RG 46 vol 1427 file 6894
Passenger train No. 27 was derailed at 10:15 pm. at mileage 128. Four passengers, one express messenger, conductor and baggageman injured. Fireman killed and engineer fatally scalded. Due to broken rail. Engine #1028 had flat spots 3" long on driving wheels, they were old and partly worn off. There were a series of shorter skids on the wheels which indicated that they had frequently skidded. Rail was 80 lb Dominion Iron & Steel rolled in June 1906 and put in track the same month. It was a clean break and showed no previous defect. The engine was on her left side, tender completely turned over. Baggage car, 2nd class and 1st class cars lying on their right side, all clear of the main line with the exception og the first class which was foul about two feet. The parlour car was off the track but rerailed without any damage.
Freight train 98, engine 798, with 21 cars had passed over that line about an hour prior to train 27. 798 was inspected and the tires were found to be in fair condition, here were flat spots on the tires less than 1 inch long and nearly worn off.
54 broken rails were found in 46 days between Coteau and Ottawa. The record for 1907 was much less than for 1908. The accident was caused by a broken rail which was broken by freight train 98, engine 798. The report pointed to a series of problems with the equipment, track maintenance, particularly in the winter months, was good.
Ottawa Journal 2 17 1908
Fatal wreck on Grand Trunk Ry near Ottawa due to a broken rail.
Engineer Alfred Parks and Fireman W.R. Martin, Both of Ottawa, victims of Saturday night accident to train coming from Montreal.
Number of Passengers have narrow escapes from death, but none of them are seriously hurt. Relief train sent to the scene, bringing the injured to the city. Graphic stories of the accident by passengers and trainmen.
William Robertson Martin, fireman, aged 24, 228 Frank Street, Ottawa. Scalded badly and found dead in engine cab. Was married only on Oct. 22 last. Leaves a widow.
Alfred Parks, engineer, aged 42, of Sixth Street, Ottawa, East. Was scalded badly. Picked up on or near overturned engine and hurried to the city. Died at St. Luke's hospital at six o'clock Sunday morning. Leaves a wife, one step-daughter and one step-son, all of Ottawa.
The injured (details not taken)
Rev. Rural Deal Taylor of Aylmer; James McIntosh; F.M. Griffith; Patrick Moore (baggageman); A, Leamy (conductor); Alderman McGrath.
Through a GTR train that left Montreal at seven o'clock Daturday night bound for Ottawa, striking a broken rail near Hawthorne, about five miles from this city, it was derailed and Engineer Alfred Parks, of Ottawa East and Fireman W.R. Martin, of 238 Frank Street, lost their lives. Both men were scalded to death, the fireman being found dead in the cab of the engine and the engineer succumbing to his terrible injuries a few hours after he reached the city. Six of the 22 passengers who were on the train were hurt but their injuried are very slight. Reports seem to indicate that no bones were broken, and aside from the two deaths, the entire train crew and passengers had a narrow escape. The train, speeding along at the rate of 35 miles an hour, was runing on time, and was on almost perfectly level piece of the road. There is the clearest evidence that the accident was due to the broken rail.
A report of the accident reached Mr. Morley Donaldson, superintendent of the Ottawa division of the GTR at an early hour and he at once had a relief train hurried to the spot. This taking but a short time, as the distances were not far. Drs. F. McKinnon, R.W. Powell, J.F. Kidd, W.C, Cousens and N. McLeod (of St. Lukes Hospital staff) went on the relief train. They and officials who were on the train did good work. Engineer Park, who was conscious, was picked up from the overturned engine and hurried to St. Luke's Hospital. Every effort was made to save his life, but he was too badly scalded. Apparently no bones were broken but it is believed he inhaled much steam and he was scalded about body and probably seriously injured internally.
Both the body of the man who died and that of Parks were removed to Rogers undertaking rooms, Rideau Street, where they are to be viewed by a coroner;s jury empowered by Coroner Craig.
Those on train.
Mr. Donaldson was most courteous in affording the Journal information insofar as he had received it. Those in charge of the train were Conductor A. Leamy, Engineer Parks, Fireman Martin, Brakeman Marsh and Express Messenger Griffith. These all belonging to Ottawa.
