Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1896, March 18 - locomotive derails when driving rod breaks on the Toronto Express at Britannia.  No injuries

Ottawa Citizen 18 March 1896

The Toronto express due here about 6 o'clock this morning had a narrow escape from being ditched a short distance west of Britannia.
About half past five o'clock, while descending the grade from Bells Corners at a speed of fifty miles an hour, the side rod of the engine broke.  The driving wheels of the engine were instantly derailed and in this dangerous condition the engine plunged along for 2,500 feet, almost half a mile, the broken side rod inserting deep holes into the frozen earth and threatening to derail the train at every revolution.  The spokes of the driving wheels bumping along over the ties were smashed out and a hole was stove into the boiler from which all the steam escaped.  That the train escaped being ditched is indeed remarkable.
Fireman's narrow escape.
When the side rod broke it dashed through the cabin of the engine just missing striking the fireman who was sitting on his bench.  Had it hit him he would have instantly been killed.  As the engine plunged along the driving wheels cut off the bolts that joined the rails together as clean as if it had been done by a steel cutter.  The truck wheels of the engine kept the track or a more serious accident would have had to be reported.
The train was an unusually long one and had a large number of passengers on board among them Clarke Wallace, M.P., Park Commissioners Christie and Askwith of Ottawa.
Wrecking Train Out
A wrecking train was sent out from the city to bring in the express and the disabled engine.  The train arrived in Ottawa two and a half hours late.
Praise for the Hands
Edgar Willis, Secretary of the Board of Trade of Toronto, who was a passenger on the train, telegraphed Sir Wm. Van Horne an acknowledgement of the bravery of the engineer and fireman who stuck to their posts, thus averting what would have been a very serious accident.
Also reported in Ottawa Free Press, same date.

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