Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area



1916, December 27 - Rear end collision at St. Polycarpe Junction, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision, 6 killed, 5 injured.




Eastern Ontario Review (Vankleek Hill) Friday 29 December 1916

Serious accident at Saint Polycarpe.
Montreal December 27 - five men were killed and seven injured this evening in a rear end collision when the C.P.R. Toronto train for Montreal ran into the local train from Cornwall at St. Polycarpe. The local train was standing at the time and the switch had been turned, which automatically turn the semaphore signal some distance down the track. At the time of the accident there was a heavy fog with sleet, and it is supposed that the engineer of the train from Toronto either failed to see the signals or misread them.
The killed and injured set out in detail
The accident occurred at about 6:40 at St. Polycarpe Junction some two miles from St. Polycarpe about 40 miles west of Montreal. The local train from St. Polycarpe was stopped when the train from the west came along. It is stated that the signals were set and the semaphore apparently turned but for some unknown reason the Toronto train continued on its way, crashing into the rear of the standing train and smashing several of the rear cars.
Car smashed to Pieces.
Fortunately there were few passengers in the cars at the rear of the train, which kept the list of dead and injured down. The standing train was badly damaged, several of the cars being smashed to pieces, while many of the passengers had narrow escapes. The dead and injured passengers wereimmediately taken care of, physicians being sent from nearby places, while a relief train was sent as soon as possible from Montreal.
Little damage was done to the track, and the wreckage was cleared within a few hours. The train from Toronto was practically undamaged, the passengers only received a severe shock. As soon as the track was cleared the train from Toronto proceeded on its way, bringing with it thebodiess of the dead and injured passengers and employees.
Details as to the identity of the dead and injured were hard to obtain and may be subject to correction owing to the fact that the accident took place several miles from a station, why the exigencies of railway work made it impossible to secure an official list of the casualties. The last reports received were that the train from Toronto was due to reach Montreal shortly before three o'clock and every possible arrangement had be made by the C.P.R. company to look after the injured and take care of the bodies of the dead.

Chesterville Record, 28 December 1916

Five people are dead and another at an early hour this morning was not expected to live more than a few minutes as the result of a bad railway smash on the CPR line at St. Polycarpe Junction.  The Chicago-Montreal train, through failure of a switch, it is reported, crashed into the rear of the Cornwall local telescoping the rear four cars.  Four people were in addition seriously hurt and another slightly injured while all passengers got a bad shaking up.
List of dead and injured.
Coroners jury concluded that neither the brakeman, Arnett of the Cornwall train nor the operator for Soulanges Junction were to blame but that it was a clear case of misunderstanding.  Brakeman phoned Arthur Lalonde, Assistant Agent at St Polycarpe and asked if the Chicago express had passed.  Jury recommended that the CPR should have a man stationed at Soulanges Junction



Return to Main Page of Railway Accidents

Updated 5 May 2018