Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1901, March 15 - CPR Toronto express runs through an open switch at St. Polycarpe, one fatality

Montreal Gazette 16 March 1901

Toronto Express Ran Into Open Switch Engineer Badly Injured.

West bound passenger train No. 5. which left Windsor Statlon at 9 o'clock Thursday night was derailed two hours later at St. Polycarpe Junction by running into an open switch. The locomotive and tender, baggage. second-class and day cars left the track and George Lumsden, the engineer in charge, sustained severe internal injuries. He is now in the General Hospital here. The passengers were badly shaken up by the cars running into the telegraph poles, but all were able to continue their journey to Toronto on the train that was quickly made up. The line was blocked until 5.15 o'clock yesterday afternoon.
Mr.Thomas Tait, manager of the Eastern lines of the Canadian Pacific Railway, yesterday gave out the following statement regarding the accident:
"On account of an open switch, the engine, tender, baggage car. second class car, and first-class car of No. 5 Toronto train were thrown off the track at St. Polycarpe. The accident occurred at 11 o'clock last night, and the passengere were naturally a good deal frightened and shaken up, but unhurt. The only man who was hurt was Engineer Lumsden.
"For a while, he himself, did not seem to know it, and stoutly protested that there was nothing wrong with him, but later on he was found to have some internal injury, which, however, was at the time declared not to be dangerous. He was taken to Montreal, and is now in the General Hospital.  A wrecking train was sent out from here, and a new train was made up, so that all the passengers have left for their destination. The wrecked train still obstructs the track, and for the present we reach Toronto by the way of Ottawa. How the work of clearing the track is progressing we do not know, because the cars, in leaving the track, knocked down the telegraph poles, and the wires are useless."
Mrs. Lumsden came from Smith's Falls yesterday to visit her husband, and was at his bedside last night, as were several officials of the company. The hospital attendants say that Lumden's condition is precarious.

Ottawa Journal 15 March 1901

There was a railway accident at St. Polycarpe Junction this morning and it was rumored in the city that Engineer Lumaden was badly injured by being pinned down by the engine, which left the rails and turned over on its side. No confirmation of the rumor could be obtained from the local Canadian Pacific Railway officials, as the accident occurred on the Ontario and Quebec division. According to the rumor the engine had to be jacked up in order to get Lumsden from beneath it. All the passengers escaped without injury.

Ottawa Citizen 16 March 1901

Montreal, March 15th.- the Canadian Pacific Express, No. 5, which left Montreal for Toronto at 9 o'clock last night was wrecked by running over an open switch at st. PolycarpE Junction, and engineer Lumsden of this city, who is now in the General Hospital here, was so badly injured internally that he will die, probably within forty-eight hours. The express messenger was slightly scalded but all others, including the passengers, escaped. The engine, baggage car and mail and express cars left the track, tore up the track rails and knocked down several telegraph poles.
After this damage had been done the engine and cars ? in the ditch, where they still lie, blocking the track. It is not expected that the line will be clear before morning and until then all trains to and from Toronto will go and come via Ottawa.
The railway officials have given out a statement in which they state that the responsibility of the wreck cannot yet to be determined ? ? they can form any idea of the loss of the wires and repaired ? ? established
The rest is illegible

Eastern Ontario Review Friday 22 March 1901

Accident at St. Polycarpe.
The Toronto express on the C.P.R. ran into an open switch at St. Polycarpe on Wednesday night. The train left the track and the engine fell over on Engineer Lumsden, of Smiths Falls. He was seriously injured. No passengers were dangerously hurt although all were badly bruised.
Engineer Lumsden has since died.

Eastern Ontario Review Friday 3 May 1901 and The Chesterville Record 2 May 1901

Will pay $3,000
The C.P.R. has consented to pay the family of George Lumsden, of Smiths Falls, the engineer who died as a result of an accident on the Montreal express of which he was engineer, on March 15th, at St. Polycarpe, the sum of $3,000 divided as follows. The widow $500, eldest child 600, second child $350, youngest child $1,050.

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Updated 11 February 2022