Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1937, June 2 - Passenger train collides with a freight at Maxville, CNR., Alexandria sub., one injury

Ottawa Citizen 3 June 1937

C.N.R. Express Crashes into Freight Train at Maxville; One Injured

MAXVILLE, Ont.. June 3. Only one person suffered iInjuries that required medical attention when the crack Canadian National Railways' Montreal-Vancouver express crashed into the rear cars of a freight train near here last night. William Roach, master mechanic of Ottawa, who was riding in the locomotive cab, jumped from the speeding train just before the crash and suffered fractured right wrist, cuts about the face and bruises.
The accident occurred about 10.30 daylight saving time last night. The passenger train, which was westbound, passed through Maxville station on time.

Delayed in Clearing.
The freight train, number 402, which was eastbound, was just moving into the long siding about a mile west of here. Due to some trouble in a derailing switch, the train did not move off the main line as quickly as expected. The crew of the freight, however, had placed a number of flares on the track, but it is understood that due to a curve in the line at that point, they were not entirely visible to the speeding passenger train.
Just as the last of the freight cars were moving into the siding, the passenger train hove in sight. Its engineer at once saw the flares and applied the brakes with all possible haste but the distance was too short and the express crashed into the last two cars.

Lumber Strewn About.
The cars wrecked were one with a load of lumber and one deadhead baggage cars. The lumber was strewn all over the tracks and some length of rail torn up. Due to expert handling by the train crew, however, no part of the passenger train left the tracks.

Wrecking Crew Busy.
News of the wreck was quickly flashed to Ottawa and A. B. McNaughton, divisional superintendent, at once ordered the wrecking train out from the Bank street, Ottawa yards. With Mr. McNaughton in personal charge, the crew reached here in record time and went to work to clear the track.
Dr. W. McDiarmid of Maxville was called to the scene of ths accident and after rendering first aid to Mr. Roach, made a checkup with C.N.R. officials of the passengers.
Engineer M.T. Ashe was in charge of the passenger train engine. The conductor was G.M. Brockell of Ottawa.

15 Passengers Arrive.
Fifteen passengers bound for Ottawa arrived at the Union station at 3.30 daylight saving time this morning on a special train which had been sent for them. Dr. P.W. McKinnon, C.N.R. physician, was on hand in case any of the passengers required attention. One man who stated that his back was hurt was examined by the doctor. The passengers stated that the jar from the crash was very light considering the fact that the train stopped in such a short distance.

Ottawa Journal 3 June 1937

Engineer Hurt In Train Crash Near Maxville
William Roach Injured In Jumping from Cab of Flyer

William Roach master-mechanic and travelling engineer of the Canadian National Railways, who resides at 598 King Edward avenue was injured in a crash one mike west of Maxville, at 9.35 p.m standard time Wednesday. When the C,N.R trans-continental passenger train No. 1, west-bound, side swiped the rear of an east-bound freight train at a siding. The passenger train scheduled to arrive here at 10.15 p.m. standard time did not arrive until 4.30 a.m.
The only person on either train to suffer grave injuries, Mr. Roach was badly cut about the face and head and received a fractured right wrist when he jumped from the cab of the transcontinental flyer. First aid was given the injured man by Dr. W. B. McDiarmid, of Maxfield, assisted by a nurse, who was a passenger on the west-bound train. Mr Roach was later brought to hospital here.

Failed to clear track.

The wreck occurred when the freight train was pulling into the Maxville siding. It failed to fully clear the main line tracks and two rear cars were sideswiped by the heavy locomotive of the passenger express. The engineer on the freight was James Rawlings, of Ottawa, and the engineer in charge of the trans-continental was N.T. Ashe, of Ottawa.
A flat car Laden with Lumber was hurled from the right-of-way and an empty baggage car on the freight was derailed.

Curve Near Scene.

Railway workers said the freight had set flares at the both front and rear of the train, but, owing to a slight curve on the tracks, the engineer of the passenger train was unable to see them until he was virtually on top of the slow-moving freight.
The engineer of the passenger train set his air brakes, but was unable to avert the crash. Seeing that a collision was inevitable, Mr. Roach jumped from the engine's cab, and received his injuries when he fell heavily to the gravel road bed. Mr. Roach had been travelling in the cab in keeping with his duties.

Locomotive damaged.

The passenger locomotive was badly damaged, and had to be replaced by another which was sent from Ottawa. The steam chest of the engine was torn off where its sideswiped the freight cars, and it's driving gear was put out of commission. The entire side of the empty baggage car attached to the freight was ripped out by the impact.
Passengers remained in their seats on the train which was upright on the rails and undamaged except for the locomotive. The special brought Ottawa passengers back. Pullman car occupants remained in their berths until the track was cleared and the transcontinental able to continue.
Of the 43 passengers travelling on No. 1, the only ones affected were a group in the colonization car who, although badly shaken up, did not require medical aid. Conductor of the freight train was George Walton of Ottawa, while the conductor of the passenger train was George Brockwell.
It was reported a number of transients were stealing a ride on the freight train, but none was injured.

Sent Wreck Crew.

Immediately after the crash, conductor Walton reported the wreck to Ottawa. A wrecking crew and special train was sent to the scene to clear the line and bring the passengers to Ottawa. Alex B. McNaughton, superintendent of the Ottawa division of the C.N.R., accompanied the train and investigated causes of the collision.
Dr. F. W. Mackinnon was at the station here to meet the special train, and the trans-continental later. Of the 15 on the special, R. Wohn, a dining car steward, reported his back was bothering him and he was given treatment.
F. Godfrey, of Toronto, passenger on the express, said there had been no excitement.

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Updated 13 May 2021