|Ottawa Citizen 22 August 1949|
2 Escape In Crash
Oil Truck Hit By Train
Victor Robert and John Barran, both of Rockland, came close to death at 9.30 this morning when their truck oil-tanker was almost completely demolished by the Ottawa-bound Prescott train at the Walkley road crossing near Elmwood.
The truck and its tank, estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $10,000, was demolished and the fast passenger train did not come off unscathed. Travelling at a high rate of speed the train, under the control of engineer W. A. Schofield, could not be halted after the smash until near the Billings Bridge crossing. Covered with oil, and with a severed air line, the train had to be towed into Union Station where it was sent to the roundhouse for repairs and cleaning.
7,000 Gallons Of Oil
Carrying a,load of 7,000 gallons of road oil the tank-truck, driven by Robert, was. proceeding east on the Walkley Road. In the cab was his helper John Barran. Just before the crossing was reached Robert said he asked Barran if he saw any train and on being told "no" he proceeded across the track in low gear.
"I heard the engine blew only seconds before it hit us," he said." It came out of nowhere and the next thing we knew we were being hurled sideways across the track. My helper got a strained back and I got badly shaken up. I don't know yet how we escaped. A foot or more nearer the cab we would have been killed."
Miss E. Clark, Elmwood, was an eyewitness of the crash.
"I was walking up the road toward the crossing and saw the tank truck ahead. I heard the rumble of the train coming. It was quite a distance away but was coming at a terrible speed. Almost in seconds it struck the truck and there was a terrible explosion as the tank burst.
Cloud of Steam
"I thought the boiler of the engine had exploded," Miss Clark said. "There was a cloud of steam and oil from the tank and it spread out all over the place so it was hard to see. The train ploughed right through tank and truck and went right on. I was amazed to see the truck driver and later the helper, get out of the truck cab. How they escaped alive is a mystery."
Bystanders concurred in the fact that the train appeared to be travelling at a very high speed. One man said he saw it first when it was about a mile away and, in seconds, it was bearing down on the railway crossing where the truck was.
The truck was detached from its shattered tank and the rear wheels were about 100 feet east of the crossing. Road oil, a variety of tar, was spread over a distance of 75 feet. Bystanders said the passenger engine and train received a copious bath of the oil as it sped past.
The train crew were William D. Schofield, 58, of 235 Cooper street; fireman Narcisse Plche and conductor John Crawford, 982 Wellington street. Under the impact with the truck the airline was severed and this rendered the airbrakes inoperative. Emergency means had to be used to bring the train to a halt about a half mile away from the scene of the wreck.
The accident was investigated by Provincial Constables Alex MacLpan, Frank. Patterson and James Burke.