Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1953 December 7 - Four freight cars pushed off the end of track at Broad Street, CPR Ottawa

Ottawa Citizen Tuesay 8 December 1953

Switchman At Fault In Freight Crash

Investigation by the Canadian Pacific Railway into a Broad Street accident last night when four cars jumped the tracks, causing $600 damage and blocking the street for hours, has revealed "an error in judgement on the part of a member of the yard switching crew."
Corrective Measures
The CPR said today "corrective measures are being taken" and investigation is continuing.
Three freight cars and a flat car were pushed by a shunting engine 165 feet past the end of the CPR rails to the Broad Street city weigh scales. The cars were being shunted east and overshot the end of the rails which stop at the western side of Broad Street. The accident occurred around eight o’clock.
The cars plowed through soft ground to the pavement of the street and beyond the street to a fence beside the Palace Hotel.
Cars Struck
Two automobiles, parked near the hotel, were struck by the careening railway cars. One an early model owned by Doug Splane, 107 Fleet Street, was wrecked. The other, owned by Ronald Fortin, 193 Broad Street, was damaged to the extent of $200.
Other damage was caused to the wire fence into which the Splane vehicle was pushed by the flat car.
The street was cleared by 10.40 p.m.
Oren Stanley, 14 Wychwood Drive, Aylmer, Que., was yard foreman while the engineer of CPR No. 3433 was S.C. Thompson.

Ottawa Journal Tuesday 8 December 1953

Nobody Said to Stop
Freight Takes Rugged Run On Broad Street

A CPR freight train, whose engineer police said "Just kept backing up" because no one told him to stop, ran out of track in the Broad street yards last night and finally halted after it had:
1. Sideswiped a parked automobile and flattened all four tires on the vehicle.
2. Cut at right angles across Broad street, shaking walls, doors, windows in the Palace House as it bulldozed past the building within 15 feet of the men's beverage room.
3. Crushed a sidewalk to rubble and rumbled across a city weigh scales, threatening the delicate underground balancing mechanism.
4. Wrecked a second automobile whose owner had parked the vehicle moments before.
5. Pushed the car into Chaudiere Park twisting 75 feet of steel fence into broken shreds of metal.
CPR officials this morning said the train's engineer was Samuel C. Thompson, 55 Renfrew avenue.
Broad street runs north from the Junction of Wellington and Albert streets along the east end of the sprawling CPR yards Tracks run east and west, ending, on the east side of the yards, 100 feet from the west sidewalk. There are no railway bumper guards at the ends of the tracks.
At eight o'clock last night a train of six empty box cars and an unloaded flat car were being backed east by a shunting engine.
No Guard Say Police.
City police said their investigation showed no brakeman or guard had been stationed at the east end of the tracks to warn the engineer his train was nearlng the stopping point.
So the engineer just kept right on until the sound of rending steel echoed the length of the train, to his cab.
"Then", police said, "he stopped."
Uniformed members of the company's police force tried to prevent news photographers from taking pictures of the train as It rested across city property.
His Car Wrecked.
Meanwhile Douglas Splalne, 107 Fleet street, Ottawa, a waiter in the men's beverage room of the Palace, owner of the wrecked automobile, viewed the wreckage of his car and felt happy he had not been in it.
"I had just parked it on the east side of the street", he said. "I went into the hotel and was just reaching for my apron to go on duty when I heard the crash. I can thank God I wasn't In the car."
Ronald Fortin. 193 Broad street, owner of the car which had been parked on the west side of the street, was in his home.
'Noise Like Thunder.'
Eileen Blais. 18. 191 Broad street, standing outside her home a half block from the crash, said the train "made a noise like thunder" when it ripped across the pavement and crumbled the sidewalk near her.
"There was no warning", she said. "Anyone standing in the path of the train would have been crushed to death. It just loomed out of the night and was there in front of my eyes before there was even time to blink."
Traffic on Broad street was held up for more than two-and-a-half hours while CPR yardsmen worked to, get the freight back on its tracks.
In the first attempt the four cars across the road uncoupled.
They were joined with cables and it required two engines to haul them back to the yards.
Investigating the damage to city and private property were Constables Roger Fauteux and Guy Racine.

Bruce Chapman writes May 2023
Oren Stanley lived a long and  productive life in the switching operations at Ottawa West, eventually becoming a yardmaster there, and his son followed him in the CPR service.  I knew Oren well.

S. C. Thomson was Sam Thompson, the fireman on the troop train which ran into #550 at Almonte during the war.  I knew him well also.

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Updated 5 May 2023