Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1936, July 25 - Crossing collision, Hurdman's Bridge, CNR., Alexandria sub., one fatality.

Ottawa Citizen 27 July 1936

Vars Farmer Killed at Russell Road Crossing
George Simpson meets death while returning home from market. Drove into side of locomotive of Montreal-Ottawa train a mile east of Hurdman's Bridge.

George Ephrian Harper Simpson, aged 50 years, farmer of Vars, Ont., was instantly killed shortly after 4 p.m.. Saturday, a victim of a level crossing crash on the Russell Road, a mile east of Hurdman's Bridge. Simpson, alone in his motor car returning home from market, was in collision with the Montreal-Ottawa C.N.R. local passenger train due at Union Station at 4.20 p.m.
Dr. J. S. Nelson, coroner, viewed the body and on Saturday evening opened an inquest at Hulse Bros. parlours, after which the body was turned over to H. Tanner and Son, undertaker, of Vars. After preliminary proceedings the inquest was adjourned until next Friday at 8 p.m. at the Gloucester Town Hall, Billings Bridge.
The cause of the accident may never be known. There is a clear view for a considerable distance of trains approaching this crossing from the east. The crossing is a double one, the C.P.R. and C.N.R. tracks running parallel.

Possible causes.

There were no witnesses other than the train crew. Rain had fallen only a short time before and it is possible that the unfortunate man's car skidded into the train on the wet pavement. It is also possible that he did not notice the approach of the train and also that he may have been confused as to which track it was on.
The motor car ran into the side of the locomotive haulng the train at the front, and while itt was not thrown? or carried any considerable distance it was sideswiped by the cars as they passed by before the train was brought to a stop. Simpson was thrown from the car and was picked up at the side of the tracks 36 feet from west of the crossing. His head was badly crushed and his right arm badly broken at the shoulder. In the crash the auto was swung at a right angle to the road and one side was badly damaged.
The train was in charge of conductor C.C. McCulloch and engineer Wm. T. Asher, both of Ottawa. According to railway officials the usual warning was given by the train crew for the crossing.

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Ottawa Journal 1 August 1936

Crossing Signal Urged by Jury
Death of George Simpson, of Vars, Result of Accident.

Accidental death was the verdict of a coroner's jury at the Court House on Friday night, which investigated the death of George Simpson, 80, farmer of Vars, Ont, who was killed when his automobile ran into a C.N.R. engine last Saturday afternoon at a level crossing on the Russell Road, a mile and a half south of Hurdman's bridge. There was a rider recommending that some safety device be placed at the crossing "as this is at least the third fatal accident at this same crossing."
Albert Chapmsn. retired railwayman, whose home is on the Russell Road about 300 feet from the crossing, stated he was an eye witness of the tragedy and when he saw the automobile approaching the crossing he was certain there was going to be a smash-up. He told the jury he heard tha engine whistle and expressed the view the automobile had run into the side of the engine.
His wife also said that she heard the whistle. W.T. Asher, engineer of the C.N.R. passenger train, stated he gave the customary warning whistle when nearing the crossing.  He stated that he saw the automobile approaching but fully expected it to stop. He put on the emergency brake when the car continued. He did not see the actual collision as he drew his head in to svoid fragments from the automobile.
C. C McCulloch, conductor, and other members of the train crew. Chief ot Police C.P. McCarthy, Constable John Brown and Dr. R. M. Cairns who examined the body all gave evidence.

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