Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area



1931, December 11 - CNR transcontinental train runs into the rear of the CPR transcontinental train
at Ottawa Laurier Avenue yards. Ten injured



Ottawa Citizen 12 December 1931

Ten Injured As Trains Collide Nearing Ottawa
Canadian National Crashes Into Rear of Canadian Pacific in Laurier Ave. Yards Last Night.
Four of Injured Are In Civic Hospital
Flin Flon Wrestler's Skull Fractured. Fire Chief Lemieux Hurt.
Ten persons, nine of them residents of Ottawa, were Injured about 9.15 o'clock last night in a rear end collision of the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Montreal to Vancouver crack trains in the Laurier avenue yards.
Of the Injured, four are in the Civic Hospital, Victor Anderson wrestler, of Flin Flon, Manitoba, is the most seriously hurt, his skull being fractured. Fire Chief J. E. Lemieux of Ottawa is among those hurt and is confined to his home.
Fortunately the trains were travelling at a slow rate of speed as they entered the Laurier avenue yard, otherwise the list of injured might have been more lengthy. Three coaches of the Canadian Pacific train and two coaches and the engine of the Canadian National were damaged. The observation car of the Canadian Pacific was lifted off the tracks when the Canadian National engine struck it.
C. M. Pattie of Ottawa, brakeman of the Canadian Pacific train, who jumped from the rear platform of his train when the crash occurred was slightly injured, and was able to go to his home.
The Injured.
Victor Anderson,  Wrestler, Flin Flon, Manitoba, fractured skull; in Civic Hospital.
Fire Chief J. E. Lemieui, Ottawa, slight cut and bruise to head and sprained shoulder.
Mrs. Francis Brown, 509 Bay street, badly injured shoulder and face Injuries; in Civic Hospital.
A. E. Corrigan. 301 Laurier avenue east, possibly three fractured ribs and injuries to shoulder, foot and head.
Hilton C. Hogarth, 124 Fourth avenue, slight shock.
Police Constable Thomas Emerson, Ottawa, head and hip injuries.
C. T. Burgess, C.N.R. trainman, 152 Glenora avenue, injurred shoulder; in Civic Hospital. ; Miss Edith Foster, 269 Slater street, face injuries and shock; in Civic Hospital.
Brakeman C. M. Pattie. 1250 Wellington street, bruises and shock.
John H. Morehouse, 123 Powell avenue, bruises and shock.
Both trains left Montreal at 7.15 o'clock last night. The Canadian Pacific was scheduled to arrive here at 9.15 o'clock, and the Canadian National at 9.16 o'clock. There is no rule, officials state, as to which train should enter the station first.
At Deep Cut, about a mile outside of the station, the trains leave their respective tracks at a switch and come in on the single main line, the Canadian Pacific entering the main Lne first last night. The Canadian National follows in on the line, and then at Laurier avenue bridge the trains are switched again to separate tracks.
It was between the switch and the Deep Cut and the switch at Laurier avenue bridge that the collision occurred. Engineer H. H. Legate of Ottawa. who was driving the Canadian National, was suddenly confronted with a blanket of steam from the Canadian Pacific train ahead of him. He apparently did not realize he was so near the train ahead of him. and before he could get his bearings his train had crashed into the rear of the other one.
Immediately there was confusion aboard both trains. Passengers were flung from their seats and those who were preparing to leave the trains as they were pulling into the station were thrown forcibly to the floors of the coaches.
Both trains were brought to an immediate stop and officials of both companies commenced checking up on the injured and seeing that they were properly cared for. Dr. F. W. MacKinnon attended most of those hurt. The injured in hospital were taken to the institution in motor cars furnished by the railway companies.
There were only two passengers in the observation car of the Canadian Pacific train. A. E. Corrigan and Hilton C. Hogarth. Mr. Corrigan was putting on his rubbers when the crash came. He was not thrown to the floor, but was struck by two chairs, which were hurtled from their positions by the force of the impact. Mr. Hogarth was standing in the car talking to Mr. Corrigan at the time of the crash, He was thrown along the aisle of the car and was struck by flying chairs.
In Coachee Ahead.
The rest of the injured passengers were in the two coaches ahead of the observation car and were flung in various directions.
Just a minute or two prior to the crash there were about fifteen passengers in the observation car, but they went into the parlor car ahead and probably escaped more serious injury. Victor Anderson, whose skull was fractured, suffered this injury when he was thrown heavily against the arm of a chair.
Fire Chief Lemieux, who was returning from, Quebec, was in the smoking compartment of one of the first class coaches and as the train was nearlng the station got up to leave. He doesn't know what happened except that he was knocked unconscious.
G. T. Burgess, trainman on the Canadian National train, was injured. His shoulder was severely hurt and an X-ray Is being taken to ascertain the exact nature of the injury. According to Dr. MacKinnon, the injury is a very painful one.
Official Investigation.
An official Investigation of the crash was instituted last night and a report will be issued some time today.
Both trains left .for Vancouver last night after the damaged coaches had been replaced and another engine put on the Canadian National train. The C.P.R. left here at 10.40 o'clock and the C.N.R. at 11.05 o'clock, The Canadian Pacific train was in charge of Conductor J. A. Gamble, Ottawa, with. Engineer Frank Towsley, Ottawa. The Canadian National conductor was George Byers, Ottawa, with Engineer H. H. Legate.
Chief Knocked Out.
Fire Chief J. E. Lemieux of Ottawa, who was returning from the funeral of the late Fire Chief Donnelly of Quebec, told The Citizen that he was completely knocked out from the force of the collision.
