Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1892, August 21 - Head on collision between two freight trains at Avonmore, Canadian Pacific, 1 killed.

Ottawa Citizen 22 August 1892

A Smash Up on the C.P.R.
Two trains collide on the O. and Q, Division
A brakesman man is killed and much property destroyed - how the collision is said to have occurred.
A bad Smashup occurred a few miles from Avonmore on the Ontario and Quebec division on the C.P.R. early yesterday morning. It resulted in the death of James Woods of Smith's Falls, and heavy loss to the company.
A freight train going east had only passed Avonmore a couple of minutes when it crashed into another freight train coming in an opposite direction. The drivers and firemen on both engines jumped and escaped, but James Woods, brakeman who was on the eastbound train was between two cars when the trains met, and was instantly killed.
Both engines met with such terrific force that they reared up in air and then tumbled over alongside the track. The freight cars near the engines were smashed to pieces while the empty ones in either trains were completely telescoped.
When the news of the accident reached Smith's Falls a wrecking train was dispatched immediately to the scene of the accident with a gang of men to clear the wreck and to repair the track which was ripped up and destroyed for quite a distance. The remains of the unfortunate brakeman were brought back to his home in Smith's Falls which is about 50 miles west of aAonmore.
Traffic was stopped on the line all day yesterday while men were engaged clearing the track, and the through Toronto train had to come around by Ottawa yesterday morning. It is yet unknown who is responsible for the accident which will be a matter for investigation by the company.

Ottawa Journal 22 August 1892

A bad smash on the C.P.R.
The Ontario and Quebec division of the C.P.R. near Avonmore yesterday morning was the scene of a collision and loss of life. An Eastbound and a westbound freight train crashed into each other and James Woods, a brakeman, on the eastbound train was caught in the collision and instantly killed. The drivers and firemen of both trains jumped and thus saved their lives.
The trains were running at great speed and met with such tremendous force that both were lifted from the rails and tumbled into the ditch. Freight cars near the engine were splinteredd to pieces and empty ones behind telescoped.
A wrecking train went out from Smith's Falls when the news of the accident reached there and work at clearing the track which was badly torn up began. The remains of the killed brakeman Woods were brought to his home in Smith's Falls for interment.
As yet it is not known who is responsible for the accident and an investigation by the company will likely be held.

Almonte Gazette 26 August 1892

A Smith's Falls Man Killed.
A collision occurred last Sunday on the C.P.R. at Avonmore, 55 miles east of this divisional headquarters, resulting in a loss of life and property. Conductor Lavan was bringing a freight train west when he met another freight train carrying a white signal, which means that another freight is behind and has the right of way. Under the circumstances Lavan should have laid over for further orders, but he came on and "ran against the white," as they say in railroad circles. As a result he collided violently with the second eastound freight. Brakeman James Woods, of Smith's Falls was killed and a locomotive and a dozen cars smashed. Woods' wife, when informed that there had been an accident in which her husband was badly injured, was so overcome that they did not tell her of the fatal result.

Almonte Gazette 2 September 1892

The late W.J. Wood of Smith's Falls who was killed in the C.P.R. collision last week, carried an insurance of $3,000 of which $2,000 was in the A.O.U.W. and $1,000 in the Orange Society.

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Updated 6 May 2023