Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1907, November 12 - Head on collision between two freight trains at St. Polycarpe, Grand Trunk.  1 killed.

Ottawa Citizen 13 November 1907

Engine backed into Gravel Trains at St. Polycarpe.
By a rear collision last night at 11.30 clock at St. Polycarpe, Que., Fireman E. Pope lost his life.
Two G.T.R. gravel trains were working at St.PoIycarpe Junction when near the station, engine No. 851 backed into engine 862. Three cars were wrecked and Pope, who was at the time between the tender and engine No. 862, was crushed. He died almost at once.
The crews of both ballast trains are Montreal men, the first engine, with crew, going to Coteau for repairs. Traffic was not delayed at all on the line, the three cars being cleared away by two o'clock.

Montreal Gazette 14 November 1907

Verdict in the Train Accident at St. Polycarpe Tuesday,

Another railway collision in the same vicinity as the St. Clet accident, another railway employee killed, and another locomotive engineer held responsible by the coroner's jury.
These are the coincidences between the two accidents occurring inside of twenty-four hours - the one - at St. Clet, on the C.P.R., at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, and the other at St. Polycarpe, on the G.T.R., at 11.30 p.m. of the same day.
Tuesday night a G.T.R. ballast train, stationary at St. Polycarpe, was met head-on by another ballast train, and Fireman A. E. Hopi [sic], of Congregation street. Point St. Charles, was fatally crushed between the tender and his engine and died at 2.30 o'clock yesterday morning.
Coroner McMahon went out to St. Polycarpe Junction yesterday afternoon, and as a result the engineer of the moving train was held responsible by the jury for having neglected signals, thus bringing his engine in collision with the stationary train.
At the time of the night that the accident occurred, telegraph messages are not transmitted to Coteau station, and this accounts for the fact that no operator was at St. Polycarpe when the collision occurred.
The crews of the trains in question were working in connection with repairs which are being made to the track in that vicinity, where lighter rails are being raised to be replaced by those of better quality.

Ottawa Citizen 14 November 1907

Jury Practically Absolve Engineer in St. Polycarpe Wreck.

The coroner's jury at St. Polycarpe this morning returned a verdict practically freeing from responsibility the engineer in charge of engine No. 851, in connection with the death, early yesterday morning, of Fireman A. E. Pope, who was crushed between his engine and tender in a slight collision.
It seems that the engineer had had some trouble with his boiler, and this phase of the matter may be further followed up.

Montreal Gazette 15 November 1907

Coroner's Jury Excuses Engineer for St. Polycarpe Accident.
The coroner's jury on Wednesday night decided to acquit Engineer Rudolphe Vallee of criminal responsibility in connection with the ballast train collision at St. Polycarpe in which Fireman Hope, of Montreal, was killed on Tuesday night.
Vallee was in charge of the engine attached to the moving train which crashed into the stationary one. He explained to the coroner that his engine was going tender first. His lamps had been giving him trouble, having gone out several times between Coteau and St. Polycarpe. This caused the engineer to lose his bearings, and he did not think he was so near St. Polycarpe. This, along with the anxiety because his gauge indicated low water, caused him to miss the switch and a collision was inevitable before he realized that this had occurrod.
This frank statement was largely responsible for the way the jury decided to excuse the engineer.

Library and Archives Canada, Board of Railway Commissioners, RG 46 C-II-1 vol 1423 file 6291

Head on collision between extra west 851 and extra east 862 at 23:00.  It was caused by the failure of the engineer of extra west 851 to take the siding at St. Polycarpe where he had to meet extra east 862.  Both engines were running tender first without proper headlights.  Fireman E. Pope of extra east 862 was caught between the back of the cab and the engine tender and died shortly after the collision.  862 had been experiencing difficulty with the water immediately after leaving Coteau Junction and the engineer was distracted.

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Updated 14 February 2022