baby food, valued at about $4,000. The 15-ton cargo of the tractor-trailer comprised 15,000 tins of the baby food.
The crash came after the tractor-trailer came to a stop on the tracks in spite of the efforts of the driver to bring it to a halt in time. The driver blamed the vehicle's brakes for the truck's position on the tracks.
Still shaking an hour after his harrowing experience, Mr. Bergsma recounted for the Citizen what he could recall of the moments leading up to the crash.
"I was moving along at a normal rate of speed, when I suddenly noticed the train looming up to my left. My first thought was to put on my brakes. By that time the train was practically upon me.
"But my brakes refused to work."
The driver's miraculous escape from death resulted from the fact that the train struck the vehicle near the point where the tractor section connects with the heavy trailer.
The smash literally cut the tractor, housing the driver, away from the trailer and left it practically undamaged. The cab and its occupant landed upright on the highway just to. the north of the tracks. The major portion of the tractor was located about 100 feet east of the highway on the Bells Corners side of the crossing. The other part was found on the opposite side of the crossing.
Only three minor injuries.Injuries - all minor in nature - were sustained by only three of those on the train.
The engineer, Dean C. Burrill, of 1054 Apolydor Avenue, Ottawa, received small cuts to the face and hands but was able to go home after the mishap.
J. F. MacLean, the baggageman, whose home is in Capreol, Ont., received a bruised arm, and William Evans, 37, a seaman enroute from Vancouver to Hali-I fax, suffered a wrist injury.
The only one to be treated in hospital was Evans who was released from the Civic Hospital as soon as he was attended to. CNR officials estimated that the arduous job of clearing the line would be completed by 6 p.m. and service would then be resumed over that section.
Meanwhile, the CNR's Super-Continental, due to arrive in Ottawa at 2.50 p.m., was rerouted at North Bay to run over the CPR line to the Capital. All CNR locals are temporarily running over the CNR's Renfrew Valley section from Barry's Bay. The crash occurred on a level crossing located on a straight, dry stretch of road about 500 yards north of the Bells Corners intersection. There was a regular "railway crossing" sign at the crossing but no wig-wag.
The scene in the vicinity of the crossing was one of wreckage and confusion born out of fantastic circumstances.
All of the cars and the two diesel engines were derailed.
Just three of the cars three sleepers and the dinette remained upright adjacent to the torn up section of track. The day coach was in a near-upright position but came to rest about 15 feet from the track.
The train left Capreol at 10.45 p.m. where it picked up passengers transferred to it from a train travelling east from Western Canada.
The transfer of passengers from the twisted cars to Colonial Coach buses for transport to Union station was completed before 8 o'clock.
There was little panic by those concerned. Mrs. H. A. Smith, whose address was given as Ottawa, and her sister, Mrs. P. J. Slaght, of Cobalt, Ont, was concerned about the body of their mother which was in a casket in the baggage car. The casket was later removed for transfer to Montreal. Other members of the crew, in addition to the conductor, Dean Burrill, of 1054 Apolydor Avenue, Ottawa, engineman; George Burns, of 571 Somerset Street, fireman; Allan Irwin of Capreol, trainman; and J. F. Mac-Lean, of Capreol, baggage man.
OPP Sgt. Edwin Richardson and Constables Ray Miller and Bill McGinnis, all of the Ottawa detachment, were at the scene shortly after the crash.
From the Ottawa Journal of 28 February 1957:
CNR Engineer Dean C. Surrill is resting at his Apolydor avenue home today after a train-truck wreck beyond his understanding.
He said a tractor-trailer passed a stopped car at the Bell's Corners level crossing this morning to straddle the tracks when the East bound Continental was signalling its approach.
"I could hardly believe my eyes", the engineer told The Journal. "We didn't have a chance.
"I saw a car attached to a small trailer stopped at the crossing. The transport pulled around the car and into the level crossing. It was astounding."
Mr. Burrill advised Provincial Police of the situation as he saw it and disclaimed all responsibility for the derailment.
"I slammed on the brakes but we travelled for several hundred yards", he said. The 43-year-old engineer has been an employe of the CNR for 15 years and an engineer for eight years. Some witnesses said they overheard the truck driver say his brakes failed and he was forced to swing around the car in a bid to clear the tracks.
Asked about it some hours later, his reply was a noncommittal "Could be!"
He said, he had been instructed by his superiors and insurance officials to say nothing of the crash.
George Burns, the fireman, said he did not realize anything was going to happen until a split second before the crash occurred.
From the Ottawa Citizen 1 March 1957:
Swerved to avoid car at crossing.Several lives possibly were saved at Bells Corners yesterday morning when transport truck driver Evert Bergsma, 33, of Wellandport, Ont., realizing his brakes were useless, swerved past a stopped passenger car rather than push it into the path of the CNR's crack Continental passenger train.
As a result of this quick-trigger thinking, the Ottawa-bound train crashed into the end of the 15-ton transport Bergsma was driving. Ten coaches were derailed but, miraculously, no one was killed. Three persons suffered minor injuries.
StatementThe driver's explanation for the crash, was revealed today by John Grace, legal counsel for Zaviti Brothers of Wainfleet, Ont, owners of th« tractor trailer which was on lease to Secord Transport of Fonthill.
Bergsma's statement maintained that the truck brakes failed as he was slowing down behind the passenger car, which had stopped at the crossing for the diesel-powered train which was approaching the Ottawa suburbs at 55 miles an hour.
To avoid pushing the car into the path of the locomotive, Bergsma made a quick decision to pull out and attempt to get across the crossing before the train arrived. He stated that he knew his brakes were useless and this was his only alternative. The train was travelling at 55 mph.
This sequence of events was substantiated by train engineer Dean C, Burrill, 43, of Ottawa who said that the tractor-trailer entered the level crossing after swinging out to pass an automobile stopped for the train,
"We didn't have a chance," he said. "The truck went around the stopped car. I slammed on the locomotive brakes but we travelled for several hundred yards before the train stopped."
There was such an impact that parts of the steel siding of the truck trailer were welded to the front of the diesel cab.
Bergsma told his legal counsel that he believed there were several persons in the car which he swerved around.
Regular traffic over the damaged line was resumed at four o'clock this morning, 22 hours after the crash.
A CNR emergency crew worked continuously throughout yesterday and last night to clear the right-of-way of the 10 damaged coaches and replace 100 yards of rail and roadbed torn up in the crash. Auxiliary trains, complete with huge grappling hooks, were brought In from Capreol and Montreal,
Six coaches and the two damaged diesel units still are along the trackside but will be removed later today. All units will be "shopped" in Ottawa or Montreal for complete inspection and repair, where needed. All coaches and both diesel units will be salvagable.
