Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1940, January 8 - Freight train hits Colonial Coach Lines bus, Experimental farm, CPR., Prescott sub., 11 injured

Ottawa Journal 9 January 1940

Crash Occurs At Crossing On Driveway At Dow's Lake
Icy Condition of Roadway Blamed For Accident - Bus Pushed 75 Feet By Slowly Moving Train But Vehicle Did Not Turn over

Eleven persons were painfully hurt and taken to the Ottawa Civic Hospital for treatment when a Colonial Coach Lines bus and a Canadian Pacific Railway freight train were in collision at the Driveway crossing 100 yards west of Dow's Lake, at 5.55 p.m. Monday.
Thirteen other passengers in the large bus were badly shaken up and suffered from shock and bruises but did not require hospital care.
The bus was completing its trip from Prescott to the Ottawa terminal on Albert street and the .train was travelling north on the tracks when the crash occurred. the bus just failing to clear the tracks when hit by the train.
In Hospital.
Patients in the Ottawa Civic Hospital suffering from cuts from flying glass, bruises and shock are
Details omitted.
His First Accident.
Paul Duhamel. 100 Cameron avenue, was the driver of the bus. Ir was his first accident in five years with the company. In charge of the train, en route from Prescott to Ottawa West Station, were Alex M. Shepherd, 477 Wellington street, conductor; Andrew Usher, 27 Hampton avenue, engineer, and John A. Barr, 11 Adelaide street, fireman.
After the accident the train pulled the bus back on the highway. It was driven back to the company's garage on Albert street.
The icy condition of the roadway was blamed by the bus line officials for the accident.
According to a statement issued by L. J. Butler, local superintendent for the bus line, the bus was approaching the crossing at 10 miles an hour.
Noticed Train's Lights.
"The driver was slowing down to make a stop at the crossing in accordance with the rules of the company". Mr. . Butler told The Journal in giving the driver's statement. "He was within 10 feet of the crossing when he noticed the light of the train in the windshield. Seeing the train almost at the highway Mr. Duhamel applied his brakes slightly quicker than usual. This caused all four wheels to skid on the icy roadway. Realizing the bus was going to skid right into the path of the train Mr. Duhamel released his brakes, gave the motor the gas and swerved to the left to take the train tracks.
"He was just a fraction too late for the train crashed into the bus above the right rear wheel. Had it not been for the quick action of the driver the damage and injury to passengers probably would have been more serious."
Fireman Barr said he saw the bus approaching the crossing and realized it could not stop. He shouted a warning to the engineer who immediately applied the emergency brakes. The train was travelling about five miles an hour.
Engineer Usher told police he sounded the whistle and the bell as he neared the crossing.
The- heavy vehicle was pushed by the train 75 feet along the railway tracks in a northerly direction from the point of impact. Fortunately it did not turn over, the damage being confined to the rear portion of the vehicle.
The cow catcher of the freight engine struck the right hand side of the bus on the rear fender just missing the wheel and sending the seats above it across the aisle. Although the train was going very slowly the momentum of the engine, 10 loaded freight cars, and 10 empty cars was sufficient to push the bus for a considerable distance.
Taken, to Hospital
The passengers seated above the right rear wheel were quickly removed and taken to the Civic Hospital. Others were shaken up and did not require immediate medical care.
All the passengers praised the cautiousness of the driver in the run to Ottawa from Prescott. emphasizing that the going was bad with the highway, in an icy condition. The bus was running only five minutes behind schedule, being due in Ottawa at 6 o'clock.
George Lewis and his sister, Miss Edith Lewis, were returning from Kemptville where they had been on a week-end visit to friends. They left Kemptville on the bus at five o'clock.
At that time they had the choice of a front or a back seat on the right-hand side. They took the second seat from the front on the right, with Miss Lewis seated on the inside and Mr. Lewis on the outside. Had they taken the rear seat offered them, they would have suffered the full impact of the railway engine.
Did Not Hear Train.
Miss Lewis said, "the driver had been exceptionally careful owing to the slippery condition of the highway". She believed the; window-pane of the door had been frosted since it had been opened quite frequently, thus hampering the driver's vision of traffic approaching from the right. She had been looking out her window which was quite clear, but had not heard any whistle or seen a sign of the approaching train.
"It happened so suddenly that I did not know what had happened until I got out. I was knocked against the front seat and momentarily dazed. All I suffered was a bad bump on the forehead." Mr. Lewis, thrown: out of his seat to the floor, struck the flooring heavily and his teeth were forced through his lower lip. He spent the night in Ottawa Civic Hospital, after being taken there by a passing motorist. Two members of the R.C.A.F. drove Miss Lewis and Miss Ellis to their homes in the city.
Provincial Constables Harold Swain, Lome MacGillivray, and Ward H. Kennedy investigated the accident, and they were assisted by Nepean Township Constable Borden Conley.

Ottawa Citizen  9 January 1940

Nine Persons Injured In Collision Between Freight Train and Bus
None of Passengers on Colonial Lines Vehicle Seriously Hurt in Spectarular Crash at Experimental Farm Entrance
Attribute Accident To Icy Condition of Road
Operator Applies Brakes, But Wheels Lock, Causing Bus to Slide Towards Slow-moving Loromotive.

In a spectacular crash between a Canadian Pacific Railway freight train and a Colonial Coach Lines bus on the crossing at the entrance to the Experimental Farm near Dow s Lake at 5.55 o'clock last evening, nine persons were injured, none seriously, and a number of others were shaken up.
 List of Injured.
The injured were taken to the Civic Hospital in the ambulance of McEvoy Brothers and passing motor cars. All are suffering from severe bruises and minor cuts.
List omitted
The bus driver, Paul DuhameL. 100 Cameron avenue, was unhurt. He was Ottawa-bound from Prescott as was the freight train in charge of conductor Alex M. Sheppard. 820 Somerset street west. Other members of the train crew were: Andrew Ussher, engineer, 27 Hampton avenue; John. A. Barr. fireman, 11 Adelaide street: G. P. Gillespie, brakeman, 485 Bayswater avenue.
Unable to Stop.
It is the custom of bus drivers to bring their vehicles to a stop before going over a railway crossing but apparently Duhamel was unable to stop owing to the slippery condition of the road and was almost over the crossing when the train struck the right tear of the bus smashing it in and shattering some of the window, fragments of which littered the pilot of the engine. The bus was pushed sideways along the tracks for about 50 feel but did not overturn.
Passengers who were sitting: over the right rear wheel of the bus were the most severely hurt. With the assistance of those uniinjured, they were able to leave the bus by the front door which had not been damaged. The train crew rushed to the assistance of the passengers and took some of them into the cab of the engine where they would be warm until they could be taken to hospital.
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When provincial police arrived on the scene they ordered the bus kept in the position it came to a halt until it was learned there was no likelihood of any fatal results from the accident. The train was held up for nearly two hours before the bus was moved. It was brought into Ottawa under its own power.
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Updated 14 July 2021