Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1939, November 16 - Whistle stays open on Maniwaki train. creates a disturbance

Ottawa Citizen 16 November 1939

Crew Say: Wotta Day's Work
"Casey Jones mounted to the cabin,
Casey Jones, with his orders in his hand;
Casey Jones mounted to the cabin . . ."
When C.P.R. Engineer C. E. Butler, of 158 Primrose avenue, mounted to the cabin of old No. 2112 at Maniwaki this morning, he had no premonition of the wild ride into Ottawa upon which he was setting forth.
Neither did he realize that within the hour he was to be the unwitting cause of hundreds of telephone calls which poured into the Ottawa and Hull fire and police stations from bewildered and anxious citizens.
But one of the wildest, strangest rides in his long career as a railwayman lay in front of him.
All was perfect when Engineer Butler took his place behind the throttle at Maniwaki. His fireman, Harry Creighton, of 86 Stirling avenue, had a good head of steam on and when Butler opened the throttle the big locomotive moved away smoothly and unerringly along the twin ribbons of steel.
Whistle Wouldn't Stop
The train was pulling into Kazabazua, some 45 miles from the Capital, when Butler pulled the cord of the whistle. A fine musical blast split the welkin and echoed back and forth between the Gatineau Hills. But just as suddenly the engineer realized something was wrong. Instead of stopping when he released the cord the whistle continued to emit its piercing note.
Despite every effort to curb its marathon efforts the whistle continued blowing.
Stuffed Their Ears
From this point on just what happened is rather hazy in the minds of the two men who were in the cab within a foot or so of the deafening noise. They stuffed their ears with cotton batting and did their best to concentrate on getting their train into the city.
Residents of the little towns and villages along the route ran to the tracks to see what was the matter as the train shrieked on its way as if with fiendish glee. It sped through Low and Farrelton causing the cattle in the fields to look up with puzzled awe and farmers pause in their plowing. On through Alcove, Wakefield and Rockhurst it thundered, the whistle still giving full voice.
A telegrapher got in touch with Ottawa and the railway authorities arranged for another locomotive to pick up the train at Beemer station, Hull.
Residents Alarmed.
As the train approached Hull the continuous blasting note of the whistle was heard for miles Residents, wondering what the matter was, some of them even visualizing an air-raid, began to telephone to the police and fire stations in both cities The Citizen was deluged with calls.
Engineer Butler and Fireman Creighton really had a problem on their hands. They had to bring the train into Ottawa and to do so they had to keep up steam. And yet every time the fireman swung wide the door of the huge fire pot and threw in another shovel of coal the whistle shrilled even harder. Very soon the two men couldn't hear each other's voices at all. They had to go in for pantomime. The old engine shrieked around curves like something mad. People lined the tracks and gazed with awe and when finally it pulled into Beemer station the crew felt as if they never wanted to hear a train-whistle again
Changing engines was only a matter of minutes and the Maniwaki train continued into Union station drawn by the spare engine. Still shrieking, good old 2112 continued on its way to the C.P.R. roundhouse at the Broad street street yards. Here mechanics climbed aboard with their monkey wrenchess and did things that soon quieted the recalcitrant whistle.
As the whistle died down to a mere whisper the old locomotive seemed to relax with a sigh of relief. The engineer and the fireman pulled the cotton from their ears and made for their respective homes.
Engineer Butler is going to be a bit nervous the next time he reaches for the whistle cord of good old 2112. And perhaps he will wake many a night thinking he hears his train shrieking its way along the Hull-Maniwaki line.
Could Do Nothing
Speaking to The Citizen Engineer Butler said that when the whistle stuck open there was nothing he could do about it. Some whistles, he explained, have a valve on the side which can be shut off in an emergency. But the whistle on No. 2112 hasn't such a gadget.
But the mechanics say they have fixed the whistle for good this time and that in future it will respond the the engineer's hand

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Updated 10 July 2021