Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1923, August 18 - Former railway call boy sets signals against a train, CPR Kingston sub.

Kingston British Whig 17 September 1923

Former Railway Call Boy Interfered With Signals on the C.P.R,
Belleville Ontario.
Burning his way out of the Tweed lock up by means of a red-hot cell bar, John Edward Darby was caught at Sharbot Lake and taken back to Tweed. He was tried by magistrate Caseman [sic], Madoc, and sentenced to one year in the penitentiary, this term to run concurrent with the one imposed at Belleville for interference with a signal on the Canadian Pacific Railway in Hungerford Township.

It was on August 18th.that Darby who is only 18 years of age, and a former call boy was riding on a C.P.R. freight through the township of Hungerford. He was discovered and was put off the train. Later a passenger train for Sharbot Lake passed near the point where he had been removed from the train and found a stop signal against the train. The engineer halted but so far as could be seen there was no reason for the signal.

The incident was reported and officers of the railroad set about investigating. They learned that Darby, who had been put off the the freight had reached Sharbot Lake an hour before the freight, and the inference was that Darby had turned the through signal against the passenger train and halted it and got on thus carrying him to his destination. He was later arrested at Sharbot Lake where he had a girlfriend.

Darby was sentenced by magistrate Casement [sic] at the Belleville police court to three years in the penitentiary at Portsmouth for interference with Railway signals.

Darby has an unenviable record. In 1919 he was sent down for 7 years at the Mimico, broke prison in 1920, committed an offence which won him a term in an Eastern Ontario town. His offenses include playing poker on a track and theft of a boat.

Darby comes from Toronto. He was once a call boy on a railroad. That explains his knowledge of signals.

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Updated 21 October 2020