|Ottawa Citizen, 2 August 1984|
Cattle killed on new train's maiden trip
A new VIA train slammed into a herd of cattle near Brockville Wednesday killing 35 Holstein heifers and strewing carcasses along a quarter-mile stretch of carnage.
The Light Rapid and Comfortable (LRC) train, operating on a new faster service Wednesday, hit the cows valued at $35,000 near Manhard, four miles north of Brockville.
Wednesday was the first day of a new Toronto-Ottawa schedule that allowed speeds to increase from 50 to 70 mph on the stretch of line between Brockville and Smiths Falls.
"It was pretty gory," said Brockville OPP Const. Mike Benn, who was sent to the scene shortly after the accident occurred at 9:15 p.m. "The cows were mangled up pretty good."
Benn said the train's engineer saw the cows ahead on the straight stretch of line but couldn't avoid them.
"You can't stop those things on a dime," he said.
Although the train remained on the tracks, the accident delayed it for 3½ hours while crews cleared carcasses wedged under the engine.
The train arrived in Ottawa at 1:50 a.m. this morning. There were no injuries to the passengers and the amount of damage is still unknown.
The cows, belonging to Ed Williams of RR 5 Brockville, entered CPR rail property through a hole in the railway fence, said William's daughter Joyce.
"Once they were on the track there was no way of getting out of the path of the train," she said.
The cows were trapped in a narrow corridor created by fences lining both sides of the railway line.
The young dairy cows are valued at $1,000 each, she said.
A spokesman for CPR said investigators were still on the scene this morning and reports wouldn't be released until later today.
This is the second accident in less than two months for the Toronto-Ottawa service.
A similar train derailed in June after it was diverted from the main line onto a side track near a Nepean lumber company.
A 17-year-old Richmond youth was charged with tampering a rail switch, causing the accident.
VIA had planned to introduce a new four-hour service between Ottawa and Toronto Wednesday employing speeds up to 95 mph.
The Canadian Transport Commission delayed that service when it decided to hold public meetings before sanctioning the higher speeds.
Under the schedule introduced Wednesday, the trip takes 4 hours and 45 minutes. The train, which hit the cows, left Toronto at 5:30 p.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Ottawa at 10:15 p.m.