Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1959, July 23 - Canadian National Vancouver-Montreal train, No. 4 The Continental, jumped an open switch a
quarter of a mile west of the Canadian National station at Alexandria, Alexandria subdivision. 

From Ottawa Journal Thursday 23 July 1959

Derailment Ties Up Main Line
ALEXANDRIA, Jury 23. (Special) The CNR's Continental Limited ran into difficulties difficulties when it jumped a switch and rammed into six cars on a spur line near the Alexandria station at 9.50 this morning.
The two end cars on the Continental left the track as the result of ithe impact but CNR officicials say nobody wasseriously injured.
One of the coal cars on the the spur line jumped the tracks and fell on a parked car.
An engine is being sent to clear the main line and get the Continental back on its run to Montreal.

From Ottawa Citizen Thursday 23 July 1959

Train Flip Buries Man Under Coal
ALEXANDRIA (Special) A local coal delivery man was buried up to his neck in coal today when the CNR's Continental careened into a siding and bunted into a string of box cars here at 9.56 a.m.
Cars Derailed
The train's two driving units and four box cars and a coal car on the siding were derailed but not upset. No one on the train was injured.
J. L. Gauthier, 61, who was shovelling coal from the coal car was buried under the load but was freed in about 10 minutes by town residents. He suffered only minor cuts and bruises and was treated at the scene.
The Continental, which was travelling about 50 miles an hour when it veered into the siding, was running to Montreal from Vancouver. It does not stop at Alexandria.
The derailment blocked a crossing on Highway 34 until about 11 a.m. Police rerouted traffic several miles around.
Traffic on the rail line was not disrupted as trains can travel on other tracks. Two additional driving units were tailed in to haul the Continental to Montreal. It was delayed about two hours.
Officials at the scene said damage was mostly to two empty box cars which were knocked off their undercarriages.
Saw Crash
The derailment was witnessed by Clarence Ostrum, The Citizen's Alexandria correspondent who was standing on the station platform located at the north end of the town.
"I was watching the train coming through when all of a sudden it swerved violently. I knew some thing was wrong so ran to get my car out of the way".
Another auto parked near the station platform was demolished by one of the box cars which catapulted off the siding.
Mr. Ostrum said the train swerved into the siding about a quarter mile from the station and had slowed considerably when it hit the box cars.
Alexandria residents recall that a similar train accident happened in the town on June 5, 1929. No one was killed or in jured then but the derailed train ripped away the west end of the station.

From Ottawa Journal Friday 24 July 1959

Quick Thinking Engineer Averts Heavy Loss of Life
ALEXANDRIA.A quick-thinking engineer slammed on the brakes of the CNR's crack eastbound Continental Limited as it roared through here Thursday averting a serious accident.
Engineer Joseph Ouellette of Montreal saw an open switch and managed to reduce speed as the two powerful engines pulling 12 passenger-laden cars ran up the siding.
The engine plowed into five freight cars, knocking them from the rails, and slammed a coal gondola into a parking yard before stopping in an unright position beside the rails. No one was seriously injured.
Officials here said if the Vancouver-Montreal train had been doing its usual 80 miles an hour through this town about 20 miles north of Cornwall there could have been considerable loss of life.

From Montreal gazette 24 July 1959

Crack CNR Continental Partially Derailed
Alexandria, Ont., July 23 The CNR's eastbourid Continental Limited was partially derailed to- day when it was accidentally switched into siding, in error and smashed into five freight cars and a coal gondola.
Nobody was seriouesly injured.
The crack Vancouver-Montreal express, which usually roars through the station in this town about 20 miles north of Cornwall at 80 miles an hour, came through much slower today.
The engineer apparently saw the open switch on the main line and braked but the train had too much momentum to stop before hitting the other cars.
The train crashed into the lead car and buffeted the rest down the siding until it hit the coal gondola. It pushed all the cars off the rails.
The gondola was carried down the track and came to rest in the station parking yard in an upright position.
Joseph L. Gauthier of Alexandria, who was unloading coal from the gondola, said he heard the train whistle and took no notice. Next he heard a crash and a roar. "Next thing I knew I was buried in coal up to my neck," he said.
Mr. Gauthier said he yelled for help and someone came and dug out of the coal pile. He suffered slight injuries.
 Railway officials here said the main line suffered no damag and a local train picked up the Continental's 12 cars and resumed the journey to Montreal.
The officials said if the train had been traf=velling at its normal 80 miles an hour the derailment could have caused heavy loss of life. A nuber of passengers were reported slightly injured. They were attended to be a local doctor.
The engineer was Joseph Ouelette of Montreal. The train was in charge of Conductor Jack Carrol of Ottawa.

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Updated 3 June 2019