|Ottawa Citizen 12 July 1982|
CP Train derailment near Mountain cuts Toronto-Montreal line for a day. (with picture)
MOUNTAIN, Ont. All freight traffic on the Toronto-Montreal rail corridor was paralysed for 30 hours on the weekend by a train derailment in this quiet Eastern Ontario town.
A Canadian Pacific railcar carrying wax plunged off the track and burst into flames while travelling 80 km/h about 7 a.m. Saturday.
The 24-car pile-up burned until early Sunday morning on the outskirts of Mountain, 50 kilometres southwest of Ottawa.
There were no injuries and damage to local property was minimal. CP spokesman said no cause has been determined. The derailment is under investigation.
Had the cars derailed seconds earlier, the crash could have destroyed the home of Arnold and Marion Johnston, who were sleeping at the time.
The train overturned only 20 metres from the Johnston home, leaving the yard and garden littered with boulders and pieces of metal.
A steel railway shack was thrown 30 metres, coming to rest 10 metres from the farmhouse.
Windows were cracked and dirt was thrown into the house. There was also minor damage to the farm on the other side of the tracks.
"Another couple of hundred feet and it would have taken off the north side of the house," said Marion Johnston.
The derailment cancelled the Johnstons' plans for Saturday. They were expecting a large turn-out of friends and relatives to help with a hay harvest.
The Johnston's son Steve, who was in the barn milking cows at the time of the accident, said: "You'd swear you were in a war."
He said the boxcars just continued to pile up in the midst of flame and flying debris.
The 81-car train was carrying grain, general merchandise and automotive parts, along with the flammable wax substance, from Toronto to Montreal.
There was no toxic material on the train, which was travelling at two-thirds of its freight capacity.
The derailed cars on the west-bound line were removed and 150 metres of track were replaced, restoring west-bound service Sunday morning. East-bound freight traffic remains at a standstill until further repairs and clearing are done.
Six firetrucks from the Mountain County, Kemptville, and the Winchester fire departments tried to control the fierce blaze throughout the day and most of the night.
Ottawa Citizen 14 July 1982
Rail car that jumped tracks blamed for CP derailment
An empty freight car jumped the tracks, causing Saturday's derailment of a CP Rail train outside Mountain, Ont., a Canada Transport Commission spokesman said Tuesday.
Peter Schnobb of the commission's railway transport committee said preliminary investigations indicated one of the car's axles jumped the track while the train was taking a flat curve.
"The derailment had nothing to do with mechanical failure as far as we're concerned. The preliminary investigation boils down to the fact that it (the car) simply jumped."
However, Ottawa CP Rail spokesman Herb Brooks said the companv is continuing its own investigation and could not confirm the committee's finding.
He said it could be several days before the investigation is finished.
Schnobb said the gondola car, used to carry such materials as rolled steel and shingles, jumped because of a "combination of ingredients," including the normal flex of the track that causes cars to rise and fall, the curve and the fact that the car was empty.
"This kind of situation doesn't happen very often. The cars rise and fall and, needless to say, when you don't have the weight this rising and falling is much more pronounced."
He said the train's speed of 80 kmh was about 20 kmh under the established limits and was not a factor in the derailment.
The gondola car was the the 25th in the 81-car train that started in Windsor and was en route to Montreal via Toronto.
Brooks said 51 of the cars were loaded and 30 were empty.
He also said the company normally places loaded cars at the front of the train and empty ones at the middle or rear. He said the empty gondola car was in the middle because additional cars were put on in Toronto.
When the car derailed it triggered a chain reaction that sent 24 cars plunging off the track, including 18 that were loaded.
One car, carrying a wax compound used in furniture polish, burst into flames and ignited other cars.
There were no toxic materials on the train.
Brooks said a damage estimate won't be available for about two weeks when the clean-up and repair work is completed.