Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1899, August 9 - St. Polycarpe, Canada Atlantic Railway.

The passenger car in the picture is 2nd class Pullman-built coach 300, in which most of the passengers died, due to scalding steam from the locomotive boiler. The remaining three (not five) passenger cars are still upright behind the coach. The express-baggage car has run past the inverted tender and derailed behind the photographer, without fatalities.
Although the papers reported that eight died in this wreck, the total subsequently appears to have risen to ten.  This was effectively the end of racing between the CPR and CAR, although on 17 July 1901, the largest 4-4-2 Atlantic was tested over a measured mile at 92.75 mph. However the benefits of this speed were apparently never reflected in running time to Montreal.

It also may have been the last service for the almost brand new Pullman-built car 300, which, although repaired, was apparently destroyed in the Elgin Street car shop fire of 21 March 1902 and never again appeared on the roster.

From The Ottawa Free Press?
Eight dead in wreck.
Ottawa Aug. 9.  The Canada Atlantic fast train, which should have arrived here at noon today, jumped the track at St. Polycarpe Junction and Fireman Geo. McCuaig and a sectionman and a second class passenger, whose name cannot be ascertained, were killed.
It is supposed that the train jumped the track at the switch.
Engineer Orr was slightly injured and five passengers more or less injured.
The accident was the first since the inception of the road and General Manager Chamberlain was at a loss to imagine the cause of it.
The track at St. Polycarpe is as level as a floor and there are no ditches.  The track is said to be about the best piece of road on the system and is constructed with 73 pound steel rails. The fast express from Ottawa to Montreal, which leaves the Central Depot at 8.40 passed over the same track ten minutes before the ill fated express, crossing the Montreal train at Coteau Junction.
The wreck train left Montreal at 9.40 o'clock and was due at Ottawa at 12.10.  It was the fast express and was made up of a baggage car, a second class, a first class, two parlour cars, a sleeper and the Intercolonial parlour car.
Five of the cars left the track, the Intercolonial car and the sleeper being the two rear cars remained on the rails.
So far as learned, the baggage car, the second class and the engine were piled together in a heap.  All the passengers that were injured were in the second class car.
The news spread around town with wonderful rapidity, and the most exaggerated reports were prevalent.
Hundreds of people kept the telephones ringing and called at the station to get news.
Friends of the excursionists, who went to Ste. Ann de Beaupre, were especially anxious as it was feared that some of the victims were on the train.
The special train with pilgrims to Ste. Anne de Beaupre was shortly behind the regular at the time of the wreck.  It was due about two o'clock, but it will not likely reach here before six o'clock.
Within an hour after the wreck, six doctors were on the scene attending to the injured.
As the news of the accident spread around the city people flocked down to the Central Depot to await the arrival of the special train sent out to convey the passengers to the city.  Many had friends on board and were extremely anxious to hear whatever news was going.  Very little satisfactory, however, could be obtained, as the operators at the wires were, according to the rules, forbidden to impart any information.
The killed so far as identified are O'Connor, Rochleau and Roach.
Later - the identified so far are:
Joseph Rochleau and daughter, of Champlain Street, Montreal.  Ned Stairs, Ottawa. Wilson O'Connor, Ottawa.
The fatally injured are Nellie Ryan, Aridget Ryan and Ellen McDougall of Maniwaki and Mrs. Jos Rochleau of Montreal.
Most of the dead and injured were pilgrims returning from Ste. Anne de Beaupre.

Ottawa Citizen 9 August 1899

Five People Are Dead and Three Injured as a Result of a Wreck at St Polycarpe.
Two Were Instantly Killed and Three Died Shortly After Being Taken From the Wreck.

