Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1974, January 18 - Westbound train 903 derailed a few hundred feet west of the tower at Bedell, Canadian Pacific Winchester subdivision.  
Eastbound train 974 ran into the wreckage. No injuries.

From Bruce Chapman (including images) August 2017

I had many pix of the Bedell wreck in January 1974 as I was sent to work there in the closed tower as an operator.

The story started the day before; I was dispatching the Chalk River Subdivision as a spare, and the regular guy was to return the next day.  My next stint would be as an operator, and I waited for my call to work (duty, as Duncan DuFresne used to say).

I watched #974 pulling into Smiths Falls with the RS-18 8774 and RS-2 8453, and he had some switching to do (lots of it!!).

I finished my shift at 1600 and went home.  Early that evening, the chief train dispatcher called me to go to Bedell to the closed tower the next morning and keep the dispatching office informed of any proceedings as #903 derailed just as #974 was passing, and it was an awful mess.

At the time CP had the contract to move all the finished Heinz products in insulated boxcars from Montreal to Toronto.  These boxcars split open and the frozen ground was covered in ketchup, mustard and pickles, and the wrecking crews were trying to clean up the derailment with all this gunk around.

The engineer on #974, Fergie Moore, was telling us that a boxcar went right over the lead unit that he was in, 8774, and landed on the 8453, completely flattening it.

Trains were detoured on the CNR Kingston Subdivision for a couple of days; they finally got a ‘hole through’, and trains would come east out of Smiths Falls on the westward track to a temporary crossover at the signal gantry west of the tower, then cross over to the eastward track to continue on their way.  For westward movements, it was the opposite procedure.

Lead unit on 974 was the 8776 in pix 5 and 6 and subsequently repaired,, 8453 in 8-9-10 was scrapped upon its arrival at Angus.

From Tony Humphrey

It was a Friday night I remember that, I stood for that 974 and booked off. Ted McGonigal got it? in my place with Paul Flegg and of course G.Ferguson Moore on the throttle (this helped me in my decision to book off).
Anyway Burns Wilson was on 903 and it was a hot shot at that time. It derailed at the crossover switch at Bedell at 60+ right in front of 974 which was probably doing 50+ at that location. Paul was on he head end as Ted has just transferred from the car shop and was a new man. He said he looked up and there was a green box in front of him sideways coming at him.
G. Ferguson told everyone that would listen that there was a circle of faith around that engine that saved them.I believe it was more due to the very large cement counter balance that was in the nose of that DRS 18 at the time.
I ended up on the St.Luc hook on Monday morning and was there for the week. Of course if you remember Bruce green CP boxes meant Kraft foods and did they stink. Jams jellies and peanut butter, now buried on the south side west of the Prescott sub.?
I had some great photo's of the engines, the DRS 18 was facing due south like she was heading for Prescott and that old 8400 half underneath her, she was just totally destroyed

From the Ottawa Citizen Monday 21 January 1974

Instant siding skirts Kemptville derailment
CP rail crews worked weekend to get train service restored in the Kemptville area where a Friday night freight went off the rails. The crews built new track section around the wreckage, then started clearing the wreckage which was 30 feet high on some sections of the torn-up track. Steam cranes were brought in to lift damaged cars. No one was injured in the derailment. Damage was estimated at more than $2.5 million. Service was restored Sunday.

Trains Rolling Again
KEMPTVILLE (SpeciaI)-On!y 39 hours after the derailment here Friday night, CP Rail freight 904 crept through the wreckage of $2.5 million worth of rolling stock.
Crews working around the clock in freezing temperatures since early Saturday had cleared a single track through the remains of 50 derailed cars.
The accident occurred at 11 p.m. Friday when cars from a 67-car westbound freight toppled into a six-car eastbound train on parallel tracks about one and a half miles south of here.
The engineer of the eastbound train, Fergie Moore, had just hit his brakes when the accident occured.
"He saw a boxcar fly across the tracks in front of him," said Dick Bradley, who lives near the wreck site. "He told me that one went right over the diesel."
Mr. Moore and his fireman found themselves, only slightly scratched, under 50-feet of derailed cars, and had to crawl out a window and make their way to the surface.
"Most of the men were really shaken," said Mr. Bradley, whose home became a refuge for the train crews. "They couldn't believe they'd lived through it, especially when they got outside and saw how bad it was.
Two auxiliary cranes will remain on the scene of the wreck for the next week or so until the remains are completely removed.
CP Railway policemen said the trains were carrying mainly bulk cargoes.
They have been hard-pressed to keep spectators away from the tracks, covered with dill pickles, cotton, asbestoes and tomatoes, where the repair crews are working.
It will probably take two weeks for the parallel lines to become operational again. Six switches were destroyed along with the several hundred yards of track, which adds to the estimated repair time

From the Ottawa Journal  Monday 21 January 1974

Two battered diesels sit in rubble and bowled-over saplings 200 yards from track
(CP-Staff Photo) 37-car pile-up near Kemptville
rains moving again after derailment
KEMPTVILLE (Special) Service on CP Rail's main line between Montreal and Smiths Falls was restored Sunday following a 37 car pile-up between two freight trains late Friday. No one was injured in the wreck which was believed to been caused by a broken axle on a box car of regular west bound freight train number 903.
The crew, all Smiths Falls men, escaped injury. They were engineers G. E. Moore and H. B. Halpenney and conductors Len Agnew and Mike Andre.
The pile-up occured near Bell Crossing near here. Giant CP railway cranes had cleared the double section of track by 1.30 p.m. Sunday.
Mail cars were piled 40 feet high along the double track after a box car on the west bound freight train jumped the tracks and slammed into the side of the diesel of an east bound "extra." Both trains were of about one hundred cars.
One car which isolated from the others caught fire and burned itself out, police said. The diesel that was struck hurtled into a field two hundred yards from the track.
A half-mile of track was ripped up by the derailment. Most of the cars carried groceries, groceries, dry goods and auto parts.

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Updated 18 February 2019