According to official reports, this accident happened at about 10:15 - just fifteen minutes before the train was due at Central Station - between Carlsbad Springs and Ottawa. It is near what is known as milepost No. 127, and not far from Hawthorne village. Train No. 27 was on time and was drawn by engine No. 1028. The train was made up of that engine and tender, a baggage car, a first class coach, a second class and a parlour car. The train, when on a level part of the road, encountered the broken rail and the crew felt the terrible jar without getting even a second's warning. The engine did not leave the track the exact second the broken rail was struck, but the tender, leaving the rails, pulled the engine off - except the front trucks.
In the baggage car at the time were the Express Messenger, Baggageman Moore, Rev. Mr. Taylor who has just stopped in there.
The second class coach left the rails and went over at a very sharp angle. The first class coach toppled over at an angle of probably thirty degrees, while the parlour car partially left the track. The train ran a little over its own length after the broken rail was struck.
There is evidence to show that, with only a second's time to do so, Engineer Parks applied the brakes. What happened after that, in so far as he and his fireman were concerned, will never be known, but the condition of their bodies shows that they were terribly scalded.
GTR officials say that the applying of the brakes undoubtedly arrested the train's progress and prevented results that might have been much more serious than they were. those who hurried to their aid found the fireman in the cab dead and the engineer outside but conscious. At first Parks did not seem to be badly hurt but his injuries proved more serious that at first anticipated.
Mr. J.R. Kirkpatrick, Trainmaster, was in charge of the relief train.
The damage to the rolling stock was slight - should not exceed $1,000. Powerful cranes were taken to the scene of the wreck today and the overturned engine and coaches righted, A temporary track around where the smash up occurred was soon made by a wrecking crew and the track was clear a short time after the accident.
Details of Martin omitted.
Alfred Parks, was born in Birmingham, England, but had lived on Ottawa many years. He leaves a widow, one stepson, J.S. Graham, and a step daughter Miss Eleanor Graham. Dozens of their friends called at their home, 66 Sixth Street, Ottawa East, yesterday and today to express their sympathy. The family was notified of the accident at an early hour Sunday morning and all were at the hospital at the deceased's bedside when he passed away. He was conscious and was able to give them some account of the accident. Needless to say the occasion was a very painful one when the father and loved ones met for the last time.
Parks was widely known and popular. Member of IOF and BLE.
The funeral will occur tomorrow afternoon at his late residence at 2 p.m. The Oddfellows will conduct a service at the house after which the body will be taken to Holy Trinity church, and thence to Beechwood cemetery.
Griffiths Canadian Express Messenger.
"I was just getting all my stuff in order as we were within ten minute's run of Ottawa. Then the crash came. I was shot over into a corner and the next thing I knew there was a barrel on top of my chest and several boxes piled all over my legs and feet. Had there been many heavy trunks or weighty packages, I would have fared worse. I think I must have stood on my head for a while. I can't remember much about it. My left arm is very sore yet, and so is my knee - my right knee. It seems my left hand was cut somehow, but I wasn't aware of this until later. The first thing I saw afer I got that barrel off my chest was a square hole in the roof. This turned out to be the side door, the car being tipped on one side."
Crawled over boxes.
"I crawled along over the boxes and then I noticed the steam going over the car. I knew it could not hurt me, however. Just then somebody called "Are you there?" I said I was and they asked me if I was hurt and I said "No, I don’t think so. I guess I am all right". With some difficulty I got out throught he car door and immediately up to my waist in snow and water. I got to my feet very wet" he laughed.
"Then I made my way up to the engine. By that time they had poor Martin out on the snow".
After a sympathetic reference to Martin, who was instantly killed, Mr. Griffith continued "If it had not been for the snow it would have been far worse than it was, but even at that in all my forty years' experience on the road it is the worst wreck I ever saw. I was through the collision at Turcotte just before Christmas a year ago, and have been in other run offs, but none have come up to this one."
"We all came up on a special"" he said in answer to a question, "and they took me to St. Luke's Hospital. I didn’t want to go but they advised it for fear of blood poisoning you know - and Dr. Cousens fixed me up. I'll be alright in a few days"he declared.
Mr. Griffiths was not on his regular run, the day trip being his. "After this I’ll stick to my own," he said finally.
