Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1916, May 8 -  Passenger train derailed between Perth and Sharbot Lake, CPR Belleville sub.

Ottawa Journal  Monday 8 May 1916

Five Ottawa Men Were In Train Derailed Near Perth (sic)
Details of the derailment on the C.P.R. near Perth last night show that among those in the train were James Simpson, former controller; Rev. Ben Spence. D.H. Reynolds of the immigration department, Ottawa; W.D. Matthews, Ottawa; Captain Hutt, 97th Battallion, whose left arm was hurt; T.D. Higginson, Ottawa; ex-Ald. Lavoie, Ottawa, whose head was badly cut,and J. Pharand of Hull.
One passenger, Dr. T.F. Graham, od the 86th machine gun section of hamilton, was injured, his back and side being crushed, but not seriously.

Toronto Star 8 May 1916


Toronto People Slightly Injured in Wreck Near Sharbot Lake


 Mrs. W.J. Duncan, 75 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto, slightly bruised.
Dr. T.F. Graham, Hamilton, injured back and inside
J.M. McLaren, Ottawa, cheek bone and right hand cut
J.M. Levoie, Ottawa, head cut
Capt. Hutt, American legion, right arm sprained

The C.P.R. train leaving Ottawa last night at 11:10 o’clock and due to arrive in Toronto at 7:30 this morning, was wrecked about a mile east of Sharbot Lake (near Perth) at 2:15 this morning. Three Pullman coaches on which there were many Toronto and Ottawa passengers, left the track and rolled down a 20-foot embankment. A fourth coach was prevented from leaving the track by striking a rock projection in a rock cut about 100 yards west of the wrecked coaches. All the passengers on the wrecked Pullmans miraculously escaped injury, and the prompt assistance of conductor J.E. Elliott, conductor Angus Carmichael and the porters was the means of releasing the passengers from their positions of imprisonment in the wrecked coaches.
Rail Broke, Caused Wreck.
The cause of the wreck was a broken rail about a mile and a quarter mile east of Sharbot Lake. When the second Pullman coach jumped the track, it was fully a quarter of a mile east of where the engine was brought to a standstill.  There were four Pullman coaches, one first class coach, a baggage car and a mail car on the train. The baggage and mail cars and the first-class coach with the engine did not leave the rails. The first Pullman coach would have left the rails if the rear end had not collided with a projecting rock just east of where the three rear Pullman coaches rolled down the embankment.  The rear truck had left the rails before the cut was reached, and the front truck would also have left the rails if the car has not been thrown over on the roadbed by the collision with the rock. On this car there were several of the representatives of the Dominion Alliance, who were returning from a field Sunday’s work in Ottawa and surrounding district. In the party were Joseph Gibson, Ingersoll, Rev. Ben. H. Spence, D.A. McDermid, J. Bailey, Thos. Yellowlees, Rev. Dr. John Ross, Rev. W.A. Campbell and Rev. P.M. McDonald, Toronto. As a car in which the temperance workers were traveling did not entirely leave the rails, none of them suffered more than a good shaking up.
Coaches Turned Over
The passengers in the three Pullman coaches are congratulating themselves upon their miraculous escape from death. Two of these coaches were turned completely over, while the third was standing and an angle of 50 degrees with the front-end at the foot of the embankment and the rear-end pointed towards

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the rocks half way up the embankment.

When the second Pullman coach left the rails, the wheels kept about 10 inches to the south on the south side of the respective rails, and kept to the road bed for 300 or 400 yards when it swerved to the south, pulling the two following coaches with it over the embankment.

Ex-controller Thompson was on the first coach to leave the rails, and in describing the accident states that he was aroused from sleep by the bouncing of the car over the ties. He recognized at once that the car was off the rails. A few moments elapsed and he felt the car lean over on the south side. It had only gone a few more yards when suddenly it rolled over stopped at the foot of the embankment. There were no lights in the car.  Passengers could heard be calling to each other.
Mr. Simpson’s Story
“As the car rolled over I was expecting to be crushed but I merely slid to the side of the car and did not feel the slightest pressure from the berths that followed from to the other side of the car,” said Mr. Simpson. “I was just beginning to grope for freedom when I heard a passenger moving above me. I asked him if he was hurt and he replied that he was alright. The passenger was J.H. McLaren, an electrical engineer of Ottawa. He immediately began to break the glass in the window above me, and as he was doing so I heard the groans of a passenger about two berths from where I was. This was Dr. T.F. Graham, of the 86th Machinegun Section, Hamilton, Ont. He had been pinned between the lower birth in which he was sleeping and the lower part of the upper berth. He called for help, but as he was calling he was making a desperate effort to relieve himself. He had sustained injury to his back and side, but with the assistance of one of his fellow passengers and Conductor Elliot, he was able to crawl along the upturned car to the entrance.

