|Ottawa Citizen 25 July 1928|
Train Carrying Men And Horses To Petawawa Camp Hits Freight In Head-On Collision Train Carrying Soldiers Was Fifteen Minutes Ahead of Schedule and Freight Had Received Clearance at Arnprior. Trains Met on Tangent Between Two Curves. Two Other Men Taken to Renfrew Hospital. Seven Horses Killed Outright and Five Others Had To Be Destroved.
Corporal Vincent J. Cullinan, Royal Canadian Dragoons, St. Johns, Que, aged 23 years, and Trooper Thos. Gordon, of the same unit, aged 23 years, a Great War veteran, were killed and Trooper James Doherty, Royal Canadian Dragoons, and Trooper Joseph Lamarche of that unit were more or less seriously injured when the troop train carrying 250 members of the permanent force at St. Johns, Que, to Petawawa Camp was struck head-on at Sand Point station by a CPR freight train travelling to Smiths Falls at five o'clock, railway time, this morning. Corporal Cullinan was a native of San Francisco. Cal.. while Trooper Gordon was a Scotsman by birth. The troop train left St. Johns last night and passed through Ottawa early this morning on its way to Petawawa. On board were a squadron of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, the Royal Canadian Regiment, and the 22nd Regiment, all stationed at St. Johns. The troop train was proceeding west and was just passing Sand Point station when the freight train approached slowly from the opposite direction.
The trains met on a tangent between two curves. These curves are both left curves, away from the river, and are half a mile apart. The trains met in the middle of the tangent or about a quarter of a mile from each curve.
Troop Train Ahead of Schedule.
The troop train got its clearance at Arnprlor. It was then fifteen minutes ahead of schedule and went ahead on the clearance. Arnpnor tried to raise the operator at Braeslde but was unable to do so and there is no operator at Sand Point. The freight train had plenty of time to get to its destination if the troop train had been on schedule.
Owing to the heavy freight and the grade at this point, the east-bound train was unable to stop although the brakes were applied at once. When the collision occurred, both trains were moving slowly with the brakes on. The impact shoved the coal tender of the troop train against the first car into the air and this car telescoped the second car.
Men In Charge of Horses.
The first five cars following the engine in the troop train were loaded with horses and the men killed were in charge of the animals.
The first and second cars were completely wrecked but the engines did not leave the tracks. Corporal Cullinan was killed outright and Trooper Gordon died half an hour later. Trooper Doherty was thrown out the car door and landed in the ditch. A car fell on top of him but lay across the edges of the ditch and consequently his injuries are not as serious as might be expected. Seven horses were killed at once and five others had to be shot owing to the injuries they had suffered.
The two injured men were at once conveyed to the Victoria Hospital In Renfrew, where they are reported to be resting easy. The bodies of the men fatally injured were taken to the United church In Sand Point and afterwards transferred to Arnprior.
Express Wreck Recalled.
The accident occurred about one mile from where the Soo express was wrecked 24 years ago, when fifteen persons were killed in the disastrousaccident. The small fatality list in the present accident is largely due to the fact that the soldiers on board, 250 in number, were sleeping in the rear coaches.
Traffic is tied up but a large wrecking crew is working on the scene and expects to have the track cleared some time this afternoon. The wrecking crew, which is from Smiths Falls, is in charge of Superintendent F. M. Rutter and Roadmaster Hall. The dead horses are being buried in a ditch alongside the track. The troop train was in charge of Alexander Hamilton, engineer, and Alexander Fraser, conductor. William Kenny, engineer, and John Robertson, conductor, were in charge of the freight train. There were nineteen cars altogether in the troop train.
Both the men killed were in the second car.
Dr. Jamieson, coroner, of Sand Point, opened an inquest this morning and adjourned the hearing until Friday. The bodies of the dead troopers are in the undertaking parlors of J. C. Little in Arnprior
MONTREAL, Que., July 25. The Canadian Pacific Railway have issued the following statement regarding an accident on the line between Ottawa and Petawawa camp.
"At 4.58 a.m., date, military special en route to Petawawa with squadron "A" Royal Canadian Dragoons, and "D" Company of the Royal Canadian Regiment, St. Johns, Quebec, and the Royal 22nd Regiment, of Quebec City, met a freight train near Sand Point, about 55 miles west of Ottawa.
