|Ottawa Journal 21 February 1928|
Four Trainmen Hurt In Crash At Waltham
Engine with snow-plow hits a standing passenger train as brakes fail to take hold
Men from Ottawa and Aylmer suffer injuries.
One Train Crew Jumps To Safety
Four railroad men were injured when a Canadian Pacific Railway snow-plow crashed into the engine of a waiting passenger train at the Waltham terminal of the Pontiac line, 80 miles west of Ottawa, at 6 a.m. today.
The accident is believed by railway officials here to have been caused by faulty brakes on the snow-plow engine. The injured were brought to Ottawa this afternoon after receiving medical treatment at the scene of the crash.
The injured are:Engineer Joseph Rowe, Ottawa.
Brakeman Frank G. Cope, Ottawa.
Plow Foreman H. Metcalfe, Aylmer, Quebec.
Plowman W. McConnell, Aylmer, Quebec.
Couldn't stop engine.The snow-plow, running extra, had just completed its work and was being hauled into the terminal. The passenger train due to leave Waltham at 6.20 a.m., had been made up and placed on the main line near the station. Railway officials here, according to information received immediately following the accident, are of the opinion that the engineer of the snow-plow was handicapped by faulty brakes and could not bring his engine to a stop before clearing the engine of the passenger train.
Had the snow plow engine been running at full speed, some of the crew likely would have been killed. The crew on the passenger engine saw the snow-plow approaching and, realizing a collision was inevitable, jumped to safety. Only slight material damage resulted from the crash.
The injuries.The most seriously injured of the snow-plow crew was engineer Rowe. According to medical reports received from the scene of the accident, he suffered abdominal injuries and a severe shaking.
Plow Foreman Metcalfe had his ribs slightly bruised, while Plowman McConnell sustained several cuts from flying glass. Brakeman Cope, reports stated, had his left hip slightly bruised.
Engineer Rowe resides at 144 Irving Avenue and Brakeman Cope at 1171 Gladstone Avenue. News of the injuries was conveyed to the relatives by The Journal shortly after the accident.
Medical assistance was given at Waltham after Dr. Wood, of Westmeath had been dispatched to the scene.
The passenger train struck by the snow-plow was number 542, due to arrive in Ottawa at 9.40 a.m. from Waltham. Fortunately the train had to just been made up at the terminal and railway officials here informed The Journal there were no passengers on board at the time of the collision. The accident happened 20 minutes before the passenger train was scheduled to leave Waltham for Ottawa.
A relief train was sent from Ottawa, but the service was delayed several hours.
Ottawa Citizen 21 February 1928
FOUR HURT AS TRAIN WAS HIT BY SNOW PLOW
Two Ottawa Employes of C P.R. and Two from Aylmer Being Brought to Hospital Following Smash at Waltham.
PASSENGER TRAIN CREW ESCAPED BY JUMPING
No Persons Aboard Train and Railway Authorities Think Brakes Failed to Act.
Four were injured, one seriously and the other slightly, in a wreck on the C.P.R. which occurred at 6 o'clock this morning, when the C.P.R. snow plow, attached to an engine, slid into a standing passenger train head-on, in the C.P.R. yards at Waltham, at the end of the steel on the Pontiac line.
The iniured are: Ensineer Joseph Rowe, 144 Irving avenue, internal injuries; Plow Foreman Herbert Metcalfe, Aylmer, Que., injured side: Brakeman Frank Cope, 38 Spadina avenue, bruised shoulder and cuts Plowman Walter McConnell, Aylmer, Que., cut about the face and hands,
The injured were attended by Dr. Woods of Westmeath, and will be brought into hospital here this afternoon by the Waltham train, which should have been in around noon and is expected at about 3.30 or 4 o'clock.
The accident happened when C.P.R.. extra plow. with Engineer Row at the throttle of the locomotive, was making its way into the terminal yards at Waltham with the temperature at about 25 below zero.
The engineer had applied the brakes in order to lessen the speed of the plow which had been travelling at about twenty miles an hour, but due to either a fault or the intense cold, they did not get a grip on the big drivers of the engine, which with slightly lessened speed slid head-on into the engine of the passenger train which was getting up steam preparatory to leaving for Ottawa in about twenty minutes.
Saved By Jumping.The engineer James McCleary, and his fireman, of the passenger train, seeing that a collision was imminent, jumped from their engine and escaped unhurt.
When the crash came Engineer Rowe on the locomotive of the plow was thrown heavily and was carried from the cab of his engine in a semiconscious condition by his fireman, and upon examination by Dr. Woods who was telephoned for, was found to be suffering from interial injuries.
The others injured were riding on the plow, and sustained their injuries when they were thrown against the machinery as the engines met.
There were no passengers aboard the standing train, the locomotive of which had a drawbar broken, while the plow was only slightly damaged. That the crews of the two engines escaped serious injury was due to the fact that the passenger train was stationary and the .plow was travelling at a considerably reduced speed as it made its way into the yards.
A wrecking crew was at once despatched to the scene of the accident and the work of clearing the track was soon under way, and it is expected the line will be clear in order to permit the overdue Waltham train to reach this city by about four o'clock this afternoon.
May Be the Cause.Mr. J. Harry Hughes, superintendent of the C.P.R., stated than an official inquiry would be held into the cause of the collision, but that from information at hand he believed it had been due to the brakes on the plow locomotive having failed to act.
Bruce Chapman writes December 2020
I didn’t personally know ‘brakeman’ Cope, but he was the fireman on the plow, and he moved up the ranks and soon became head of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers later on, and I see his name in the old register books that I have from the early 1950’s.
The engine was a 4-4-0, and had to be replaced on #542 by the wayfreight engine for #96 which was near the derailment.