Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1913, June 25 - Derailment of a Canadian Pacific passenger train at McKellar near Ottawa.

A Winnipeg bound Canadian Pacific passenger train, the Imperial Limited, was derailed at McKellar (Westboro), near Britannia, on the Carleton Place subdivision.  Eleven people were killed and 40 were injured in this accident which was caused when a track crew had not completed repairs.  Three colonist, one first class, one tourist and one dining car were derailed, several lying close to the Ottawa River.  All the dead and practically all the injured were immigrants, principally from the British isles.

LAC PA 206027

LAC PA 25111 Samuel Jarvis collection

Ken L. Elder collection

Toronto Railway Museum

Ottawa Journal Thursday 26 June 1913

Saw Train Wrecked; Tells Thrilling Story of the Scenes After the Crash
Westboro Resident was Watching Express from Electric Car
Four Coaches Suddenly Jumped Outwards Into the River - Terrible Scenes Immediately Followed.
Mr. H. Hill, of Westboro, witnessed the wreck. Mr. Hill and his wife had taken a car ride to Britannia. He says: "Returning, when near McKellar Townsite, between McKellar homestead and Mason's mill. I noticed the train coming. Two track-layers had just stood aside to allow the train to pass when suddenly four coaches upset. Two fell inwards and two outwards into the Ottawa River.  The two which upset towards the shore side of the tracks fell on the two track men. They must have been killed.
"The engine and first three coaches and the last two did not leave the rails. The engine and first three coaches broke away from the wreck and went forward. Then the last coach of the three broke loose again from the engine and front two cars. The last two coaches stood on the track. They did not telescope. Two of the cars, the ones which fell inwards, buckled and fell nearly lengthwise. We got one man out from right underneath one of these cars. His chest was badly mangled and he died immediately afterward without gaining consciousness.
Cars in Water
"The cars in the river were only half submerged and when the rescue party arrived we broke in the windows and commenced to pull out the people in these cars'"
"Some of the dead came from these cars. Whether they were pinned down and drowned in that way, I do not know. They may have been stunned and drowned in this manner.
The first people we took out of the cars on the bank were a man and a boy with their hands badly injured. They were placed in the ambulance and hurried to the hospital. The first doctors to arrive on the scene were Dr. I.G. Smith and Dr. Kidd.
We took a Salvation Army girl out of the first coach to go into the water. She was uninjured and was taken to the Salvation Army headquarters in the city. Another old gentleman, his wife and five children were in the last coach to overturn. The old gentleman broke a window and climbed out. They were all uninjured. A girl of about seven years of age and her brother of fifteen years were on their way to Edmonton, to meet their father. They were with their mother and she is as yet unaccounted for. They were taken from a coach which overturned into the water, and the supposition is that their mother was drowned.
"There were quite a number of foreigners, Russians, Scandinavians, and others in the colonist car which overturned into the water.
From what I could see they will be unable to find just how many are in the cars which went into the water until the wrecking crew lift the cars. One of the cars broke of its trucks and fell in the stream nearly turning upside down. It finally lay on is (sic) side.
Old Man's Story
"The old gentleman with the five children told me his experience of this wreck. 'I was standing up', he said, 'when I felt the car going over. After the first shock I braced myself and fell into the corner without any injury. I was merely shaken up. Although it happened in a second it felt as if it took the car half a minute to fall on its side. The Salvation Army girl was thrown violently from one side of the car to the other side of the car but was uninjured.
"The first men on the scene were the section men," continued Mr. Hill "I and some other people in the car ran across the fields to the train, but the section men commenced the work of rescue immediately.
"Two girls who live close to the wreck, the two Misses Barrie, did heroic work in attending to the injured. They carried pails of water and stimulants around to the injured, helped dress wounds and assisted the surgeons.
"Mr. Dunning, who lives close to the scene of the wreck, telephoned to the Chief of Police, also for ambulances and doctors, and it was due to him that ambulances and autos to care for the injured reached the scene of the wreck so quickly. He also provided linen to dress the wounds received by the injured. The first ambulance arrived about 15 or 20 minutes after the wreck had taken place.
"There was a lady and her daughter taken from the first car to turn into the water. The lady's head was badly crushed. Her daughter was uninjured but hysterical.
"The most pathetic incident was that of the two children bound for Edmonton. They searched the faces of each injured person taken from the wreck, looking for their mother.
Rail Torn Up
"Whether the accident was caused by a spreading rail or not I do not know. When I got there one of the rails was turned clear of the ties altogether. I do not know what the section men were doing at that spot but I imagine that they were engaged in laying new ties.
There is no curve at that spot, so I imagine that the track was weakened in some way and that the weight of the engine spread the rail and the swing of the back coaches would strain the weakened track and bulge it to one side. I didn't hear any of the officials discussing the cause of the wreck.
The insides of the cars were very badly wrecked, although the cars themselves were not telescoped. The seats were ripped every way , all torn from the floor. The floors were not turned up, but the sides on which the cars fell were caved in and smashed to splinters. I think that the majority of the people hurt were on the side which fell and that the fall of the heavy seats, torn from their fastenings, caused quite a number of fatalities."