The Dead.
GEORGE McCUAIG, fireman, Ottawa East.
EDWARD STARRS. Bay street, Ottawa.
WILSON O'CONNOR, in company with Starrs.
JOSEPH ROCHETEAU, Champlain street, Montreal.
MISS ROCHETEAU. Champlain street, Montreal.
The Injured,
ELLEN MeDOUGALL, Maniwaki, burned, will recover.
ELLEN RYAN, Maniwaki, burned, hands and face.
BRIDGET RYAN, Maniwaki, burned.
The above is a list of the dead and injured in an appalling accident which occurred on the Canada Atlantic railway this morning.
The express train leaving Montreal at 9.40 and due in Ottawa at 12.10, jumped the track at St. Polycarpe, near Coteau, with the above painful result.
George McCuaig, of Canal road, Ottawa East, locomotive fireman, was crushed to death beneath his engine, and one of the passengers killed outright. Three other passengers died shortly after the accident.
The train was composed of an engine, baggage car, second class car, one first class car, two parlor cars and an I.C.R. coach and a sleeper. Only the last two cars remained on the track the others being piled in the wreck.
The train was a through express and one of the fastest run by the road. It left Montreal as usual at 9.40 this morning with a heavy passenger list including, it is presumed, several Ottawa people. It was in charge of Conductor James Clark. The other hands were Engineer Robert Orr, George McCuaig, fireman; Jno. Clarke, brakeman; Wm. A. McQuestion, baggageman, and Alexander Milne, express agent. The engineer was only slightly injured, while, with the exception of McCuaig, the other train hands were fortunate enough to escape.
The part of the road where the accident happened is perfectly level, without ditches, and covered with 72 pound rails. Ten minutes before the accident occurred the express which left Ottawa at 8.45 this morning passed over the spot.
Only meagre details were obtainable this afternoon, and officials of the road here are unable to account for the most fearful calamity that has ever happened on their line.
In addition to the wrecking train from Ottawa, two crews were ordered out from Coteau and the line is expected to be cleared in a few hours. The passengers, as well as those injured, will be brought to Ottawa as soon as possible.
Six doctors were on hand from the neighborhood.
The Dead Fireman.
George McCuaig. the fireman killed at St. Polycarpe this morning, was a young man about twenty-two years of age. He resided on the canal road, Ottawa East, and is a son of Mr. McCuaig. employed with Bryson, Graham & Co. He had been employed on the road as fireman for over a year and was a steady and industrious young man. McCuaig left Ottawa at 4.20 last night.
News of young McCuaig'a death was quickly conveyed to his parents, who were nearly hysterical with grief over the shocking new.
Edward Starrs, one of the victims ot the wreck, was an express man residing with his mother, Mr. Mary Starrs, at 259 Bay street. He had been out of the city for a few days and was returning home from a vacation.
Wrecking Train Sent.
As soon as intelligence of the accident was received a wrecking train was quickly made up and left for the scene of the disaster, followed immediately by a number of passenger cars to convey the injured and others to Ottawa. Dr. Powell was quickly summoned and went to St. Polycarpe at 11.30 a.m. in company with Mr. Morley Donaldson, superintendent of the road; J. E. Walsh, passenger agent, and Mr. F. H. Chrysler, the company's solicitor.
Passed Over the Switch.
The crew of the Boston express, due In Ottawa at 11.20 a.m. and which left Montreal 90 minutes ahead of the wrecked train, knew nothing of the disaster till their train arrived in Ottawa. Everything was in good shape when this train passed through St. Polycarpe Junction. The junction had recently been fitted with a new style of switch, which heretofore had given entire satisfaction.
Returning From the Shrine
The list of passengers included several pilgrims returning from Ste. Anne de Beaupre, who went on the excursion from Ottawa to that place on Monday. None of these, as far as can be learned, were injured. Every one on the train was more or less severely shaken up. but the above is an accurate list of the dead or those who sustained injuries of any account.
How It Happened
The accident, it is said, was due to the switch being open, and again it is supposed the cause was the spreading of the rails or a broken rail. As yet no word has been received from the wrecking train sent to he scene of the disaster.
The train with the dead and injured and the passengers is expected to arrive in Ottawa at 5.30 this afternoin. Until then full details of the accident and how it happened cannot be obtainable.

Ottawa Journal 9 August 1899

Canada Atlantic Train Wrecked This Morning. One Ottawa Man Killed and Another Injured

