Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1870, September 24 - Brockville and Ottawa Railway excursion train derails near Arnprior

Almonte Gazette - 1 October 1870
(non-railway items omitted)

The Annual Holiday
So generously allowed by Messrs, B. W. Rosamond & Co., to their large number of employees, was given on Saturday last, with an excursion to Sand Point by rail and thence by boat to Gould's Landing, on the Ottawa. Having been invited, ...we gladly availed ourselves of the opportunity of doing so. As train time approached (10:44 a.m.), a large number of excursionists, numbering, we should say, not less than five hundred had collected at the station.

The arrival of the train was the occasion of a general stampede for seats; and although seven passenger cars were provided, very many were compelled to stand throughout the trip. ...we soon left Pakenham behind and arrived, somewhat abruptly, at Arnprior.

As the train had cleared the bridge over the Madawaska, and while rounding a small curve in the road, the three last cars were THROWN FROM THE TRACK and went bouncing over the rough ties at the unpleasant rate of twenty miles an hour, causing a general terror and consternation among their occupants. After running in this way for about two hundred yards, the coupling between the third and fourth cars was, most providentially, broken by the great strain upon it, and the three dislodged cars were left behind. A hasty exit was made by everyone. ... for a distance of fifty feet, the ties were literally torn to atoms by the wheels, the ground plowed up, and the track displaced. The front car leaned to one side at an angle of forty-five degrees; had it gone 10  yards farther it would have lain on its top in a hole on the road side. The cars were twisted and shook considerably, but received no very great damage. The passengers were all unharmed, but greatly frightened, as well they might be.

The conductor, Charles Spencer, Esq., a courteous and obliging gentleman, after ascertaining that no one was hurt, proceeded with the remainder of his train to Sand Point, returning immediately for those of the party who had been left behind. The delay occasioned by the accident was not more than one hour,
About one or two hours was spent at Gould's Landing, when the party embarked on the return trip, arriving at Sand Point at six o'clock. Here we were informed that no trains had arrived during the day, on account of the damage done the track by our train in the morning. Conductor Spencer, the section master, and a number of men were busy during the day relaying the track, but had not yet got it completed.

Shortly after 12, a train arrived, and in about an hour more we were all en route for home, where we arrived about 3 o'clock Sunday morning.

Charles Spencer writes from Shrewsbury, England (January 2021)
Yes, Charles Spencer was Charles Worthington’s and Harry’s father (and therefore my great great grandfather).  Known as “The Old Conductor” he was on the B&O, at some point based out of Broad Street, and then I believe migrated to the CP.  He wasn’t senior enough to have figured in the Directory of Railway Officials.  I can look up but can’t remember when he died, but he lived to a ripe old age.  I also have a photograph somewhere.  I suspect it was his connections that got CW his start on the K&P,

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Updated 6 January 2020