Ottawa Journal 26 June 1913

Over 5,000 visited scene of wreck. Inquiry is ordered.
Enquiry into the cause of fatal wreck ordered injured recovering
Death list now totals 8, and injured sixty-five
CPR will open inquiry tomorrow - woman believe dead is found alive - woman passenger disappears.
The inquest in connection with the tragic wreck of the Imperial Limited at McKellar Township yesterday afternoon was opened by Coroner Dr. Craig at noon today. The jury met at Rogers and Burney's undertaking parlors, Laurier Avenue, and adjournment was made till tomorrow night in the courthouse, Nicholas Street. H.R. Meredith is foreman of the jury.
All that took place today was the formal identification of the body of John Peace, Glasgow, Scotland by his chum, a man named Cutt of the same place. The inquest will be nominally into the death of Peace, but will really concern itself with the whole tragedy and it cause.
Messrs George Hodge, general superintendent, and C Murphy, general superintendent of traffic for the CPR arrived in the city this morning, and the company's inquiry into the circumstances will begin tomorrow at the Broad Street Station. Superintendent Gilliland of the Ottawa - Chalk River division of the CPR on which the accident occurred is here from Smith Falls.
Monetary loss.
Seen by a Journal reporter, Mr. Gilliland denied the report that any section men have been killed, but admitted that section men had been working on the right-of-way in the vicinity of the wreck.
"I don't know how the report that section men had been crushed to death had his origins," he said.
The Montreal - Ottawa division of the CPR over which superintendent Spencer has jurisdiction and responsibility, has its western limit at the end of the Broad Street terminal yards, or about 2 miles east of the place where the derailment happened.
The monetary loss to the company will not be great, according to opinions expressed this morning. While the two cars that went down the embankment into the river are now of practically no value the other two that were twisted into the opposite direction can, according to Mr. Gilliland, be still repaired and used.
Track cleared,
The track was cleared by 6:30 this morning and a great part of the morning was spent in raising the four cars. This will take some time.
There are several changes in the list of fatalities. Mrs. Bunting, of Winnipeg, and her little child were reported this morning to have been among the killed. As a matter of fact they are stopping at the home of Mr. E. Hurry, of Woodroffe. Mrs. Bunting and her four children came through the accident with no very great injury, although the mother has slight injuries about the back.
The body supposed to have been that of Mrs. Bunting proved to be that of Mrs. McClure and Edmonton woman, of about 52 years of age. She was on her way out to Edmonton after a visit. The child found and said at first to be the daughter of Mrs. Bunting is the granddaughter of mrs. McClure. Its mother who escaped from the wreck with only slight injuries is at 131 Lawn Avenue, the home of Mr. John Sarsfield.
Woman disappears.
Strange things can happen at times of great excitement, such as that which prevailed after yesterday's accident, and strange things did. One of the most remarkable was the sprinting away of a woman who had come through the wreck physically unscathed but with her nervous system badly shaken. She was standing beside the cars sobbing her sorrow for the less fortunate friends, when a helpful woman took her, and led her away. Those taking the names of survivors failed to get a record of this woman's identity, and since the accident she has not been heard from. Superintendent Spencer of the CPR is anxious to get in touch with her.
John Donnelly of Glen Island, has left St. Luke's Hospital fully recovered. He was pinned under a seat and nearly drowned.

