Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1940, February 18 - Crossing collision near Blackburn, CPR., Montreal and Ottawa sub., two fatalities

Ottawa Citizen  19 February 1940

Father and Son Die In Railway Crossing Accident Near City
John Howard Anderson, 55, and John Howard, Jr., 11, Of Hurdman's Bridge, Killed Almost Instantly When Fast-travelling Canadian Pacific Railway Train Hits Truck at Base Line Road.

John Howard Anderson, 55, owner of the Elmdale Dairy farm at Hurdman's Bridge, and his 11-year-old son, John Howard, Jr., were killed almost instantly at 11.20 o'clock Sunday morning when the C.P.R. train, Montreal-Ottawa, travelling at 60 miles en hour, struck their truck at the Base Line road crossing about two miles east of Hurdman's Bridge.
Brought to Ottawa.
There was a faint sign of life in the boy when he was picked up but he died shortly afterwards. The father and son were placed on stretchers and brought to Ottawa aboard the train.
At the Union station an ambulance awaited the train's arrival and the bodies were removed to the parlors of McEvoy Brothers where an inquest will be opened by Dr. R. M. Cairns, coroner, at 9.30 this morning.
The crash was one of the most spectacular ever to occur in this district. The man and son were hurled 200 feet while the steel-bodied dairy truck was shattered and strewn along the right-of-way for a distance of 384 feet by actual measurement. Heavy-gauge steel milk cans, some of them full, were ripped asunder like paper while few bits of the wreckage were more than a foot or so square.
How the driver of the truck failed to see the train coming cannot be explained. The train was on time and Mr. Anderson, friends said, was well acquainted with the schedule. The truck was proceeding south and the train approached from the driver's left along a broad, sweeping curve the view of which, from the road is unobstructed.
Residents of the neighborhood observed that at that time the bright morning sun would have been in the driver's eyes. The engineer of the train said the blinds appeared to be pulled down over the side windows.
The road was not unduly slippery at the spot and the truck had to go up a slight incline to reach the track, making it quite easy to stop the vehicle had the driver been aware of the danger.
Due Here at 11.30.
The train was due In Ottawa at 11.30 and was travelling at between 60 and 65 miles and hour, its usual speed at that juncture.
As far as could be learned, the only eye-witness to the fatality was the train engineer. George R. Low, 141 Pretoria avenue.
Engineer's Account.
The engineer stated that he had seen the vehicle travelling towards the crossing when the train was almost two miles away. The train whistle was blown a quarter of a mile from the scene of the accident and he felt sure that the occupants of the truck were aware of the train's approach.
The engine itself bore evidence of the terrific impact. It was damaged to the extent of about $500. Cylinder cocks were broken, the lamp smashed and the pilot twisted. Stuffing from the seat and other parts of the truck were caught on the front of the engine which was also covered with milk and cream. Part of the hood of the truck was found along side the track at about half a mile from the crossing where the train came to a stop.
Both bodies were found side-by-side In the deep snow. The boy's body landed with such violence that only his feet were protruding from the snow bank.
The engineer and crew walking back found the bodies in the snow. Placing them on stretchers they were put on the baggage car of the train and as life was apparently extinct they were brought into Ottawa, An army medical doctor on the train rendered what assistance he could.
Full View of Track.
The crossing is located about 300 yards from the Scarfe farm and is known in that district as the Scarfe crossing. The side road on which the truck was travelling is known as Ballast road. There is a full view of track for a mile or so in both directions, although there is a curve in the track some distance east of the crossing.
When the truck collided with the front of the engine it was hurled several feet in the air, bounced on a board cattle fence, and was then dragged and scattered along the right-of-way. The half ton truck and its steel body were blown to pieces as if by an explosion. Intermingled with the strewn parts of the wreckage, were the twisted milk cans and other containers. Splinters, a few parts of twisted steel, separate wheels with the air still in the tires, was all that was left of the fairly new vehicle.
Saw Debris Flying.
A passenger on the train said the first indication of something unusual happening was when smell of gasoline permeated the coach in which he was riding. A few seconds later he saw debris flying past the window and at the same time felt the emergency brakes being applied.
Like an Explosion
"When we hit the truck it was like an explosion and I had to leave the cabin window hurriedly to avoid being struck by the flying debris," said Mr. Low, train engineer. He said there was little sensation of a collision. "You don't feel anything in these big engines at that speed," he said.
Blew Whittle Twice.
"I was the only eye-witness. The car was approaching the crossing from the direction of Hawthorne. I saw it coming about two miles away and blew the whistle two times as is customary at all crossings. The truck moved right up to the crossing and the driver seemed to be aware of the train approaching, but as we drew level he nosed right out in front of the engine," the engineer said
"I did everything possible to let him know I was coming. There was nothing else I could do. I opened the whistle wide and applied the emergency brakes.
"There seemed to be no glass in the side doors of the truck which was closed in. It looked as if the windows were covered in with blinds.
C.P.R. Statement.
William Garland, assistant superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Ottawa, issued the following statement:
"A truck in charge of J. Howard  Anderson ran into the side of engine No. 503 of the Montreal-Ottawa train just west of Blackburn station at 11.20 a.m. on Sunday, The vehicle struck the right front buffer beam and was demolished, fatally injuring the driver and his son. They were immediately loaded into the baggage car but died on their way to the Union station. The speed of the train at the time of the accident was between 60 and 65 miles per hour. The train engineer was George R. Low and the conductor, Cornelius Neil, both of Ottawa. The train was delayed 15 minutes by the accident."
Returning For Lunch
E. O'Brien, CPR investigator' conducted an investigation into the double fatality and later informed the Ontario provincial police who despatched Constable J. E. Soubliere to the scene. It was learned that Mr. Anderson's last stop before reaching the crossing was at the farm of Ruskin Blair some 300 yards away. He was collecting milk at various farms and was to return home for lunch.
A young Hurdman's Bridge resident, Robert Brindamour, was walking along the tracks about half a mile west of the crossing at the moment of the impact. Although he did not actually see the collision, he heard the noise and turned around in time to see debris of the truck flying in all directions. He had heard the train coming and was about to step clear of the track when the accident occurred.
The train engineer, Mr. Low, has been with the C.P.R. for more than 40 years, and it was the first fatal accident in which he has been involved. The other members of the train crew were Harry Alexander, 15 Nepean street, fireman, and Cornelius Nell, 509 Bronson avenue, conductor.
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Ottawa Journal 19 February 1940