This morning when the Montreal and Ottawa express of the Canada Atlantic Railway was speeding into St. Polycarpe station the engine left the track taking with it the baggage car and second class coach.
The fireman, Geo.. McCuaig, of Ottawa East, and one unknown second class passenger were instantly killed .The engineer Robt. Orr and five second class passengers were seriously injured. The only information which can be had concerning the accident is a statement given by Mr. C J. Smith, general freight and passenger agent for the company.
Mr. Smith's Statement.
When seen by a Journal reporter Mr. Smiith said:- "The accident, as far as we can learn at present, occurred at 10.35 this morning. The train left the track just outside of St. Polycarpe station which is about five miles on this side of Coteau Junction. The engine, the baggage car and second class car left the track and turned over on their sides, while the first class coach. the Montreal chair car and the Intercolonial sleeper remained on the rails. The fireman, Geo. McCuaig and one unknown passenger were killed, while Robert Orr, the engineer, and five passengers, whose names we cannot get were seriously injured.
"Doctors from Alexandria. Coteau and St. Justine were sent to the scene as soon as possible to attend to the injured.
A Train Sent Out
As soon as the word reached Ottawa," said Mr. Smith, "we sent out a special train with Dr. R.W. Powell, Superintendent M. Donaldson and general passenger agent, J. E. Walsh, to look after the passengers, and attend to the injured. The wrecking train was also sent out at once.
 A Mystery.
"The cause of the accident is something which leaves us at a loss to account for. The road for seven miles on either side is level, and heavily ballasted. The rails are also very heavy, and as we considered, the most secure on the line.
"The peculiar point is that while the engine and the first two cars left the track the remaining three cars remained on. This is the first serious accident to a passenger train which we have ever had."
Three Hours Delay.
The wrecked train was due to arrive in Ottawa at 12.10, but was delayed by the accident, for over three hours.
There will be uneasiness among the C. A. employees for some time now owing to a general superstition among the railroad employees that accidents never come singly. In the experience of the road it is said two other accidents usually occur within a short time of the first accident. One of the employees to-day told the Journal that the men noticed this peculiarity and would look for the accidents.
Contractor Wm. Stuart, of Ottawa, is known to be on the train, but as he was travelling first clas it is not thought that he has been injured.
LATER, 2.30 P. M.
Chief Despatcher Duval, of the C. A. R. has received the following report from the wreck: Ned Starrs, of 298 Bay street, Ottawa, and a friend by the name of Wilson O'Connor, along with  J. Rocheteau and daughter, of Montreal, have died from the injuries sustained in the accident.
O'Connor's place of residence is not known to the railway officials.
Rocheteau and his daughter come from Champlain street, Montreal.
These are injured, but will live: Ellen McDougal, Ellen Ryan and Bridget Ryan, all of Maniwaki. They are badly burned. The special train with the injured will arrive in the city about 4.30.
Robert Orr, engineer of the C. A. R., who had charge of the train and was injured, lives at 471 Gladstone avenue. He is one of the oldest and most reliable men on the road. He is not fatally injured.
George McCuaig, the fireman, was unmarried, and lived with his parents in Ottawa East.

Ottawa Citizen 10 August 1899

Eight people Are Dead and Four Injured as a Result of a Wreck at St. Polycarpe Yesterday Morning.
Seven Died From Scalds - Cause of the Accident a Mystery - Statements of the Engineer and Others.

