|Ottawa Citizen 29 April 1959|
Britannia Guard Killed by Train .
By Dave Struthers Citizen Staff Writer
A railway crossing guard died instantly last night when he was hit by a train as he leaped to warn teenagers away from the RR gates at Britannia Park.
Employed by the city as a special guard at the crossing leading to Lakeside Gardens, Alexandre Synek, 68, of 498 Somerset West, had been on duty at the crossing for the past three summers.
He stepped from his shack as a Dayliner hitting better than 55 miles per hour whistled for the pier crossing.
He managed to pull down his north gate then tried to race across the track to shut the opposite barrier witnesses said.
The elderly man apparently either slipped or was a bit slow getting across, police indicated.
Hurled 118 Feet
The left side of the cab of the streamlined diesel car struck him at the hip and hurled his body 118 feet down the track.
The train had Ben Chapman of 84 Hinton Avenue as engineer.
A group of teenagers bound for a special class on life saving had just stepped off the Britannia streetcar on the south side of the crossing as Synek started his fatal dash.
Between trains the gateman sat in a small sentry-like shack on the north west side of the tracks.
"He must have been a bit slow getting out of the box when he heard the dayliner and only got one gate down," a policeman said.
Seeing the youngsters on the south side of the track where the right of way parallels the tram track he dashed to shut the other gate and stop the youngsters.
"He seemed to slip he was almost across the track when the front of the train slammed him," Gail Gordon, 17, of 262 Parkdale told police.
Gail was walking with Angelina Sztepa, 15, and three other girls all bound for the life saving course.
Sgt. King Ackland and Const, William Lytle Investigated at the cen of the 7.20 p.m. accident.
Coronor Dr. W. T. Kendall said the man died almost Instantly.
An inquest is expected.
A retired railwayman Mr, Synek leaves two sons, Oscar of 498 Somerset Street, an engineer with the Canadian Pacific, and Camille of 46 Nelson Street.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
The fatal accident again points up the urgency of early federal government action to make available about $12,000,000 for the second phase of the NCC railway re-location program.
Under this plan, which will take five years to complete, the CPR main line passenger train service will be discontinued on the line through Britannia Park and over the Interprovincial Bridge between Ottawa and HulL
That part of the CPR tracks from West Ottawa station west to Churchill Avenue will be kept in use for local freight service purposes.
Commenting on the accident City Recreation Commissioner J. A. Delude said he hoped for an early relocation of the CPR line.
"The crossing splits the park and we are hoping to hear the train line will be relocated soon," he stated
"I am most sad over the death of Mr. Synek a most reliable man for us he has been a great help out there," he went on.
"I understand negotiations are to start with the aim of moving the railway lets hope It will be moved soon."