"There were two fatalities on the military special, Corporal Cullinan and Trooper Gordon, both of the Royal Canadian Dragoons. Troopers Mayhew, Lamarche, Doherty, Legere, and Herbert were injured.
"The cause of the occurrence has not been determined."
TWO IN HOSPITAL.
RENFREW, Ont July 25. Three troopers of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, St. Johns barracks, Que., were brought to the Victoria Hospital here this morning with injuries received at the wreck of the troop train at Sand Point, Ont. James Doherty and Joseph Lamarche are severely hurt but their condition is not considered critical. Trooper A. Mayhew, from the same corps, has a scalp wound but did not have to remain in the hospital. The troopers were grooms in the horse cars, which were upset when the troop train collided with a freight. Mayhew was able to leave the hospital in a few hours but the others will remain here.
18 COACHES ON TRAIN.
SMITHS FALLS, July 25. The troop train which collided head-on with a freight at Sand Point was made up of ten coaches of soldiers and eight coaches of equipment.
Ottawa Journal 25 July 1928
Hold an Inquest into Train Wreck
Jury Views Bodies of Victims - Hearing Adjourned until Friday (27/07)
A preliminary inquest into the fatal wreck at Sand Point was held this mornng. The bodies of the dead soldiers were viewed, the jury sworn in, and the inquest adjourned until Friday afternoon at four o'clock at Sand Point.
A Jamieson, coroner of Arnprior, presided.
The provincial police are now investigating the wreck
Ottawa Citizen 26 July 1928
Leaving Behind Two Dead and Three Seriously Hurt, Troops Proceed to Petawawa Camp
C.P.R. Line Cleared Yesterday Afternoon After Head-on Collision Early in Morning Between Troop and Freight Trains At Sand Point, Ontario.
Trains Going Slowly Or Toll Likely Heavy
Inquest and Official Inquiries Opened. Stories Of Remarkable Escapes And Graphic Incidents.
Leaving two of their comrades dead in Arnprior, and three seriously injured in the Victoria Hospital, Renfrew, as the result of a head-on collision between the troop train and a freight train on the C.P. Rly. about quarter of a mile west of the Sand Point station, members of A Squadron of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, D Company of the Roy Canadian Regiment, both of St Johns, Que., late yesterday afternoon completed their trip to Petawawa camp.
With them on the train were members of the Royal 22nd Regiment, of Quebec City, which had joined the St. Johns Corps at Montreal on Tuesday night, but none of the members of the 22nd were injured. The accident happened at five o'clock, standard time, yesterday morning, and the men who were killed or injured were in two cars, looking after the horses, which were placed next to the engine and in front of the other cars carrying equipment and the coaches for the men.
The Dead and Injured.
The dead are: Trooper Thomas Gordon, of St. Johns, Que., and Lance Corporal Vincent J. Cullinan, of San Francisco, Calif. Those in the hospital at Renfrew are: Troopers James Doherty. Joseph Lamarche, both of St. Johns, and Trooper Mayhew. Others who were slightly injured are: Troopers Legers and Herbert
Troopers Lamarche, Doherty and Mayhew, of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, were reported last night to be resting fairly comfortably at the Renfrew Hospital. The extent and gravity of their injuries are not yet fully known. Doherty is suffering from wounds in his neck and shoulders and X-ray pictures have been taken. The extent ot Maynew's and Lamarche's hurts has not been definitely ascertained, either. The condition of the men is announced as "uncertain" and the full extent and seriousness of their wounds will not be known till later on today.
The late Trooper Thomas Gordon came to Canada from Musselborough, near Edinburgh, Scotland, and a sister resides in Montreal. He was a veteran of the Great War and had been prominent in soccer football, having played with a Montreal team in addition to being possibly the best player in the regimental team.
Had Remarkable Escape.
Trooper Gordon was killed outright and Corporal Culllnan died about fifteen minutes after he had been taken from the wreckage. Trooper Doherty had a most remarkable escape. He was in the first car and was thrown through the door of the first car into a ditch beside the road. As this car settled down, Doherty was pinned under it, but the ditch saved him from being crushed to death. His comrades, who came to his rescue, thought he had been killed, but with spades and crow bars, the earth was removed from around him, and part of the debris was pried off and he was pulled out. He regained consciousness immediately after being rescued. The other injured men were not covered with heavy wreckage, but at firstt it was feared that other men had been buried in the debris or had been killed by the horses which were wild with fright.