Lists dead and injured
Dead. 8; injured. 4.
Such is the result of the appalling accident which occurred at St. Polycarpe junction yesterday forenoon by the wrecking of the C. A. R. limited train, bound from Montreal to the Capital.
Two of the eight victims, George McCuaig, Ottawa East, and Edward Starrs, of this city, were instantly killed. The other six have died since their removal from the wreck.
The injured have all been removed to Ottawa and have been placed in the city hospitals or are receiving medical attention at their homes.
The accident occurred at 10.43 a.m. The fast express, at that hour, having orders from Coteau to Alexandria, was passing tnrough St. Polycarpe at a rate of fifty miles an hour, when suddenly at the eastern switch at the entrance to the station yard the locomotive left the track, derailing with it a baggage car, a second class car and a first class passenger coach which were immediately behind the locomotive. Two Pullman coaches which made up the rear of the train, remained on the track.
The first and second class coaches were unusually well filled with passengers, as many of those on board were returning excursionists from St. Anne de Beaupre.
All the passengers who met their death were in the second class coach which was hurled with great force against the derailed locomotive. These victims wedged into the car, all perished from the effects of escaping steam from the engine. Fireman McCuaig was crushed to death beneath the locomotive.
Mr. Orr Cannot Explain What Caused the Wreck
The man best qualified to tell how the wreck occurred is Robert Orr, the engineer of the ill-fated train. Mr. Orr was brought to Ottawa last evening, and is now confined to his bed at his home on Gladstone avenue. He is suffering from strained tendons in the left leg, caused by dragging his foot which was unaccountably held, from the wrecked cab by main force. Mr. Orr's face is also badly scalded. It will be about three weeks before he is able to be out again.
"How do you account for the accident?" asked the reporter.
"I cannot account for it at all., replied Mr. Orr. "We were making regular running time not going as fast as we do at many other places on the line: not as fast as we do even at the point going he other way. because we were going upgrade. But the rate of speed has nothing to do with it. The accident would have been just as bad at half the rate of speed. The track at that point is in the best of condition - having steel rails, lots of ballast and good ties. I have never, myself, felt the lightest shock there. The switch, too, was all right. No one can tell how the accident happened, because nobody knows. In my whole experience I only remember one instance in which a similar accident occurred. It might not happen again in twenty years."
Speaking of the sensation he experienced at the time of the accident, Mr. Orr said: "I can't just describe my feelings: it all happened so quickly. The whole thing seems to me now like a dream. One moment there was the monotonous throb of the engine as it forged ahead; the next moment it jumped from the track, plunged ahead a few rods, lunged into the ditch and we were enveloped in steam and surrounded by debris. At the first intimation of danger I shut off the steam. and had partially turned on the air brakes. In doing this I hurt my right thumb, which, as you see is badly swollen. At.the same time. I attempted to drag the fireman out of danger with my left hand. I saw him fall the other way and tried to grab him but failed. My left leg was pinioned, and the steam kept puffing into my face. I turned the other way, and then did all I could to free my left foot. I resolved to drag myself out at all costs. Anything to get away from that awful steam; anything to keep myself from suffocating to death. Finally, I did so. It was marvelous how I escaped at all. The cab is a total wreck. There is nothing left but the number plate on the side upon which I was sitting - nothing else."
Mr. J. W. Smith Thinks This Caused Ihe Accident.
Mr. John W. Smith, private secretary to the general manager, of the C.A.R. company, was among the passengers on the wrecked train, and had a miraculous escape. He was returning from Old Orchard Beach. Mr.Smith being an old railroad man. and well acquainted.with the construction of locomotives, frequently rides on one when making a trip. Yesterday morning he talked with Engineer Robert Orr in Montreal while the latter was oiling up his engine. and was about to get on it when he noticed Mr. F. W. Powell, and went with him to the Pullman. Later on. when near Coteau, Mr. Smith started to go ahead, and get the fresh air on the locomotive, but as if forewarned that something would happen, he returned to the Pullman. A few minutes later the crash occurred, and in all probability his decision to remain in the car resulted in his life being saved.
Mr. Smith last night gave a Citizen reporter a description of the frightful calamity of which he was a witness
"We left Montreal," he said, "sharp on time, at 9.40, and the train was proceeding at its usual rate of about fifty miles an hour at the time of the accident. I was sitting in the Pullman just as we passed St. Polycarpe station I felt a sudden jolt. followed by a crash and the noise of escaping steam, our car was lifted off the track, but remained on its wheels. As soon as possible I went out and ran to the head of the train to see if the engineer was hurt. I found the tender lifted completely over the locomotive, the baggage car at one side of the tender, and the second-class coach butted up against the boiler. The end of this car was torn out. and the whole enclosure was like a seething cauldron, the steam completely filling it, and scalding those who were so unfortunate as to be inside.
"Look After the Fireman."
"I ran over to Bob Orr. the engineer, picked him up, and carried him over to the fence. He was badly shaken up and very weak, and I procured a stimulant for him. Orr said, 'lLook after the fireman.' McCuaig was pinned beneath the second-class car and was dead.
"I then went to that car and helped to get out two or three of the injured passengers. After this I telegraphed to Ottawa for assistance and sent to the village for doctors and a priest, who were quickly on hand. As soon as the physicians arrived the injured were removed to the hotels. Starrs, O'Connor, Rocheleau and McCuaig were dead then. Mrs. Rocheleau and daughter and Bridget Ryan died at the hotel.
"Just as soon as possible we commenced to get the wreck cleared up and before the wrecking crew arrived from outside the section men connected the main track with the siding and thus provided a way for the passing of the trains.
"As soon as the dead and injured were removed I started to find out the cause of the accident. I examined the switch and found it all right, but a part of the frog was torn out. In my opinion the accident was due to some obstruction in the frog. A little piece of iron in it would have caused the accident. A careful examination, however, failed to give any explanation..
