Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area



1961, March 17 - A level crossing collision in Gatineau, Canadian Pacific Lachute subdivision takes two lives



From the Ottawa Citizen 18 March 1961

A level crossing crash near Gatineau took the lives of two men at 1.15 p.m. yesterday, bringing the 24 -hour total of violent deaths in the Hull area to four. There have been 44 deaths in the Ottawa -Hull district since January 1.
The Dead
Thomas McGovern, 56, of 38 Cypress Street, Gatineau, an employe of the Canadian International Paper Company.
Orville Prudhomme, 27, of R.R. 1, Gatineau, a farm hand on the farm of James Horan at Quinville.
When their car went out of control on the Aylmer Road near Connaught Park Raceway at 2 a.m. Friday, two Ottawa men were killed instantly.
Struck By Train
In the Gatineau tragedy, a sedan owned and driven by Orville Prudhomme twas struck by a CPR Montreal -Ottawa train a few seconds after the motor vehicle turned off the highway at the Payment Road crossing.
There is a clear view for more than a mile both up and down the railway right-of-way at that point, and eye-witnesses and members of the train crew were unable to offer a guess as to how the car's occupants failed to notice the fast-moving dayliner. The crossing is unprotected by signals, and has been the scene of previous similar mishaps.
The auto, wedged into the front of the diesel locomotive, was carried for more than a half-mile west of the crossing.
The body of Orville Prudhomme was hurled out onto the right-of-way some 300 feet from the point of impact, and the body of Mr. McGovern was jammed into the wreckage of the car's front seat. The vehicle was demolished.
The train was in charge of Conductor Stanislas Gravelle, 6226 Clarke Street, Montreal, and the engineer was Harry Day, 60, of 26 St. Catharine Street, Longueuil. The engineer said he saw the car just as it moved onto the tracks directly into the path of his locomotive. He applied his emergency brakes, but it was impossible to halt the train.
Raoul Touchette, of 124 Vercheres Street, Gatineau, and Mrs. Ian McLean, of The Seigniory Club, Montebello, were passing in cars at the time, and both saw the Prudhomme auto as it turned north from Highway No. 8.
They said the car continued onto the crossing without stowing,  its occupants apparently unaware of the approaching train.
Coroner Dr. Jean Lorrain, of Ste. Rose de Lima, opened, an inquest, but adjourned the hearing pending completion of the police investigation.



Return to Main Page of Railway Accidents

Updated 8 February 2019