Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1959, October 28 - A family of four is killed in a collision with train #34 at the Canadian Pacific Hunt Club Road crossing.

Ottawa Citizen  29 October 1959

Second crash of train in four days.
Yesterday's car-train collision which wiped out an entire family of four was the second level crossing accident in two days for the CNR-CPR pool train No. 34 from Toronto.
The same engineer, Earl Fergus, of Smiths Falls, was in the cab for both crashes.  Both were in the same general location and both occurred at approximately the same time of morning.
Yesterday, Mr. and Mrs. Warren Sim and their two children, Wayne, aged 7 and Peggy, aged 5, died when their small car was hit on the Hunt Club Road.
- -
Twenty-four hours and ten minutes earlier than yesterday's crash Wilbur Wilson, 51-year-old farmer of RR5.McCarthy Road, escaped death when No. 34 demolished his truck at the Walkley Road crossing.

Ottawa Citizen 12 February 1960

Partial Blame Put on Father.
By Pierre Dumais Citizen Staff Writer
Partial blame for a level crossing accident which wiped out a family of four last fall has been placed on the father who is believed to have been driving the car.
A coroner's jury last night first blamed "lack of proper driver precautions" on the part of Warren Alving Sim, 30, who they presumed was the driver. The man's wife, Grace, 28, a son Wayne, 7, and daughter Peggy, 5, died in the accident.
The four died October 28 when their small German car and a Canadian Pacific Railway passenger train collided at the Hunt Club Road crossing about a quarter mile west of Highway 31.
Police testified last night that the family had lived in the area about one month and had been travelling the road most mornings when Mr. Sim drove his wife to work and the two children to school.
Time Change
However, the change back from daylight saving time to standard time only a few days before had brought the passenger train run through the crossing at about the same time as the Sim family travelled the road.
Because of this police said they believed the Sim family were not aware of the train run which coincided with their travels.
The jury noted this in its finding and expressed the belief that the crossing was improperly marked by signs at the time.
Police evidence was that the crossing was marked by only one wooden cross arm sign at the south-east corner of the crossing. Const. Richard Rawlins testi fied that a view of the tracks for motor traffic began about 96 feet away and that it was possible to see down the tracks about 200 feet.
He stated also that checks of the sun on days immediately following the accident showed that it would not have blinded the driver and would have been shining more to his back.
Const. Wilmer Dowd testified that the Sim auto had left no skid marks while approaching the crossing indicating there had been no attempt to brake hard at the last minute by the car.
Const Stewart Storey, an identification officer with the Ottawa Police, presented photographic evidence that the front window was closed on the driver's side of the auto.
A window on the other side of the auto was too badly smashed for investigators to tell if it had been opened but they believe it also may have been closed as the weather was cool on the morning of the accident.
Const. Rawlins testified he had checked the radio in the Sim car and found the power switch on.
The closed windows, the playing radio and the noise of the car engine could likely have shut off the warning of the train's air horn and bell, he pointed out.
Engineer Earl Fergus, of Smiths Falls, said he did not see the collision but had applied the emergency brakes on the train when the fireman yelled at him to "plug it," the railwaymen's term for emergency braking.
The fireman was not called as a witness.
Fergus testified also that the passenger train was travelling about 45 or 50 miles an hour at the time. He had begun blasting the air horn and sounding the bell at the level crossing signal marker a quarter mile down the track.
The jury found also that the train's speed was excessive and recommended a 30-mile-an-hour limit for railway speed in the city. It made a recommendation also that a flasher and bell warning system be installed at the crossing.
Assistant Crown Attorney Douglas Forrest questioned the witnesses. Coroner Dr. J. S. Cross presided.

Return to Main Page of Railway Accidents

Updated  8 February 2019