"Shortly after this the relief train arrived from Ottawa, and everything was done to relieve the sufferers, who were sent on to Ottawa as soon as possible.
Groans of the Dying.
"I'll never forget that sight." continued Mr. Smith: "the groans of the injured and dying, with their bodies horribly scalded, the shrieks of excited women and children, the hissing of escaping steam, and one body pinned beneath the wreck. It was something terrible. It was all done in an instant, and with awful suddenness. The employes of the road worked like Trojans to relieve the passengers, and, while injured tnemseives, did everything in their power to alleviate the sufferings of others.
"The train," said Mr. Smith, in conclusion, "was running at its usual speed, not extra fast, and the rails, frog, ballast and everything were of the best class, so that it is impossible to account for tne accident."
Allthough Badly Scalded He Walked a Mile to Flag an Approaching Train
Mr. John H. Roberts, of Ottawa East, who is a conductor on the C. A. R., was a passenger on the express. He was on his way from the lower St. Lawrence, accompanied by his wife, daughter and little niece. He was sitting in the first class coach when the engine took the fearful leap. He states that the sensation was that of the train rocking violently for a second or so and then coming to a sudden standstill. His wife and daughter were in the Pullman and were thown over the seats. None of the pasengers in the first class car were injured but were considerably frightened.
The mirarulous escape of the baggage man. John McGillis, was accounted for by the fact that the car which he and the express messenger. Wm. Milne, occunied went to the north side of the track, while the second class coach followed the engine on the south side, and striking the top of it smashed in the steam dome, allowing the live steam to escape into the car.
Wm. McQuestion, the brakeman. was sitting on the outside of the seat which Starrs occupied. Mr. Roberts states that McQuestion worked like a hero. He assisted in taking out the passengers from the car filled with scalding steam. This was all acomplished in about ten minutes and then McQuestion walked back a mile and flagged the Boston train which was coming.
Mr. Roberts had just left the second class coach a few minutes before the crash occurred.
The scene of the wreck was visited by hundreds of people from all the surrounding districts. The women acted as nurses and did everything possible to ease the sufferings of the victims.
Baggageman's Story.
Mr. J. McGillis, the baggage man, stated to a Citizen reporter that it all occurred so quickly that he did not know anything till he got out of his car which was lying partly on its side. McCuaig was caught about the body and chest, between the brake beam and wheels of the engine. And his death was instantaneous.
Passengers State Railway Officials Did  Everything Possible for Sufferers
Mr. Boyd Edwards was returning from Riviere du Loup in company with his mother, Mrs. J.C. Edwards. They were in the first class coach when the smash-up occurred and were thrown from their seats to the floor but escaped without any injury. Owing to the accident the front door of the car would not open and a little difficulty was experienced in making an exit.
They finally got out by the rear door and all those in the car escaped.
Mr. Edwards states that the sight of the people being scalded to death by the escaping steam and the shrieks of terrified survivors, was of a most appalling character.
After the excitement was somewhat allayed, the ladies returned to the Pullman and remained there until the passenger train arrived.
Frightfully Scalded.
Mr. Samuel Davison, hotel keeper, of By ward market square, was in the first-class coach. He felt the heavy jolt, but was not thrown from his seat. Mr. Davison said he got out just as soon as possible, and found the tender and baggage car beyond the engine and everything in an uproar. McCuaig. the fireman, was then pinned beneath the locomotive, and those passengers who were in the second-class coach and were not dead already, were frightfully scalded. All the cars except the two rear ones were off the track, with their wheels partly buried in the earth.
"That man McQuestion," said Mr. Davison, "is a hero. He was badly scalded about the head, but took his handkerchief and wrapped around it and then ran down the track with a red flag to signal the special train returning from Ste. Anne de Beaupre, which was then in sight. Had he not done this the train would likely have crashed into the wreck, and resulted in an additional disaster.
"About fifty men were brought up from the elevator at Coteau and helped to clear the track and assist those who were injured. The railway employes were wholly unable to account for the accident. They worked nobly and did everything in their power for the victims."
Injured Child's Cries Brought Tears to Many Eyes.
The scenes at the Central depot when the train which carried the passengers and injured rolled in at 6.15 yesterday evening, was one which will long be remembered by those who witnessed it. The platform was crowded with two thousand curious people, who struggled and fought frantically for places of vantage from which to get a glimpse of those who had been injured. Lined up along the outside of the platform were the ambulances from the various hospitals and several undertakers' wagons. At some distance from the ambulance seven shell coffins lay in three express rigs of a local undertaker. rendy to be shipped to St. Polycarpe, in which to place the remains of the dead victims.
The injured were in the last car which had been converted into a temporary hospital.
Robert Orr, the engineer, was assisted out first, and placed in a hack. Then William McQuestion came out on the platform, was helped down, and placed in St. Luke's hospital ambulance, and removed to that insti:utlon. Next those who were more seriously injured were attended to and lifted out tenderly and placed in the ambulances.
On a cot in the rear of the hospital car there tossed restlessly a little form which was taken up carefully by Mr. Thomas Kane, the engineer, and placed in the ambulance. The little fellow was Contrant Rocheleau of Montreal, whose father, mother and sister had been killed outright. The poor little fellow cried piteously and the sight of the big, burly engineer carrying him out was one which touched every heart.
Long before the train arrived the area around the station was besieged by hundreds of people, and when the injured were being removed, it required the greatest effort of the police to keep them away till the victims could be placed in the ambulances.