Normal vehicular traffic was resumed on Highway 15 at 2.30 this morning after the last of the toppled coaches was lifted out of the way.
While the Ottawa-North Bay mainline was being put back into service all CNR trains were rerouted over the CPR mainline as far as Pembroke, then back onto the CNR line into North Bay.
The first train to resume regular service this morning was the east-bound Continental, the sister train to the one involved in yesterday morning's crash.
Ontario Provincial Police officers are back at the scene today completing their investigation, but a report will not be submitted for Crown Attorney consideration until the probe is completed.
From the Ottawa Citizen 9 May 1957
1957, May 8 - Transport truck collides with the Canadian Pacific Prescott Mixed at Prescott
Transport knocks train from track.
Prescott - A transport driver escaped with only minor injuries when his truck struck a CPR train at a level crossing on the Prescott Bypass and derailed three cars at 9.40 p.m. Wednesday.
William Conlin of Oshawa was treated at the Brockville Medical Clinic after his truck slammed into the 13th car of train 592, combination freight and passenger bound from Ottawa to Prescott.
The eastbound truck knocked the car nearly 100 feet and the impact severed the railway track.
The transport's cab was wrecked and the trailer section suffered damage estimated at $2,000. No estimate of damage to the train - 20 freight cars, a baggage car and a coach- was available.
Engineer of the train was Gordon Allen of 1084 Gladstone Avenue, Ottawa, and the Conductor was F.G.Cope, also of Ottawa.
There is no wig wag signal at the crossing.
1958, April 13 - 13 cars derailed half a mile east of Morrisburg, Canadian National Kingston subdivisionFrom the Ottawa Citizen 14 April 1958
13 cars jumped tracks fouling rail service.
MORRISBURG The Montreal-Toronto line of Canadian National Railways was reopened late Sunday afternoon after being blocked most of the day by the derailment of a westbound freight train.
Thirteen freight cars left the tracks a half-mile east of here. No one was injured.
They were expected to be completely cleared by tomorrow morning.
The derailment occurred one-half mile east of the CNR station here at 9.45 a.m. Sunday.
Passengers on the morning Montreal-Toronto train left it at Morrisiburg and were taken to Brockville by bus. In the afternoon, passengers on the Toronto-Montreal train got off at Brockville and went 100 miles by bus to Coteau Landing Quebec to make connections.
1958, December 6 - Canadian National passenger train derails about one and a half miles east of Vars after hitting a broken rail. Ten people were injured.
From the Ottawa Citizen 8 December 1958
Coaches stay up. Tragedy averted. CNR praised for fast work. (with pictures)
Officials suspect a chipped rail caused the spectacular derailment of a CNR passenger train which injured 10 persons Saturday at Vars. They think the track was damaged by an earlier train.
Four cars of a Montreal-Ottawa train - roaring into the Capital at 70 miles an hour-bucked the track at 11.17 a.m. a mile and a half east of the village. Vars is 17 miles southeast of Ottawa.
Officials believe the track, made brittle by near-zero temperatures, was damaged by an eastbound Ottawa-Montreal local train No. 48 around 8.10 a.m.
The derailed coaches plowed a deep, half-mile-long furrow beside the track - but all remained upright.
Damage may exceed $50,000.
Authorities say a tragedy was averted because none of the cars tipped over when they plunged off the rails. None of the injuries was serious. All but three persons were released from hospital after treatment.
There were 107 passengers on the train. It was made up of two diesel engines, two baggage cars, three coaches and a parlor-dining car.
The accident cut the main Ottawa-Montreal CNR line for nearly 16 hours. It destroyed 310 feet of track and severely damaged another 2,700 feet.
The wheel assemblies of the derailed cars will have to be replaced, officials expect.
The three passenger coaches and the parlor-dining car left the rails and plowed along beside the track. The lead engine remained on the rails but the rear wheels of the second engine jumped off and straddled one track. The two mail cars - which had broken from the rest of the train —-also straddled the tracks and the four units ripped and twisted hundreds of yards of rail and ties before coming to a halt.
Officials said if the derailment had occurred a few minutes later the train would have smashed into the Vars station itself and might easily have spread death and destruction in the village.
The weight of the four coaches and the soft earth helped prevent tragedy.
Frost apparently had not penetrated deep enough to hold up the heavy coaches. The result was that all four cars - swept along by their momentum - plowed a deep furrow extending some 800 yards while passengers inside were tossed about "like corks in the ocean."
Travellers said screams mingled with the roar of ripping track as baggage bounced crazily around the cars.
Running On Time
The train left Montreal at 9 a.m. It was due at Ottawa Union Station at 11.25. It was running on time when the derailment occurred.
Conductor Arsene Perron o Montreal was first to realize the train was being derailed.
"I was in the second coach a the head end making up my accounts when I noticed the car was rocking" he said. "I knew something was wrong so I braced my self for the shock.
"The tail-end of our coach snapped like a whip and then kept going straight ahead. 1 knew we had jumped the rails. I hung on for dear life.
"We bumped along, and I guess we were hitting about 70 miles an hour. The couplings had snapped themselves from the rest of the train and steam came hissing into the rear of our car. I shouted to the passengers to hold on and be calm.
"They were very brave people. When we finally came to a halt I immediately started to help those who were injured."
The alarm was first sent into the Rockland detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police.
Four ambulances, from Exclusive and the St. John Ambulance Association in Ottawa arrived on the scene. Dr. Pierre Jacques Beaudet, of Embrun was the first doctor to reach the wreck.
A way-freight at Coteau Junction was "broken" when word of the wreck was flashed to Ottawa. Its diesel engine and a caboose under Engineer Earl Cooper and Fireman Keith Colts of Ottawa went to the wreck scene to transport injured stretcher cases to waiting ambulances at a nearby crossing.
Many passengers not listed as injured nursed puffed lips, scraped chins, and abrasions to arms and legs.
Two OTC buses were sent to the scene to bring stranded passengers to the Capital. They were forced to park at a farm off a sideroad about a mile from the wreck.
Hundreds of cars converged on the scene as news of the wreck spread. Highways were blocked on all sides.
Track was destroyed from mile 116.4 to 117.1. It was operative again at 2.50 a.m. Sunday but extreme caution is being exercised by trains passing through the area. Speed is restricted to five miles an hour until permanent repairs can be made.