J. Howard Anderson's Truck Is Struck Near Hurdman's
Wreckage Is Strewn Along Track For Half a Mile - Bodies Are Found 255 Feet From Crossing

A prominent Carleton County dairy farmer and his 11-year-old son were killed at 11.30 a.m. Sunday when their truck was in collision with the C.P.R Montreal-Ottawa train at a crossing two miles east of Hurdman's Bridge, on the Blackburn road They were:
John Howard Anderson, 55, of Hurdman's Bridge and
John Howard Anderson, Jr. his only son, 11 years of age.
The train was travelling 65 miles an hour towards the Capital when it struck the truck and demolished it. The wreckage was strewn along the track for half a mile and the bodies were found along the right of way, 255 feet from the crossing.
Die Aboard Train. 
When the train was pulled to a stop by the sudden application of the emergency brakes, Mr. Anderson and his son were still alive. They were taken on the train and rushed to Ottawa, but died before medical aid could be summoned to Union Station.
Grief-stricken at the tragic death of her husband and only son, Mrs. Anderson told The Journal it was seldom her boy accompanied the father on business trips in the truck.
"I saw him playing outside with his pet dog around 11 o'clock and a few minutes later when I looked out the window I saw him drive away with his father. I had intended taking him to church, but did not feel well enough to go myself, so he played outside."
Only Eye-Witness.
Only eye-witness to the double fatality was Robert B. D' Amour, 12. who resides on the Base Line road. He was walking along the track towards the train.
"I suddenly saw the truck on the crossing. The train hit it and I saw pieces flying in every direction'', the boy told The Journal. He went for assistance.
The truck was going in a southerly direction on the narrow township road, which crosses the C.P.R. track at a slight angle. The crossing is known as Scharf's Crossing on account of its proximity to the home of Adam Scharf.
The crossing is wide open, a clear view of the track for a considerable distance being afforded to traffic approaching in either direction. About half a mile east of the crossing the track takes a slight bend in a northerly direction.
Mr. Anderson and his son left home about 11 o'clock to take a load of milk to the pasteuring plant at Ramsayville. Returning with another load of milk, he approached the crossing travelling very slowly.
Whistle and Bell Going.
George Low, engineer of the train, saw the truck some distance away as he approached the crossing, according to the story he told to William Garland, assistant superintendent of the CPR.,"The whistle and the bell on the train were both going. I saw the truck coming and gave several emergency blasts on the whistle, but still the truck approached the crossing very slowly. I did not know if he was going to stop or not.
"When quite some distance from the crossing I opened the whistle wide open and kept it open. Nearing the crossing, I applied the emergency brakes and  brought the train to a stop half a mile past the crossing."
The conductor of the train, C. Neil, and other railwaymen, carried Mr. Anderson and his son into the train. which proceeded towards Ottawa.
Pieces Strewn Half a Mile.
Pieces of the truck were scattered along the north side of the right-of-way for a distance of half a mile. The hood of the light delivery truck was found at the Base Line road while the floor boards were 384 feet from the crossing. Approximately 255 feet from the crossing was the chassis of the truck while strewn along the intervening distance were wheels, doors, glass, side panel and milk cans.
An examination of the wreckage showed the left side of the vehicle had been badly battered. indicating the point of impact with the train. The front buffer beam of the locomotive was damaged.
John Howard Anderson was a life-long resident of Hurdman's Bridge, being a son of the late John D. Anderson and the former Sarah Henry. His mother, who is 94 years of age, lives on adjoining property.
Mr. Anderson started in the dairy business when he was only 14 years of age, assisting his father and for years had been conducting a business himself. He was known throughout Carleton county.
Twenty-four years ago, he was married to the former Lily Rombough, of Ottawa. They belonged to St. Paul's-Eastern Church. In addition to his widow and mother, he is survived by one daughter. Miss Betty, at home; and one brother, William Anderson, of Chicago.
The funeral of the father and son will be held on Tuesday at 2.15 p.m. from McEvoy Brothers Funeral Home for service at St. Paul's-Eastern United Church at 2.30 o'clock. Interment will be in Beechwood cemetery.
Constable J. E. Soubliere, of the Ontario Provincial Police, investigated the accident.