When everyone had been removed the regular 6.45 train backed in, and the seven coffin shells were put in the baggage car to be taken down to the scene of the accident.
Mr. F. W. Powell, a Passenger, Describes the Scene After the Wreck.
Mr. Frederick W. Powell, manager of the Rideau Lumber company, was one of the passengers in the Pullman car on the wrecked train. "We were not even badly shaken up," said he. "When the catastrophe happened the cars made one or two jumps as the steam brakes were put on. And then we stood stock still. With Mr. J.W. Smith, the general manager's secretary, who was in the car with me, I rushed out and beheld the wreck. On the right hand side of the track the engine was in the ditch, leaning towards the track, with the second-class passenger car almost on top of it, and partially upon the track. To the left was the express and baggage car, and this we subsequently ascertained, had gone over the other two. In some miraculous fashion the express and baggage-men had escaped all injuries. We, of course, immediately set to work to rescue those who were imprisoned within the passenger car, and which was rapidly tilling with steam. Notwithstanding our utmost endeavors, even these efforts were unavailing in some instances. The Grand Trunk sent down its steam derrick from Montreal. It is a beautiful machine; it could easily lift this house and place it on the other side of the street with the greatest ease. The work that it performed soon resulted in the track being cleared of the wreckage."
Many Doctors on Hand to Lend Medical Assistance
The wrecking train left the C. A. R depot about 11.45 a.m. It had on board, besides the railway surgeon. Dr. R. W. Powell. Messrs. Edson J. Chamberlain, general manager; Morley Donaldson, general superintendent: George A. Mountain, chief engineer, and J. C. Walsh, general passenger agent, and F. H. Crysler. the company's solicitor. As this was the tirst time in the history of the line that any of the company's passengers had been killed, the offiicials naturally were in a great state of mind. Messrs. Chamberlain and Donaldson had just returned from Parry Sound, and scarcely more than an hour elapsed before they were started off upon the new and more serious errand. Dr. Powell, of course, went down on behalf of the railway company. The general manager's car was attached to the wrecking train, and all of its occupants were, as a consequence, most comfortable. The train reached St. Polycarpe about 2 o'clock This train was followed about a mile in the rear by a special passenger train, to bring those who were impeded in their journey to the city.
On arriving at the scene of the disaster it was found that the wounded had been well cared for having been comfortably esconced in beds in the two hotels. Local physicians and those from the surrounding district, among the latter being Dr. MacDermid, Maxwell [sic]; Dr. McMullan, Alexandria: and Dr. Perrier, Coteau, had already dressed the wounds.
"The injuries." said Dr. Powell, "were chiefly occasioned by steam. The cupola of the engine was knocked off by the second-class passenger car as it was impelled along by the momentum of the cars behind, and the sides of this car being displaced in the general wreckage, the steam from the engine's boiler rapidly affected those within. The inhaling of the steam and the direct scalding occasioned their death. The six then dead were laid in the freight shed when we arrived: the wounded had been removed to the hotels. Much praise is due to the resident physicians for their promptitude in relieving the sufferings, and the company's officials were assiduous in their attentions Nothing was left undone on the part of the latter to mitigate the effect of the injuries the unfortunates had sustained. A Miss Ryan, of Maniwaki, was in a dying condition when the train left for this city, and I did not think we would be justified in attempting to remove her. Instructions were, however, left by the railway authorities with the local physicians to give her every attention."
Coaches Badly Smashed Up -The Work of Rescue
A Citizen reporter arrived on the scene of the disaster shortly after six o'clock. All was indescribable disorder. The magnificent rolling stock which made up the wrecked train, and which ordinarily presents such an appearance of unmovable strength, was hurled off the track, and piled up on all sides as if by a giant's power. The train as it sped on towards the fatal spot, consisted of the eight-wheel Baldwin express locomotive No. 264. and tender, a baggage car, second class car. first class coach and the vestibuled cars Cascapedia and Fironza. the former of which belongs to the Intercolonial railway.
When the engine took its awful plunge, followed by the tender, the coupling between the latter and the baggage car snapped short, and the car shot off the track on the opposite side to that taken by the locomotive. The baggage car crashed through the end of a freight car standing on an adjoining siding, and landed in the ditch on its side. As stated above, John McGillis, baggageman and Alexander Milne, express messenger, who occupied the car, escaped with only a severe shaking up.
Unfortunately for the occupants of the second class car, it did not follow the preceding baggage coach when it left the track, but continuing partly on the rails, came into violent contact with the derailed engine. The front trucks of the first class car were buried in the roadbed but this car and the two vestibule cars were left on the track, although partly forced off their trucks.
The occupants of these escaped without injury.
About the wreck is an aspect of ghastly grandeur. The iron work of the engine and coaches and even the rails themselves, are distorted and displaced, while the second class coach and box car present a sorry appearance, the wood work in both being badly shattered, and the fixtures in the coach scattered in every direction.
"Will No One Help Me."
The story of the eye-witnesses of the disaster is a tale of an awful scene.
Charles Paris, colored porter on the vestibuled car Cascepedia, stated to the Citizen reporter that he was standing in his car when the crash came. "I was taken off my feet and thrown over four seats," he stated. "When I regained my feet. I made a rush for the doors, but found both stuck fast. I shouted to the brakeman, who released me and I then made a rush for the second class coach."
"Mr. Paris was the first to the rescue of the imprisoned passengers and he did gallant work. He states the coach was a very inferno of scalding, blinding steam, and dense black smoke. The air resounded with the shrieks, moans and piercing cries for help from the carful of men. women and children.
Porter Paris and Brakeman McQuestion, with great presence of mind, broke open the windows and by thus providing for the escape of the death dealing steam arnd smoke, lessened the danger for those inside.
