Chesterville Record 1 October 1903
Express train collides with freight train in Ottawa
despatch from Ottawa says:- Four people were injured, two engines were
badly smashed, and three cars telescoped in a head on collision on the
CPR Short Line at the Rideau Yard, just beyond Hurdman's bridge at 1
o'clock on Sunday morning. 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 to the main line while the
right of way belonged to the express. The four persons injured
were train hands Engineer J.M. Doherty, Ottawa; Express Messenger R.
Thompson; Baggageman E, King of Montreal and brakeman Geo. Gobey of
Hintonburg. As to the cause of the accident the CPR authorities
say there was no reason nor excuse for the freight being on the main
line on the time of another regular train, for, knowing that the
""Soo"" express was due, the freight should have taken a siding.
The hands in charge of it however, had evidently forgotten the approach
of the express and their thoughtlessness, while imperiling a lot of
lives, will incidentally cost the company a tidy sum.
The loss to
the CPR is estimated at about $50,000. The engine, no. 303
attached to the ""Soo"" train was an expensive type and while not
demolished, was badly damaged. The locomotive on the freight
train was entirely smashed up. Then there were three cars which
were almost entirely telescoped. In addition to that a lot of
express parcels and baggage were destroyed. The company did
everything to secure the comfort and convenience of the passengers and
saw them on their way to their destinations before going ahead with the
work of clearing the line.Eastern Ontario review (Vankleek Hill) Friday 2 October 1903
The "Soo" Train in Bad Smash
Sault express of the C.P.R. which passed here at 11.55 on Sunday
morning, collided head-on with a freight at Rideau yard about one and a
quarter miles from the Central depot, Ottawa, and created one of the
worst railway smash ups that has occurred in the Ottawa district since
the wreck of theToronto train near Stittsville in 1897.
No one was killed although there were some miraculous escapes.
Only four were injured. They were: R. Thompson, Dominion Express messenger, Montreal, cut about the head and nose broken.
Edward King, C.P.R, baggageman, Montreal, spine injured and badly bruised.
Michael J. Doherty, 69, Richmond road, Hintonburgh, near Ottawa, injury to head and sprained ankle, also badly bruised.
G. Coley, brakeman, Hintonburgh, slightly scratched about the head.
cause of the accident is said to be the neglect of the conductor and
engineer of the freight who were on the main line, when, according to
the officials, they should have been on the siding.
Superintendent J. Oborne, gave out the statement that: "No. 7, the Soo
express, was running on her own time when she collided with a freight
standing on the main line at Rideau yard. The freight crew had
exhausted their orders and should not have been on the main line. The
crew of the Sault express are exonerated."
The collision took place
at 1.06 on Sunday morning, and the escape of the passengers and train
crews was nothing short of marvellous. The baggage and express car was
completely demolished and ten feet knocked off the end of a colonist
car which was full of Swedish immigrants. None of the immigrants were
injured, although they were thrown clean to the back end of the car.
The passengers in the four last cars, beyond being badly jarred, were
The escape of Express Messenger Thompson and Baggageman
King with their lives was the most miraculous feature of the wreck.
They were asleep when the train struck and in different apartments.
When found after the wreck they were piled in together under the tender
of the express engine amongst the baggage and broken timbers of the car.
baggage car telescoped on the engine, leaving the roof on top of the
tender and the two engines. Both locomotives stood straight on their
wheels. The tender of the express engine was hoisted on end, while the
tender of the freight engine was thrown off the track completely on its
side. The cab of the freight engine was torn off, and the smoke stack
and valves stripped. It is only fit for the scrap heap now. The other
engine will likely be repaired. The loss to the Company will be $17,000
When the express struck the freight it was running at about 25 miles an hour, The freight was standing still.
blame for Sunday's accident on the C.A.R. short line has been placed
upon Conductor Horan and Engineer Dolman, as the result of an official
enquiry held by the divisional supernitendent of the C.P.R., and the
findings will go to the general superintendent for whatever further
action is necessary. All of the train hands in the accident were
examined by the superintendent and other officials, and it came out
that the freight train was on the main line on the right of way of the
express. The conductor and engineer were ordered to shunt up to 12.50
and then be clear on the siding. In place of doing that they worked
ahead and were on the main line when the Soo express came along. It was
a case of forgetting and the smash-up was the result.From the Ottawa Citizen 15 May 1936
Tale of a railway collision at Hurdman's Bridge in 1903.
Soo train crashed into freight at midnight. Four men injured
no loss of life. Impact heard a mile away. Heavy express
ploughed through lighter freight locomotive. Crew of both
saved lives by jumping.
Here is something hundreds of middle-aged Ottawans may
happened in the early morning hours of September 27, 1903.
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
regarded as little short of miraculous.
It was just five minutes to one when the accident occurred.
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
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
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
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.
An 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
large type and it simply ploughed through the smaller
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
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
trunks, valises, parcels and mail bags all mixed together while the
cars were piled up in splinters.