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.  3 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 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.



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Updated 11 April 2019