5,000 carried by O E. R to the wreck scene.
During the afternoon and evening the Ottawa Electric Railway carried about 5,000 passengers out to the wreck. Cars from every service in the city were rushed on to the Britannia line to accommodate the overflow.

Ottawa Citizen 26 June 1913 (exerpts)

Ottawa Man Was in Charge of Wrecked Train. Not Seriously Injured.
Daniel Cameron the conductor on the train was among the fortunate ones to escape without fatal injuries. He escaped with a dislocated shoulder and an experience to be remembered. Dr. J. F Kidd attended him at his home. When a Citizen reporter called there shortly after the accident had taken place he was in bed. He had been taken home in an automobile by a friend, and after coming through such a nerve racking experience said he was not feeling too badly."
Mr. Cameron could not remember very much about the affair. He was checking the passengers in the car, the third from the baggage coach. He had punched a few tickets and was just in the act of punching the ticket of a Miss L. Dunbar, when suddenly. With a terriffic crash the car crashed to one side and turned over twice and was hurled into the river. He did not remember anything after the train struck the ground the first time until he found himself struggling in the river. The screams were terrifying, he said, and as the train crashed to the ground each time it was with a terrible thud. He did not know just what way he got out of the wreck but it was probably out of the west door, he thought
- - -
 A special train was made up at Ottawa and sent around by Kemptville to convey those who were able to continue on their journey. The engineer on this special train is H. C. Chapman, of 193 James street, who was the engineer on the wrecked train. The only member of the train crew injured in the wreck was Conductor Dan Cameron who had his shoulder dislocated. The Toronto train last night was also sent around by way of Kcmptville.

Morrisburg Leader 26 June 1913

Many lives are lost in a wreck
Immigrant train wrecked near Ottawa - heavy loss of life.
Ottawa, June 25, The C. P. R. Western Express train from Montreal to Winnipeg leaving here shortly before two o'clock heavily laden with immigrants, was derailed three miles west of Ottawa, with heavy loss of life. Up to 2 30 o'clock it is reported eight bodies have been taken from the wreckage.
Four cars shot down an embankment into the Ottawa River, and two coaches were wrecked on the track. The accident was caused by a spread rail.
The dead were all found in two colonists cars, which were thrown into the river. So far as is known up to 2. 45, the dead number 8 and the injured 50. They were mostly Scottish immigrants on the way to the Canadian Northwest.
The arrival of the train with the doctors and nurses transformed every available spot into an impromptu hospital for the treatment of the injured. It was impossible to tell how many had been hurt in the wreck. Six coaches which suffered in the smash-up, and one report place the list of injured at fifty.
The work of getting the injured out of the two coaches wrecked on the track was a comparatively easy matter to the searching of the wreckage of the four cars which had plunged down the embankment, and which were almost completely submerged, twisted, broken masses of wood and steel. The wrecking crew which had been sent out to the scene worked manfully and the railway officials did everything in their power to make certain that any persons who remained alive in the wrecked coaches were rescued.

Chesterville Record 26 June 1913

Eight dead and fifty injured, two probably fatally, is the toll of the railway accident three miles from Ottawa yesterday afternoon when the CPR train from Montreal for Winnipeg left the track.  All the dead and practically all the injured are immigrants, principally from the British isles.  The cause of the wreck is not known, but it is thought to be either a loose rail or what is known in railway parlance as a "sunkink".

Also reported in Globe and Mail for 26 June 1913.  This was the wreck of the Imperial Limited.

