Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1956, April 3 - Crossing accident Prescott Highway, CPR Prescott sub.

The wrecked tractor-trailer of Smith Transport Limited was struck by a CPR train at the Experimental Farm crossing on Tuesday night. The impact smashed it up against a Hydro pole, which it snapped off and then against a tree. Goods in the trailer spilled out onto the ground. The driver, Michael Nolan of Toronto, escaped from the crash with a head laceration. Photo by Newton.

Ottawa Citizen 4 April 1956

Driver Receives Cuts In Train-Truck Crash

A CPR train last night struck a Smith Transport limited tractor-trailer at the Experimental Farm Crossing near Dows Lake and wrecked the trailer but the driver is escaped with only a painful head laceration.
Michael Nolan, 35, of 116 Lakeshore Boulevard, Toronto, who was alone in the big tractor-trailer, was treated at the Civic Hospital for the head cut, but not admitted.
The train, two engines linked together, was traveling south and the transport vehicle was going east when the train struck the loaded tractor-trailer about 9.55. p.m. Mr. Nolan told police he was following a car on the highway into Ottawa and, when the car slowed down, he turned out to pass it. He did not see the slow-moving train until only a few feet from the crossing.
He said he was traveling about 30 miles an hour. The train, police were told, was going about eight or 10 miles an hour.
In spite of the comparative slowness of the train, it slammed the tractor-trailer several feet. The big vehicle snapped off a Hydro pole, tore away a few feet of fence around HMCS Carleton and came to rest against a big tree.
Mixed items on the trailer were scattered when the doors of the vehicle were sprung open. The ground was littered with such different items as ladies shoes and pots of glue.
The train, in charge of engineer William Shorthouse of 137 Daly Avenue and fireman Richard Hebert of 23 Charles Street, Eastview, was not heavily damaged and was soon on its way after the crash.
Damage to the tractor-trailer was estimated at $5,000.
Constable Norman McGee investigated.

Ottawa Journal 4 April 1956

Transport 2nd Best In Bout With Train

It was a meeting of monsters last night when a slow moving CPR engine slammed into the side of a giant tractor trailer at the level crossing on the Prescott Highway near Dows Lake.
The outcome left little doubt as to the supremacy of the locomotive. It hurled the transport from the right-of-wayand wrapped it around a big elm tree.
Driver Michael Nolan, 35, of Toronto, escaped from the cab with minor head cuts, but his miscellaneous cargo was strewn about the roadside.
A barrel of glue hurtled out of the trailer, traveled 60 feet through the air, and smacked the side of an HMCS Carleton building. One window in the building was broken.
On the way to its resting place against the elm the transport picked up a hydro pole and sandwiched it between the trailer and tree. Broken into three pieces, the top of the pole hung in a crotch of the tree, the bottom remained upright against the tree and the middle section hung precariously on the wires by a small insulating knob.
Driver Nolan told police he was driving east on the Prescott highway. There was a car in front of him. He said the car slowed down, and because it had done that a little while earlier for no apparent reason he paid no attention to it. Pulling out to pass the car, Nolan noticed the train when he was about 10 feet from the tracks.
It was too late to stop.
Train engineer William Shorthuost [sic], of 173 Daly avenue, told police he was traveling between eight and 10 miles an hour at the time of the crash. He was in charge of two engines attached together and on their way to the Union Station yards. They were traveling south across the highway.
Damage to the locomotive was light, but the trailer part of the Smith Transport was wrecked.
Constable Norman McGee investigated.

Note from Bruce Chapman:
It was 33/23's power, both steam.
Bruce Gillies is the operator, recognize his wiring (still alive and living near Finch Ontario), and of course, there was only a day man at Ellwood, but #24 that morning had G3 2469, by at 0822; #34 had gone by before he came to work, so not sure what he had. Thus, 2469 would have been one of 2 engines in the crossing mishap.

Return to Main Page of Railway Accidents

Updated 5 April 2023