Passengers all worked in splendid style to give valuable assistance.
Opinion that Parks never thought of jumping.
Brakeman Marsh got out of the car and at a word from Conductor Leamy started back to flag anything in the shape of a train which might happen along. He walked back four and a half miles to Eastman Springs and wired to Ottawa for doctors and the wrecking train.
We were sitting on the side of the car which was lowest when it turned over. In an endeavour to get out we broke several windows and released some children, of whom there were several in the car. But of course the women could not be liberated in that way. For a time we thought that the doors were blocked by the coaches following and anxiously we began to look for a way out. Just then a train hand forced a door open and we quickly emptied the car. Making my way as fast as possible to the front I found the engine lying on its side, fireman Martin was already dead underneath it. At his seat in the cab was Parks, the engineer. He was quite conscious, though in much pain. We helped him down from the engine and he walked to the end of the train. But as he reached the steps of the last car he collapsed and had to be carried into the coach. Coming out again I heard cries of "Help". On top of the baggage coach was Rev. Rural Dean Taylor and after much difficulty we got him down from his position. By that time a new peril began to threaten. The flames were beginning to increase in the firebox of the engine and fearing that the fire would spread to the baggage car, we set to work and succeeded in controlling it with snow although we were called upon to attend to it on three different occasions. By this time the passengers began to feel distressed. On no side was there any sign of either house or bush and to add to the excitement and difficulty many of the women were afraid to enter the parlour car which was standing at a considerable tilt to one side. They feared that with the entrance of the passengers the car would topple over as the others had done and that the lamps, which were still burning, would set the coach afire.
Finally, however, the fears were overcome by the persuasions of the men assisted by the train hands. Having suceeded in quieting the passengers, we began to feel alarmed lest another train should come along and crash into the wreck. Two trainmen started out to telegraph the news of the occurrence from Eastman's Springs, but after they had been gone some time we began to have considerable apprehensions on the grounds that as both of them were injured more or less when they started that they might not reach their destination. Mr. Mcbride volunteered to see if they had fallen in the snow, but before he had proceeded more than three quarters of a mile he was forced to return leaving a lantern on the track as a signal. All the men stayed outside and worked around. Conductor Leamy's efforts were heroic.
Relief train arrived at two o'clock in the morning. Fierce storm of sleet and snow.
Mr. Burn's story.
Ottawa Journal 2/19/1908 Investigation by Inspector Lalonde. George Mountain also visited the scene. Points to a broken rail.
Ottawa Journal 2/20/1908 Inquest. Rail breaks were clean ones. The line had been inspected twice that day.
Ottawa Journal 2/27/1908 Inquest. Vedict that death was caused by shock and scalding and that there was no negligence on the part of either the railway company or its employees. The wreck was purely accidental.
Rail was 80 pound.
Ottawa Citizen 17 February 1908
Broken Rail from G T. R. before the Jury.
Coroner Craig opened the inquest at noon today into the deaths of Engineer Parks and Fireman Martin, killed Saturday night in the Grand Trunk railway derailment. After hearing identification evidence, the jury adjourned until Wednesday night in the court house.
The broken rail was produced as an exhibit and much interest was shown in the steel. One juryman claimed that the break was surely an old one, and drew attention to the fact that the bottom of the rail was a fresh break, while the neck of the T was apparently an old fracture. Bright spots were pointed out that might have been made by continued friction. From what could be seen the fracture was such that no man could tell of it till the rail parted. A specialist. possibly a black smith, as one juror suggested, will be on hand for the inquest. The Grand Trunk railway is ready to have a Bessemer steel expert on hand, if required.
"So far as we know," said Superin tendent Donaldson, "the break was clean and the steel perfect. No man can say how these breaks occur."
The bodies, wrapped in bandages, were coffined this morning and the funeral of Parks will take place tomorrow afternoon at two o'clock. Martin's is not yet arranged. Fully 1,000 persons have paid respect to the two dead men since Sunday morning.
The jury is as follows: A. Malloy, H. Sloan, A. Valllquette. M. McCarthy, J. Bradley, B. Gorman, P. Besserer, J. Raymond, W. J. Hliton, J. P. Burke, T. Butler, J. K. Preston, W. U. Lanipay, N. Helmer.