Ottawa Journal 25 June - occurred at Springfield Park near Britannia. Pictures in June 26 edition.

Ottawa Journal 28 June 1913

New Ties Were Being Set In Track At The Scene Of C.P.R.Wreck.
Scetcion Foreman declares However That This Had Nothing to do with Accident
Interesting Evidence at Inquest Into Death of John Peace, a Passenger - No Broken Wheels Found in Wreckage.

Edward Lyons, foreman of the section gang which was repairing the railroad track at McKellar Townsite, where Wednesday's wreck took place, told the coroner's jury last night that the section gang had just put in a tie to which the rails were not yet spiked, a rail length east of where the cars left the track.
This tie remained in its place after the wreck, however, and in his opinion had nothing to do with the cause of it. This testimony had considerable bearing on the investigation, as it had been rumored that all the rails were not splked. .
He thought a piece of iron might have dropped from a car on to the rails.
No Broken Wheels.
The jury wee enquiring Into the death of John Peace, one of the victims, and the inquest will be resumed next Wednesday.
Medical evidence and that of several eye-witnesses was taken. Witnesses testified that no broken car wheels were found, although a fractured brakearm was discovered, while most of them could not explain the occurrence.
Two passengers who were in the colonist car which went into the river told graphic stories of their experiences.
A brakeman stated that when the train left Ottawa some passengers in a colonist car were on the platform in spite of his warnings.
Dr. J. P. Kidd said Peace sustained an extensive fracture of the skull, a deep wound in the forehead and other injuries which would cause instant death,
In Water up to His Arms.
Thomas Hogg of Ballvmena, Ireland, a passenger on the way to Calgary said he was thrown into the water up to his shoulders and had to climb through a window to get out. He was badly hurt about the chest but his cousin who was in the car in front was killed.
Pat Devine of County Galway, Ireland, said the first thing he noticed  was the car shaking on the sleepers and after running a short distance toppled over into the water.
Mr.  A. S. Shields, bagagemsn on the wrecked train, said he had been in two wrecks and had never seen cars in the middle of a train drop out leaving the others in a line on a straight track.
Saw Section Men Working.
Mr. Jerry Gorman, proprietor of the Minto Hotel, who saw the accident happen, said there were seven or eight section men working near the spot a few minutes before tha accident.
Thomas Smith, foreman of a gang about three miles west of where accident occurred could not account for the accident and found no evidence of poor spiking.

Ottawa Citizen 3 July 1913

Interesting Evidence Given at Resumed Inquest Into Railway Disaster of June 25. C. P. R. Officials Contradict Evidence of Joseph Wheeler Regarding Rail Not Being Completely Spiked.

