Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1896, April 29 - Freight Train Diverted into Wrong Siding at Kemptville, no injuries

Kemptville Advance 30 April 1896

Railway Smash-up.
The lower station at this place was the scene of a railway smash-up yesterday afternoon. A freight train was coming in from the south at a pretty fast rate, just a few minutes before the time the regular train from Ottawa was expected. There was an unusually large crowd on the platform at the time. John Sanders the baggagemaster was busy checking trunks, and not knowing that a freight train was to come in, naturally supposed it was the regular passenger train and as is his duty, proceeded to the switch and opened it that she might lie on the siding, so that Freeman's train from Prescott could cross. It was a wild moment. The train was almost at the switch by the time it was opened. The engineer whistled for the switch to be closed but the train evidently had reached it before Mr. Sanders was able to take in the situation of affairs. A car of lime for Aby Acton was on the siding, near the switch. Engineer Frank Daniels and the fireman, Wm. Seager, jumped and escaped injury. Brakeman John Young and Wm. Horan also escaped. When the locomotive struck the lime car the truck was broken off and the end of the car left resting on the front of the locomotive and in that position was carried about eight rods. The trucks were also broken off the tender, slight damage was done to one cylinder, headlight and the first freight car, which was loaded with live stock. None of the animals were hurt. Several rails were also broken and the track considerably torn up.

Ottawa Citizen 30 April 1896

An accident occurred at Kemptville about 2 o'clock.  When Conductor Powell of the special freight train was approaching the station, Engineer Daniels noticed the target turned against him and whistled for brakes, as he was being thrown on to the side track which was partially filled with empties.  Having reversed his engine, applied the brakes, he was going to run into the cars on the siding and prepared to take the worst.  Baggageman Sanders, who was busily engaged with baggage, not knowing the exact time, heard the train approaching and thinking it was No. 16 Conductor O'Leary's train from Prescott, ran up to the switch and threw it, as was his custom almost daily - a freight special so near passenger train time being a rarity.  He immediately saw his mistake but was so upset as to be unable to throw back the switch in time so as to avoid the accident which resulted. The truck of a freight car loaded with lime was thrown out by the engine, just far enough on to the main track to catch the truck of the tender, and a car loaded with calves was torn from the track.  The engine uplifted ties and rails as it proceeded.  No person was hurt and the passenger trains arriving from north and south exchanged passengers, mails and baggage and returned, losing only about one hour's time.

Kemptville Advance 7 May 1896

Conductor Powell has been suspended since the railway smash-up last week but will probably be on again shortly.

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Updated 9 August 2023