Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1956, May 9 - Head-on collision between two passenger trains at Brockville - one fatality.

Ottawa Citizen 10 May 1956.

Brockville - Two inquiries were underway here today into the cause of the switching error that led to a fatal train collision here Wednesday afternoon.
Mrs. Robert Crummy, of 588 Chapel Street, Ottawa suffered fatal head injuries when she was thrown to the floor of a coach.  Thirty other passengers were shaken up but suffered only minor hurts.
The Board of Transport Commissioners sent an official here from Montreal to make an inquiry while CNR officials on whose line the wreck occurred were also questioning all employes seemingly involved.
Coach on siding
Mrs. Crummy, 56, whose body was taken to Ottawa for funeral services there, was in the coach from the Ottawa-Brockville train which was to be attached here to the Toronto train.
The coach was on a siding waiting for the Montreal-Toronto train. Apparently through error, the westbound mainline train was sent on to the siding on which the coach, hauled by a diesel switcher, was waiting while the mainliner drew into Brockville station.
The mainline train was travelling about 10 miles an hour when it hit the diesel head-on.  Mrs. Crummy had just risen from her seat and the impact threw her to the floor.
The engineer and fireman on the locomotive. Martin Sheridan and A. Gifford, respectively both of Brockville, jumped clear when they saw the Montreal-Toronto pool train bearing down on them.
Damage to the two trains was slight.
Switching Error
Railway men attributed the accident to a switching error.  The Montreal-Toronto train due in Brockville at 1.15 p.m. daily, evidently was directed into a wrong siding in which the Ottawa transfer coach was standing.
An Ottawa man who was a passenger on the coach said only the slow speed of the pool train resulted in less serious injuries being caused.
H. Gibson Caldwell, 442 McLeod Street, said that he had stepped out of the coach - it had been parked for about 20 minutes - when he saw the Toronto-bound train heading up the side track.
"It was only the slow speed of the train that saved the day for a number of the passengers," he stated.

Ottawa Journal 10 May 1956

Error caused City woman's train death

Brockville, May 10. - local police and CNR officials from Montreal this morning opened an investigation into the train crash here yesterday afternoon which resulted in the death of Mrs. Robert Crummy, 58, of 588 Chapel Street, Ottawa.
18-year-old yard helper who had only 40 hours railway experience told police he had misunderstood orders and "threw a switch" in the path of the Toronto-bound train.
Speed of the 12-car train was estimated at 40 m.p.h., when the error shifted it from the main line to a siding. It ripped up some 60 feet of railway track, before colliding with the engine and Ottawa coach.
Crown attorney Howard Atkinson set today an inquest will be held within two weeks, although no definite date has been set.
The coach in which Mrs. Crummy suffered fatal injuries had been taken from a train from Ottawa and was to have been attached to the express to go on to Toronto.
Seconds before the crash occurred, Mrs. Crummy rose from her seat in the standing coach. The impact threw her violently and her head struck a seat. She suffered severe head injuries from which she died an hour later without regaining consciousness.
No other passengers in the coach were hurt, but 30 passengers in coaches on the express complained of wrenched necks, bruises and lacerations. None required hospital treatment, however.
The engineer and fireman of the diesel engine, Martin Sheridan and Robert Gifford, both of Brockville, jumped clear when they saw the express bearing down on them.

Taken to hospital.

After the crash which occurred about 1.15 p.m., Mrs Crummy was taken to hospital by ambulance. She died there about an hour later.
Coroner Dr. C.S. McPherson, of Prescott, was called in following her death since the Brockville coroner, Dr. H. E. Preston, is also a railroad doctor.
The express was delayed for repairs following the crash and left for Toronto about two hours behind schedule.

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Ottawa Citizen 11 May 1956

Misunderstands Instructions, Causes Wreck
BROCKVILLE (CP) - Howard Richardson, 18, of Bathurst, N. B., who has about 40 hours' experience as a switchman, today told investigators into a train collision here Wednesday that he misunderstood instructions and threw a switch in the path of a Toronto-bound Canadian National Railways passenger train.
The train was sent head-on into a parked diesel engine, and a CNR passenger coach.
Mrs. Robert Crummy, 58, of Ottawa died of a head fracture and 30 other passengers were shaken in the crash. Investigators said the Toronto-bound train was travelling about 40 miles an hour when it hit the switch and went into the siding off the main line. It ripped up 60 feet of railway tracks before colliding with the parked engine and coach

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