A 75-man CNR wreckage crew repaired the track. Two giant cranes with a total lifting capacity of 260 tons were used. One was borrowed from the Canadian Pacific Railway company, the other brought from Montreal.
Officials said the cost of fixing the track alone would be $12,500.
In addition, it is feared low temperatures Saturday night may have caused extensive frost damage to the three passenger cars and the dining car, all left axle-deep in mud. Damage to the passenger cars may reach $100,000.
The long, straight stretch of track looked like the unloading platform at Union Station.
Nearly 100 stranded passengers trudged through ankle-deep snow along the railway ties to reach the waiting buses.
They carried suitcases, brief cases, lunch kits, umbrellas and raincoats.
Many had minor lacerations to chins or foreheads, or puffed lips. But they all felt lucky their injuries had not been more serious.
Passengers praised the railway for the promptness with which aid and emergency transport to Ottawa had been provided.
Arthur Oulton of Moncton took the wreck in his stride. He was busy taking moving pictures of survivors when reporters arrived at the OTC bus which had plowed through deep snow into a farmyard beside the tracks to pick up the passengers.
"One woman was knocked right out of her shoes and she hasn't found them since," he said.
Later, the same lady was taken to the rescue caboose rushed in from Coteau Junction. She had still not located the missing shoes.
Several married couples carried young children along the snow-swept track muffled in blankets.
Alex Saunders of Ottawa - now stationed with the RCAF near Montreal described the jolting shock of the derailment:
"Suddenly it seemed like the air brakes went on and "the whole train went sideways and off the track.
"I threw myself down in the aisle when the cars started to go wild. I guess this saved me from injury. There were several persons injured in the car in which I was riding - the third passenger car next to the diner. But in the car ahead some were more seriously hurt.
"Everyone was tossed around like peas in the pod. But we were lucky at that."
Mrs. Mace Coffey of 900 Kingsmere Avenue, Ottawa, was in the coach second from the end of the train.
"It seemed I was yanked sideways and tossed against the side of the car," she said. "People were screaming. Bodies were being tossed all over the aisle. I was tossed against the wall of the coach and hurt my side. It wasn't serious though. It could have been worse."
For Lynn and Stewart Markham of Montreal, it was an unforgettable experience. Lynn, aged 11, and Stewart, 3, were travelling to Ottawa with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Markhajm. It was Stewart's first train ride.
"The children were scared," said Mr. Markham. "They shouted but they had enough sense to hold on to anything they could lay their hands on. We were in the second last coach. At first there was a sickening thud. Then we seemed to just keep travelling straight ahead."
Mrs. 0. W. McNamara, of La-chine, was travelling with her six-year-old daughter, Nancy.
"I was reading a magazine at the time," Mrs. McNamara said. "When the car in which I was riding lurched sideways, we came down with a terrific thud and then kept going straight ahead. I didn't know what was happening. My nose was bleeding from being tossed against the window. Nancy held on to me. We rocked sideways, bumped along and then it was all over."
1959, January 26 - Derailment west of Aylmer, Quebec, Canadian Pacific Railway.
The Ottawa Citizen noted a derailment on Monday 26 January some7 miles west of Aylmer, on the rock bluffs just east of Breckenridge, due to a broken rail; the temperature the previous night had been -20F/-30C. One load of oil for the Hilton mine and 18 empty hoppers went off. Passengers from the morning train from Waltham were taxied to Ottawa presumably from Breckenridge. The Ottawa West auxiliary was ordered at 08:45 with diesel 8707 and the Smiths Falls auxilliary was ordered at 12:45 with diesel 8701. An additional work train was ordered at 13:45 with steam locomotive 2207. The work trains returned to Ottawa West late in the evening of Wednesday 28 January 1959.
1959, May 20 - 30 cars derail in a Canadian national freight train at Dunrobin, Beachburg subdivision.From the Ottawa Citizen 20 May 1959.
30 loaded cars of a 68-car CNR freight train were derailed this morning near Dunrobin, about 20 miles west of Ottawa on the main line of the railway.
No one was injured in the derailment which accurred at about 10 o'clock as the freight headed towards Ottawa between Dunrobin and Malwood (near the Constance Bay Road crossing).
Railway officials arranged to have traffic re-routed over CPR trackage until the line has been cleared, and the reason for the derailment found. The freight was made up of 50 loaded cars and 18 empties.
1959, September 14 - A wayfreight side swiped the diner of the pool train, #559 at Brockville, Canadian National, Kingston subdivision. 3 killed, 14 injured.
From the Ottawa Citizen 15 September 1959.
(Caption of picture showing CNR 3664) Showing evidence of the terrific impact is the wreckage of the diesel engine which, pulled a local freight train into the side of the Ottawa-Toronto pool train at Brockville. Two women were killed and 14 other persons injured in the crash. The diesel ??ed the track after the crash, while the first box car knifed into -- passenger train.
With debris flying, Ottawa nun waited for coffee in the diner.
BROCKVILLE - The waiter was bringing Rev. Sister Mary Bernard of the Holy Cross Sisters of Ottawa, a cup of coffee when the crash occurred.
Sister Mary Bernard was sitting in the corner of the diner right near the door into the next coach. She and another nun from Kingston had gone into the diner five minutes before.
"There was a very bad jerk and everything flew off the table, even the table cloth," said the 35-year-old nun in her room at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital here this morning.
Sister Mary Bernard suffered a cut to her chin and complained this morning of a stiff right knee.
"Seconds later, there was another jerk and a crashing sound in the center of the diner. Everything went dark with dust and pieces of debris flying about. It was like hail. The diner tipped over to the right.
"I stayed on my chair but the other sister fell on the floor."
Although pale, Sister Mary Bernard was able to recount her experiences calmly until she said "two men were pinned under a table and we could hear them calling for help and moaning. We couldn't reach them because of the debris."
Sister Mary Bernard said people soon arrived alongside the diner to help those injured.
"We told them we were all right but there were two men pinned under the table. A man with a step ladder came along and got us out the door."
Sister Mary Bernard said that a Mrs. Cook who lived near the crash scene, took the two nuns to her home and made them coffee. Her husband later drove them to St. Vincent de Paul Hospital.
The Kingston nun, who was not identified by Sister Mary Bernard left the hospital early this morning and Sister Mary Bernard expects to leave tomorrow after an X-ray examination of her injuries.
From the Ottawa Citizen 21 September 1959
Train toll now at 3
The death toll in last Monday's train collision jumpedto three this morning as Gordon Patterson, a retired University of Toronto professor of languages died in his sleep.
the victim's wife, Mrs. Dorothy Patterson of Toronto, was killed outright in the crash but this fact was kept from her husband because of his own critical condition. The other victim was Mrs. Rene Corbeil, 70, of Orleans.