"I saw the section men who were working on the track where the accident afterwards occurred take up a rail and put it down again not five minutes before the train came past. They were spiking it when the train whistled at Westboro and I don't think they had finished."
The above somewhat sensational evidence was last night given in the C.P.R. wreck inquiry before Coroner Craig by Mr. Joseph Wheeler, a gardener at McKellar Townsite who witnessed the wrecking of the Imperial Limited two weeks ago. Mr. Wheeler, who said he was working about 20 yards from the track, stated he had seen the train just before the accident and that there appeared to be something dragging underneath it. which was raising a great cloud of dust. With further regard to the rail which he had seen the section men spiking, he stated this was one of the rails which was afterwards torn up.
His evidence .was somewhat contradicted by the opinions given by a number of C.P.R. officials that the derailmeat was caused by the "sun-kink," evidence of which they stated they found on examination of the rails afterwards, and could scarcely have been caused by anything else. They would not admit that the development of a sun-kink indicated negligence, stating it might appear on a perfect track.
As regards the accident, which, a passenger testified had occurred to the train between Montreal and Ottawa, it was given in evidence that the tail piece of one car had broken and the car had been dropped off en route for repair.
The inquest will rstsume next Wednesday night.
Albert Chapman, engineer of the wrecked train, was the first witness. He had been an engineer for 23 years. He told of the wreck and of putting on the brakes as soon as he felt that something was wrong.
He did not know who had been in charge of the train between Montreal and Ottawa, Nothing wrong had been reported to him as having occurred between the two points. He had no opinion as to the cause of the accident.
He also testified that the cars which had composed the train had all been inspected before it started and reported all right to him. He had experienced trouble previously from "sun-kinks"in the rails on one occasion five years ago. having seen one on the track at Snedden's when his engine was still half a mile from it. He could have stopped his engine if he had seen a "sun-kink." on the rails at McKellar Townsite. He had never seen an accident such as this when the cars in the middle of the train dropped out and he knew of nothing which could fall from a car and derail the train. If a brakebeam had dropped, it would drag for miles.
Jean Baptiste Charron, a gardener for Mr. John McKellar, testified he had been working in the latter's gardens near where the accident occurred and had seen it. He could, however, throw no new light on the occurrence but as he was very deaf it was sometime before he could make this evident.
James Brown. 323 Gloucester street, was in like case as were David Watts, of 358 Nepean street, and Alex Turpin of Westboro, all employees of McKellar's.
Alex. Denean, yard foreman at the Broad Street station, testified he had been in charge of the wrecking train. He had observed nothing to throw any light on the accident. F W. Cooper of Montreal, divisional engineer for the C.P.R.. said he had examined the scene of the accident the day efter it occurred.
"What did you observe and what inferences did you draw?"
"From the appearance of the track and the temperature I think it was caused by sun-kink due to straining the rails followirg expansion. The day following the accident the temperature was 88 degrees. The day rails were laid the temperature would be about freezing. These rails are supposed to be laid with an eye to temperature."
"If the proper allowance for expansion had been made at the time the rails were laid this sun-kink would not have occurred?" asked Crown Attorney Ritchie.
"That doesn't follow. There are contributory conditions such as possible creeping of the track."
There was an inflection in the rails which in the absence of other evidence had led him to the view there had been sun-kink, said the witness. Asked how he reconciled this with the statement of the engineer that he had seen no such condition he said it might have developed after the engine had passed over that bit of track.
