Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

 1907, August 23 - Runaway Locomotive on the Rideau Canal Drawbridge.

Ottawa Citizen 23 August 1907

Locomotive Had a Narrow Escape of Dip into Rideau Canal.

A large GrandTtrunk railway engine came within an ace of dropping into the Rideau canal at the Ottawa East swing bridge this morning. In charge of engineer J. McKenna and fireman Johnston it was backing out to take a freight train. The bridge had been open for the Ottawa which had just gone through on the way to Smith's Falls but the engineer apparently did not notice the signals which were against him till he was near the bridge. By reversing he succeeded in bringing the engine to a stop just as two wheels of the tender had projected over the water. Fireman Johnston jumped before the engine went on to the bridge but the engineer stayed till the engine stopped. Three engines were attached to the engine, on the east side and the tender was pulled back on the rails in time to have the track clear for the first passenger train. The damage consists of a few broken timbers where the tender was pulled on.

Ottawa Journal 23 August 1907

Locomotive on rampage.
An unusual accident, luckily involving no loss of life, took place this morning shortly after 6 o'clock at Ottawa East.
Engine No. 451 backing west through the Grand Trunk yards to be attached to the regular daily way freight train going east, on reaching the drawbridge over the canal at Ottawa East, became unmanageable and started to back towards the river, instead of over the bridge.  The engine ran off the rails and travelled nearly the full length of the bridge on the ties, ripping and tearing them badly, and finally hung with its tender suspended over the waters of the canal.
The engineer - J. McKenna and fireman - G. Johnston, vainly attempted to check their engine.  The brakes seemed to be out of order and only after the application of both the air and emergency brakes was the mogul freight engine brought to a standstill.
The engineer and fireman both remained in their cab until relieved by personal orders of Mr. Donaldson, the G.T.R. general superintendent.
Three engines to the rescue.
No less than three huge engines were required to haul the runaway back to the metals, and in the meantime, for nearly two hours, traffic was at a standstill over the Grand Trunk tracks.  
The back truck of engine No. 451 are somewhat damaged, the tender is smashed and the underbody of both tender and engine are pretty well tangled up.
A large force of men was quickly put to work, the ties of the draw bridge were patched up and the damaged locomotive was towed to the repair shops.
Both engineer and fireman were badly shaken up and had to go home. 
Various craft on the canal, including the steamer Rideau King, were delayed for an hour or so, being unable to get under the bridge until the engine was removed.

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Updated 5 February 2023