“To get out of the car, the passengers had either to climb through the windows above their heads or crawl along the passage that have been formed between the upper berths and the roof of the car, then along the narrow passage on the side of the smoking apartment until the entrance to the car was reached. In the wreck the swing door between the smoking apartment pending car had been jammed and it was great difficulty that it was forced open. The heavy door leading from the platform to the interior of the car had also been closed but it was forced upward and held by the clamp above it. 

“Conductor Elliot had to urge the passengers to leave the upturned car as soon as they could get out. He had extinguished a small blaze at the end of one of the cars and was afraid that more serious fires might break out. After considerable urging, the passengers began leave the cars in their night robes, and wrapped up in blankets that could be released from the wreck. They were directed to the Pullman coach that was half on the rails and half on the roadbed.”

A. Monro Grier, K.C., of Toronto, accepted the situation philosophically, and, wrapped in the car blankets, seated himself between the rails from which the Pullman coaches have been hurled down the embankment. Mr. Grier stayed in that position until his clothes were extracted from the wreck.

 Mrs. Duncan was assisted from the upturned coach to the coach that had only partly left the tracks.  She was provided with blankets from one of the coaches and, apart from the fright and only a few bruises, did not suffer seriously. Her clothes were soon found in the upturned car, and within half an hour after the wreck, she chatted freely with the passengers about her trying experience.

 Ex-controller Simpson was able to get out of the car without assistance, and to protect his bare feet from the cinders on the track, walked on one of the rails from the wreck to the Pullman coach that he escaped the wreck. He was provided with a suit of clothes by one of the passengers, and returned to the wreck where he succeeded in finding all his belongings.  He afterwards assisted the other passengers in their effort to find their missing clothes and valuables.
Those Slightly Injured
 J.M. McLaren sustained a slight cut on the cheek-bone and a few cuts on his right hand in his successful effort to fight his way to freedom through one of the car windows.

J. Mederic Lavoie, of Ottawa, sustained a deep cut on the back of the head but was able to walk around and chat freely with the passengers.

Sergt. Rutherford, of the 2nd Field Company, first contingent, who lives in Brampton, was a passenger on one of the up-turned coaches.  He just crossed the Atlantic on the steamer Corinthian and stated that he was on a leave of absence, following actual service in France. He was in the battles of Ypres, La Chapelle and Givenchy, and was injured with a waggon wheel in the battle of Ypres. Commenting on his experience, Sergt. Jim Rutherford said it would have been a strange fate if he had evaded German bullets to succumb to a railway accident in Canada on his way home on leave of absence. He said he would return to France June 1.
 Two Slept Through
The passengers of the “turtled” Pullman cars could not refrain from laughter as they heard of the experience of C. Calvin, a law student of Kingston, who has just passed through the examinations at Osgoode Legal School. The jarring of the Pullman car as it pounded over the ties, the swerving and rolling of the car and the calls of the passengers did not arouse young Calvin from his slumbers, and it was only when he felt a fellow passenger walking over his feet that he aroused himself to the danger he was in. His slumber, however, saved him the experience of a fright as the upturned car had ceased its motion when he woke.

 Sergt. Rutherford had a similar experience to that of young Calvin. He did not realize the danger he had encountered until it was all over.

Captain Hutt of the American Legion, was not quite as fortunate at some of his fellow-passengers. In the turning over of the coach in which he was sleeping his right arm was forced through one of the coach windows and sustained a sprain that was rather painful. This injury, however, was not serious. He was able to hold it up without the help of a sling.

 Mrs. Duncan of Toronto who was the only lady passenger on the train, intended to stay a week longer in Ottawa but grek? homesick for her two children and decided to return home last night. The change in plans almost lead to a serious accident. She was congratulated by Conductor Elliot and the passengers upon the courageous manner in which she passed through her trying experience.

