Ottawa Journal 16 June 1897
Whole train wrecked, 25 cars smashed.
Bad Accident on the C.A.R today
Family has narrow Escape
part of the Wreck crashes Through Their Home and demolishes it. No Trainmen Hurt - Cause a Mystery
A lumber train of about 25 cars was wrecked on the C. A. R. at South Indian Indian early thla morning.
The wrecked train is piled up in one huge mass of broken cars, lumber and large pieces of timber.
No through trains have been able to run between Montreal and Ottawa to-day. The passengers who went out on the Montreal train this morning were transferred at South Indian to the train which came up from Montreal.
The wrecked train left here this morning at 3 o'clock with a large load of lumber. How the accident occurred Is a mystery. Whether the train ran into an open switch or jumped the track could not be learned late this afternoon.
Saved Their Lives.
A man. who with his wife and child lives in a small house near the track, heard the noise of the crashing timbers outside. He sprang from his bed. snatching his wife and child, and rushed to the corner of the bouse. He just did so In time. He had no sooner left the bed than a large piece of timber crashed through the house and completely demolished it.
The man hurried out of the house with his wife and child, entirely free from injury.
The timber fell right across the bed upon which they were lying.
Removing the Debris.
There are large gangs of men hard at work removing the debris In order that trains may begin running.
None of the train's crew were in any way injured. Whether they jumped or how they escaped cannot yet be learned.
Ottawa Journal 17 June 1897
SHOOK HANDS IN JOY
Train Crew of ths Wrecked C.A.R. Freight Did So.
AFTER THEIR MIRACULOUS ESCAPE YESTERDAY.
Details of the Accident - Cars Piled to a height of Forty Feet - Journal Reporter on the Scene.
Mrs. Amanda Rehaume owes her life to-day to the fact that one huge timber in the C. A. R. freight wreck yesterday at South Indian knocked the end out of her houise and a second timber pushed her bed out of the building where the opening had been made.
The lives of Engineer Casey. Fireman Rogers and the brakeman were saved because they stuck to the engine until the locomotive toppled over. A pair of the engine trucks prevented the wreck from sweeping on top of them.
Mr. J. Rehaume and his little girl are now alive just because they were about a foot out of the reach of tons falling timber.
The conductor's and second man's lives were saved from the fact that the caboose never left the track.
That J. Rehaume, his wife and child and the engineer, fireman and brake man. who were on the C. A. R. train yesterday, live to-day to-day to tell the story is nothing short of a miracle. The house In which Mr. and Mrs. Rehaume lived is to-day covered with tons of massive timber. The engine on which Fireman Rogers. Engineer Casey and the brakeman were riding lies to-day a mass of ruins, buried six feet in the ground.
The accident occurred about 3.30 yesterday morning. The train was special timber train, which left Ottawa shortly after midnight. The run was being made In good time. The train had passed the station at South Indian, and was just going over the village crossing, when the accident occurred.
What Caused the Disaster.
Men had been engaged in loading cord wood on the siding. There were about twenty-five cars side tracked where the accident took place. One of these cars had been accidentally left so far out on the siding that it protruded over the main line track. This car caused the wreck. The approaching train was running at a good rate of speed. and the obstructing car being turned In the same direction as the train was running was forced further upon the track the moment it was struck.
Another cause is assigned. It is stated that some of the massive pieces of timber were extending out over the train and struck the car upon the siding, thus forcing it upon the main line track. The car gives the appearance of having been struck with a piece of timber.
When the engine and some of the cars left the track Engineer Casey, Fireman Rogers and the brakeman were in the cab of the engine. The throttle was immediately closed, the engine plugged and brakes applied. It wa a remarkably short and sudden stop. The engine did not go more than 200 feet before she was almost buried in the centre of the roadway. The three men did not get time to jump from their engine until she stopped. When they did get out they saw such a sight as they will not soon forget.
How It Looked
The train consisted of some thirty-two cars. Twenty-six of these with their cargo were piled up in a space of 162 feet. Five cars and the caboose remained on the main track uninjured, the latter containing Conductor Leamy and his brakeman. They were shaken up, but not in any way hurt. For a height of forty feet stood a mass of ruined cars and timbers. The men could not realise their position and could hear nothing but the fearful roar of engine 21 as the full head of steam made its escape. The morning was foggy and the men could only distinguish the outlines of the pile of ruins. Their first work was to ascertain how many of the crew were buried beneath the debris. They were greatly relieved when they learned that every man known to be upon the train was safe and unhurt. The men, in gratitude to Providence for so miraculous an escape shook hands with each other.
