Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1949, March 5 - Canadian National - Collision between a mixed train and a freight train at Pembroke, minot injuries

Ottawa Citizen 7 March 1949

Passengers Leave cars Before CNR Train Crash


PEMBROKE WRECK Photos show damage caused Saturday afternoon just outside Pembroke town limits when CNR freight train rammed passenger coach and two cars loaded with logs which were standing on main line. Pasengers had left train shortly before the crash. Montaigne Photos

PEMBROKE Several persons had a narrow escape from death or serious injury and damage to railway rolling stock, estimated at several thousand dollars, was done here Saturday afternoon when a passenger coach of a stopped CNR mixed train was struck by the locomotive of an east-bound CNR freight. The crash, the impact of which was described as "terrific," occurred a short distance east of a point where the tracks intersect highway 62 on the outskirts of Pembroke.
As far as could be learned only one man was hurt, and only slightly in the crash. He was Emerith Wagoner, a Nova Scotian and passenger on the mixed train. He was apparently leaving the train when the freight plowed into it. He received slight knee injuries.
Little damage was said to have been caused to the freight train. The engineer and fireman reportedly leaped to safety seconds before the impact after being unable to avoid the collision. Wilmer Schultz of Ottawa was the engineer while the firemen was Raymond Markel, also of Ottawa. Other crew members were Conductor A. Joyce and Brakeman A. Martin of Ottawa.
Crew members of the standing train were: John MacKenzie, conductor; engineer Leo Bechamp: fireman Floyd Walker, and baggageman Albert Heubrer of Pembroke.
Traffic was halted on the tracks the CNR main line for about three hours. Use of a siding and removal of some wreckage enabled traffic to proceed. Divisional superintendent G. T. Dunn is in Pembroke to supervise clearing of the wreckage and to investigate the mishap but could not be reached for comment last night. Chief constable B. J. Carnegie and Sgt. B. S. Dickie of Pembroke police conducted a preliminary investigation at the scene.
Names and addresses of passengers, who had left the train just prior to the collision, could not be learned as they had either taxied or walked into Pembroke from where the train had halted. Their promptness in leaving the train, shortly after it stopped, undoubtedly resulted in their escape from death or injury.
Murray Pattin, Pembroke taxi-man, told The Citizen he had driven several train passengers from the scene of the accident just before it occurred and that six or seven others had left the vicinity on foot and proceeded into town.
One Injured
The injured man was treated by Dr. H. B. Cotnam, Pembroke. Wagoner, employed at a lumber camp near here, is said to have remained on the train after the other passengers had left. However, after having been involved in the mishap, he is said to have been able to proceed to the Pembroke Shook Mills, received his pay and departed. The Citizen checked local hotels without locating him, but officials at the mill said he was "all right."
It was learned later that in addition to Wagoner, Mr. and Mrs. Ned  Ziebell, Locksley Station, near here, their daughter-in-law and an unidentified man, employed by the Hydro Electric Power Commission on a transmission line project at Algonquin Park, were also passengers.
Inside Yard Limits
Although details of the crash are still lacking, it was said the mixed train from Brent, Ont., had pulled inside the Pembroke yard limits and the engine had been unhooked to allow for shunting operations. Two or three cars, loaded with logs, with a combination passenger and baggage car at the rear, were standing on the tracks when the heavy freight plowed into them at 2.40 p.m. The resulting impact lifted the passenger car off the tracks, turning it around and leaving it badly shattered along the right of way. The cars loaded with logs were smashed also and the logs scattered in all directions for a distelice of nearly 500 yards.
Trainmen here expressed "amazement" when questioned about a possible cause of the accident. They stated that the standing train was well inside the yard limits and that "the start of the limits was like a brick wall to a moving train."

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Updated 12 August 2019