Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1881, August 27 - Head on collision near Lancaster, Grand Trunk Railway 3 killed, 2 injured

Kingston daily News 30 August 1881

Wm. B. Hislop, a native of Ernesttown, was killed at the recent Railway disaster at Lancaster.

Almonte Gazette 2 September 1881

Terrible Collision.
The most serious collision which has been known on the Grand Trunk Railway for many years occurred early Saturday morning about 50 miles west of Montreal, between Bainesville and Lancaster. A heavy special freight train bound for the west left Bainesville station shortly after four o'clock in the morning, while the regular down freight train which was lying at Lancaster also received orders to proceed. They proceeded until they had reached their ordinary swiftness, when suddenly through the dense fog which was at the time hanging over all the country around completely hiding objects but a few yards distant, the engineer of each train.
in a moment the fearful situation was apparent. It was too late to stop or even slacken off at all. Some of the men jumped from the trains, and a moment after the engines came together with a fearful crash, the iron framework being crushed into shapeless mass, over which the cars piled in horrible disorder until a mountainous wreck blocked up the track for the space of several rods.
cliff, the driver of the special freight train, was soon found. He had been seriously injured, but it is believed he will recover. His young fireman named Hyslop was found crushed most horribly in the debris. He was conveyed to Lancaster, where for a few hours he lingered, until his agonies were terminated by death.
Ford, the driver of the down train, also sustained very serious injuries. With Cliff he had remained at his post as long as it was possible to do anything. Both were taken to Lancaster and at once put under medical treatment. A brakesman named Anderson, living at Point St. Charles, was found in the ruins still alive, but
and about noon he died. A brakesman named Nelson, who was on the train, was killed instantly, but his corpse remained buried probably many feet deep in the wreck. Many of the residents crowded around and did all in their power for the wounded, While others of them lined the fences on either side, and surveyed the scene with palid faces.
The scene was one which the reader could not adequately realize from a description. But a few fragments of iron could be seen protruding from the mass about the place where the engines came together. The front cars had been loaded with compressed hay, which was piled up, carload after car load, mingled with the shattered remains of the cars.
a view might be had of the country for some distance, while the Observer looking down on the right hand or the left saw the awful work of the disaster. The heavy wheels of one car might be seen upon the roof of the next, where everywhere splinters from the wrecked cars were strewn in disorder. To count the number of the cars would have been impossible, for some of them were concealed under tons' weight of debris. The side of the track was blocked up, so that to walk around the ruin the passengers had to enter a neighboring field.

Ottawa Citizen 1 September 1881

Despatches received here state that the jury in the Lancaster Railway accident rendered a verdict of manslaughter against Crankshaw, [sic] the conductor of one of the trains, and Defoe, the operator. They also censure the Grand Trunk authorities for carelessness in not requiring all trains to stop at stations.

Ottawa Citizen 9 September 1881

It will be remembered that the conductor of the Grand Trunk train which collided at Lancaster recently with such disastrous effects was committed to jail on a charge of manslaughter. At Osgood Hall this morning, on the return of a habeas corpus, Mr Aylsworth moved for an order for Chrenshaw's [sic] discharge on the ground that the inquest held on the bodies of those killed was irregular, as it was commenced on Sunday, which rendered it void. No one appeared for the crown in an opposition to the application, and Mr. Justice Osler gave an order directed to the warden of the Cornwall jail to release Crenshaw from custody.

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