Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1951, May 11 - Schoolboy Killed By Train on the Trestle over Preston street, Renfrew subdivision

From the Ottawa Citizen 12 May 1951

11-Year-Old Victor Miron Is Killed By Locomotive On Railway Trestle
A schoolboy's adventure atop a railway trestle ended in tragedy yesterday afternoon, when Victor Miron, 11, of 319 Le-Breton Street, was struck and killed by a passing locomotive.
Two companions escaped death by inches as they leaped down a steep embankment only a brief second before the engine roared over the narrow bridge where the lads had been playing.
It was at 4.20 yesterday afternoon that Victor Miron accompanied by Howard Moffatt, 7, of 12, Raymond Street and Harold "Butch" Starklngs, 10, of 9 Raymond Street, climbed the 23 foot CNR trestle on Preston Street in search of adventure.
20 Minutes Later
Twenty minutes later two police officers patrolling the area made a grim discovery. The small battered body of Victor was found on the sidewalk under the trestle Staff Sergeant Brown 537 Lyon Street, a passerby, was stooped over the lifeless child, who lay in a pool of blood.
The two other lads, frightened by their own narrow escape, had fled from the scene hardly aware. of the tragedy that had befallen their playmate. The army sergeant reported that, he had not seen the actual accident. He stated that he was passing under the trestle as the boy's body fell down the rocky emhankment and came to rest on the sidewalk almost at is feet.
At 4.40 P.M
It was later learrfed that the accident occurred at 4.40 p.m. as the Ottawa-bound Pembroke Flyer (train No. 9. locomotive No. 5059) was passing over the trestle on the way to the Union Station.
The engineer of the passenger train, Gilbert Orange, was unaware of the accident. He did not know that the train had struck the child until he was so informed by city police some time after the boy had been found dead.
Several hours after his chum had been killed seven-year-old Howard Moffatt gave The Citizen his version of his frightening experience prior to the death of young Victor.
"Victor. Butch and myself decided to take a walk along the tracks, "he said.
Climbed On Trestle
"We climbed to the top of the trestle and started walking and playing, suddenly we saw ine train. Butch ran first. I was behind him, and Vic was last.
"I jumped down the grass behind Butch. I thought I saw the train hit Victor but I wasn't sure. I think I did see him fly into the air when I looked back," the youngster recalled.
The dead lad's sorrowing parents werp unable to give any reason for Victor's desire to play on the tracks yesterday afternoon. His father, Raphael Miron, a city employe, could not recall that his son had ever been seen on the railway tracks before yesterday.
The boy, he said, did not come home from school yesterday. He had taken his bicycle and left it at the home of an aunt. Mrs. Anton Levesque, 357 Rochester Street who lives about a hundred feet from the CNR tracks. This was shortly after 4 o'clock.
Seen Joining Friends
Victor was seen by Mrs. Levesque joining his two friends and heading for the tracks. The family knew nothrng of the accident until advised by officials after the tragedy had occurred.
Sergeant William Cowan and Constable Earl Connollv of No. 2 Police Station were at the scene shortly after the accident had occurred. The officers noticed the train passing over the trestle as they approached the spot. When they passed under the trestle they saw the boy on the sidewalk.
Further Investigation revealed that the boy had been thrown over a two-foot ledge alongside, the tracks. He then rolled down the 23-foot embankment leading to the sidewalk.
Coroner Dr W. T. 8hirreff, who was called to the scene, stated that death had been instantaneous. He reported that an inquest will be held.

From the Ottawa Citizen 26 May 1951

Tragic Story Of Death Pours From Boys' Lips
The tragic story of their playmates death atop a railway trestle poured from the lips of two little boys last night at a coroner's inquest into the death of Victor Miron, 11, of 319 Le-Breton Street.
They told how the lad failed to keep up with them as they raced across the edge of the CNR railway overpass on Preston Street, during the afternoon of May 11. and was struck by an eastbond locomotive that came down upon them as they were at play.
The two boys, Howard Moffatt, 7, of 12 Raymond Street and Harold "Butch" Starkings. 10, of 9 Raymond Street, told the coroner's jury that despite frequent warnings they habitually made the railway tracks their playground.
On the afternoon of the accident the three boys had climbed up the embankment leading to the Preston Street trestle shortly after leaving school. They were engaged in "throwing pebbles on little girls below" when the Pembroke passenger train brought a tragic end to the dangerous pastime.
Too Small For Box
Too young to be sworn in as witnesses, and too small to be seen over the edge of the witness box in the courtroom, the boys were seated, one after the other, in a chair before the coroner and permitted to tell the story in their own words.
Howard Moffatt, told Assistant Crown Attorney Samuel Lepofsky, KC, that he knew the difference between the truth and a lie. "My father will spank me if I tell a lie." he declared. With this assurance Coroner Dr. W. T. Shirreff told the young witness to go ahead with his story.
 "Butch Starkings and me were walking to the tracks, when Victor came along and joined us. He had a bicycle and left it with a lady and we went to the tracks," the boy recalled.
"We crossed the tracks twice, and were throwing some pebbles at the girls, when 'Butch' hollered 'Run, here comes a train'," he saild.
Ran Ahead, Jumped
"I ran ahead and jumped down the side. When I looked back I saw Victor falling over the side of the bridge. I guess the train must have hit him," young Moffatt stated.
His grim testimony was duplicated by Harold Starkings. He told the coroner's jury that he "just happened to look up and see the train." Both boys declared that they heard neither bell nor the warning blast of a whistle.
Members of the train crew testified that the train had been coasting at a speed of 10 mlles-per-hour in accordance with CNR regulations for travel within Ottawa city limits.
Fireman Stephen Hook and Engineer Gilbert Orange, both testified that a warning bell had continually sounded, but the whistle was silent in the observance of a city anti-noise by-law.
Constantly Warned
The coroner's jury were told that youngsters were constantly being warned away from the CNR right-of-way. CNR Chief Constable B. B. Harris testified that two of the youngsters had appeared in Juvenile Court on March 30, after being found on a similar crossing, and were severely reprimanded oy Judge Allen Fraser.
"I don't condone the practise, but we must remember that little boys will play on railway tracks, and every precaution must be made to avoid accidents," Mr. Lepofsky reminded the jurors after all witnesses had been heard.
The following verdict was returned by the jury: "Victor Miron met his death by injuries suffered on a railway bridge at Young and Preston Streets.
"While we are at a loss to understand why the boys were not seen on the bridge by the engineer or fireman, evidence shows the boys were previously warned, and we attach no blame."
However the jury added the recommendation that all such danger spots be provided with more adequate warning signs in the future.
Other witnesses heard last night were, Dr. Max Vechter, Robert Fitzpatrick, Mrs. Mary McCadden and Patrick Larkin. Members of the train crew who testified were, William Swlnwood, conductor; J. Valllere, brakeman, Wilbert Fahey, baggageman; Gilbert Orange, engineer, and Stephen Hook, fireman.
Corporal Walter Hudson, Sergeant William Cowan, and Corporal Eric McDonald of the Ottawa City Police reviewed the results of their Investigation.

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