From the Ottawa Citizen 15 August 1984|
CHESTERVILLE Local rail traffic is being re-routed through Ottawa today while CPR workers clear away wreckage following a spectacular 25-car derailment in Chester -ville early yesterday morning.
Train No. 482, on a Vancouver to Montreal run, uncoupled 30 cars from the caboose at 2:20am as it entered the west end of the village. The 60-ton cars slammed into each other, sending up a shower of sparks 50 feet high.
The five-man crew on the freight train, which was carrying lumber and flour, were uninjured.
Stan Harris, superintendent for CP's Smiths Falls rail division, said yesterday that the derailment, just across from the arena, is under investigation and that the cause of the accident and the amount of damage have not been determined.
While onlookers gatnered around the wreckage, which in one section looked like a broken accordian as six cars leaned up and over each other, a 20-man maintenance crew was joined by 40 workers from CPU's specialized wrecking crew to pull the cars from the tracks.
As the wreckage was lifted away, trucks backed up to pick up the strewn cargo.
The lines - both eastbound and westbound fines were blocked by the wreckage - were expected to be cleared today. Railway ties were scored and broken for more than a mile.
"I heard the train coming down the tracks, that noise you're used to, and then all of a sudden it didn't sound right," said Paul Monast, the first resident at the scene. "I jumped up and looked out and saw a pile going up and sparks going up in the air."
Monast, whose home is just across a field from the derailment site, met the crew coming up the track with flashlights.
When he saw the wreckage, he said, he couldn't believe it.
"You're so damned surprised, you don't know what to say or to do. You're kind of shocked."
John Van Bruinessen, Monast's neighbor, was also jolted out of bed by the crash.
"I knew something had happened," he said. "There was a big crash and a rumble and roar. We (he and Monast) took the truck down and when we saw a coupler on the ground I knew that it had separated.''
Both men helped workmen pinpoint the worst areas of 'amage, including the Carl Smith crossing where the ties had been ripped out.
For other residents living along the tracks, seeing the wreckage answered the question of what they had heard during the night but had not given any more thought to.
"I was thinking the train was really, really loud last night," said Pauline White. "But I looked out the window and saw nothing and went back to bed. Then I got up at 8am and saw this.
"When I moved to a small town I thought I wouldn't have this kind of excitement."
Bob Delorme was taking a nap in his truck at Nutrite Fertilizer before starting his early morning shift when he heard "something like an earthquake".
"It sounded like a bunch' of tin- crumpling up and it went on for about five minutes," he said. "But I didn't pay much attention."
"I've been living here 38 years and I've never seen anything like this," said Harold Armstrong. ."When I heard the noise last night I thought it was a truck going over the crossing."
"It's a hell of a mess," said CP truck driver Garnet Sands of Smiths Falls. "I've seen a lot of pictures of derailments but I wasn't expecting anything quite like this."