Ottawa Journal 1 March 1907
MEN ROASTED TO DEATH YET NO HELP COULD BE GIVEN
Two Men and Maybe Three Lost Their Lives in C.P.R. collision at Mountain Station This Morning
A Piteous Scene as Wm. Hutchens and his Assistant Nichol Were Slowly Devoured by the Flames. The C.P.R. Express From Smith's Falls This Morning Crashed Into a Freight Train on the Same Track
Smith's Falls, March 1. A head-on collision occurred on the C.P.R. at Mountain Station at six o'clock this morning.
Two men were burned to death and there may be a third fatality. Several were injured.
No. 6 express eastbound which left Smith's Falls at five o'clock this morning crashed into a freight westbound on the same track.
The express does not stop at Mountain Station and it is said was running at the rate of fifty miles an hour when the collision occurred about a hundred rods east of that station.
The track is straight at that place and the crews were able to see the impending danger and all jumped to save their lives.
Were Successful.In this they were fortunately successful. Engineer Daniel Hartney, of Smith's Falls, the driver of the express sustained the most painful injuries, but he escaped with the loss of three fingers. He was bruised and suffered slight injuries otherwise, as did all the crew.
A physician at Mountain attended to him at once and he afterwards went on to Montreal for further treatment. It is supposed he lost his fingers in trying to apply the brakes or reverse his engine before the awful impact came.
Engines TelescopedThe two engines were telescoped into each other and were practically ruined. The express car next the engine and the baggage car next to that received the full force of the collision.
There is a stove in each and either from these or from the lamps the wreck took fire, and in a few minutes both these cars were enveloped in flames.
The baggageman, Lesperance, had just opened the door of his car for a minute when the crash came. He was thrown through the open door and to this he no doubt owes his life.
He was scratched and scarred about the face from ploughing through the snow, but he was not badly hurt.
Less Fortunate.The express messenger, Mr. Hitchen, and his assistant Nichol, were less fortunate. They essayed to get out of the car, but the legs of one were caught by some of the wreckage and he could not free himself, The other succeeded in getting his head and shoulders through the window of the car, but he was caught there and could get no further. Immediately these two cars took fire and the two unhappy men thus pinioned down saw the flames surrounding them, and coming rapidly nearer and nearer to them.
Cried Out in ExtremityThey cried out in their extremity for assistance, and quickly the passengers and those of the crew who were able to do anything responded, but they were unable to succor them. So great was the heat from the flames that it was impossible to do much, but all that could be done was done to rescue the doomed men. Passengers took turns at chopping at the car to free the messenger, who was partly out of the window, and an effort was made to pull him out, but he was fast imprisoned and could not be released.
Piteous AppealsWith piteous appeals for help and in sight of the horror-stricken crowd, who were powerless to save them both men were burned to death.
In the burning debris of the car there seems to be the head of a third man and it is thought there were three lives lost, though who the third one was is not yet known.
The first class passenger coach was only slightly injured and no damage was done to the rest of the coaches, One freight car only was destroyed.
Conductor Burt was in charge of the passenger train.
Unpardonable BlunderThe wreck is the result of an unpardonable blunder by somebody, which the investigation that must be held will no doubt disclose. The telegraph operator at Mountain, it is said, has been in a fainting condition since the collision, but it is not thought that he is in any way to blame.
The wrecking auxilliary went down from Smith's Falls, and Dr. Graydon and Dr. McCallum were taken down in case their services were required.
Ottawa Citizen 2 March 1907
Repeated verbatin in the Kemptville Telegram 7 March 1907
BURNED TO DEATH AT MOUNTAIN
Morning Express and Freight Train Crash Together
Two Expressmen Burned to Death in Their Car - - Passengers Escape Unhurt
A terrible; collision occurred at Mountain Station early Friday morning when the C.P.R. express for Montreal, which passes through Kemptville Junction about five o'clock, crashed into a freight train coming west.
Two men, Express Messenger Wm. Hitshena [sic], and his assistant, a man named Nichol, of Montreal, were killed and a few others injured. Of the latter none were more than slightly hurt, excepting Daniel Hartney, the engineer of the express, who lost an arm shattered and lost three fingers.
It appears from information received from the scene of the wreck that it was caused by the conductor of the freight train misreading his orders. At Winchester station, it is stated, he received the order that the passenger train was fifty-five minutes late, and was trying to make Kemptville Junction as soon as possible. The express was on the down grade and going about sixty miles an hour. The shock of the two trains was terriffic, both engines were reared upright in the air. The engineer and fireman on the freight saved themselves by jumping as did the fireman on the passenger, but the latter was caught by the hand while reversing his engine.
The two engines were telescoped into each other and were practically ruined. The express car next the engine and the baggage car next to that received the full force of the collision There was a stove in each, and either from these of [sic] from the lamps the wreck took fire and in a few minutes both these cars were enveloped in flames. The baggageman, Lesperance, had just opened the door of his car for a minute when the crash came. He was thrown through the open door and to this he no doubt owes his life He was scratched and scarred about the face from ploughing through the snow, but he was not badly hurt.
The express messenger, Wm. Hitchens, and his assistant, Nichol, were less fortunate. They tried to get out of the car, but the legs of one were caught by some wreckage, and he could not free himself. The other succeeded in getting his head and shoulders through the window of the car, but he was caught there and could get no further. Immediately these two cars took fire and the two unhappy men thus pinioned down saw the flames surrounding them, and rapidly coming nearer and nearer to them. They cried out in their extremity for assistance, and quickly the passengers and those of the crew who were able to do anything responded, but they were unable to save them. So great was the heat from the flames that ot was impossible to do much, but all that could be done was done to rescue the doomed men. Passengers took turns at chopping at the car to free the messenger who was partially out of the window and an effort was made to pull him out, but he was fast imprisoned and could not be released.