 Mr. Thomas Yellowlees, the well-known Sunday school worker, was in one of the wrecked coaches. He had received a hurry call while addressing a meeting in the interests of the Dominion Alliance in the vicinity of Ottawa. News had reached home that his son, who was one of the administrators with the base hospital staff of the University of Toronto at Solaniki, had met with a  “serious accident.” (The son, Dr. Norman Yellowlees was announced drowned to-day). Mr. Yellowlees had engaged two motor cars in order that he might catch the 11.10 train at Ottawa. The wreck, however, delayed his arrival in Toronto, about fine hours.


Mrs. W.J. Duncan 75 Prince Arthur avenue, Toronto.
A. Munro Grier, K.C., Toronto.
Ex-controller James Simpson, 129 Indian road, Toronto.
D.H. Reynolds, traveling immigration inspector.
Capt. C.M. Ingle, inspection staff of Paymaster-General, Ottawa.
Arthur Gibson, Department of Agriculture, Ottawa.
J.H. McLaren, electrical engineer, Ottawa.
Milton E. Rous, of Lowe-Martin Co., Limited, Library Bureau Systems.
J. Mederic Lavoie. cigar manufacturer, Ottawa.
J.H. Hebert, commercial traveler, Ottawa.
Dr. T.F. Graham, 86th Machine Gun Section, Hamilton, Ontario.
C.H. Keeling, Ottawa.
Dr. T.D. Higgerson, Ottawa.
W.D. Matthews, Ottawa.
D.A. McDermid, Toronto.
J. Bailey, Toronto.
Jos. Gibson, postmaster, Ingersoll, Ontario.
Thomas Yellowlees, Toronto.
Dr. John Ross, Presbyterian minister, Toronto.
Rev. Ben H. Spence, Toronto.
Rev. W. A. Campbell, Toronto.
Rev. P.M. McDonald, Toronto.
C. Calvin, law student, Kingston, Ontario.
A. G. James, Ottawa.
Captain W.M. Hutt, quartermaster-sergeant, 97th Battalion, Toronto.
Sergt. Rutherford, Brampton.

Ottawa Journal  Tuesday 9 May 1916

C. P. R. Announces Names of Passengers Hurt When Train Ditched Near Sharbot Lake. Five Ottawans and four others were injured, though not seriously, when two day coaches and a sleeper of the west-bound C. P. R.. Montreal - Toronto train were. derailed at 2.30 yesterday morning near Sharbot Lake.
The sleeper after leaving the rails turned over on its side in a ditch, but the two day coaches, although they left tbe rails remained upright. The train was not travelling at a high rate of speed at the time and this is taken as one explanation as to why more serious consequences did not attend the derailment.
The official list of Ottawans injured. given out by the C.P.R. is as follows:
Mr. C. A: Connolly, 366 Waverly street, knee and ankle cut.
Mr. Arthur Gibson, Holbrooke Apartments, shoulder injured.
Mr. J. H. McLaren, room 310 Booth Building, shaken up.
Mr. J. Mederic Lavoie, 172 Rldenu street, cut on back of head.
Mr. E. H. Hebert, 38 Ottawa street, back injured.
Other who received' injuries are:
Joseph Gibson, Ingersoll, right hip injured.
Mrs. W. J. Duncan, Toronto, side and hip hurt.
Captain .Hutt, 97th Battalion, Toronto, and and leg hurt.
G.. F. Graham, 86th Battalion, Hamilton, back and side injured.
So far as could be ascertained today all of the Ottawans in the wreck continued on their journey. The first notification of .the accident was received In Ottawa from Mr. M. J. Lavoie, who was on his way to Goderich with Mr. Pharand of Hull. The notification was to the effect that Mr. Lavoie. was not badly injured and was continuing his journey.
Mrs. Arthur Gibson also received a telegraphic message from her husband who is chief. Dominion Assistant entomologist, to the effect that he had not been seriously injured in the derailment and was proceeding on his way to Strathroy.
When news of the accident reached Perth and Smith's Falls, doctors were sent out and rendered whatever medical aid was required.

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Updated 25 July 2018