"Is there any other cause but sun- kink which might have brought about the accident, judging from your observations?"
 "I did not find any other cause sufficiently marked."
"I saw in the newspapers the other day that some lady on the train said an accident had happened between Montreal and Ottawa?"
 "I know nothing of it."
Joseph Wheeler, McKellar Townsite had seen the accident. Section men had been working on the track, and five minutes before the Winnipeg train came through put a rail down, and were spiking it as the train  whistled at Westboro
"There was something dragging underneath the train." said Mr.Wheeler/ "The traim no sooner got past me than up it went."
"Where was this rail they were puttng in?"
"Just where the first car left the track."
"How about this something dragging?"
'It was kicking up a big dust underneaih the car."
"How near was the train before the sectionmen finished spiking the rail?"
"I don't think they had finished. They stood by the side and let her go past"
The rail which had been removed and afterwards spiked down, said the witness. Was one of those torn up in the wreck.
''The section men told us they were ?ting ties, not touching the rails?" asked Mr. Ritchie.
The witness laughed. "They were ?ting the rail and putting the ties under it," he said. "They had it up ? Five minutes before the train passed."
Mr. Cooper was then recalled.
"Did you come up here to investigate this accident?" asked Crown Attorney Ritchie.
"I came up to assist the general superintendent. I examined the line three-quarters of a mile on either side of the accident."
He had seen nothing to indicate that any part of the undergear of the car had come loose. The section men working at the scene of the accident had not told him anything of taking out a rail, and this was the first he had heard of it. It sounded incredible to him that it would have been done without flag protection to an approaching train.
Eber Donaldson, Woodroffe, testified that he had seen the accident, but he could tell nothing new about it.
"Have you anything more to say?"
"People across the track in Springfield said they had seen ties that morning without any spikes in," said the witness, but could give no names.
George Edward Smart, Westmount, said he was divisional car foreman for the C.P.R. and had supervised the putting back on the rails of six of the wrecked cars. Nothing was missing on any car except what was found along the track, and there was no sign on the roadbed of anything having dragged.
He had found a mark on the tire of one wheel on the first derailed car which showed it had dropped on the inside of the north rail and had rubbed against it for some distance. This indicated the north rail must have dropped out.
At the conclusion of Mr. Smart's evidence some disturbance was caused by the action of Mr. Wheeler, the witness who gave the sensational evidence as to spiking rails, in pointing his finger at the countenance of a C. P.R., witness and stating he himself "was not a C.P.R. man."
Mr. Allan C. MacKenzie, Montreal maintenance of way engineer for C. P. R. eastern lines, thought the accident had been caused by sun-kink. The first rail disturbed had moved north 6 inches, carrying the ties. The outside rail must have turned over. The sun-kink must have taken effect during the passage of the train or otherwise the engine would have been derailed. If the south rail, as testified by Wheeler, a former witness, had been responsible for the accident the train would have derailed to the south side. Inquiries would be made to see whether Wheeler's testimony was true.
Questioned by Mr. W. L. Scott, for the C.P.R., the witness said a sun-kink did not indicate negligence and could occur on a perfect track.
Walter G. Stenason, Montreal, assistant air-brake inspector for the C. P.R., testified he had been a passenger in one of the wrecked cars and had been slightly injured. He had made an investigation of the cars after the accident and found nothing wrong.
In reply to Mr. Scott, he gave evidence that two bodies had been found alongside the track. Underneath the first class car he had found another.
In regard to the incident which occurred between Montreal and Ottawa the witness testified the conductor had dropped a car at Hudson the tail pin of which was broken.