Church as Hospital.
The crash of the impact awoke people living in the district and at once calls were sent for doctors. They came from Sand Point and Arnprior and the injured men were given immediate attention. The United Church, just a short distance from the scene of the wreck, was converted Into a temporary morgue and hospital. When the more seriously injured of ths men had been given first aid, they were taken to the Victoria Hospital in Renfrew.
Dr. Jamieson, coroner, of Amprior, was notified, and after assisting the other medica! men in attending the injured, opened an inquest which was adjourned until Friday. The bodies of the two men were then taken to J. C. Little's undertaking establishment in Arnprior, where they are kept pending orders from the military authorities.
On the troop train were 250 men and 70 horses. Seven of the horses were killed outright and five or six others were so badly injured that they were shot. After there was certainty that all the injured had been attended and the injured horses put out of their misery, the people of Sand Point looked after the comforts of the men. Breakfast was served from tables in the school yard and every house was opened to attend to the wants of the men.
Clearing the Line
Wrecking crews were summoned from Chalk River and Smiths FalL and were soon on hand working energetically to reopen the line to traffic. The large derrick on the wrecking train was used to remove smashed cars from the tracks and lift the heavier parts of the debris and remove the dead horses. They were then taken a short distance along the track where deep trenches were dug and they were buried. Among the horses killed were: Roy Candra, owned by Capt. James Wood, which had taken so many prizes at the Royal Winter Fair, Toronto, last year; Rose Marie, a very valuable horse, owned by Capt. Berteau, and another privately owned horse, the property of Major Timmins. Demistrom, owned by Major Timmins. a horse which is a veteran of the Great War, was in one of the wrecked cars but came out uninjured.
P. M. Rutter. district superintendent of the C.P. Rly. from Smiths Falls, was in charge of the wrecking crew. The tracks were ready for trains about two o'clock in the afternoon standard time. The freight were taken back to Castleford by the wrecking crew from Chalk The local for Pembroke, was held up owing to the wreck but after about an hour and half's delay, the passengers and baggage were transferred and continued on their way on another train which was made up west of the wreck.
Proceed to Petawawa.
The troop train was in charge of Lt.-col. J. P. Archambault, D.S.O. officer commanding the Royal 22nd Regiment. After the tracks had been cleared, the troop train was backed to Arnprior, where the military men had meals in the various hotels and restaurants. The horses which had come out of the wrecked cars and those which had been unloaded from the other cars owing to their excitement had been fed and were again entrained. Shortly after four o'clock, standard time, the troop train proceeded to Petawawa.
The crew on the troop train was composed of A. C. Fraser, conductor; W. Kenny, engineer; J. Shouldice, fireman; W. Feathersont and J. Chane, breakmen. That of the freight train were: J. A. Robinson, conductor; Alex Hamilton, engineer; W. Stanzel, fireman, and T. Tamm and J. C. Poulin, breakmen. The crews of both trains were from Smiths Falls.
Ruah to the Scene.
From the headquarters staff in Ottawa. Col. T. V. Anderson, Col. H. C Greer and Col. Dr. C. H. Dickson rushed to the scene of the accident by motor car immediately after the accident had been reported. Capt. W. H. P. Elkins, camp commander at Petawawa, also rushed by automobile to Sand Point, accompanied by a camp medical officer. Provincial officers, C.P. Rly. constables and the police in the district were also on hand to maintain order and to render any possible assistance. From as far west as Petawawa and as far east as Ottawa, hundreds went to the scene of the accident by motor cars.
Question of Responsibility.
Until the inquest is resumed by Dr. Jamieson, of Arnprior, coroner, on Friday morning, and a full investigation is made by railway officials and military authorities, it will be impossible definitely to place the responsibility for the wreck. Naturally officials would give no statement for publication pending the official inquiries. Opinions vary as to which train was at a point where it should not have been.
