Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

  1880, February 3 - Head-on collision at Franktown.

Ottawa Citizen 6 February 1880

Brockville 4th.  It appears that the train which arrives here at 7.40 in the evening is timed to cross the express going to Ottawa at Carleton Place Junction but last evening the Grand Trunk train was over an hour late and the Ottawa train waited for it.  After waiting at Carleton Place for some time, the conductor of the express coming south received an order from the train dispatcher to cross the Ottawa train at Franktown.  The above train proceeded to Franktown and the conductor and engineer went into the station to receive their orders.  The station master was out, he having gone down the track to signal the train coming from the south.  The conductor and engineer on coming out of the station house heard the other train coming, when the engineer jumped on his engine and reversed her, but by this time the train from the south was in close proximity and a collision could not be avoided.  The engineer and fireman of the express coming south jumped and the two engines came together with a crash.  The engine on the Ottawa train was not much damaged but the other was badly smashed, but not bad enough to stop its backward motion.  It ran the train back for nearly two miles, the only employee on board being a brakeman who at last succeeded in stopping the train.  The night was very stormy and signals could only be observed a short distance.  An investigation will be held when further particulars may be expected.

The same account also appeared in the Quebec Saturday Budget of 7 Februaty 1880

Ottawa Citizen 24 December 1926 "Old Time Stuff"

A bloodless head-on collision in snow storm at Franktown, 1880
Engines damaged, but nobody hurt, due to headwork of engineer of standing train in backing up when he saw other train approaching.
On Feb.. 3, 1880, there was a serious train collision at Franktown, on the old Canada Central Railway. The wreck occurred on a Tuesday evening. The following story of the smash will be the read with interest. This story was written by a reader of the O. T. S. from documents in his possession. His story makes interesting reading.
The south bound train was late and the north bound train had orders to cross it at Franktown. The latter arrived safely through the blinding storm and was standing on the main line, when the south bound train was head rattling along at her usual flight.
Uneasy feeling.
There was a feeling of impending doom from the engine crew of the north bound train. This was in the days of hand brakes. Johnson Elliott, who was engineer on the north bound train, reversed his engine and started to back up. This little back-away by the engineer considerably modified the force of the collision.
When crash came.
"The engine truck of Elliott's engine left the track and ran under the end of the platform Elliott's engine continued to back up for a short piece after they struck.
"Elliot and his fireman jumped after they started back and when he saw the other train was not stopping.
"When the trains stopped the passengers on the north bound train discovered the stove pipes down and lamp chimneys broken. The front ends of both engines were pretty badly done up.
"Another engine was telegraphed for at Brockville, and another went from Carleton Place. At about 12 o'clock the passenger and mail on the north bound train will pulled back, the mail, baggage and passengers all being transferred.
Jumped in Snowbank.
"The express messenger of the north bound train was missing at first but turned up. He had jumped and was buried up in the snow bank.
"Nobody was injured in the slightest. Major Elliot of Perth was among the passengers. He was considerably upset at being deprived of the pleasure of hearing the renowned actress Miss Neilson, who played in Ottawa that night.

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