The accident occurred Monday evening when a freight train sliced into the Ottawa-Toronto pool train as it was being shunted at a Brockville siding. Originally 14 persons were injured, but only three remained in hospital today.
1960, January 28 - 15 cars derailed when a freight train hit a tanker-transport truck at Morrisburg, Canadian National Kingston subdivision. No injuries.
From the Ottawa Citizen 29 January 1960
One man was seriously injured, his transport demolished, 15 CPR freight cars derailed and a diesel engine overturned when the freight plowed into the tanker-transport near Prescott yesterday. Three Ottawa men, all members of the train crew, escaped possible injury. The accident occurred on Highway 401 about a mile northeast of Prescott shortly after 3.45 p.m. (See page 2)
1960, October 14 - 11 cars derail in a freight train near Malwood, Canadian National Beachburg subdivision.
From the Ottawa Citizen 17 October 1960
CNR Freight Partly Derailed.
Eleven cars of a 75-car eastbound freight train from Western Canada were derailed near Malwood, Onr., about 23 miles west of Ottawa on Friday. There were no injuries.
The CNR reported that the locomotive and the first 26 cars and the rest of the cars remained on the tracks. The 11 cars which left the track were near the middle of the train.
Details of the derailment are still under investigation by CNR officials and no estimate of damage is possible at this time.
Crews were sent from Ottawa as soon as news of the accident reached here. The task of clearing the track was expected to be complete late this morning.
Crew members of the train included two Ottawa men, Charles Wannamaker, the conductor and N.L. Beauchamp, the engineer.
1960, December 30 - four people killed in a vehicle-train collision on the Canadian Pacific Carleton Place subdivision in Britannia.
From the Ottawa Citizen 30 December 1960.
Four persons were killed shortly before noon today when their car was struck by a CPR passenger train at the McEwen Avenue crossing in Britannia.
The wreckage was carried for 1/4 of a mile west along the tracks.
One of those killed has been tentatively identified as George Stead, 62. the other victims were a woman, another man and a boy. They have not been identified.
The accident occurred at 11.15 a.m., when the CPR four-coach train was bound for Brockville from Ottawa.
The crossing has no lights or signals.
The impact of the crash welded the 1950 Pontiac to the front of the diesel and cutting torches had to be used to detach it.
Body thrown from car.
Mr. Stead's body was thrown from the wreckage 100 yards from the crossing, and the bodies of the other three persons were removed when the train came to a stop.
Considerable damage was done to the front of the train.
The train engineer was Stan Patterson, of 706 Churchill Avenue, who was also the engineer when Kenneth Sparks was killed at the Britannia Road crossing November 7, 1960.
The car was travelling north across the track.
Other members of the CPR crew, all Ottawa men, included: W. Nevins, fireman; J.E. Murphy, conductor; J.E. Craig, trainman and W.E. White, baggageman. The train consisted of a diesel engine, baggage car and three coaches.
The four bodies were taken to the Civic Hospital morgue.
Coroner Dr. W.T. Kendall was called to the scene and pronounced all the victims dead.
There were further details in the next day's paper:
1961, October 13 - 11 cars derail when a car plows into the rear of a freight train at Carlsbad Springs, Canadian Natinal Alexandria subdivision.
From the Ottawa Citizen 14 October 1961
11 cars derailed, one hurt.
Workmen cleared the main CNR line near Carlsbad Springs at 0830 this morning 12 hours after a spectacular car-train collision in which 11 freight cars were derailed and one man slightly injured.
The injured man was Armand Brisson, 19, of St. Michael Street, Cyrville, driver of a car which police said plowed into the last cars of a long freight.
Eleven cars toppled off the track, tying up the main line for 12 hours. The accident occurred three miles from Carlsbad Springs at 7.10 p.m. yesterday.
Brisson escaped with face, neck and arm abrasions. His car was demolished.
1962, January 7 - "The Dominion" derails at St. Eugene, Canadian Pacific, M and O subdivision and derails the three diesels (8474-1902-1910) and several cars.
Tid Bits by Duncan H. du Fresne, Branchline, December 2006.
CP Train No. 8 - "The Dominion"The following incident involving CP train No. 8 near St. Eugene, Ontario, at mileage 27.4 of the former M & O subdivision, on January 7, 1962, holds a special memory for me for several reasons. I left CP as a locomotive fireman in 1957. It was not easy. I had been a company employee for 1 2 years, never much wanted to do anything else but be an engineman, and I must admit it was the steam locomotive that made me think the way I did (and still do). In any event circumstances well beyond my control and understanding (the introduction of diesel-electric power and the elimination of firemen) resulted in my having to leave CP and do something else with my life. That "something else" (by pure luck) resulted in my joining the Federal Government's Department of Transport as a trainee Air Traffic Controller. I started training at the Department's ab-initio (VFR) school at Malton Airport (Toronto). Again, it was not easy. It was a very tough course and, for me, having little formal education which ended at age 1 5 when I joined CP, meant that getting my nose into the books was something I never had much experience with. But, when your back is against the wall and you have to do something, it can surprise you just what you're capable of.
Jump ahead a few years. Unlike the railway, advancement in the air traffic control business, for those who fitted in, was fast and furious. After more courses I very quickly advanced to become an (IFR) air traffic controller. This, after nearly three years of working in what amounted to a "probationary" period, I had reached my goal. (When I started I really didn't know what my "goal" was!) At that time (the late-1950s) the Department was introducing radar for air traffic control purposes and, once again, I quickly went through the training and became qualified to control IFR (instrument flight rules) traffic using radar.
Jump ahead to 1962. Now, with a few years experience behind me with the use of this new control "tool" at the Ottawa Terminal Control Unit, I learned that this early radar system (AASR-1, for those of you who may be interested) had several idiosyncrasies, not the least of which was that of detecting large moving objects on the ground as well as in the air (a small change in the "tilt" of the antenna corrected this), however, on the morning of January 7, 1962, yours truly was working as the departure controller when I spotted a slow moving target moving away from Ottawa in an easterly direction. There was little doubt about it, it was a ground target. A quick 'phone call told me that CP train No. 8, with 11 cars, had just departed the old Ottawa Union Station and was east of Hurdman. I was following the progress over the ground of that train on air traffic control radar!! Well it didn't last all that long but I did get intermittent "hits" on the train for about 20 miles. This really amused me and I told my controller colleagues to take a look. It also brought back a lot of memories of my days on CP as I, from time to time as a spare fireman, got called for No. 8 to Montreal. In the steam era, this was a very good job for there was a lot of "miles" (pay) in it as there was a lot of terminal detention time in Montreal (Windsor Station) and the return of the "draft" to the Glen Yard which was done about as slow as a Hudson could turn her driving wheels (no point in being in a hurry when you're making money).
