Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1959, September 14 - A wayfreight side swiped the diner of the pool train, #559 at Brockville, Canadian National, Kingston subdivision.  4 killed, 14 injured.

From the Ottawa Citizen  15 September 1959.

(Caption of picture showing CNR 3664) Showing evidence of the terrific impact is the wreckage of the diesel engine which, pulled a local freight train into the side of the Ottawa-Toronto pool train at Brockville. Two women were killed and 14 other persons injured in the crash. The diesel ??ed the track after the crash, while the first box car knifed into -- passenger train.
With debris flying, Ottawa nun waited for coffee in the diner.
BROCKVILLE - The waiter was bringing Rev. Sister Mary Bernard of the Holy Cross Sisters of Ottawa, a cup of coffee when the crash occurred.
Sister Mary Bernard was sitting in the corner of the diner right near the door into the next coach. She and another nun from Kingston had gone into the diner five minutes before.
"There  was a very bad jerk and everything flew off the table, even the table cloth,"  said  the 35-year-old  nun in her room at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital here this morning.
Chin Cut
Sister Mary Bernard suffered a cut to her chin and complained this morning of a stiff right knee.
"Seconds later, there was another jerk and a crashing sound in the center of the diner. Everything went dark with dust and pieces of debris flying about. It was like hail. The diner tipped over to the right.
"I stayed on my chair but the other sister fell on the floor."
Although pale, Sister Mary Bernard was able to recount her experiences calmly until she said "two men were pinned under a table and we could hear them calling for help and moaning. We couldn't reach them because of the debris."
Help Arrived
Sister Mary Bernard said people soon arrived alongside the diner to help those injured.
"We told them we were all right but there were two men pinned under the table. A man with a step ladder came along and got us out the door."
Sister Mary Bernard said that a Mrs. Cook who lived near the crash scene, took the two nuns to her home and made them coffee. Her husband later drove them to St. Vincent de Paul Hospital.
The Kingston nun, who was not identified by Sister Mary Bernard left the hospital early this morning and Sister Mary Bernard expects to leave tomorrow after an X-ray examination of her injuries.

Like Broken Paper Bag
The diesel engine pulling the local freight jumped the track after the impact. The first boxcar jack-knifed into the side of the diner, trapping the injured and tilting the smashed car on a precarious angle.
Indications of the CNR's view of the seriousness of the tragic accident is the fact that S. F. Dingle of Montreal, vice-president of operations; Jack Stevenson of Montreal, chief of transportation for the entire system; and W. H. Kyle of Toronto, vice-president of the central region, are all on their way to view the scene.
0. Boivin of Montreal, general superintendent of transportation for the CNR. arrived in Brockville this morning to take charge of the investigation.
Mrs. Joan Gresswell, whose home is on Park Street, opposite the scene of the wreck, said she was working in her kitchen preparing the evening meal when she heard a sound like a paper bag being broken.
Blood stained articles of clothing, dishes dining car chairs and numerous shoes littered the area when firemen reached the scene.
Brockville Civil Defence Coordinator Percy Markell, rushed to the scene with a crew of 20 men. Going to work immediately they braced the tilting dining car, preventing it from tipping further while the injured were removed.
Ten doctors and 18 nurses received the injured as they were brought to Brockville General Hospital by ambulance and private cars. Three operating rooms were put to continuous use until after midnight.
As the injury toll mounted, hospital superintendent J. J. Wilson, requested an emergency blood supply from Red Cross headquarters in Ottawa. Mrs Corbeil and her sister Mrs. Surprenant, who was injured, were to spend this week visiting their sister-in-law in Toronto.
Mrs Corbeil, a widow, leaves one son, Sylvio of Orleans and two daughters, Mrs. Paul-Emile (Jeanne) Schnupp and - Mrs. George (Cecile) Chartrand, both of Eastview.
Gordon Patterson is in critical condition in hospital, unaware that his wife was killed in the accident. He retired last June as professor of langugagcs at the University of Toronto.

From the Ottawa Citizen 16 September 1959

CNR Still Probing Collision
BROCKVILLE (Staff) - Investigation into Monday night's train collision here, which took two lives, is continuing today following the visit to the seen of three top-ranking CNR officials.
The condition of three critically injured persons in Brockville General Hospital remains unchanged.
They are Mrs. J. Elphege Surprenant, 66, of 335 Third Avenue, Eastview; Gordon Patterson, of 56 Humberside Avenue, Toronto, both passengers, and Bill Veloshanoff of Toronto, CNR dining car employe.
S. F. Dingle, CNR vice-president of operation; J. H. Stevenson, chief of transportation for the entire CNR system, both of Montreal, and W. H. Kyle, vice-president of the central region, Toronto, visited the scene late yesterday to hear first hand accounts of the accident.
A CNR spokesman said today the railway would issue no statement regarding the reason for the crash until the investigation was complete and the inquest held. No date for the inquest has been set.

