Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1953, April 26 - Crossing Accident near Renfrew, CPR, Chalk River sub., one fatality, one injury

From the Ottawa Citizen Monday 27 April 1953

Sudbury Driver Killed At Renfrew Crossing
Special To The Citizen  RENFREW
A Sudbury man was killed instantly and a woman companion seriously injured early Sunday morning (26/04) when their late model automobile was struck by a CPR train Saturday (sic). at a level crossing about a half-mile west of here.
Dead is Fred W. Harris, 57, of 178 College Street, Sudbury, superintendent of schools there.
His companion, Miss Grace Nichols, of Sixth Avenue, Renfrew, is in Renfrew Victoria Hospital suffering from a fractured leg, fractured arm, possible fracture of the other leg and pelvis and shock. Hospital authorities described her condltlon as "serious".
Coroner Dr. L. J. Mulvlhlll, of Renfrew, told The Citizen Sunday night that an inquest would be held as soon as the injured woman is recovered enough to testify.
Ontario Provincial Police reported that the car had been eastbound on Byers Road, a farm road some 100 yards west of Highway 17. The train was westbound CPR No. 7, second section of the trans-continental service.
The accident occurred at 1.03 a.m. There was no automatic signal at the crossing, but visibility is reported to be good at that point. The train was in charge of Conductor Emmett McCann, of North Bay, and Engineer Arthur Cousineau, of 77 Kenora Street.
The engineer told The Citizen Sunday night that the train had been travelling between 55 and 60 miles per hour.
"I saw the car," he reported, "about a quarter of a mile away. The car was stopped. The whistle blew, as it usually does at the crossing, then just as the train reached the crossing the car started again.
"It appeared that he (the driver) had gotten mixed up in his gears. We had no chance."
The locomotive finally stopped about 500 feet from the crossing, and the train crew got out to see what assistance could be given. Mr. Cousineau stated.
"The conductor telephoned to the Renfrew train despatcher and the brakeman and l hailed a passing car to take the girl to the hospital," he went on. The train was halted for 30 minutes at the scene, before proceeding to Chalk River where a new crew took over the train.
The engineer said that it was the first time that he had had such an accident In 10 years as an engineer.
Thrown 60 Feet
Police further reported that the car, a 1953 Dodge, was thrown 60 feet by the impact and almost completely demolished.
It was the second such accident in the area within four months. About the beginning of the year. Mr. and Mrs. Ross Mason, of Renfrew, died when their car was struck by a section of the same train, at a crossing about 400 yards from the scene of Sunday's'crash..

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