Sometime later I heard the news. Train No. 8, "The Dominion", had derailed near St. Eugene, Ontario (just west of the Ontario/Quebec boundary). No one had been killed in the accident, but there were injuries. Most notable, for me anyway, was the engine crew of Harold Greenlaw (engineer) and Frank Alexander (fireman), both long service company employees and former colleagues and friends. Both men were returned to Ottawa and ended up sharing the same room at the Ottawa Civic Hospital where they enjoyed giving the nurses a hard time. They both had been bruised up pretty good and I just can't remember or not about broken bones.
Meanwhile, back at St. Eugene. Auxiliaries were sent out to the site from both St. Luc in Montreal and Smiths Falls (Ontario) to clean up the mess. While I have not been able to determine which cranes were used, the St. Luc crane appears to be a modern 250-ton Industrial Brownhoist. The Smiths Falls crane, although slightly smaller, was still steam powered. The conductor on the Smiths Falls auxiliary was my old friend, Don Gaw. In fact it was Don who took the photographs that accompany this Tid Bit. He ultimately became a member of the Bytown Railway Society (BRS) and many members of the Society accompanied him on his retirement trip from Ottawa to Sudbury and back on the local Budd car(s) in 1 983. Don is no longer with us but his brother Sam (J.C.), also a one time C.P. railroader, is, and is also a BRS member.
So, were these wrecked first generation units scrapped? Nope! They were traded in for second generation power. The 8474 went back to MLW for more modern C-424 unit No. 8300 (and later renumbered No. 4200). Similarly, GMD F9B unit 1902 became GP30 8200 (later 5000), and F7B 1910 became GP30 8201 (later 5001).
Bytown Railway Society,, Branchline, December 2006, pages 10-11.
1962, January 24 - a freight train derails at Hyndford, Canadian National Renfrew subdivision and demolishes the station.From the Ottawa Citizen 25 January 1962.
Valley Station Left in Pieces.
A loaded freight train left the tracks at Hyndford, just east of here yesterday morning, and smashed the station house and a freight shed to splinters.
There were no persons in either building.
The derailment happened about 11.30 a.m. as CNR freight train 570, headed to Ottawa from Barry's Bay.
One of the 14 cars cleaned off the station leaving only the floor in its original location.
Several cars were derailed and Ottawa area superintendent Pat Burns estimated damage at over $25,000. Mr. Burns said four of the cars were not worth repairing, but he said the train engine, which stayed on the tracks, was not damaged.
The area superintendent said he could not give an exact cause for the accident but pointed to the rubble and said "it's in there somewhere."
A wrecking crew was sent out from Ottawa just before noon and at 7 p.m. a second crew was sent out to help clear away debris that still blocked the tracks.
CNR police are assisting in the investigation of the accident.
The station was to have been torn down with the abandonment of the Barry's Bay line.
1962 July 4 - Locomotive of a passenger train catches fire at Portage du Fort
Shawville Equity 5 July 1962
Last night, as the Trans Continental (sic) CNR passenger train rolled into Portage du Fort (Quebec) station, a sectionman noticed an extreme amount of smoke surrounding the diesel. After it stopped and discharged Mr. Godon Gibbins, a passenger, it started on west.
Just then the flames began to shoot from the auxilliary engine, and the sectionman flagged the engineer, who until then had not been aware of the problem. They immediately unhooked the passenger cars and pushed the auxilliary unit onto a siding. Portage volunteer firemen continued to fight the blaze, which was now burning fiercely. The main engine then picked up the passenger cars and proceeded west.
One wonders what the results would have been if the fire had not been noticed until the train had left the station, carrying 1400 gal. of fuel and headed for the bridge to Ontario.
This account by Dave McCurdy
Story by Bob Rupert, Citizen staff writer.
PORTAGE DU FORT --
'Police and railway officials describe the situation as dangerous. 'Three cars of gas were among 27 cars derailed when a westbound CNR freight and a transport trailer truck crashed near the station here. Portage du Fort is 65 miles northwest of Ottawa.
'Only takes a spark
'Some 200 spectators have been forced back by police who are attempting to cordon off the area. There is no immediate danger to Portage du Fort, a mile and a half away.
'However, an offical said: "It only takes a spark to set it off."
'The train was also carrying explosives as well as the gas, but there was no fire or explosion despite the fact all the derailed cars were strewn on both sides of the track, some completely overturned and others left balancing on their ends. Three diesel engines were thrown on their sides.
'Three in hospital
'Three of the train crew, engineers Bill Callan and Edward Rock, both of Ottawa, and a brakeman, Raymond V. Markle, 45, of 108 Minnetonka Road, Ottawa, were injured and are in Pontiac Community Hospital in Shawville.
'None of the injuries are reported as serious.
'Driver of the tractor-trailer truck, Rosaire Cantin, 45, of 2648 Clarenda Street,. Ottawa, escaped unharmed. The truck's trailer was sliced into six pieces.
'Owned by Morrison-Lamothe bakery, the transport was hauling 800 loaves of bread which were strewn over a wide area.
'The freight train was also loaded with heavy construction equipment. including iron pipes and chemical tanks.
'For a time, railway and police officials feared for a large crowd that had garhered at the scene. "One spark and the whole thing would have gone up." one workman said.
'The crowd was pushed back and the dangerous cars isolated.
'The accident happaned at 7:30 a.m. as the northbound truck headed along the Portage-Bryson highway. The train was westbound.
'The conductor, Ernest Beddington, 38, of 98 Nicolet Street, Hull, riding in the caboose, was not injured.
'Two of the four men involved in the wreck have been released from Pontiac Community Hospital.
'Still hospitalized are Bill Callan, 53-year-old chief engineer who lives at 44 Havelock Street, Ottawa, and fireman Eddy Rock, 52 of 66 St. Francis Street, Ottawa.
'Mr. Callan, who may have a fractured thumb, said the train was travelling about 49 m.p.h. when it struck the truck. He said that he saw a flash ahead (probably the aluminum trailer) and hit the emergency brake.
''"It's a peculiar feeling when you know you are going somewhere, but don't know where you will end up. I thought my fireman was dead when I was him. He and the brakeman were lying right on top of me after the train turned over on its side.
