|Ottawa Citizen 17 February 1927|
SKIING PARTY IN BUS HAS NARROW ESCAPE ON TRACK
Brakes Refused to Work Motor Coach Ran Into C. P. R. Train at Aylmer Road Crossing.
Several members of the Clilfside Ski Club had a most miraculous escape from being hurled to death last night, when a United Coach Line bus ran into the C.P.R. Soo train at the Aylmer road crossing between Hull and Val Tetreau. No one was injured, and the large bus too escaped without serious damage.
The cause of the accident is attributed to the brakes cf the bus failing to operate. The remarkable escape of its occupants is due to the slow speed which it was travelling, together with the train having reached the crossing first. The bus was driven by William MacElroy, 139 Henderson avenue, whom Mr. Bretislav Pliski, president and manager of the bus line, declared as one of his most trusted drivers.
Saw Danger Signal.Still feeling the result of his expenence, Mr. MacElroy related his story of the collision. He said that he was travelling in the direction ot Hull on his way to Ottawa, with number of members of the Cliffside club, when as he came near the railway crossing he noticed the approach of the train and the brakes of the bus failed to work.
He said that he noticed the wig wag signal at the crossing swinging its warning, and throwing the motor into neutral applied the brakes to bring the bus to a stop until the train passed. With the bus "out of gear" and the brakes failing to operate, the bus and the train both neared the crossing. It was realized afterwards that it was just a matter of seconds which would get there first.
MacElroy said that as the bus was just a few feet back from the crossing the locomotive flew past, and the coaches followed. He said that he could have swung the bus into the ditch and avoided the collision, but he thought that the bus was going to stop. However, it rolled on. He said that it wasn't travelling more than two miles an hour just before the impact. MacElroy said that he could hardly feel the impact of the bus striking the cars, and as the front of the bus was swung around to the side of the road it just seemed like s skid.
Not Aware of Danger.The driver said that the passengers in the bus were not aware of the danger they were in until it was past, and then, as they scrambled out, men and women alike hugged him and shook his hands in delight at their escape. He said that there was no panic whatever among the passengers.
The coaches of the train caught the bumper on the front of the bus, tearing it off, and also one of the head lights. One side of the radiator was torn away, and one of the heavy mudguards was partly torn off, and one of the front springs was broken and twisted so that it interfered with the steering gear. Had the bus been a smaller and lighter car, or had it been travelling faster, the collision would have undoubtedly resulted much more seriously.
Confidence In Driver.Mr. Pliski last night was unable to state the cause of the brakes of the bus failing to operate. He thought that it might have been caused by snow getting into them or a dampness causing frost to form on them. He said that he intended to test them himself to ascertain the cause of them failing to operate. He expressed great confidence in Mr. MacElroy as a driver, saying that he had been in his employ for three years, and that never before had he had an accident. The bus is one of the large ones used in the Ottawa-Prescott service during the summer months.
Mr. Pliski said that the bus was on a special trip from the Cliffside Ski Club house, bringing club members in to the city. He said that a bus had been previously ordered and cancelled and then ordered again.
Mr. David Kirby, president of the Cliffside Ski Club, was unaware of the accident when approached by The Citizen. He said that during the evening about 75 or 80 club members had been out on the weekly moonlight hike of the club, which ended up at the club house on Slater's hill, on the Aylmer road, short distance west of Luna Park. He had come into the city in his car a short time before the accident and had heard nothing of it.