Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1940, Decenber 24 - Crossing collision, Merivale. one fatality

Ottawa Journal 26 December 1940

Farm Employe Killed by Train
A. J. Beckett Driving Near Merivale Road
When his horse drawn sleigh was struck by the C.N.R. Transcontinental flyer travelling at 60 miles per hour, at a level crossing on a farm road off the Merivale road at noon Tuesday, Albert J. Beckett, 58-year-old farm laborer, was instantly killed.
The body of Mr. Beckett was recovered 1,200 feet along the right-of-way from the crossing, which is located a short distance from the farm house of T. E. Nesbitt on the Merivale road
Inquest Adjourned.
Dr. J.S. Nelson, coroner, was called and ordered the body removed to Hulse and Playfair, Limited. 313 McLeod street . An inquest was opened and adjourned to Friday, January 3 at the County Court House.
After the sleigh was struck, the whiffle tree of the sleigh snapped where it joined the vehicle and the horses returned to the farm. This gave Mrs. Nesbitt the first indication that an accident had occurred.
In the meantime three section men who had been working at Federal station saw the train had pulled to a stop and went up the right-of-way to investigate. The men were James McLean, foreman, Raymond Verney and Charles Giroux.
Finding there had been a fatality, the men notified the Ontario Police. The train proceeded to Montreal.
Cap Over His Ears.
Mr. Nesbitt told The Journal. Mr. Beckett had been driving a load of manure from the barn to a field across the railway track every day since he came to the farm two months ago. He could not understand how he failed to hear the bell of the train and said it might have been due to the fact that the farmhand always kept his cap pulled down over his ears.
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Ottawa Citizen 26 December 1940

Alton Beckett Killed as Train Hits Sleigh.
Alton Beckett, 58, of 170 Drummond street, farm hand in the employ of Thomas E. Nesbitt, City View, was killed instantly at 11.40 a.m. on Tuesday when a horse-drawn sleigh he was driving was struck by an eastbund C.N.R transcontinental train on a side road off the Merivale road at City View.  The train was travelling at about 60 miles an hour at the time of the accident.
The body was taken to the parlors of Hulse and Playfair Limited, 315 Mcleod street, where an inquest was opened last night by Dr. J.S. Nelson, coroner, of Westboro.  The inquest was adjourned until January 3 and will be held at Nepean town hall, Westboro.
Mr. Beckett, who had only been working on the Nesbitt farm for about six weeks, was making his daily trip across the C.N.R. main line when his sleigh was struck by the fast-moving train.  He was wearing a cap with earflaps on it which is believed to have deadened the sound of the approaching train.  The sleigh was reduced to matchwood and the unfortunate man was struck with terriffic violence. His mangled body was caught in the front part of the engine and carried more than 1,200 feet before the train could be brought to a stop.  He suffered multiple fractures of the skull and not a bone on his left side was unbroken.
Horses Escape.
Two horses which were pulling the sleigh had a remarkable escape.  They had crossed the tracks when the sleigh was struck.  One of them suffered a slight cut while the other was unhurt. The frightened animals broke loose when the sleigh was struck and stampeded into the yard at the Nesbitt farm.  Their return to the farm was the first warning the Nesbitt household had of the accident.
Three C.N.R. section men, James McLean, Raymond Bernie and Charles Giroux, were working about a mile east on the railway tracks at the time.  They heard the crash and ran to the scene of the acccident.
The body was released from the front of the engine by the train crew and later taken to the parlors of Hulse and Playfair, after it had been viewed by the district coroner. The train was not long delayed and had proceeded on its way to Union station when the coroner and police arrived.  Provincial Constable Thomas Hazlitt investigated.
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