Ottawa Citizen 10 July 1913

Sectionmen and Others Testify as to Condition of Track Near McKellar.

The statemeat by a witness that Edward Lyon, foreman of the C.P.R. section gang, which was putting in ties at the scene of the accident, had told him in conversation that every second tie was out and in the heat the roadbed was liable to be dangerous for trains at any time, and flat contradiction by Lyon that had never seen Jeffreys, the witness in question, or told him anything the kind, was the feature of last night's session of the inquiry into the C.P.R. wreck at McKellar's townsite.
This was not the only direct contradicton, however, the same Mr. Lyon also denying denying the statement already made by a witness named Wheeler, that a rail had been lifted shortly before the train came along. This provoked a disturbance on the part of Wheeler who has been very much in evidence at every sitting, as a result of which he was threatened with commitment for contempt and removed from the courtroom.
Mr. Lyon's own opinion of the cause of the wreck was that something had dropped from the train on to the track and he told of having been assured by the foreman of another section gang that marks had afterwards been found on the ties bearing out this supposition. Two members of Lyon's section gang were called and confirmed his evidence, one of them, however, stating that the train when it approached had rocked and swayed so much and had been going at such a "God forbid rate of epeed." that he had thought something was going to happen. The Inquest was finally adjourned till next Tueaday,
Mr. Greene, of 135 Nicholas street. testified he had seen the scene of the wreck that night at 8.30, but could give no evidence of value as to it.
Mr. Edward Lyon, foreman of the section gang wihich had been repairing the track at the point of the wreck, was then recalled. He testified that between two and three ties to one rail had been put in. Only one tie would be out at a time, however, and the rails had never been lifted,
You heard the evidence of Mr. Wheeler at the last sitting?"
'But you didn't raise any rails?"
"Let me ask him a question, said Mr. Wheeler, rising from a seat in the courtroom, but he was quelled by a roar of "Order!" from "Major Hollinsworth.
In reply to a question from a juror, Mr. Lvon started he had noticed there were no spaces between the ends of the rails, which were touching. Usually there would be a space, and the fact that there was none he attributed to the extreme heat of the day. If the rails had been too tight a piece could have been cut out of them.
"Then the evidence of Mr. Wheeleri in regard to lifting rails was untrue?" asked Juror Berry later.
"Yes." said the witness. "I swear positively no rail was ever lifted, and I was always there with my men.
"How many men were there actually at work in your gang?"
"That meant four ties might be out at a time? "
"What time -was that train due at the point you were working?"
"At 1.45."
"The time of the train had been changed same time before. Did you know and make allowance for that?"
The witness further testified that it was customary to stop working five or ten minutes before a train passed.
"Yet you formerly testifed that one tie wasn't spiked when the train passed ?"
"Yes. That was the only one."
"How about Mr. Wheeler's statement?"
"He must have made a mistake."
"I was right there and saw it." protested the witness in question from his seat in the courtroom.
"It was two hours before any train previous to the wrecked one had passed over the track," further testified the witness.
"When the train whistled at Westboro what were your men doing?"
"Levelling off the surface.."
"Why weren't they spiking that loose tie?"
"They just had time to get it in before the train passed." 
The wintess testified he had seen a "sun-kink" a Deux Rivieres. It had developed when his men were lifting the rail.
"But you never saw a sun-klnk in a rail that had not been interfered with?"
The witness testified that none of the section gang had been injured in the wreck, or had even had narrow escapes.
The only view the witness had as to the cause of the accident was that something might have dropped on the rail. The foreman of a gang working to the east of the accident, John Raymond, had told him there were marks along the ties afterwards for about fifteen or eighteen feet east of where the train had left the rails.
"Did you see a man named Jeffreys the morning after the wreck? "
"Did you tell him every second tie at the point of the accident was out?"
"Walter Jeffreys" was then called and a young man took the witness stand.
"Is that the Mr. Jeffreys you were speaking to?" asked Crown Attorney Ritchie.
"No, it was Roadmaster Jeffreys I was talking to. I never saw this young man before," said Mr. Lyons.
"Didn't you talk to him on an electric car?"
"No, I didn't go into the city the night of the wreck."
Mr. Jeffreys, however, was positive he had met Mr. Lyons who had told him. on an electric car on route to Britannia, that "every second tie was out and in the hot summer the rails were liable to expand and be dangerous for trains at any time. He told me he was foreman of the extra gang." The witness said he was an electrician and lived at McKellar.
Recalled, Mr. Lyon said he had not come into the city before Friday morning. He had returned on a Britannia car but could not remember talking to anyone about the wreck.
"I couldn't have said every second tie was out because we don't do that." said the witness. "I remember someone asking me about whether any seetionmen were killed and I told him there were none. No conversation took place and I am certain I didn't say those words about the ties."
The witness here refreshed his memory by calling a friend who stated he thought Lyon had gone into the city Friday morning but might possibly have also gone in the morning after the wreck.
"That doesn't satisfy me," said Mr. Wheeler. "No sir, it doesn't"
This broke the back of the coroner's patience and, summoning Wheeler to the front he toid him in stern tones he would send him to the cells for the night for contempt unless he behaved himself like a gentleman. Wheeler was finally removed to a room adjoining the courtroom.
Adam Beuzek, one of the members of the section gang, was sworn according to the fashion of his own country, which consists of affirming by the "Father, Son and Holy Ghost." He had been working on a tie near the accident with a boy. This tie. he said, through an interpreter, had not been spiked before the train arrived, but was in its place and tamped ready for spiking. This was the only one not spiked. The men knew the train was due. No rails had been lifted that day.
Jan Gladysz, another section man testified that besides taking out old ties the men had been "straightening," them, that is restoring their ends to a straight line by removing the ballast. To do this it was necessary to unspike them He said the train had been approaching at a "God forbid" rate of speed and swaying very much from side to side."
"We watched the train come down the hill and we could see the roadbed was very bad," said the witness further. From four to six trains had passed this point that day but he had noticed this train because he expected to see some immigrants of his own race on it. '
He had almost expected from the way the train was swaying that something would happen, There had been an unusual quantity of dust.
The inquest then adjourned until Tuesday night.