Their attention was now turned to the side of the track where the engine was lying. They heard voices and hurried to the spot. A moment before Mr.(sic) Amanda Rehaume's home had stood there. It was now nothing but a few crushed boards and timbers under the ruins of the great wreck.
Mr. Rehaume's Escape.
Where were the inhabitants of the house? This is the marvellous part of the story. Mr. Rehaume, who is one of the section men, was with his wife and child sleeping in the house when the accident occurred. Mr. Rehaume heard the engine leave the track. He jumped from his bed and aroused his wife just as a large timber 20 feet in length and weighing thousands of pounds crashed through his house and forced the end out of it. This was followed by three others. The second one struck the foot of the bed upon which Mrs. Rehaume was sleeping. The bed was shoved out of the end of the building which had just been destroyed. Another timber was just falling when Mr. Rehaume snatched his wife and saved her life.
Where was the little girl? In a moment she was seen running out of the house pale with fear and excitement. She was uninjured.
The little girl had been sleeping on the same side of the house as her father and mother but in the other corner. The timbers coming in had entered on an angle and thus her bed was untouched and the child's life was saved. If ever there was a thankful party it was the crew of the wrecked train and the miraculously rescued family.
Cab Takes Fire
By this time the cab of the engine had taken fire and this meant a very serious thing both for the inhabitants of South Indian and for the company.
Had that mass of lumber and wreckage ignited nothing could have saved it and much property in the village would probably have been destroyed, as the village property is quite close to the track, part of the village being on either aide of the railway.
A dozen men had by this time arrived and as many pails were secured and water on hand. In a very few moments the danger from fire had passed and the coal and burning engine cab were smouldering and incapable of doing any harm.
By this time the inhabitants of the quiet little village of South Indian were rapidly gathering upon the scene. They had been roused from their slumbers by what they thought was an earthquake.
Removing the Wreck.
When The Journal reporter reached the scene yesterday afternoon the wrecking party were hard at work Two engines and a derrick had been pulling and jerking at the ruins for some hours. They did not appear to have made any headway. The mass of broken cars, car trucks, twisted timbers and shattered timber formed a heap at least 40 feet high. The distance was measured and 26 cars with their loads were piled up into a space of 126 feet. They would ordinarily occupy at least 780 feet.
Whole car loads of lumber were piled right on top of the entire mass. The cars served as a cap to the ruins, and there was not a car left that was fit for anything more than kindling wood.
For yards around pieces of broken bars, couplings and the iron work of the cars were found. In a twisted and jumbled mass with timbers lying across the track, timbers lying parallel with the track and timbers standing perpendicularly in the air, it was a bad-looking wreck.
The engine. "Old No. 21," known as one of the most reliable and powerful engines upon the run, was a bad looking mass as it lay buriedin the ditch about half of it being visible, and the remainder completely embedded in the roadway.
How the Engineer Was Saved.
As the engine passed over the cattle guard at the street the trucks were partially torn off, and were overhanging on the track. They thus formed a safe barrier and checked the further advance of the timbers and ruined cars. To the fact of those trucks catching just where they did the men in the engine ascribe their wonderful escape.
All day yesterday and last night, did the wrecking trains pull and tug at the debris. The company expected to have the road cleared for traffic to-day. The trains from Montreal to Ottawa and vice versa made short runs yesterday. The passengers were compelled to walk around the ruins in order to continue their journey. The section men carried all baggage and the mail.
Many travellers remained upon the scene. To witness the progress of the wrecking parties.
Road Master J. Graham was in charge of the wrecking parties and undcr his direction the men made good progress. He stated to The Journal he would not be in the least surprised to find the mangled remains of some tramp when the bottom of the ruins were reached. Tramps are specially fond of riding upon lumber trains.
Travelling Freight Agent Phillips of the C.A.R. was upon the scene all afternoon. Mr. J. E. Duval, chief train despatcher, was also one of the officials who viewed the scene.
The engineer had his hand a little burned, and Mrs. Rehaume had a slight bruise upon her head, but further than this no harm was done to a living person.
Extra gangs of men were put at work last nlght and this morning the tracks were clear and running on time as usual. The company deserve credit for the way in which they have cleared their road.