Paris was attracted by the pitiful appeal for help made by a woman in the rear ot the car. "For God's sake." she screamed "will no one help me and my children." The porter caught her by the shoulders and dragging her through the nearest window, carried her to an adjacent field. He returned to the wreck and assisted in freeing the children and another woman.
The trainmen were now joined in the work of rescue by several of the townspeople and section hands. As the steam dome of the boiler had been broken in by the roof of the car, the blinding, scalding steam continued to pour through the car, greatly hampering the work of rescue. Several of the rescuers were beaten back, and though they could hear the piercing cries of pain and the appeals for help, they could not in the disordor, increased by the clouds of steam, see to go about the work systematically or speedily.
Mr. John Durrett, porter of the vestibuled car Fironza, stated to the Citizen reporrter that he was standing in his car when the crash came. "It was a terribly sudden one.and threw me headlong to the side of the car. When I recovered myself I rushed at once to the second-class coach. The scene there, he states, was one of wildest chaos, the occupants being shut in in a very cauldron of steam, suffered intensely, and their shrieks and appeals, high above the sound of the escaping steam itself, were piteous to hear. Mr. Durrett took part in the work of rescue, and he states the other trainmen did heroic service. The presence of mind of brakesman McQuestion and Porter Paris, who broke in the windows he said, saved several lives, as it freed the coach of the steam and also gave the rescuers a better opportunity to reach the victims.
Died at His Post.
Fireman MrCuaig was struck down at his post of duty. When found after the accident, it was seen that his body was wedged in between the cab of the engine and the ironwork of the second-class coach. He was badly cut about the head, his skull was crushed  in, and his body also severely cut. When the body was freed from its encumbrances after three hours work, it was almost unrecognizable, as the face was completely covered with mud and blood. The rescuing party was forced to tear away the woodwark [sic] of the coach and dig away the earth to get at the body.
John King, brother-in-law of the dead fireman, heard of the accident in Montreal. whither he had proceeded from Ottawa. He caught the wrecking train out of Montreal, and after the rescue of his young relative, took charge of the body and brought it to the sorrow-stricken home.
The only eye-witnesses of the disaster were Station Master St. Amour and two young lads who were on the station platform. Mr. St. Amour states that the whole thing was like a flash. He saw the engine rear up and topple over, but at this sight he turned and fled, fully expecting that the oncoming train would crash through the station.
G.T.R. Sends Assistance.
On the first news of the disaster Assistant Superintendent Herbert, of the G. T. R. wired from Montreal an offer of the company's wrecking apparatus. This was forthwith accepted and the well-equipped auxiliary arrived at the scene of the wreck at 1 p.m. The C A. R. auxiliary from Ottawa, with the officials and medical men. arrived about 45 minute later. The movable parts of the rolling stock were placed aside, and the baggage car shifted to permit of the buiding of a temporary track around the wreck Thus through traffic was established. The wreck, it is expected, will be all cleared away early this morning, as by means of the powerful G. T. R. lifting crane, the coaches and engine can be hoisted into position for removal. The assistance of the G. T. R. was very valuable, as considerable time was saved by the wrecking gang's early and effective work. Fortunately none of the wreckage took fire, as is the case so often. Had this occurred the horrors of the situation can scarcely be pictured, there being but poor means to fight the fire foe.
The damage to the rolling stock is about $12,000.. The second class coach is a complete wreck, but the remainder of the train, with the exception of the engine, can be repaired at slight expense. The tru:ks will have to be repaired and the coaches replaced on them
Scene Viewed by Hundreds.
All day long the scene of the disaster was visited by throngs from the country side and neighboring towns. Many of the returning pilgrim from Ste. Anne de Beaupre walked from Coteau Junction, five miles distant, while others came up from Montreal. The bodies of !he seven victims were conveyed to the freight shed, where they were held awaiting the coroner's inquest. They were in a row in the dimly lighted room, and covered by rude shrouds.  All were badly scalded about the face and arms, but bore no other signs of the disaster.
General Superintendent Donaldson, of the C.A.R., was on the scene overlooking the work of clearing the track. To the Citizen reporter. Mr. Donaldson said the stretch of road bed where the accident happened, was one of the best constructed on the line, "I have investigated everything thoroughly." he stated, "and cannot account for the accident in any way." The joints of the frogs were all in perfect shape. The guard rails were in place and no broken rail could be discovered at the scene of the accident.
Jury Brought in a Verdict Against the Company
At 4.30 in the afternoon a jury was empaneled bv Coroner Edward McMahon of Montreal. The remains of the seven victims of the wreck having been viewed, and the evidence of the train hands and others taken, after thirty minutes' deliberation, the jury brought in a verdict censuring the company for running trains at a high rate of speed over a roadbed not suitable for such purposes.
The cause of death of the seven victims was given as scalding.
The most important evidence was that given by Mr. Thomas Stapledon, the station agent at Coteau. In his opinion the accident was due to the presence of some obstacle in the frog, which caused the engine to jump the rails. Mr. Stapledon thought this might have been dropped in accidentally, or with the intention of wrecking the train.
John Rheaume. section foreman, testified that the roadbed was in first-class shape.and had been inspected just before the accident. He stated it would require at least sixteen poor ties in a rail-length to weaken it.
Superintendent Donaldson gave evidence to the same effect, as also did Isaac Johnston, engineer, and T. Marteau. sectionman
Dr. Jean Prieux gave medical testimony, he stated the victims died from internal and external injuries, directly due to scalding. As the jury was composed of Frenchmen the evidence was taken in that language. The following composed the jury: Joseph Pharand (foreman), Fabrian Beriault, A. Ranger. A. Carrier, Alex. Blondin. Orphia Beriault, Dolphin Monpetit, Andrew Paquin, Jean Amlancort, Etienne Avon, Wilbrod Joly, Alex. Methut, J. Gladin. F. Cholette, E. Lalonde.

