Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1926, March 22 - Child killed by train at Britannia, CPR., Carleton Place sub.

Ottawa Citizen 23 March 1926

 Four-Year-Old Daughter of Mr. And Mrs. James Foley Instantly Killed By Brockville-Ottawa Train.
Struck at the Britannia crossing by the Brockville-Ottawa C.P.R. passenger train shortly after four o'clock yesterday afternoon Phyllis Catherine Foley, aged four years, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Foley of Britannia Village, was instantly killed. The lifeless body was picked up and placed on tbe train and conveyed to the city and later removed to Burney & Son's undertaking parlors, where an Inquest was opened last night.
The child met her death, it is thought, while on her way to a store to buy some candy. Her mother had given her five cents, and she is believed to have been crossing the railway tracks at Main street from the Foley home situated to the north of the railway to a store on the south side. There were no eye-witnesses of the accident.
Mr. Foley, who is a laborer, was on his way home from work and was walking along Main street fromi the O.E.R. stop when he noticed the eastbound passenger train come to a stop after it had gone over the crossing and then back up. He then noticed that there was something wrong and going down the track saw what he was told was the body of a child being rolled up in canvas after it had been lifted from between the rails underneath one of the coaches.. He did not know at the time that the body was that of his child. He later found her coat and toque alongside the track, and only then knew that it was his child that had been killed. He. Foley said that there was an electric bell at the crossing and that he heard it ringing as the train passed.
The train was bound from Smiths Falls in charge of Conductor Michael O'Connell, 64 Spruce street, and Engineer Maurice O'Connell,. 166 Bayswater avenue. The child, according to the crew, ran right in front of, the train as it was going over the crossing.
Inquest Is Opened.
After the train was brought to a stop the body of the child was placed on board, after which it proceeded to Union Station, where it was met by Burney & Son's car and removed to the undertaking parlors on Somerset street. There Coroner T. J. Scobie opened an inquest and after taking the father's evidence, and going through the opening formalities the session was adjourned until next Monday night at the courthouse.
In addition to what he saw of the accident, Mr. Foley identified the remains as those of his daughter. The body was so badly mutilated that Mr. Foley was not asked to view it but made the identification through a ring which the child wore and which was removed from her finger during the inquest.

Ottawa Journal 30 March 1926

Little girl's death purely accidental
Child could not see train for snow drifts.
A verdict of accidental death was returned last evening by a coroner's jury sitting at the courthouse regarding the death of five-year-old Phyllis Foley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Foley, Main Street Britannia, who on Monday, March 22, was struck by C.P.R. train 562, Brockville to Ottawa, at the level crossing at Britannia Village.
Witnesses, in addition to the fireman and engineer, included, Michael O'Connell, 64 Spruce Street, conductor; William McPherson, 4 Spruce Street, Brakeman; Peter Boucher, 17 Osgoode Street, baggage man; William Nesbitt, grocery store proprietor near the crossing, and Dr. G. M. Pennock.
Edward J. Walker, assistant superintendent of the Smiths Falls division of the C.P.R. gave general information respecting the crossing, including a description of the condition of the electric bell which was stated to be in good order at the time. The engine whistle and bell were also in operation as the train approached the crossing.
The speed of the train was given as 40 to 45 miles per hour, a very ordinary speed for this crossing where there is no speed limit. While it was shown that an adult has a view west from this crossing for almost half a mile, Mr. Nesbitt stated that a child was not to be able to see very far on account of snow drifts. Some discussion rose regarding the question of cleaning the snow away from crossings, Mr. Walker stating that the railway was responsible for the roadway and footpaths.
The child was last seen by Mr. Nesbitt walking down onto the tracks from the drift, apparently about to cross the tracks. The train came along at the same moment and the child disappeared.
It was pointed out that this is the first accident of this character in 16 years at this crossing; the accident at that time being the death of a man and a horse there when struck by a train.

Ottawa Journal 7 April 1926

As a result of the recent accident on the level crossing at Britannia village where a little girl was run down by a C.P.R. express and instantly killed. Residents of the Britannia line have expressed strong objection to the rate of trains on the line and the existence of level crossings.
This objection was voiced last night at the meeting of the Westboro Ratepayers Association when the organization decided to bring the matter to the attention of the Board of Railway Commissioners and to ask that some action be taken.
It was the feeling of the meeting that level crossings on the tracks constitute a menace to public safety.  Regarding the speed of trains, it was stated that locomotives should be held to a speed of 15 and not more than 20 miles per hour, while crossing through the populous section just west of Ottawa.
This was repeated verbatim in the April 8 edition.

Kemptville Weekly Advance 27 May 1926

Struck by C.P.R. Transcontinental Flier at Britannia Crossing, Ottawa Dairy Motor Truck Practically Demolished.
Ottawa, May 27 When the truck on which they were riding was struck by the CP.R. transcontinental flyer at the Main street, Britannia, crossing shortly before noon yesterday two Ottawa Dairy employees, D. T. Lockerby, 157 Flora street, and Wallace Blackwell, Percy street, miraclously escaped instant death. Blackwell was uninjured while Lockerby received some slight scratches.
The two men were driving in a motor truck of a light model carrying ice cream, and as they approached the railway tracks from the north did not notice the train until they were almost on the rails. Blackwell, who was at the wheel, made every attempt to bring the truck to a stop but did not succeed in doing so until the front of it extended over the railway tracks, only a short distance from the oncoming train.
Hurled to Road.
Mr. Lockerby, still wondering how he escaped, graphically described the accident to a Citizen representative. He said that the truck in which he and Blackwell were driving was travelling in a southerly direction from Britannia village towards the Richmond road. A building situated at their right hand side of the road, he said, prevented Blackwell from seeing the approach of the train.
Tbe locomotive caught the front of the car with a terrific force tearing it away and hurling the driver to the road. Blackwell picked himself up out of the dust uninjured, while Lockerby remained seated in what was left of the truck He received a few slight cuts from flying splinters, but otherwise escaped injury.
There was a quantity of ice cream on the truck and this also was scattered over the road.
Say Bell Ringing
The train, drawn by locomotive No. 2210 and in charge of Engineer Harry Davidson, Ottawa, and Conductor Clarence W. Leach, 106 Rochester street, was travelling in the direction of Ottawa, due to arrive at Union Station at 1045 o'clock standard time. It was travelling on time and at quite a fast rate. Striking the front part of the motor truck it tore away leaving the rear part standing on the road.
There is an electric bell at this crossing, which, according to witnesses, was ringing for the approach of the train.
Early this spring a little girl, who was on her way to a store, was struck by a passenger train at the same crossing and was instantly killed.

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Updated 16 March 2022