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.
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.