The troop train stopped at Carleton Place and at Arnprior was givein a clear track although it is said to have been ten or fifteen minutes ahead of its schedule time. There are also well defined reports that after the train had left Arnprlor an effort was made to raise someone at Sand Point or Braeside to have it stopped, but there is no night man on duty at Sand Point and the statlon man at Braeside could not be reached by wire. Another view expressed is that the freight train should have waited at Castleford, about six miles west of Sand Point, for the troop train to pass, but against this view is stated the fact that the freight train was travelling on its schedule time and would have been safely into Sand Point if the troop train had not been ahead of its schedule.
Rounding the Curve.
Just after rounding the curve west of Sand Point station, the engineer on the troop train noticed the headlights of the approaching train as it rounded another curve about a quarter of a mile distant. For an instant he thought it was the headlights of an automobile, then he realized that another train was approaching on the same track. At the same time tho engineer of the freight train also realized that a mistake had been made and both engineers applied brakes and sounded whistles. The troop train had come to a stop just as the freight train crashed into it. The freight train was unusually heavy, and in addition from the time cf rounding the curve until almost to the point of the collision, the track is down-grade so that it was impossible to bring it to a stop as quickly as was possible with the troop train. A matter of seconds before the impact, the engine crews of both trains jumped to safety.
Had either train been travelling at any great speed, the death toll and rolling stock damage would have much greater. As the engine of the troop tram was forced back by the force of the impact of the freight train, the first car behind the tender was raised off the tracks and was hurled practically on top ot the second car. These were the only cars which left the track, the third car having only the end crushed in and other cars of the troop train suffered no damage
The car next to the tender fell partly on the tracks but mainly over the roadway which runs close to the track. The second car was hurled to the side nearer the river and away from the road. This second car was completely demolished and the dead and injured men and horses had to be taken out of what was a pile of debris. How one man escaped with his life from this car is a miracle.
Corporal Homerston and Quartermaster Sergeant Morris were the first of the men from the troop train to reach the demolished cars. Corp. Homerston, with the vain hope that the men in the car might be alive, but stunned, pluckily entered among the kicking horses in an effort to reach them. Meanwhile other men were busy with axes chopping the roof of the car as it lay on its side on the road. So soon as a hole was large enough, the horses which weren't killed plunged frantically through the opening,
Engines Stay on Tracks.
Both engines remained upright on the tracks with their front guards interlocked. Two lengths of rail were torn loose on the south side of the track from where the freight engine struck the other to the point where it stopped. The freight cars were not damaged and the men in the coaches of the troop train felt very little effect of the impact. Those who were awake, felt the jerk as the brakes were applied and, then, what semed a minute or two alter, there was a jolt worse than when cars come together for coupling with a little more force than was intended. This is explained by the fact that the first two cars were the ordinary wooden kind, one of them up-ending and the other crumbling by the force of the collision.
The point where the accident happened is just about a mile east of the curve where, 24 hours years ago, the Soo train was in collision with a freight train and about twenty men, including members of the train crews. were killed.
INJURED TROOPER'S STORY.
(Special to The Citizen.) RENFREW. July 25. Hundreds of interested spectators continued to pour into the little village of Sand Point till late tonight. There was not much left for them to see, how ever, as most of the debris had been cleared away. The tracks at least were clear, the trains were again running on schedule, and the soldiers were gone.
All day long khaki-clad lads paraded between Sand Point and Arnprior. At noon today, Commanding Officer Lt.-Col. J. P. V. Archambault, D.S.O., M.C., led his men into Arnprior, where they had dinner, the first real feed for twenty-four hours, They went back to Sand Point In the afternoon and entrained to proceed on their journey to Petawawa Camp, which was so tragically interrupted at five o'clock this morning, exactly twelve hours after the mishap.
Several of the fifteen horses which died as a result of. the wreck were outstanding animals. Amongst the best known were the two horses, Rose Marie and Roy Candra, owned by Captain James Wood. It was a rather peculiar, yet sad, incident that occurred this evening. A large grave had been dug near the wrecked train and here the horses were buried. Tonight a bill had blown off the bill board near by which read "Rose Marie." The picture of this name was showing In the nearby town and this simple inscribed lithograph served as a passing monument to the famous Canadian charger.