From the Ottawa Citizen 21 September 1959

Train toll now at 3
The death toll in last Monday's train collision jumpedto three this morning as Gordon Patterson, a retired University of Toronto professor of languages died in his sleep.
The victim's wife, Mrs. Dorothy Patterson of Toronto, was killed outright in the crash but this fact was kept from her husband because of his own critical condition.  The other victim was Mrs. Rene Corbeil, 70, of Orleans.
The accident occurred Monday evening when a freight train sliced into the Ottawa-Toronto pool train as it was being shunted at a Brockville siding.  Originally 14 persons were injured, but only three remained in hospital today.

From the Ottawa Citizen 22 September 1959

Will Hold Inquest Inlo Crash
BROCKVILLE (Special! An inquest into last Monday's train collision here will definitely be held. District Coroner Dr. G. W. Jones said today, following the death of Mrs. Alphege Surprenant, 65, of 335 Third Avenue, Eastview, early this morning.
The death toll as a result of the crash now stands at four. Gordon Patterson of Toronto, the third victim, died yesterday morning. Bill Veloshanoff of Toronto, still remains in critical condition with severe groin and head injuries.
Mrs. Surprenant died at 4.55 a.m. at Brockville General Hospital, from a fractured skull and multiple internal injuries.
Dr. Jones said no definite date for the inquest has been set.
The train collision occurred last Monday when a freight train knifed into the Ottawa-Toronto pool train as it was being shunted on a Brockville siding. Mrs. Dorothy Patterson of Toronto, and Mrs. Rene Corbeil of Orleans, were killed outright, while 14 persons were injured.

From the Ottawa Citizen 23 September 1959

Ottawan Leaves Hospital After Brockville Wreck
Col. A. 0. Monk of 295 Fifth Avenue, Injured in the Brockville train wreck of last week which claimed the lives of two Ottawa area women plus a Toronto couple, was released from Brockville General Hospital today.
Still on the hospital's critical list is Bill Veloshanoff of 9 Theresa Street, Toronto. Hospital authorities last night said there is no change in his condition from the time ot the accident.
The only other victim of the wreck still in hospital is James Stack. 57, of 547 Victoria Park, Toronto. Mr. Stack, recovering from a broken ankle was described as in good condition.
Mrs. Rene Corbeil, 70, of Orleans and Mrs. Dorothy Patterson of Toronto, died the night of the wreck. Mrs. Patterson's husband Gordon, a retired University of Toronto languages professor, died at 11 a.m. Monday. Mrs. Elphege Surprcnant, 66, of 335 Third Avenue, Eastview, a sister-in-law of Mrs, Cornell, died Monday afternoon at 5 p.m. 

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From the Ottawa Citizen 23 October 1959

Blame Engineer In Crash
BROCKVILLE (Special) A coroner's jury today ruled that Engineer John Burns was "negligent" in the operation of his freight train when it collided with another train in the Brockville railway yards on Sept. 14.
The engineer has been dismissed by the Canadian Pacific Railway.
There is no indication of charges being laid against him.
Yesterday two witnesses testified Thursday that a "go-ahead green" instead of a yellow caution light was shining September 14, when a freight crashed into a CNR passenger train here killing five persons and injuring more than 20 others.
The inquest, which opened Thursday into the death of one victim, Gordon Patterson, 68, a University of Toronto professor, continues today. Also killed were Mr. Patterson's wife; Mrs. Alphege Surprenant and Mrs. Rene Corbeil, both of Ottawa and William Beloshanoff of Toronto.
A jury sitting under Coroner Dr. George W. Jones heard 24 witnesses and is expected to hear five more today.
John Burns and William Cutting, the engineer and fireman on the freight, both of Brockville, told a coroner's inquest at the United Counties Court House the block signal, which should have been yellow to caution them that a train was moving in the yards, was "go-ahead green" instead.
They said that when they came suddenly upon a red and white "stop and stay" signal at North Augusta Road, emergency brakes were applied, but failed to stop the 19-car train in time to avoid collision with the section of the Ottawa-Toronto pool train on a crossover switch near the Park Street level crossing.
Two Montreal men, and engine crew of No. 15 following closely behind the freight told the inquiry that they had 'hit a yellow eye" at Sharpe's Lane and stopped their train when they reached North Augusta Road.
F. E. Clow, Prescott CNR signal maintaincr, told the hearing that complaints had been received early in September from train crews who came through green blocks at Sharpe's Lane only to hit a red-stop signal at the North Augusta Road.
But, according to his testimony, work crews had checked all signals and switches in the Brockville area between then and October 14 and found them to be all working perfectly.

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