Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1937, April - Attempts to wreck trains in the Smiths Falls area

Ottawa Citizen 9 April 1937

Second attempt to derail train.
News of a second attempt to derail the C.N.R. "mixed" train near Smiths Falls on Tuesday night was made public here tonight by Constable Ray Morden of Lindsay who is here investigating the incident.  According to reports, the attempt was unsuccessful.the engine pilot brushing aside boulders on the track.
Constable Morden declared a mitten found near the scene and small footprints indicated that the small boulders had been piled across the right-of -way by small boys.  The investigation is continuing.
An attempt to derail the train was made some two weeks ago when two ties were propped across the track but on this occasion too, the engine pilot brushed the obstruction aside.  The C.N.R. and local police investigated and three transients were arrested.

Ottawa Citizen 13 April 1937

Search For Person Who Thrice Tried To Derail Trains

SMITHS FALLS, April 12. Belief that a mentally deranged person was responsible for the three attempts to derail trains in this district during the past three weeks spread through Smiths Falls tonight and both railway and Smiths Falls police were conducting a thorough search of the section north of Smiths Falls, determined to prevent a fourth effort to wreck a train.

C.P.R. police streamed into Smiths Falls today following the disclosure of an attempt to wreck a Canadian Pacific train late on Saturday night when ties were placed across the eastbound track about a mile from Smiths Falls and northwest of the town.

It was learned that three piles of ties, each containing three or four timbers, had been laid across the right-of-way sometime on Saturday evening.
A westbound train crew noticed the obstruction and word was forwarded ahead so that the first eastbound train, though it struck the barricade, was proceeding cautiously and was not derailed.
All in Same District.
All three attempts, it is pointed out, occurred in the same district to the north of Smiths Falls. On the first occasion, some three weeks ago, two ties were propped across the C.N.R. rails just north of the town in an obvious attempt to derail the C.N.R. mixed train. Belleville-bound. The train crashed into the obstruction and the ties were brushed aside. The second attempt again on the C.N.R. tracks, was made last Tuesday when small boulders were piled on the right-of-way. A sectionman, however, noticed the obstruction and the stones were removed before the train arrived.
On this occasion, C.N.R. and local police found a child's woollen mitten and the footprints of children or small boys in the vicinity and it was believed that the youngsters were responsible for the occurrence.

But belief changed today, following news of the near wreck on Saturday night, no children or small boys, police believe, could have carried the heavy ties from the pile and arranged them on the track and general belief is that some mentally deficient person is behind three attempts to wreck the trains.

Railwayman in this important divisional point, fear that another attempt will be made to derail a train, whether C.P.R. or C.N.R, and poluice intend keeping a close watch, particularly in the north end district where all three attempts have occurred, There is talk that Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be called in on the case in the near future.

In the meantime rumors last night linked three recent fires with the possible operations of the man or men responsible for the near accidents on the railways. It is pointed out that within the past three weeks, two private garages caught fire rrom unknown causes and in each case automobiles were destroyed. The third fire occurred in the Collegiate Institute but was noticed in time and damage was confined to $200.  All three fires broke out in the extreme north end of the town and all three locations are within an area of five blocks.

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