An inquest was opened this morning by Coroner Dr. R. M. Cairns into the death of John Howard Anderson, Hurdman's Bridge dairy farmer, and his 11-year-old son, who were killed Sunday noon when their truck was in collision with a train, a few miles east of the city. After the formal identification of the bodies and the swearing in of the coroner's jury, the inquest was adjourned until Thursday at 8 p.m. when the evidence will be heard.

Ottawa Citizen 23 February 1940

Would Compel Full Slops At Rail Crossings
Jury Investigating Deaths of Hurdman's Bridge Father and Son Attaches Rider to Verdict

A rider advocating legislation making it compulsory for motorists and drivers of other vehicles to come to a full stop before crossing railway tracks, was added to an accidental verdict by the jury investigating the death on Sunday last of John H. Anderson and his son at a level crossing near Hurdman's station. Dr. R. M. Cairns, coroner, presided and Crown Attorney Raoul Mercier. K.C., questioned the 11 witnesses.
In summing up the case Mr. Mercier suggested that the jury add the rider and also suggested that it might he advisable for more signs to be placed at the crossing. Constable J. E. Soubliere gave evidence that the dairy truck driven by Mr. Anderson was struck on the left side, three feet behind the driver's door. He reconstructed the accident from several photographs produced in evidence.
Road Well Travelled.
Constable Soubliere said that the truck was travelling south and the train west and that the only sign at the crossing was one 10 feet from the tracks on the south side. He stated that the road was well travelled and was maintained by the municipality of Gloucester.
George Low, engineer of the C.P.R.. Ottawa-Montreal train, stated that he blew his whistle as usual one-quarter mile from the crossing and then seeing the truck not yet at a full stop sounded eight short, sharp blasts as he was nearing the crossing. He said that he saw the truck well before the quarter-mile whistle post, travelling slowly. He fully expected the driver to stop. He advanced the opinion that the sun blinded the driver and that he did not see the train approaching.
 Blinded by Sun.
A C. Scharfe, a dairyman who lives near the crossing, gave evidence that half an hour before the train was due he had crossed the tracks and had been blinded by the sun. He said he stopped about 100 yards from the tracks and since he could not see clearly had driven to about 10 yards from the tracks and then stopped, lowered his window and made sure that the tracks were clear before proceeding.

Ottawa Journal 23 February 1940

Would Force Motors Stop al Crossings
Agreeing that the death last Sunday in a level crossing accident at Hurdman's station of John Howard Anderson, S3, and his 15-year-old son was accidental, a coroner's jury Thursday evening recommended a law be passed making it compulsory for motorists and other drivers to stop before crossing railway tracks.
Crown Attorney Raoul Mercler, K.C., advised the jury to bring in the addition to their verdict and said it might be advisable to have more signs put up. Provincial Constable J. E. Soubliere told the inquest there was only one stop sign on the south side of the tracks. The Anderson truck had been travelling south when the accident occurred, the train west.
George Low, engineer of the train, said he blew his whistle at the quarter mile sign as usual and at that time saw the truck approaching the crossing. When it did not stop, he blew eight short blasts. He believed the driver was blinded by sun.
A. C. Scharfe, a dairy farmer, who said he crossed the same place only half an hour before, said he too had been blinded by the strong sun. Coroner Dr. R. M. Cairns presided.

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