'Railway line cleared
'The main line of the Canadian National Railway at Portage du Fort, 35 miles southeast of Pembroke, opened again for normal traffic at noon FRIDAY.
'Work crews and security guards were kept busy thoughout the day and night THURSDAY to clear 27 freight cars and three diesel engines off the right-of-way after one of the most spectacular level crossing accidents in the area's history.
'A westbound CNR freight was derailed about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, in a collision with a Morrison-Lamothe tractor-trailer.'Engineer William Callan of Ottawa has been dischared from the Pontiac Community Hospital in Shawville after X-rays showed no serious injury. Fireman Edmond Rock, also of Ottawa, is to be dischared Monday. He suffered multiple bruises.
The morning express to Montreal (No. 232) was struck behind the engine by a northbound [gravel] truck at the crossing in Leonard and the coaches and heavyweight parlour cars derailed. At least one 2200-class coach (no 2294) rolled on to its side and skidded several hundred feet before coming to a stop (end-on) against large trees, the only thing that protected an occupied CPR house. As this coach bounced along the roadbed, passengers were ejected through the shattered windows and crushed or severely injured. The number killed was 8 immediate, possibly more afterwards.
Bill Linley went to the wreck scene and took these photographs:
1967, February 2 - A CNR freight train hits a double oil tanker truck at Woodroffe Avenue, Beachburg subdivision. The truck burst into flames which covered the locomotive.From the Ottawa Citizen 17 February 1967.
Oil tanker blazes in railway crash.
One man was injured in a flaming crash between an oil tanker and a train on Woodroffe Avenue at 10.09 a.m. today.
The man, Ken Bigalow, 28, of 2172 Regency Terrace was the driver of a double-tanker oil truck which apparently stopped on the railway tracks south of City View.
He is in Civic Hospital in fair condition.
The train hit the truck in the middle of the first tanker section, and the tanker burst into flames as it was dragged down the track.
Flames covered the train engine and burned the front out of a wooden car immediately behind.
The smashed cab of the truck rolled into the ditch on the north side of the track and the flaming tank flew into the south ditch.
Ken Trudeau, a plumber with Smith and Brown Ltd., who arrived on the scene moments after the collision said the driver in the crushed cab was inconscious. However he came to in about five minutes and was able to help rescuers get him out.
Firemen were called to put out the burning tanker.
Ivan Lawrence, head end trainman on the CNR freight bound for Barrys Bay said the train crew had only a few seconds when they saw the truck coming onto the track.
"We ducked, and there were flames all around us," he said.
Traffic was held up for about an hour and a half by the accident.
A new engine had to be brought to remove the train which was taken back to Walkley Yards.
1967, May 25 - Canadian Pacific train #85 hits work equipment near Calumet, Lachute subdivision and derails two locomotives.From Bruce Chapman
At 0715, May 25th, 1967. at mp 57.3 Lachute Subdivision, Extra 4069 West (#85) consisting of three D.E. units coupled in multiple-unit control, 24 loads, 10 empties, 2398 tons, travelling at 20 M.P.H., after coming out of a two-degree curve at the bottom of a 1.02 descending grade to the west, struck a lorry, which in turn pushed into a lorry carrying a spike
puller - motor car - spike driver - lorry - junior tamper and tie inserter of the tie gang, derailing units 4069 and 8766 and causing damage of nearly $25,000.
Extra 4069 West left St. Luc at 0345, and when proceeding towards Calumet, Maintenance of Way flagman, who had taken up a position at mp 55.9 Lachute Subdivision, after placing two sets of torpedoes at least 200 yards east of that point, flagged train and advised crew that tie gang was working east of mp 58. This information was conveyed to conductor via train radio. Train then commenced moving and after coming out of a left-hand two degree curve at the bottom of 1.02 descending grade to the west, tie gang was observed and engineman made an emergency application of the brake. Prior to coming out of the curve, engineman claims he made an eight lb. brake reduction. At his location, engineman's vision with a type "A" unit is 900 feet. Train could not be stopped before it contacted and damaged the above-mentioned work equipment.
A violation of M. W. Rule 40 (f) was the cause of this collision. Weather: Clear, good visibility, 40F above
From the Ottawa Citizen 12 February 1972
Triple blast turns railcars into missiles
Morrisburg. A vivid plume of flame rising from the mass of twisted railway cars and smouldering debris has so far thwarted attempts to clear the CNR's main line here.
A derailment of 36 cars occurred about 8.15 a.m. Friday, tearing up hundreds of feet of track and sending boxcars careening down embankments and into the bush.
Three major explosions in tanker cars carrying thousands of gallons of propane gas shook homes as far away as seven miles.
One resident likened the first explosion to an earth tremor.
One of the propane-laden cars weighing between 50 and 60 tons, flew about a quarter of a mile through the air after it exploded.
CNR officials speculted that burning gas escaping from the ruptured tank acted like a rocket.
Swathe in trees
The car lifted off the track and cut a neat swath through the trees - some of which were about 12 inches in diameter at their base.
The trimmed trees indicate that it entered the bush at a height of about 12 feet before rising to about 30 feet above the ground.
The tanker crashed into a service line which joins the main tracks near the scene of the derailment, about a quarter of a mile away.
It then plunged through a wooded area for another 150 feet before coming to rest. Charred telephone poles located along its line of travel indicated the intense heat.
Pieces of splintered limbs from the trees it had struck littered the lines. Some had penetrated more than a foot into frozen ground beside the railway lines.
A total of three tankers exploded within seconds of the derailment which occurred on a straight stretch of line about two miles east of here.
It was from one of these tankers - lying helter skelter among the other wrecked railway cars that a brilliant orange plume spurted all day Friday.
Fears that the remaining gas in the car might explode, coupled with the knowledge that a fourth propane-laden tanker was also damaged in the derailment, kept recovery crews at a distance.
One CNR spokesperson said crews would wait until the flame went out before attempting to clear the line. The derailment blocked both east and west lines. Trains have been rerouted through Ottawa.
The spokesman said he expected the lines here to be blocked until Monday. Heavy cranes from both Montreal and Toronto were to arrive at the scene Friday afternoon to clear the twisted cars from both sides.
Area sealed off
Within minutes of the derailment police attempted to seal off the area.
Both police and the Morrisburg fire department learned of the explosions by their close proximity to the scene. The provincial police detatchment was shaken by the blasts.
Firemen succeeded in reaching the remote scene, but could do little to contain the fire. The fierce heat drove them back as the propane shot flames 100 feet into the cold air.
