|Ottawa Citizen 9 February October 1959|
Snowbank Blocks View At Tracks,
Train Clips Car
"I'm thankful to be alive."
With these words, a 41-year-old RCAF sergeant today summed up his spine tingling experience when the crack CNR Super-continental plowed into the rear of his auto at the Pleasant Park Road crossing Saturday afternoon.
George Waddell of 1577 Digby Street, with the Air Materjel Command for the past six months, escaped unharmed, but his 12-year-old son, a passenger in the front seat, suffered a slight bump on his forehead. (Digby Street is in the " south-east end of the city three west of the Russell Road.)
They were driving home along Pleasant Park Road when they suddenly became involved in an accident which could have brought death or serious injury.
Too Icy To Halt Skid
There are no automatic wig-wags at this crossing, and snow was swirling in front of the car. A 10-foot-high snowbank apparently blocked Mr.- Waddell's view of the approaching train.
According to police, Mr. Waddell attempted to brake his vehicle on the slight, icy incline leading to the tracks. Police said when he reached the track and saw the- train, he accelerated the car in an effort to get off the tracks. He almost made it. A scant foot of the rear of his car remained on the rails as the train, travelling at about 40 miles an hour, struck the vehicle.
The force of the impact turned Mr. Waddell's car completely around facing the Ottawa-bound train. The rear of Mr. Waddell's vehicle was damaged to the extent of about $400. The only damage to the double-diesel-drawn train was a broken air hose on the front of the first locomotive.
"He almost made it," said Robert Canning of 12 Burn-ham Street, engineer on the train. "Another few seconds and he would have been able to clear the track completely. The engine just clipped the rear of the car."
Ralph Johnston of 448 Tweedsmuir Avenue, fireman on the train, said: "In accordance with regulations, we had both the whistle and bell sounding steadily from the time we were within a quarter of a mile of the crossing until we had passed it. We (engineer and fireman) both saw the car on tha tracks and the engineer applied the emergency brakes. For a while we didn't think he (Mr. Waddell) was going to make it. He and his son were very lucky to come out of it alive."
Conductor of the train was Lloyd Armstrong of 1404 Merivale Road.
The train was delayed for about 20 minutes before it was able to proceed into Ottawa, nearing the end of Its transcontinental trip from Vancouver.
Constable Wilmer Dowd of the city police investigated.