"1 was in the smoking compartment of one of the first clas coaches about two cars from the rear of the CPR. train. As the train was nearlng the station, I got up to leave the compartment when the shock came. After that, I don't know what happened, .but when I came to my senses I found myself on the floor at the rear end of the corridor leading to the main part of the car. I had been knocked backwards the .whole length of the corridor. I must have hit my head against one of the partitions, for my forehead was bruised and the skin was cut. Fortunately my hurts are not serious and, except for the lump on my head and a slightly sprained shoulder caused by my fall, I expect to be all right In the morning. I feel good and sore at present though.
"When we got into the station I was treated by the doctor who examined my shoulder and applied iodine to the cut on my head. Among the others in the waiting room to which I was taken. I noticed two young ladies, one of whom had evidently had her teeth loosened, but no one appeared seriously hurt.
Struck by Chairs.
A. E. Corrigan, 301 Laurier avenue east, when interviewed by The Citizen last night stated that, be was returning to Ottawa on the CPR train from Montreal. "I was sitting in the observation car abouk two chairs from the front of the car when the accident occurred," said Mr. Corrigan. "I was talking to Mr. Hogarth and was in the act of putting on my overshoes. All the other passengers in the car, numbering about fourteen or fifteen, had left the observation car when the train was about a mile out from Ottawa to get their overcoats, etc in preparation to getting off at the station.
"I would have been out of the car too, if it had not been for the kind ness of the conductor in bringing me my coat and overshoes. He left them with me and returned to other parts of the train. I was sitting in the chair fastening my overshoe when the crash came. It was a lucky thing for me that I was not at the rear of the observation car, for if I had been I think I would have been killed outright, although I thought I was gone anyway. It all happened so suddenly that it was over in a minute.
"The force of the crash did not knock me off my chair, but I found myself with two chairs on top of me. I saw the engine coming through the rear of the coach, but the thing happened so suddenly that I was buried beneath the chairs before I knew what it was all about. The steam from the engine was so thick In the car that I could see nothing. Thinking that the car would take fire anytime I hurriedly threw the chairs off and made my way towards the front of the train. For an instant I thought I was gone, but I consider that I escaped very fortunately.
"The observation car was detached from the train following the crash and the rest of the train moved into the station. There I was brought into the station waiting room and Dr. MacKinnon looked at my injuries. I was then put into a taxi and taken to my home."
Mr. Corrigan is suffering from three possibly fractured ribs, injuries to his foot, shoulder and the side of his head. He is being attended by Dr. G. E. Grondin, the family physician. When seen by The Citizen Mr. Corrigan was sitting in the living room of his home after being examined by his doctor.
Hilton C. Hogarth, 124 Fourth avenue, who together with Mr. Corrigan, were the only occupants of the observation car at the time, said he was standing in the doorway of the smoking compartment having got up to get his coat. He had stopped to speak to Mr. Corrigan, who was sitting in a chair putting on his rubbers when he noticed through the rear windows of the car an approaching engine.
I thought it was getting pretty close," said Mr. Hogarth, "but I did not have any thought of a collision. looked away for a second or two when suddenly the crasn came and found myself face downwards on the floor of the car with the chairs on top of me. As I did not feel particularly hurt I soon picked myself up and found I had been thrown up the aisle of the car. There were no passengers sitting at the rear. If there had been they would have been killed. There was, however, a trainman on the steps but what happened to him I don't know. I have no injuries but am suffering slightly from shock.
"The damaged car was uncoupled and we came into the Union Station with the train."
Thrown Over Seats.
Still wondering what happened to him, Police Constable Thomas Emerson of the city force is at his home nursing a painfully injured hip and a bump on his head, results of the collision.  He said that he was on the C.P.R. train in a coach next a sleeper and noticing that the train was about to pull into the station stood up and was putting on his coat and hat. "There was a crash and I must have been thrown over the seats to the end of the car," he said. Constable Emerson was stunned and could not recall what happened but thought that he must have struck his hip possibly against a door. Dr. F. W. MacKinnon later visited him at his home but Emerson made light of his injuries.
While officials stated that the cause of the accident was not known and would not be ascertained at least until an official inquiry is held it is understood that the C.P.R. train was hidden from the view of the engineer piloting the C.N.R. by a cloud of steam which extended about a hundred yards behind the rear of this train.
The large locomotive, in the crash, tore its way into the end of the observation car as far as the rear truck, ripping the steel body open as if it was constructed of cardboard. The car was then raised up off the truck onto the front of the locomotive. None of the passenger coaches on the C.N.R. train were derailed and were hauled into the station by another locomotive.
In the darkness there were few beyond the passengers and railway employes who were aware of the crash. No large crowd gathered around the scene of the wreck. As the aceident occurred about opposite the end of Cooper street where there are several tracks leading from the station to where the lines branch off at Echo drive, no railway tieup resulted.



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