|From the Ottawa Citizen 3 June 1966|
Trainmen jump before train smash
CORNWALL (Special) -Trainmen jumped for their lives early this morning when a high - balling Canadian National freight train smashd into the rear of a standing freight train, 150 feet east of the Cornwall station.
The three diesei engines of the speeding 100 - car east-bound freight derailed but remained upright as they ploughed into the standing boxcars, crumpling them like matchwood.
Hundreds of feet of track were torn up and five boxcars in the stationary train flung onto their sides. One of its boxcars was loaded with explosives but remained intact.
No one was injured. The moving freight screached as it shot toward the standing freight with all its wheels locked and throwing out a shower of sparks.
A railroad man in the caboose of the standing freight heard the wail and jumped for his life. The caboose was squashed.
The engineer and fireman rode the diesel engine into the wreck as they knocked boxcars aside like ten pins.
Five men working on a passenger train standing in the westbound track also leaped for their lives.
A mail trucker, Ronald Major, 31, had his truck parked across the eastbound track. He jumped into his vehicle and raced it up onto the station platform. Two baggagemen working with him jumped into a pile of mail bags inside the mailcar of a passenger train standing on the westbound track.
Two other men pulling a "buggy" also made a run for it and saw their baggage carrier smashed to bits.
Railroad officials had no immediate explanation for the crash. The standing freight would have been in a shaded area outside the lighted station area and difficult to see.
Had the wreck occurred just 200 feet west one of the boxcars thrown on its side and loaded with heavy barrels would have landed on top of the station. Several passengers awaiting trains were in the station.
The overnight Montreal-Toronto train was rerouted through Ottawa.
Railway officials said the westbound track had been cleared by 9 a.m. and the eastbound track would be cleared by this afternoon. Rails were torn from ties and twisted and bent.
Trucker moved just in time to escape
CORNWALL (Special) -"I'm lucky to be alive." Ronald Major, 31, of RR 1 Cornwall, had just escaped being run over by a 101-car freight train which piled into the rear of another freight here.
He was loading mail into a passenger train when one of two baggagemen helping him noticed the train thundering down the adjacent track.
" 'Move your truck, there's a train coming,' he said," recalled Mr. Major. "I ran around the truck, jumped in, started it and drove it underneath the station canopy."
He and the "14-foot box-truck" used to load mail were between the passenger train and the track down which the eastbound freight train was rushing.
After the warning he drove across a plank bridging the eastward track and onto the station platform.
"I saw the two baggagemen ducking into the mailbags inside the car," he said. "I remember seeing a buggy which was west of the station with two men on it.
"This buggy is used to unload express. Two men were unloading express from the train. As I was trying to get my own truck off the tracks, I saw these two men running.
Just made it
"They just made it too. The train hit the buggy, tore off the wheels and smashed it."
Never before had he been able to drive the loading truck under the canopy over the station platform, but he did then.
"I'm still shaking," said Mr. Major. "The train was only 100 feet away when they told me to move my truck."
He jumped off, ran through both the north and south sets of doors, then ran back through the station to see what happened.
"There was a loud crunch," he said. "It lasted only three or four seconds and then it was all over."
Mr. Major, married with one child, delivers mail to eight trains a day and also takes mail to Glen Walter, just east of Cornwall.
He said the 10-car passenger train which he was helping load on the westbound track had nine mail cars.
"I had 214 bags of mail when I left the post office," he said, "and had loaded about 30 bags when it happened. This is my iirst train wreck and I hope it's my last."
Ottawa Citizen 4 June 1966
Cornwall train accident cause to be investigated
CORNWALL (Special) An inquiry will be held into the cause of the early Friday morning train crash here which disrupted eastbound rail traffic for 20 hours.
About 12.30 a.m. a speeding 100-car eastbound Canadian National freight train smashed into the rear of a standing freight train about 150 feet from Cornwall's station.
Three diesel engines and several cars were derailed and hundreds of feet of track were torn by the crash. No one was injured although several train men had to jump for their lives.
The westbound track, which escaped heavy damage, was reopened after four hours. The eastbound track was cleared of wreckage and repaired by about 8.35 p.m.
No official cause has been given, but unofficially it is believed that a confusion in signals caused the crash.
All day Friday, thousands of city residents flocked to the train station to view the wreckage and repair work.