Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1985, October 26 - Crossing collision, Vars, CNR., Alexandria sub., one fatality

Ottawa Citizen 28 October 1985

Motorist killed in train collision
A 17-year-old Cumberland youth ;died in one of two weekend highway accidents involving VIA Rail 'passenger trains in the Ottawa area.
Pierre D'Aoust, 17, of Sarsfield, a village east of Ottawa, was driving south on Dunning Road near Vars Saturday about 7:30 a.m. after being called unexpect- eaiy to woi;k !when his car col-lided with an eastbound VIA Rail train.
In the other accident, on the outskirts of Ottawa, a pickup truck carrying three people was pushed 80 metres along the tracks ;by a train. No one was seriously hurt
None of the train ; passengers was hurt.
In the first accident, the Montreal-Ottawa train was delayed one hour 15 minutes and in the second, the Ottawa-Montreal train was held up for one hour five minutes.
The Canadian National crossing near Vars is not equipped with signals, but has a railroad crossing sign.
D'Aoust, who worked full-time at a local insulation company, had been called at home Saturday and asked to fill in at the last moment for another worker who was ill.
Provincial police in Rockland said the train's engineers spotted D'Aoust's car approaching the crossing at a high speed. They sounded the train's horn and when they realized the car wasn't going to stop, applied the emergency brakes to slow the locomotive, which was travelling at 130 kilometres, the train's normal speed.
"We all drive over those tracks countless times day and night," said D'Aoust's grandfather, George Chartrand.
D'Aoust's funeral is 11 a.m. Tuesday at St-Hugues Church in Sarsfield.
The second accident occurred about 2 p.m. Saturday near of Belfast Road and Michael Street when a pickup truck smashed into the train.
Police said the crossing is equipped with a flashing signal, but they are not certain why the truck drove into the train's path.
Ottawa police Sgt. Mike Pa-quette said one passenger in the truck had a broken collar bone.
"They're lucky the train was going only 20 kilometres per hour. It could have been a lot worse."

Ottawa Citizen 1 November 1985

Dunning Road crossing singals now top priority for CN
Canadian National Railways is giving top-priority treatment to a request for flashing lights and bells at a level crossing near Vars where a teenager was killed on the weekend, a CN official said Thursday.
John Brayne, regional engineer for the railway's technical services branch, said that after a CN meeting Thursday, the railway had established the Dunning Road automatic signals as its top priority because of the accident and the publicity surrounding it
He said the signals could be installed by spring.
There is now only a wooden X-shaped sign at the crossing saying "railway crossing."
Pierre D'Aoust, 17, of Sarsfield, was killed Saturday when his car was hit at the crossing by an eastbound VIA Rail train.
The Canadian Transport Commission recommended automatic signals for the crossing in a letter to CN and Cumberland Township Council a year ago. When the commission didn't hear from the railway, it followed up the original letter with four reminders this year.
CN didn't reply to either the letter or the reminders.
Brayne said no action was taken because other priorities arose for his office.
He added that even if his office had responded to the CTC's letters, the signals probably would not have been in place by the weekend

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