Ottawa Citizen 16 July 1913

Jury Concluded Inquiry Into Recent Railway Wreck Near McKellar

"The cause of the said wreck being unknown to this jury," was the concluding clause in the verdict last night brought in by the jury which has been during the past two weeks inquiring into the death of John Peace, one of the victims of the wreck of the C.P.R.'s Imperial Limited near McKellar Townsite on June 25.
No startling evidence was given last night, the most important testimony being vouchsafed by John Raymond as to the ties east of the scene of the accident being so marked us to indicate that a brakebeam had dropped from the train on to the roadbed. The evidence of a number of members of the section gang which was working  near the scene of the accident replacing ties was taken but they threw little new light on the occurrence. Crown Attorney Ritchie in charging the jury pointed out that the wreck might have been due to three causes, a defect in the train, in the roadbed or a "sunkink."
John Raymond of 43 Pinhey street, assistant section foreman of the C.P.R. was the first witness to give evidence.
He had arrived at the scene of the wreck fifteen minutes after its occurrence.
"I saw the ties were torn up east of the point where the first car left the rails. It was about six feet from where the first wheel dropped and cut the ties. It might have been caused by something dragging before the train went off or the sudden jar stopping the cars and breaking a brake-beam," said Raymond.
"Of which car was the brakebeam broken?" asked Mr. Ritchie.
"It was difficult to ascertain. Four cars were overturned and the brake-beams of all were broken."
"Were they new brakes or old?"
"They were all fresh ones."
There were no broken car wheels, said the witness but the bolt holding the tire to one wheel of the first car which went off was broken. It was on the front truck of the north side. The tire was still on the wheel, however.
Describing the appearance of the ties, which were marked east of where the accident occurred, the witness said they had the appearance of having been grooved by something which dropped from the train while it was in motion. These torn up ties had been right under the center of the sleeper of the wrecked train.
"Did you see the handcar the section men were using near the wreck?"
"No," Said the witness but he testified to having seen a badly bent gauge near where the wreck occurred. He had reported this.
"I have been a section man since I was thirteen," said the witness.
He had examined the rails to see if they were in gauge and found them in perfect alignment both east and west of the accident.
"The only opinion I have of the cause of the accident is that it was something dropping, probably a brake-beam, which struck the ties," said Mr. Raymond. "This might have happened after the train was stopped however."
K. Smiegelski, a member of the section gang which was working on the track at the scene of the accident, was next summoned. He testified he had been "trimming" ties. Asked if he had noticed whether the train had approached the scene of the accident at high speed he said it had been traveling fairly fast and swaying.
The handcar the section men were using had not been injured in the wreck but a pick was broken, said the witness in reply to a query from Crown Attorney Ritchie. The cars of the train, he considered could not be very good to judge from the manner in which the train was swaying.
J. Skrober, another section man, had been helping to straightnn ties near where the wreck occurred. He had noticed the cars of the train swaying just before they reached the point where they went off. Other section-men who were examined corroborated this evidence.
Crown Attorney Ritchie, in summing up, pointed out from the evidence heard it might be possible to form some conclusion, and there were several which the jury might be justified in coming to, he considered. C.P.R. experts had stated the accident was due to a sunkink. The engineer had testified there was no sunkink in the track as he approached it. This was explained by the railway experts by the theory that the sunkink had been set up after the engine had passed over it, but there had been no evidence to show that sunkinks ever occurred in this manner.
It had been shown that the roadbed must have been disturbed at the point of the accident from the removal and replacement of the ties. One theory, therefore, might be that the train had descended the grade to the scene of the accident swaying from side to side, and that on striking the loose roadbed had gone off the track. Still further evidence had been to the effect that something had dropped from the train on to the track, and it might be held that this had caused the wreck.
The jury then retired, and in about half-an-hour brought in the following verdict: "That John Peace came to his death on June 25, 1913, near McKellar townsite, township of Nepean, while a passenger on a C.P.R. train which was wrecked at that place; cause of the said wreck being unknown to this jury."

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Updated 26 June 2023