An inspection of the scene about six hours later, when newsmen were allowed near the potgentially dangerous area, revealed scorched fence posts and melted snow as far as 150 feet from the main line.
A total of about 20 cars caught fire and by early evening were still smouldering beside the hissing propane.
A decision had not been made concerning the remaining propane tanker car which had not ignited.
The eastbound freight train had been hauling 77 cars - 59 of which were loaded with general cargo.
While one ruptured tanker spewed grain onto the scorched tracks, another loaded with fruit and vegetables littered the area with hundreds of burned oranges.
Twisted metal, splintered framed and some of the car's wheels were scattered for about 100 feet along the lines.
Curious area residents travelled by snowmobile and on foot to view the scene. Police - fearful that another explosion might occur - cleared the area.
Neither the crew in the locomotive nor in the caboose was injured in the incident. The first car to derail was loaded with steel and was located ten cars behind the engine.
The rear portion of the train - including a tanker loaded with toxic chlorine gas - was eventually hauled from the rest of the wreckage by a locomotive sent in from nearby Brockville, one of CN's headquarters.
A police spokesman said an evacuation plan had been drawn up for the people of Morrisburg had the chlorine-laden tanker ruptured.
The only people close to the explosions and derailment were members of a bush party clearing surrounding bush area of dead elm trees.
They reportedly ducked flying chunks of steel as the first propane tanker exploded.
CN officials are continuing their investigation into the derailment as work crews clear the line.
Officials say damage is impossible to estimate, but will run into hundredes of thousands of dollars.
1972, February 28 - an oil tank truck hits a train and bursts into flame at Carp, CNR Renfrew subdivision. Three cars derailed, one killed
From the Ottawa Citizen 28 February 1972.
The driver of an oil truck was killed today when his vehicle smashed into the side of a moving train and burst into flames on highway 17 just east of Carp.
Three of five cars in the CNR freight train were derailed.
The driver was enveloped in flames and perished in the truck which burned for more than an hour.
The accident occurred at 10.15 a.m. Police and fireman found the remains of the driver's body after searching for an hour and a half.
Nothing remained of the truck except a small potion of yellow cab. Police said the vehicle belonged to the Shell Oil Company.
A charred licence oplate was found in the wreckage. Police believe it is from the truck.
A witness told police it appeared the truck driver was going to attempt to cross the tracks before the train reached the crossing but changed his mind, slammed on the brakes, and skidded 200 feet in the side of the train.
The impact sent three cars sprawling into the snow in flames. The caboose remained on the tracks.
Police said an unidentified railwayman who was inside the caboose when it was hit walked away uninjured. No one on the train was hurt.
Power lines were knocked down and a set of signal lights were torn out of the ground.
Acrid grety smoke blanketed the accident scene as firemen tried to put out the flames in the train.
The truck was swept about 20 feet off the road and into a small creek. Parts of the creek were afire from oil dumped into the water.
There is a picture with the caption
Train burns in background while fire-gutted wreckage of oil tanker lies beside tracks at right.
The Ottawa Citizen 27 April 1972
Jury urges loghts at crossings.
A coroner's jury has recommended that signal lights be located at all level crossings on main highways to warn motorists in advance of approaching trains.
The jury was sitting Wednesday at an inquest into the death of Joseph Brideau, whose fully loaded gasoline tanker collided with a CNR freight train on Feb. 28.
Evidence had shown that the visibility is poor at the crossing on Highway 17 near Carp, and there are several distractions for drivers proceeding west on the highway.
These, along with the position of the crossing at the bottom of a hill, were listed as contributing factors to the accident which derailed three of the railway cars and closed the highway for more than 24 hours.
The engineer of the train, Irwin Currie, said the Shell Oil truck, loaded with 8,000 gallons of gasoline, hit the train after veering off the road and knocking over a signal post.
"All hell broke loose' he said. The truck exploded immediately, setting fire to the last three cars.
The jury also recommended that a remote warniong light be placed 500 feet north of the Carp railway crossing.
From the Ottawa Citizen, 30 August 1972.
1972, August 11 - A truck hits a dayliner, RDC-1 No. 9066, on train 132 at highway 8/148, Calumet, Canadian Pacific Lachute subdivision, 3 killed, 26 injured.
Lachute. A young garden product salesman still maintains he saw no warning lights before his truck crashed into the side of a Montreal-bound passenger train at Calumet on Aug. 11
Testifying at a Canadian Transport Commission inquiry here Tuesday, Michael Emery, 23, of Gatineau repeated the story he told immediately after the accident which claimed three lives and injured 26.
Mr. Emery didn't go as far as to say the flashing signals weren't working. He claimed he "didn't see them working." He stated positively the bells which normally ring as the lights flash weren't working before the collision occurred.
However, several witnesses called during the inquiry - which ended late yesterday afternoon - contradicted Mr. Emery's evidence.
Ken Hotchkiss, a Canadian International Paper Company purchasing agent, who travels Highway 8 over the level crossing every morning about the same time, said both lights and bells were working normally when he crossed as the CP Rail dayliner approached.
He said he glanced in his rear view mirror as he crossed and saw no sign of the Emery truck. Commission Counsel J.M. Fortier deduced the accident happened seconds after Mr. Hotchkiss left the scene.
Serge Roy, 16, a student living near the level crossing, said he was in his yard shortly after 9 a.m. and heard the bells on the signal posts ringing.
He added, because of his position, he couldn't see if the lights were flashing. He said he saw the Emery truck coming along highway 8, lost it from view behind some bushes, then saw it collide with the dayliner.
A passenger on the train, Laura Ratchky of Windsor, said she was looking out of the window near the Calumet crossing and saw the warning lights flashing.
Gilbert Blakeney, a CTC signalling engineer, said signals were functioning normally when tested shortly after the accident.
The inquiry, chaired by Louis Talbot, was also greatly concerned at the speed the dayliner was travelling as it came through the crossing.
E.J. Hase, director of operations for the CTC, said a statutory speed limit of 24 m.p.h. at all level crossings where an accident has occurred. He said the limit can only be lifted by the commission.
Although accidents had occurred at the Calumet crossing in the past, there was no speed limit at the time of the crash because previous statutory limits had been lifted. He added the 25 m.p.h. limit had been re-imposed since the Aug. 11 accident.
Veteran CPR engineer George Frankland of Ottawa said he put the throttle of his engine in the maximum position as he pulled out of Calumet station where he'd stopped to pick up two passengers.
