The Imperial Limited. No. 96, engine 847, was rolling through early morning fog into Hammnd when, around 05:30, the rear two sleeping cars became detatched from the train. The brakes were applied when the separation took place and they came to rest about 300 yards west of the station.
The crew stopped and backed up their train to retrieve the cars. The flagman raced up the track to stop the Soo Express, a Minneapolis to Montreal train which was running 15 minutes behind the Limited. He placed torpedoes on the track. After the errant sleeping cars had been recoupled he returned to his train. The reassembled train was running at about 7 mph when the Soo Express, train No. 8, roared out of the fog. Having failed to hear the torpedoes it was travelling at an estimated 35 mph. Its horrified engineer, John Gaffney, and fireman Welsh saw the marker lights of the Limited loom up out of the fog too late to stop. They set the brakes and jumped out of the cab. The locomotive completely demolished the rear sleeping car and overturned the next car. The remaining cars of the Imperial Limited stayed on the track.
Luckily, there was only one person, a porter, in the rear car. He was seriously injured. While there were 27 people in the second car, only three suffered minor injuries. After receiving medical attention, two of these, Mrs. Harriet Keene of Whitman, Massachusets, and Mrs. James Fagan of San Francisco, continued on with their journeys.
An exhibition of rare coolness was given by a young girl in the overturned car. After the accident happened, there was a wild scramble to get out of the car by all the passengers save this young lady. She calmly remained inside until she had dressed herself completely. The Ottawa newspaper reported that she then crawled out with a smile as if a railway collision was simply an ordinary incident in a night's travel.
The rear sleeping car, the Oconto, built by Barney and Smith in 1892, was a total los. The second car, the Aylmer, which had been built in the CP's shops that year, was repaired and saw several decades more of use.
RG 46 C-II-1 vol 1533 file 7120
Doug Smith - Canadian Rail Passenger Review Number 3 - Ottawa Evening Journal 11 September 1905.
Eastern Ontario Review (Vankleek Hill) 15 September 1905
Rear End Collision at Hammond
The "Soo" Runs into the Imperial Limited - Several Injured but None Killed
The "Soo" train eastbound ran into the Imperial Limited, also eastbound, a few miles from here last Monday morning.
As a result the following persons were injured - Mrs. Harriett Keene,of Whitman, Mass., wounded in the face.
Mrs.James J. Fagan, of San Francisco, bruised. Neither were badly hurt. Col. L. Nicholson, Kamloops, B.C., nose injured.
Three train hands were seriously injured. They were D.H. Cardwell, colored, sleeping car porter of Washington D.C., fracture of skull.
D. Cole colored, sleeping car porter of Detroit, fractured left arm, and internal injuries.
Engineer John Gaffney,Ottawa, ribs fractured and back injured.
(How it happened)
The Imperial Limited runs fifty minutes ahead of the "Soo". The "Limited" was a little late and the "Soo" was sharp on time.
The couplings on one of the cars of the "Limited" were not working properly. As a result the train broke in two and the rear cars stopped. The brakesman hurried back to place track torpedoes to warn the "Soo", but he did not get far enough.
The "Soo" struck the rear car, which fortunately was a sleeper with no passengers in it. No one was on board it but the porter . He was badly injured and may die.
The "Soo" engine plowed through the empty sleeper and struck the second sleeper a hard blow before it came to a stop.
The second sleeper was full of passengers in their berths.
This car was also smashed and thrown from the tracks. The passengers in the other cars hurried out and soon helped the wounded passengers to a place of safety. They were shaken up (in)deed and some of them badly bruised.
A wrecking train and a number of medical men and nurses were at once sent out from Ottawa to the assistance of the injured,
Everything was done to make it comfortable for the sufferers and trains were soon on hand to remove the injured to Montreal and to Ottawa hospitals.
There were several Vankleek Hill passengers on the train but none of them were seriously injured.