The Citizen correspondent visited the three injured troopers in Victoria Hospital tonight. The matron said that she had three very sick men, especially Joseph Lamarene, who was suffering a great deal. But surprisingly happy were the troopers. All seemed most thankful that their lives were spared. James Doherty, one of the lesser injured, had a lot to say about the accident and had a lot of questions to ask. "I was sleeping in the first car with Corporal Cullinan," he said. "I was wakened by my pet dog licking my face. I felt the train coming to a halt as though the brakes were being applied suddenly. I heard some screaming and looked out to see some cf the trainmen jumping. Then came a crash. It was a sort of sinking feeling. Slow motion effect, not the sudd sensation one would expect. I don't f remember much more except that I knew the horses broke loose. The side of the car fell in and I was pinned underneath. Someone, whom I am told was Quartermaster Morris. dug me out. and what a relief it was.It seemed as though tons were upon me. If I had been there another minute longer I am sure I would have died."
Each of the other troopers, Mayhew and Lamarene. had similar stones.
The C.P.R. inquiries will be held in Smiths Falls tomorrow.
Ottawa Journal 26 July 1928
Resumes Traffic Following Wreck
Service at Sand Point back to normal after hard work.
Traffic over the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway at Sand Point, Ont., where a troop train was wrecked in collision with a freight early yesterday morning, is now back to normal. Extra crews working far into the night to restore service, cleared away the debris and wreckage. Two badly demolished freight cars were burned beside the tracks, and the engines of both trains lifted back onto the tracks, and rushed to Smiths Falls for repairs.
A relief train arrived early last evening and the remainder of the horses were loaded into new box cars, and the troops proceeded to Petawawa.
During the morning, passengers were transferred from different trains at either side of the wreck, and traffic movement was maintained in this way with a minimum of discomfort to travelers. The Trans-Canada was routed on the Canadian National Railways line by way of Pembroke.
Ottawa Journal 27 July 1928
Adjourn Inquest Into Train Wreck
At request of Canadian Pacific Railway authorities the inquest into the death of the two soldiers who were killed on the Sand Point troop train wreck Wednesday, has been adjourned until Monday afternoon at four o'clock standard time at Sand Point.
The injured members of the Royal Dragoons' Regiment are doing fairly well in hospital at Renfrew, and an early recovery is expected.
At the inquest, both train crews will be summoned as witnesses as well as the agents from Renfrew, Carleton Place and Smiths Falls. Dr. J.A. Jamieson, coroner from Arnpriot, will preside.
Ottawa Citizen 31 July 1928
Jury Find Troop Train Ran Ahead Of Its Schedule
Orders were misconstrued By Conductor and Engineer,
They Testify at Inquest in Train Wreck.
Freight Crew, Operators, Despatchers, Exonerated
Telephone With Emergency Signal Be Installed at Sand Point, is Recommended
The collision on the C. P. Rly. line just west of Sand Point between a freight train and a west bound troop train going to Petawawa, in the early morning of Wednesday, July 25, resulting in the death of Corporal Vincent J. Cullinan and Trooper Thomas Gordon, was due to the conductor and engineer of the troop train misconstruing orders and running ahead or the schedule set for the train.
This was the finding of the coroner's jury which investigated the deaths at the inquest conducted by Dr. Archibald Jamieson, of Arnprior, at Sand Point yesterday afternoon. The verdict exonerated the crew of the freight train and also the train despatchers and operators but recommended that a telephone, with an emergency signal, be installed at the Sand Point station to enable a train to be stopped there at night when a station man is not on duty. It was also pointed out that if the two horse cars which were smashed in the wreck had been of modern steel construction there would have been no casualties.
Alex. Fraser, conductor on the troop train, said he conscientiously believed he was right in being where he was with his train at the time of the accident but since then he sees the difference. W. Kenny, engineer, won the sympathy of all in the room when he frankly admitted he had misconstrued the order. "I have read It many, many, many times since then and I quite well understand it now," he told the jury with a voice choking with emotion.
How Order Misconstrued.
The troop train was running as the second section of train No. 17, a regular passenger train, and on the night of Jury 24th, orders had been telegraphed giving a complete schedule from Ottawa West to Petawawa, leaving Ottawa at 1 a.m. and reaching Arnprior at 2.58. The troop train was an hour late in getting ready to leave Ottawa and so an order was sent with instructions to run one hour and ten minutes behind the schedule previously telegraphed. At Carleton Place, the train was behind its schedule and a new order was sent to run two hours behind the schedule first telegraphed. The mistake by the engineer and conductor on the troop train was interpretisg this last order to mean that they were to run their train two hours behind the time sheet or time table for the regular passenger train. No. 17, of which it was a second section so far as running rights were concerned. At the time of the wreck, the troop train was considerably behind the time as they understood it but was ahead of the time set by the order. Had the troop train been five minutes later, the freight train would have been cleared in the siding at Sand Point.
