Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1881, August 20 - Attempts to Derail a Grand Trunk train near Kingston, no injuries.

Kingston Daily News 22 August 1881
An edited version appeared in the Ottawa Citizen of 23 August 1881

Two attemptds in one night - A Pullman Car Damaged, but no Lives Lost
The train-wrecker is again at work. He seems determined to carry out his object, as it is but a few months since an attempt was made to throw a train from the Grand Trunk Railway track a few miles below the depot. This time, however, instead of there being one obstruction laid, there were two, and on the same night - one on the main line and the other on the branch. Between 3 and 4 o'clock on Sunday morning, a train was coming into Kingston, when it struck something on the track which gave the passengers a terrible shock. In getting off the car it was found that
had been placed on the track, the former crosswise and the latter lengthways. The timber, which was about three feet long, was laid close to the rail, so as to catch the wheel. However, it was split clean in two, which saved the cars from being hurled from the road down into a ditch. The pilot engine also struck the timber, and her front wheel was raised some six inches, but as the wheel broke, she dropped onto the rails again. The obstruction was placed immediately after the bend, a little this side of the depot and almost opposite the residence of Mr. C. Rappe, amd seemed to have been laid with due care. The Pullman car was fairly laden with passengers for the steamer Magnet. In fact the vehicle was so crowded that the people had to stand up so it can be seen what terrible calamity would have ensued had the timnber and rail  done the work which they were intended to do. As it was, the two break beams of the car were broken and the foot board of the pilot was smashed. Footprints were found in the sand of two persons, who from appearances, have small feet.
About a quarter of a mile on the other side of the depot another obstruction was laid, and in all probability by the same persons or their companions. No. 22 engine was coming from the East rather quicker than usual, being desirous of crossing No. 3 at Kingston, when she struck two ties that had been lying across the track, and sent them spinning ahead about 100 yards. On making an investigation the conclusion was come to, from marks on the track, that the ties had been laid for the benefit of No. 3 from the west, which accounts for their having been so easily removed. If they had been struck from the west the train would undoubtedly have been thrown from the track and a similar accident to the recent one at Prescott have taken place, but, probably, with more fatal results.
It is gratifying to note that both trains escaped serious injury, notwithstanding that the obstructions had been placed in a manner that could hardly fail to wreck a train. Detective Flynn, of the G.T. R. has arrived in the city. It is to be hoped he will be successful in discovering the miscreants who seem to take a delight in snuffing their fellow beings out of existence.
Mr Peter Reed, conductor of the pilot running into the city, was interviewed in regards to the matter. He left the outer station at 3:40 a. m., on Sunday morning, and, about five minutes afterwards, the wheels of the Pullman struck a rail which had been placed on the track pointing towards the coming train, but as the rail was clumsily placed, it was moved forward and fell beside the track without doing any damage. Scarcely had the train got clear of the obstructing rails when a large Oak block was encountered. This block was 3 feet long and eighteen inches square and was so placed that one end rested against the railway ties, while the other was raised so as to strike the approaching car. The train came on with such speed that when the brake beam of the Pullman struck the block, the latter was split in two, the top piece being carried on in front of the car while the other piece passed under the car and struck the engine breaking the footboard.
Fortunately both the Pullman car and the engine remained on the track or the accident would have been much more serious than it was, as on both sides of the track there is an embankment twellve feet high. The object of the dastardly attempt was doubtless plunder, as this train is usually crowded with American tourists about to take the steamer of the Richlieu and Ontario navigation company going to Montreal.

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