Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1970, August 7 - Rapido Hits a Handcar Near Brockville, Canadian National, one killed, one injured

Ottawa Journal 8 August 1970

Rapido Hits Handcar, One Killed
BROCKVILLE (Special) The crack CN express train, the Rapido, running from Toronto . to Montreal hit a gas-operated handcar on the main line six miles east of Brockville Friday killing one man and critically injuring another.
Joseph Arcand, 47, of Prescott, was dead on arrival at Brockville General Hospital. Francis Charland, also of Brockville, was transferred to Kingston General Hospital with critical head injuries. The Rapido was running late due to a derailment at Port Hope Thursday when it hit the handcar with its two occupants.
The train continued to Montreal. The accident is being being investigated by the Prescott detaohment of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Ottawa Citizen 26 September 1970

Pair probably didn't hear train that hit them
The two-man crew of a track motor car probably never saw or heard the high-speed Canadian National Railways passenger train that overtook the car and killed one of the men near Brockville, Aug. 7, the Canadian transport commission has been told.
Testifying at the Ottawa hearing into the crash and two other railway accidents, E. J. Woito, CN track supervisor in the area, said men in the gasoline-powered vehicle "would not hear a train whistle" when their own vehicle was operating.
Locomotive engineer E. J. York of Verdun, Que., told the commission Friday (25/8) he could see the backs of the two men through the rear windows of the canvas-covered car in the last moments before the collision.
The car had no rear-view mirror.
 J. M. Arcand of Brockville, a temporary head foreman of a patrol crew, was killed in the accident. The other occupant, F. W. Charland of Brockville, has been unable to attend the hear-ins because of injuries suffered in the accident, including a fractured skull.
In testimony Thursday the commission was told a "lineup" of train movements in the Brockville area was available to work crews at 12.14 p.m. the day of the crash, which occurred at about 1.20 p.m.
The lineup was found in the wreckage of the car.
Charles Armstrong, CN's chief of transportation, told the commission crews are required by railway rules to make periodic checks with the area dispatcher to confirm the accuracy of the lineup.
No checks made
The dispatcher, J. J. Marshall of Belleville and E. J. Macdonell, a station operator at Brockville, told the commission they had no contact with the car either by portable radio or wayside telephone.
The train, the Rapido bound for Montreal from Toronto, left Brockville at 1.11 p.m. the engineer told the commission.
He began to blow the train whistle at the same time. The crash occurred about eight-tenths of a mile down the track. There was perfect visibility at the time, the engineer said.
The commission was told the lineup of trains showed the Rapido left Belleville two hours late. But work crews are expected to assume trains will move at maximum speeds and will therefore return to timetable schedules.
In such cases, Mr. Armstrong said, crews are expected to confirm train movements by telephone or radio.
Rechecking rare
But Mr. Woito said crews "don't normally recheck the lineup" after leaving the station office.
The car was carrying a portable radio, and had passed a wayside telephone minutes before the crash.
D. H. Jones, chairman of the two-member panel holding the hearing, said he found it "troubling" that after leaving in their cars crews "are more or less on their own."
The maximum speed for track cars is 25 miles an hour by railway rules, Mr. Woito said. The maximum allowable speed for passenger trains on the line is 90 miles an hour.
The hearing re-opens in the Belleville courthouse Monday morning and is expected to run about a week. The more general inquiry is expected to begin in the middle of November.

Ottawa Journal 17 November 1970

Didn't Hear Train - Survivor Testifies
A railroad sectionman who survived the Aug. 7 collision between a track motor car and a train near Brockville testified Monday he did not see or hear the train before it overtook the car, killing a foreman, and does not remember the collision.
In final evidence presented before a two-member panel of the Canadian transport commission, Francis W. Charland, 48, of Brockville, said he recalls looking behind the car to check for a high-speed Canadian National Railways passenger train the Rapido, bound for Montreal scheduled to run on the same track in a few minutes.
The next thing Mr. Charland recalls is waking up in a hospital  bed Aug. 8, suffering injuries including a fractured skull. Killed in the crash was J. M. Arcand, also of Brockville.

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Updated 7 February 2019