|From the Ottawa Citizen Monday 15 March 1948|
Disaster Is Escaped By Speeding Train
Some 400 passengers aboard a CNR-CPR pool train travelling at a 70-mile-an-hour clip escaped possible disaster about 13 miles west of Brockville shortly before 8 o'clock Saturday night when a locomotive side rod snapped and sent the train hurtling into a grinding. mile-Iong skid.
The six-car train lurched to a halt at Mallorytown, a railside village, after the locomotive came within inches of toppling over at least three times. No one was hurt.
Pieces of flying metal from the broken side rod punctured a tank of illuminating gas slung beneath the baggage car. setting the contents afire, but crew men were able to extinguish the blaze before any damage was done to the car.
Many Ottawa-BoundAmong the passengers aboard were four members of an Ottawa secondary school delegation: W. B. Wallen, principal of Ottawa Technical School: Harry Pullen. High School of Commerce principal: Frank G. Patten, board secretary-treasurer: and H. S. Higman. chairman of the management committee.
"Closest Shave"Engineer Harry Tamlin. of Belleville, said it was the "closest shave" he had had in 30 years of railroading.
Wheels of all the coaches were worn flat from the mile-long slide. After a delay of close to two hours at Mallorytown, the train was towed into Brockville, where passengers were shifted to a special train. They arrived in Ottawa about three hours late.
CNR officials in Montreal in a statement issued last night said the tank of illuminating gas was slung under the baggage car for emergency lighting. Flooring of the baggage car was slightly damaged when the tank caught fire but the blaze was snuffed out by crew men, using hand chemicals.
Belleville CNR division authorities said the locomotive's left main side rod broke,-shattering the air pump and setting; off the emergency brake. The guide bar on the wheels also snapped.
The skid on the comparatively level stretch of track flattened the wheels from one to two and a half inches. It was believed that the straight stretch of track was an important factor in keeping the locomotive from tipping.
As the train ground to a stop, the broken side rod continued to hit a succession of railway ties, causing a series of jolts which shook up many of the passengers. Some were thrown from their seats but none were injured.
Crew Of Train MembersOf the crew on the Toronto-Montreal pool train were:
Harry Hamlin, engineer, 71 Cedar street, Belleville. Ont;
Fred Bonter. conductor, Trenton, Ont.:
Benjamin Shyers, brakeman, Brockville. Ont.:
J. Collins, brakeman, Brockville, Ont.
CNR StatementJ. R. Wilson, CNR divisional superintendent at Belleville, in speaking of the delay of the Toronto-Montreal pool train, told The Citizen a broken side rod on the engine forced the brakes into "emergency." As a result, all the wheels on the train were clamped in a skid.
The train ground to a halt at Mallorytown, a village some 13 miles west of Brockville.
After a delay of an hour and a quarter at Mallorytown. the train got underway and proceeded slowly into Brockville for repairs and a changeover in engines.
Mr. Wilson said that a "mechanical failure" such as a broken side rod didn't happen "often." There was no special explanation for its shattering near Brockville Saturday night.
Tells of ExperienceSpeaking to The Citizen, Frank G. Patten, secretary-treasurer of the Collegiate Institute Board, said: "I felt a bit of a roll as if the weight of the car was swinging first to one side and then the other. Then the brakes went on and the train pulled to a stop.
"People aboard the train were confused as to what happened but there was no serious commotion.
"I walked to the front of the train and saw where a chunk of steel from a broken piston rod had punctured the illuminating gas tank under the carriage of the baggage car.
"After a wait of well over an hour, the train proceeded into Brockville where all the passengers were loaded aboard another train. The special train arrived in Ottawa three hours late.
"Not until word came back from the people who had viewed the engine did passengers slowly begin to realize that they had narrowly escaped a possible upset," Mr. Patten concluded.