Rescue of the Dead and Dying From the Second Class Wreck

Conductor James Clarke, who was in charge of the ill-fated train, when approached last evening on his return to Ottawa, desired to remain silent, but this morning consented to an interview as to the accident. He said : "My train left Montreal on time, also was on time leaving Coteau and when the accident occurred we were only making our schedule time of about 55 miles an hour.
"On leaving Coteau I went through the second class car picking up the tickets. The first passengers I met in this car were three ladies from Maniwaki coming from St. Anne de Beaupre. They happened to occupy the smoking compartment of the car. I invited them to come to the rear end of the train and left Brakeman McQuestion with them to bring them back. I got through taking up the tickets in the first class coach and was entering the Pullman when I felt the crash. I knew from the way the brakes went on the train was ditched. I immediately made my way out of the train and ran direct to the front end to see if the engineer and crew were safe. Engineer Orr was sitting in the ditch close by the engine. I helped him out into the field and in doing so gave a glance to see where the fireman was. I could not see him.
"I immediately went into the second class car through a window. The car was full of steam. I broke several of the windows. Brakeman McQuestion and Express Messenger Milne entered the car with me. We were the only three people in the car to help the passengers. We did all we could to get the people out and at last succeeded. The heat was terrible and the escaping steam so saturated our clothing that it was soaking wet when we got through.
"There were nine persons in the car. We took out the women and children first. As soon as I entered I noticed Starrs sitting in his seat. He was then dead. O'Connor waa sitting in the same seat with him, but still alive. Getting out the women and children we then turned our attention to O'Connor. He died shortly after being taken out.
"After getting everybody out of the car I examined the track. It was in the finest condition, tbe best bit on the line and could stand any amount of speed. One could not run a train fast enough at that point to derail it. I examined the 'frog.' There was no mark on the point of the 'frog,' but a portion of it was torn out such as might be caused by something dropping from tbe front of the engine and wedging in the 'frog,' thus derailing. the train.
"Had the engine turned to the right instead of to the left no one in the second class coach would have been injured, but turning to the left, as it did. tbe engine discharged its full boiler of steam into the coach where the passengers were."
Conductor Clarke sent for the Bishop of St. Polycarpe. who came within five minutes after the accident and gave the necessary attendance to rhe victims before they died.
Conductor Clarks [sic] has been running on trains for 13 years and this is the first serious accident that has ever happened to his train.

Contrand Rocheleau Dies in Water Street Hospital

Contrand Rocheleau, the eighth victim of yesterday's railwav disaster, died this morning at 6.30 at the Water street general hospital. The little fellow's death removes the last of the Rocheleau family which left Montreal for Ottawa yesterday and the most of whom were dashed from time to eternity without a moment's warning. Littte Rocheleau suffered terriblv at the hospital during the night and gradually grew weaker until relieved by death. The body was taken to Montreal this morning and was accompanied by Mr. J. L. St. Jean, of St. Patrick street.
Today everything is quiet along the line of railway. The trains left and arrived on time but the passenger list was not large, owing not so much to the accident as to the fact that travel is rather quiet at present on all the roads..

More - not transcribed

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Updated 13 February 2022