Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area



1918, May 19 - Fireman and Brakeman Killed in a Head-on Collision at Christie Lake, CPR Belleville sub.



The Ottawa Journal for 20 May 1918 contains two reports:

COLLIDE HEAD ON RIGHT ON BRIDGE OVER MUD LAKE
Accident C P. R. Near Smith's Falls With Two Deaths.
THE ENGINES REMAINED ON TRACK ON BRIDGE
Some Railway Men Claim Freight Train Should Not Have Left Glen Tay
SMITH'S FALLS. Ont. May 20.
On the bridge 30 feet over Mud Lake, 22 miles from here, on the C P R., the express train which left Toronto Saturday night just before midnight for Montreal, and a freight train bound from here for Trenton, met In a head-on collision at 4 05 Sunday morning, resulting In the death of Fireman K. Butland. Trenton, Trenton, of the express, and Brakeman  J. R. Martin, of the freight, whose home was at St. John, N.B. Both were young men and unmarried.
Engines on Tracks.
There were three men in the cab of the freight and two in the cab of the express train. Both engines remained on the tracks, but the baggage car and three or four freight cars went rolling down the embankment.  A baggageman went down with his car and had a thrilling escape, as did others of the two crews. None of the engineers or firemen, numbering five. jumped as they had only the choice of staying with their engines or jumping down into Mud Lake, fully eighty feet.
No Passengers Hurt.
Like the baggageman, the engineer of the express. William Burnett, of Smith's Falls, had a remarkable escape from death, as he was thrown down the embankment, getting off with a few scratches. Engineer  N. Lebo. of the freight, was seriously burned and injured. There were eighty passengers on the express, but railway officials said that none had been hurt, owing to the solid steel construction of the train. The C.P.R. officials made up a special train, taking the passengers on to Montreal.
Blame the freight.
An investigation was begun yesterday afternoon by the railway officials to place the blame for the  collision. An inquest has also been ordered by the crown attorney. One railway man said last night that the freight train should have let the express pass at Olen Tay. Why the freight did not stop at Glen Tay or wait for the passenger train waa not explained
Brought Body Back.
The body of the late James Patrick Martin, brakeman on the freight train. whs was killed, was brought here on Sunday evening. He had come here from St. John. N.B., a couple of weeks ago. He was 24 years of age and unmarried.
F. Butland. fireman on the passenger train, who ran out of Smith's Falls was also killed, but hie body has not reached here. His home was formerly in Trenton but he lived here for the past year. He was unmarried. Two of the injured, fireman Simons of the freight train and Burnett of the passenger train, were brought here on Sunday afternoon.  Simons has his face bruised and Burnett is suffering from a sprained knee and scalp wounds.
Blame the Freight.
C. P. R. officials at Smith's Falls today stated that the responsibility for tha wreck rested upon the crew of the freight train who apparently forgot to allow for the fact that No.12 (the passsnger train) was running.  Instead of leaving a clear right of way, as they should have done, they proceeded along the line to the scene of the  head-in collision.


Two are Killed in Christie Lake Wreck
Passenger and Freight Collide.
Several passengers hurt
A head-on collision occurred between a freight train going west and passenger train No. 22 from Toronto to Montreal, on the Canadian Pacific Railway at 4 o'clock yesterday a.m., near Christie Lake, Ont, which resulted in the deaths of Fireman Butland and Brakeman Martin of the freight train. The engineer of the freight escaped unhurt. The engineer and fireman of the passenger train were slightly injured, and many of the passengers, who were in their berths were considerably shaken up, but none was injured sufficiently to require medical care. The bodies of the two trainmen who were killed were removed to Christie Lake for the inquest.
Both engines were badly smashed, while the express and baggage cars on the passenger train were broken up, then destroyed by fire, which started from the gas tanks. The passenger train was not damaged. The tracks were badly torn up. The loss will be heavy, though it is stated that most of the contents of the express and baggage cars were removed before they were burned.
It was stated that the collision was due to the freight train overrunning its orders.



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Updated 8 March 2018