With piteous appeals for help and in sight of the horror striken crowd, who were powerless to save, both men were burned to death. The first-class passenger coach was only slightly injured, and no damage was done to the rest of the coaches. One freight car only was destroyed. Conductor Burt was in charge of the passenger train. The wrecking auxilliary went down from Smith's Falls and Dr. Gray and Dr. McCallum were taken down in case their services were required.
Probably for the first time in the history of railway wrecks $50,000 worth of rolling stock was saved by the moving of car after car by passengers and others, who were organized by Mr. N.S. Dunlop, the tax and insurance commissioner and claims adjuster of the C.P.R. Mr. Dunlop saw that every car would be consumed by fire if something was not done, and he so well organized the men present that the cars were backed up and saved from destruction.
Kemptville Weekly Advance 7 March 1907
ROASTED TO DEATH
FATE OF TWO MEN IN COLLISION AT MOUNTAIN
REPORT OF DISASTER
The entire countryside is agitated over shocking news of the railway accident at Mountain, early last Friday morning. It was 6 a. m. precisely when Express Number Six, fifty minutes late and running at a rate of fifty miles an hour, crashed into the westbound freight, near the western switch, eighty rods west of the station house at Mountain. A big loss of property was entailed, several people were injured and two men were burned to death before the eyes of the onlookers who were unable to save them.
Number Six, the early morning express on which so many local people have made the journey from Toronto and western points, does not stop at Mountain. On Friday morning, it pulled out of Smith's Falls fifty minutes late. There was lost time to be made up and the train was run at a speed of over fifty miles an hour. Because of curve in the track, just west of Mountain, the crew could not see the approaching freight, until it was too late. Hugh Richmond of Smith's Falls, the fireman, and John M. Hartney of Montreal, the engineer, both jumped, the latter first throwing on the emergency brakes. As he left the cab, his glove caught and held, three fingers remaining in it. Then the collision came, head on.
The two engines were telescoped into one another and were practically ruined. They reared up at one another and interlocked, like creatures in battle. The main drive wheels of the heavy express engine, after settling back, were raised fully a foot clear of the track. The express car, next to the engine and the baggage car, next to that, received the full force of the collision. They were destroyed. Seven freight cars were demolished and their contents hurled about and smashed. (Some idea of the wreck may be obtained by reference to the views on this page.
Following the crash, came the fire which started in the express and baggage cars. The door of the baggage car was open, when the collision occurred and through this open door baggage man Lesperance was thrown, headlong. His nose was broken and his face scraped as he plowed his way through the snow and the debris. To this lucky chance of the open door, Lesperance owes his life. The other occupants of the baggage car, Wm. Hitchins, the express messenger and J. Nicholson, his assistant were less fortunate. They tried to escape from the car, which took fire and was soon and enveloped in flames, but they could not get free. The legs of one were caught by some of the wreckage and he was pinned down. The other succeeded in getting his head and shoulders through the window of the car, but he was caught there and could not get any father. The unhappy men, thus pinioned down, saw the flames surrounding them and rapidly coming nearer and nearer to them. In their extremity, they cried out for assistance. The crews of the trains, together with the passengers and people of the village of Mountain, did their utmost, but without avail. So great was the heat of the flames, that it was impossible to accomplish much. Turns were taken, in chopping at the car. An effort was made to pull the unfortunate Nicholson through the window, but he was fast imprisoned and could not be released. With piteous appeals for help and in plain sight of the horror-stricken crowd of people, who were powerless to save them, both men were burned to death. In the burning debris of this car were also recovered a number of charred bones, which led to a rumour that a third life had been lost. The story was generally believed and found its way into the columns of some of the leading dailies of the province. Investigation proved, however, that there was no truth in the surmise and that a dog was cremated in the wreck.
The crew of the freight escaped by jumping from their train, which was then running at a low rate of speed. The passengers in Number Six got off with a few slight injuries. One man who happened to be shaving, cut his face when the collision occurred. Another wrenched his wrist a bit. Several sustained light scratches. None was seriously hurt. The only injured men among the crew of Number Six, were Lesperance, the baggage man and Hartney the engineer. The local physicians attended the latter, amputating the lacerated fingers, which he had lost in reversing to protect the passengers on his train. Hartney showed great pluck throughout the operation and, with one hand gone, offered to take the next train into Montreal.
Wrecking auxiliaries from Montreal and Smith's Falls soon cleared the track at Mountain and traffic continued unimpeded. The C. P. R. did everything they could to make their passengers comfortable and the hospitable folk of the village of Mountain were also very kind. The scene of the wreck was visited by many curious onlookers, during the couple of days following the disaster.
RG 46 vol. 1412 file 4862 Board of Railway Commissioners
1. Head-on collision between passenger train 6, engine 908, and westbound freight extra 984.
2. Cause was that engineer on 984 failed to determine where to meet fast passenger train 6 when receiving despatcher’s order no. 36, form 19 at Winchester advising that train 6 was running 50 mins. late from Kemptville Junction to Vaudreuil.
3. Result was that engineer, fireman and baggageman of train 6 were injured, Dominion Express Messenger and his Assistant were burned to death while pinned in express car no. 1756 which was set on fire by oil lamps lighted in the same car.
4. Despatcher issued order no. 36 at 5.25 am. To passenger train 6 and 984 (3rd No. 50) at Finch, also 976 at Monklands. No. 6, engine 908 will run 50 minutes late Kemptville Junction to Vaudreuil. Engineer of 984 misread his watch and told fireman they had lots of time to go to Kemptville to take coal and water when they should only have gone to Mountain.