Mr. Frankland emphasized when the throttle was placed in maximum the train didn't immediately reach top speed.
"The engine accelerates on its own and takes about a mile to reach its top speed of 90 m.p.h." he said. "We were doing about 45 m.p.h. When we went through the crossing, which is about half a mile from the station."
An unexpected discovery
A commotion stirred the Lachute Masonic Hall, where the inquiry was held, when, under cross-examination by the lawyer representing Mr. Emery, Mr Frankland revealed the train's speedometer wasn't working the day in question.
He said he wasn't aware of the problem until after he left the Ottawa Station, and insisted he was experienced enough to judge how fast he was going without the instrument.
(Mr. Hase testified that during tests made by the commission after the accident an engine identical to the one Mr. Frankland was operating was accelerated out of Calumet under the same circumstances and reached a speed of 44 m.p.h. at the crossing).
Mr. Frankland said the dayliner's speed is only restricted on curves - 60 m.p.h - apart from crossings carrying statutory limits.
He said the train's headlamp was on as it approcahed the crossing and he gave the warning whistle and activated the bell as usual. He said it was a "fine, clear day."
The dayliner was on the crossing when Mr. Frankland first noticed the Emery truck.
He said his first impulse was to pull the emergency brake. Then he decided the best thing to do was get through the crossing and hopefully avoid the truck.
Mr. Emery said he didn't know the train was approaching until he saw it emerge from behind a line of trees when he was about 125 feet away. He said his radio was off and he couldn't remember whether his windows were raised or not.
He said he applied the brakes and swerved but was too close to avoid impact. He said he approached the crossing at a normal rate of speed.
Killed in the accident on the Ottawa-Montreal line were Bernice Doherty, 49, of Great Falls, Mont., Jeanne Marie Brunelle, of Ste. Therese, Que., both passengers in a CP Rail diesel car and Reginald St-Gelais, 24, of Gatineau, a passenger in the truck. None of the injured was seriously hurt.
1974, June 20 - westbound Canadian Pacific train derails 26 cars at Apple Hill, Winchester subdivisionOttawa Citizen 21 June 1974
Cornwall. The derailment of a westbound Canadian Pacific freight train Thursday left 29 cars, including one containing a shipment of chlorine gas, scattered along the track.
The accident occurred just east of the village of Apple Hill, 20 miles northeast of here, about noon. The cause and extent of damage are still under investigation by CP authorities.
Canadian Industries Limited in Cornwall sent an emergency team to the scene to determine whether the tank car containing the chlorine gas was leaking or damaged.
The chlorine gas was being shipped by Standard Chemical of Beauharnois, Que.
Chemical producers across the province have a co-operative agency called the Transportation Emergency Assistance Plan, to help out in situations where there is a potential chemical hazard to people and the environment.
An emergency team from Beauharnois later rerailed the tank containing chlorine and sent it back to Standard Chemical where it will undergo further tests for any damage.
Approximately half of the derailed cars were empty while others contained coke and lumber.
A CP official said that while repairs were being carried out, trains from Montreal would be rerouted through Ottawa and Smiths Falls. It is expected that more than 400 feet of new track will be laid by 3 p.m. today.
The 117-car train left the track about 50 feet from a railway crossing where five CP workmen had been reconstructing the crossing.
The train, out of Montreal, was bound for Toronto with a stop in Smiths Falls.
1974 - 3 December - Canadian Pacific two-car passenger train derailed at Gatineau, six injured.
Ottawa Citizen 4 December 1974.
CP passenger train derailed in Gatineau, six people injured.
The two-unit train left the tracks at 8.43 p.m., three minutes after leaving Gatineau station enroute to Hull and Ottawa with nine passengersand three crew members.
"It would have been much worse if the train had been travelling faster," commented Constable Gerry Pilotte who arrived at the scene minutes after the accident occurred.
The derailment took place at the junction of the main CP line and a Gatineau Lumber Co. siding, about 30 feet north of Maloney Boulevard.
While cause of the derailment has not been determined, police officials speculated vandals tampering with a line switch near the accident scene may be responsible.
The slow speed of the train prevented the two cars from rolling and possibly crushing the occupants.
Miraculously, occupants of the first unit, a combination engine-passenger car, suffered only shock and bruises.
Engineer Harold Greenlaw of Ottawa and four passengers occupied the first unit, which ended up on its side 200 feet from the main line.
The second unit was perched precariously on an angle a few feet from the main line. Only deep snow and a hydro pole prevented the unit from toppling over.
The train makes a regular nightly run from Montreal to Ottawa, arriving in the city at 9.05 p.m. after dropping passengers off in Gatineau and Hull.
Constable Pilotte said all 12 occupants of the train were shaken up, but stated that only six, including Engineer Greenlaw, required treatment.
Five were treated at Sacred Heart Hospital in Hull for shock, cuts and bruises and later released. One passenger was taken to Ottawa General Hospital for observation of bruises to the head.
From the Ottawa Citizen 5 July 1976
1976, July 5 - CP Train 904 derailed 30 cars 4 miles east of Perth on the Belleville Subdivision.
( Upper Canada Railway Society's 'Newsletters'. November-December 1976, page 6)
Perth. Canadian Pacific Railroad crews are working today cleaning up the aftermath of a train derailment along the main line four miles east of here.
Thirty cars of a 94-car freight train bound for Montreal from Toronto went off the tracks about 11.30 p.m. Sunday. The freight cars were piled two and three high in places.
CP Rail officials said that there were no dangerous commodities being carried by any of the derailed cars. Most of the cars contained wood and building materials.
There have been no estimates made of the damages caused to the rail line and the cause of the mishap has not yet been determined.
Five hundred feet of track were torn up in the derailment. CP Rail spokesman Herb Brookes said that they hoped to complete repairs by midnight tonight.
Meanwhile all freight deliveries between Toronto and Montreal have been postponed.
Railway officials said there were no injuries in the mishap.
1981, January 13 - Car "popped" out of a train on the CNR Beachburg subdivisionFrom Bruce Chapman
Bruno Leroux, retired CNR superintendent for the area, said that he had to go out on a cold winter’s morning to see what was going on, as the Capreol train dispatcher had some work for him.. The sectionmen on the Beachburg Subdivision reported a boxcar of grain heading to Montreal was out in the ‘bush’, somewhere between Nepean and Fitzroy on the Beachburg Subdivision.
The train crew on the manifest train, #302 or some such, reported that the train had gone into emergency during the night. When they reached the pull-apart, nothing seemed amiss, so they coupled up, tested the air, and took off for Walkley Yard.