Ottawa Citizen 20 September 1979|
Twisted wreckage of train strewn for 360 metres (with picture)
WEMYSS (Staff) Perth resident Murray Blair, who arrived at the scene of a train-truck crash here minutes it happened Wednesday evening, said the cab of the trailer was sitting undamaged just across the tracks when he got there.
"The train had hit the tractor-trailer just where the cab joins the rear section that's probably what saved the driver's life," Blair said today. "The driver told me he had driven that road every day for a month on trips to Cornwall.
"He said he slowed down and put it into low gear and just as he got the cab up on the tracks he saw the train's light," said Blair. "He put his foot to the mat but he knew he wasn't going to make it, but the action of his wheels when the train hit probably saved him from being dragged back into it."
Blair and his friend George Per-kins, who heard the train whistle at his home two kilometres away before the crash, found Butterworth still in the engine, his ankle broken by a log from the tractor trailer that had smashed through the window.
Coburn was sitting in a nearby ditch with blood from his torn ear dripping down his face, said Blair.
The train's 24 cars were strung along a 360-metre stretch of track. Some were piled 15 metres high. One of the engines turned completely around on impact.
Most of the cars were carrying new GM cars destined for St. Therese, Que.
Four cars normally used to transport gasoline, wax, and asbestos were empty. The train was also carrying a few carloads of auto parts.
The tractor trailer was left lying in a deep ravine at the side of the track.
Two auxiliary trains from Toronto f and Montreal arrived here at abou' | 5 a.m. to begin hauling the twisted wreckage off the track.
More than 150 metres of ruined track must be replaced.
Freight trains leaving Montreal and Toronto were delayed Wednesday and are now being rerouted on Canadian National Railway lines. Passenger service was not affected.
CPR officials expect the cleanup operation and repair work for the tracks to take about another day. The track is expected to be cleared by 4 a.m. Friday