H. B. Johnson, crown attorney, of Pembroke, conducted the investigation with the coroner, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company was represented by W. H. Williams, KC, ol Pembroke, the engineers by D. Campbell, of Winnipeg, and the conductor and trainmen of the troop train by W. H. Stafford, KC, of Almonte. E. V. McNeil, provincial police officer, was also present. Considerable interest was taken in the inquest by railway men and others and there was a large attendance of spectators, including many women.
The Train Dispatcher. James Carmichael, of Kemptville, train despatcher at Smiths Falls, told of telegraphing the schedule for the troop train and the subsequent orders. The first amending order was to run one hour and ten minutes behind the schedule set in the first order and the second amending order was to annul the previous order and to run two hours behind the schedule in the first order. The troop train, under its orders, was due at Arnprior at 4.58 but arrived at 4.46, twelve minutes ahead of time. Witness said he did not know the train was ahead of time until after it had left Arnprior. He had then tried to stop it at Braeside but the train had passed that point He had next called Sand Point but the train was just passing the station as the station agent came downstairs. If the troop train had been running on its schedule, the freight train would have had time to get into the siding at Sand Point. There were no orders for the trains to cross at Sand Point but the freight train had the running orders for the troop train and it was up to it to clear the troop train. The freight train at Sand Point had twelve minutes, based on the troop train's schedule, to make the siding when all the time required was five minutes.
A juror asked witness if he did not think it advisable for the railway to have a night man between Arnprior and Renfrew but the crown attorney interposed that this was a question for a man higher up to answer.
Had No Orders.
John Culhane, operator at Carleton Place, told of giving the orders to the troop train at that point. John Stavenow, operator at Arnprior, said he had no order regarding the troop train although he knew it was coming. He did not know it was ahead of schedule until he had reported its passing to Smiths Falls and had then learned that it was twelve minutes ahead of schedule.
To Mr. Stafford, counsel for the troop train crew, witness said he had waved to the crew that it was O.K. as the train passed through.
"And as far as you were concerned or knew then, the train was all right to pass through?" asked Mr. Campbell, counsel for the engineers. Witness replied: "Yes."
J. Warner Morphy, operator at Renfrew, said he had given the conductor of the freight train a copy of the order instructing the troop train to run two hours behind the schedule which had been set in the first order.
John A. Roblnaon, conductor on the freight train which was running from Chalk River to Smiths Falls, told of getting the orders which had been given to the troop train. If the troop train had been running on schedule the freight train would have had lots of time to make the siding at Sand Point, The troop train was due there at 5.10 but the accident happened at 4.55. "Five minutes would have put us in the siding from where we were hit," said the conductor. He was in the cupola oi the van when he noticed the headlight of the other train just as both trains rounded curves in the road. He knew the emergency brakes were applied and thought the freight train would be stopped in time to avoid a collision and so he and the brakes man stood on the step of the van and both stepped off together after the engines hit.
The conductor said he had consulted with his engineer at Renfrew and both had considered they had ample time to make Sand Point where they figured on crossing the troop train. He had no instructions to cross the troop train at any particular point, this being left to the judgment of the conductor and engineer. To Mr. Williams he said it was his duty to look out for the troop train which was what is known as a first class train. To a juror he said the troop train might not have known anything about the freight train but the troop train should not have run ahead of the ordered schedule.
This evidence was corroborated by Alex. Hamilton, engineer on the freight train. He said he had made a service brake application to slow down for a stop at Sand Point to go into the siding. Just as he rounded the curve he saw the headlight of a train In front and at once applied the emergency brake. The train had slowed down to three or four miles an hour when he jumped just before the collision. He was not injured except for a slight abrasion on the nose as the result of falling. The train had 36 cars and was on a down grade.
"My mate, the engineer, spoke of something coming, I saw the headlight of an engine in front, looked at my watch, and I got off," said W. Stanzel, fireman on the freight train.
J. Lorn Pullan, front end brakeman on the freight train, said he was sitting in the engine and heard both the engineer and fireman say "there's a headlight" The engineer applied the emergency brake, and witness said he and the engineer got off about four car lengths from where the engines hit.
The orders received at Ottawa West and at Carleton Place were produced by Alexander Fraser, conductor on the troop train. The troop train had left Carleton Place at 4.10 and Arnprior at 4.48. He said he did not know he was ahead of schedule at Arnprior. After he had received the second amending order at Carleton Place, to run two hours late, he said he thought he was the second section of No. 17, without any attachment. "I must have misconstrued the order," said the conductor. "I thought I was running two hours behind the time bill for the first section. I was three hours and twenty-five minutes behind its schedule at Carleton Place and knew there was no chance of making up the hour and twenty-five- minutes and thus getting down to the two hours set by the order. On reading the order now, I find out differently. At the time I believed I was the second section of No. 17 with orders to keep two hours behind it"
Not Modern Constructlon.
To Mr. Stafford, Mr. Fraser said he had been with the company since June, 1904, and had no black mark against him. The horse cars which were demolished, he said, were C.N. Rly. palace horse cars, with wooden underfames. They were not modern construction. "If they had been the modern type, there would have been no fatalities." The troop train, he said, "made passenger a train stop, slid right in without a jar." He had been sitting at a table in a car and had not noticed the freight train.
The last order received had read: "Order No. 8 annulled. Second No. 17. engine 600, run two hours late Carleton Place to Petawawa on schedule in train order No. 55 of July 24. No. 17 running two sections." Mr. Williams pointed out that the wording of this order was exactly the same as the wording of the previous order to run one hour and ten minutes later than the schedule.
"I must have overlooked part of the order," admitted the witness. "I thought the annulment of No. 6 order put the schedule out of business and that I was to run two hours behind the time table for No. 17."
"Who was responsible for the collision?" asked Mr. Williams.
"The jury will decide that," interposed Mr. Stafford, who objected to the question.
"Was the freight train in a proper place according to orders?" asked Mr. Williams, and a reply In the affirmative was given.
"Were you in the position you should have been according to orders?" was the next question by Mr. Williams.
"Under my construction of the order at that time, I was," replied Mr. Fraser. "Since then I see the difference."
When W. Kenny, engineer, was called, Mr. Campbell, counsel, asked for protection under the Canada Evidence Act and this was assured. Enginter Kenny said he had read the orders and had mistaken them to mean that the troop train was to run two hours behind the schedule for regular 17's time instead of behind the schedule in the first order received at Ottawa West. When asked by the Crown Attorney to read the order and say what he thought it meant, Mr. Kenny, replied: "I have read it many, many many times since and I quite well understand it now. The bottom of the order makes It quite plain."
Mr. Kenny said he had remarked to his mate, the fireman, that he did not know why his orders were "to run two hours late when he was three hours and twenty-five minutes late at Carleton Place. He said he had slowed up at Arnprior expecting to get an order with more time, possibly to run two hours and flftv minutes late, but the board was clear and he ran on.
The engineer said he had seen the headlight of the freight train as each engine rounded curves and had applied the emergency brakes. His train came to a stop and he "sat on her and tried to reverse, but couldn't". He then stepped off the engine just when the other engine was about two feet away. "I made a mistake in reading the bottom part of the order," repeated Mr. Kenny. In reply to a question, he also expressed the opinion that if the horse cars had been of modern steel construction, no one would have been hurt.
Other members of the crew of the troop train were present, but the jury did not think it necessary to hear them. There was no summing up of the evidence or pleas by counsel and after half an hour's deliberation, the following verdict was returned.
"We find no cause or fault against the crew of the freight train or of the despatchers or operators, but find that the engineer and conductor of the troop train misconstrued their orders.. We are also of the opinion that had the horse cars been of modern, steel type instead of wooden cars, there would have been no casualties. We would further suggest that the C. P. Rly. install a telephone with emergency bells and proper equipment for the stopping of trains at night at the Sand Point station."
The Jury was composed of John R, McDonald, foreman; James Young, John Chatterton, W, Carmichael, W. McNeil, R. Thomlison, Geo. Murray, H. Couiton, H. Lynn, J.McPherson and D. Carmichael.