|Ottawa Citizen 20 September 1990|
VIA passenger train kills rail worker in Cornwall
A 41 -year-old CN Rail worker was killed Wednesday when struck by a high-speed Via Rail train at a level crossing in Cornwall.
Robert Brown, of Matilda, was a member of a section crew working at the Tollgate Road crossing shortly after 5 p.m. when the westbound train passed at 170 kilometres an hour, said Cornwall police Staff Sgt. Gary Durocher.
An investigation has begun to determine whether the train should have been travelling that fast. CN spokesman Brian Moreau said "rule 42" had been in effect at the time, meaning the train crew had been notified there was a work crew in the immediate area and that it was to reduce speed.
But Durocher said police were informed the train had "clearance" to maintain its normal speed over the crossing, where paving and city works department crews were also working.
"It was very congested," Durocher said. An inquest will likely be ordered, he said.
The stretch of track where the accident happened is straight and level, said Brunet."
Ottawa Citizen 21 September 1990
Worker hit at 150 km/h :police
CORNWALL - The passenger train that killed a CN Rail maintenance employee working at a level crossing here Wednesday was travelling about 150 kilometres an hour, say police.
"Our investigation shows that the westbound train was travelling at that speed when the accident occurred," said Cornwall Police Staff Sgt. Garry Derochie.
Robert Brown, 41, of Matilda Township, died shortly after the 5:10 p.m. accident at the level crossing on Tollgate Road between Pitt Street and Brookdale Avenue.
The victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was a member of a CN crew that was working on the double railway tracks at the crossing.
VIA Rail, CN Rail and Transport Canada have all begun investigations into the accident.
"Normally, the train slows down if we're informed about a maintenance project," said VIA spokesman Malcolm Andrews, stressing it is "premature to speculate if any rules were broken."
Andrews would not comment on the speed of the train that left Montreal at 3.45 p.m. and was heading for Toronto.
Coroner Dr. Arthur Peachey said Thursday he hasn't rule out holding an inquest into the fatality, which was followed by a second separate train accident five hours later.
The second mishap occurred at about 10:30 p.m. when an east-bound freight train plowed into a vehicle stopped on the tracks at the railway crossing.
Derochie said the driver had apparently decided to drive around the activated railway barrier. All five occupants of the car safely bailed out seconds before the impact.
The driver of the car, Dion David, 19, of Cornwall Island, has been charged with careless driving.
Ottawa Citizen 2 October 1990
Inquest will be held into rail worker's death
CORNWALL A coroner's inquest will be held into the death of a CN Rail maintenance employee who was killed here last month by a passenger train while working at a level crossing.
No date has been set for the inquest into the Sept. 19 death of Matilda Township resident Robert Brown.
"There are a lot of parties involved in this case and it is unlikely that the inquest will be held before the end of the year," said Crown attorney Don Johnson.
VIA Rail, CN Rail and Transport Canada as well as Cornwall police are all investigating the accident.
The 41-year-old man died shortly after the 5.10 p.m. accident at the level crossing on Tollgate Road between Pitt Street and Brookdale Avenue.
A CN track maintainer for 18 years, Brown was a member of a crew that was working on the double railway tracks at the crossing.
Police said the westbound passenger train was travelling about 150 kilometres an hour when the accident occurred.
VIA Rail officials said that was the usual speed for their express passenger trains between Montreal and Toronto. But when informed about a work site, they normally slow down.
VIA and CN officials said the customary procedure for a train entering a work area is to notify the work crew and get instructions whether to proceed at the permitted speed, slow down or stop,
"But our investigation is not completed and it is premature to speculate if any rules were broken," said CN spokesman Mike Matthews.
Ottawa Citizen 22 January 1991
Inquest called into death at crossing
CORNWALL - A coroner's inquest will be held next month into the death of a CN Rail maintenance worker who was killed by a passenger train last year while working at a level crossing in Cornwall.
Robert Brown, 41, of Matilda Township, died shortly after the Sept. 19 accident at the crossing on Tollgate Road between Pitt Street and Brookdale Avenue.
Coroner Dr. Arthur Peachey said Monday the inquest will begin March 20 and possibly run a second day. The hearing will determine how the accident occurred.
Brown was a member of a CN crew that was working on the double railway tracks when he was hit by a westbound passenger train at about 5.10 p.m.
An initial police report said the train was travelling at a speed of about 150 kilometres an hour. VIA Rail, CN Rail and Transport Canada have investigated the accident and are to make public their findings at the inquest.
Ottawa Citizen 21 March 1991
Train was speeding at fatal accident scene
CORNWALL A passenger train that killed a CN Rail maintenance employee here in the fall was speeding and didn't slow down, a coroner's jury was told Wednesday.
"The train was moving very fast with no indication of slowing down," said Fred Decaire, a Cornwall roads department sub-foreman.
Decaire other witnesses estimated the train that killed Robert Brown, 41, of Matilda Township on Sept. 19, was travelling in excess of 140 kilometres an hour.
The victim, who was dead at the scene, was a member of a CN crew that was working on the double railway tracks at the level crossing on Tollgate Road between Pitt Street and Brookdale Avenue.
The accident occurred shortly after 5:10 p.m. when the westbound train passed through the level crossing area where a crew of 17 CN employees was repairing sections of the tracks.
In addition, there were five city roads department workers and four employees of J.R. Blais Paving Limited at the scene. They were repairing the approaches to the level crossing.
Most of the workers from the three crews testified they were not given any warning about the oncoming train.
"We were not advised about that train going through," said Jean Robert Blais, owner of the paving firm.
CN maintenance worker Patrick Finnerty said normally they get a warning about a passing train.
"But this time nobody told me nothing."
Finnerty and fellow CN employees said, at the time, the victim was working between the two railway tracks.
Cornwall roads department employee Dwight St. Louis said the passing train sounded "like an earthquake without the heavy rumble."
St. Louis also said he saw the victim being hit by the train's locomotive and "flying through the air for about 50 feet before landing in the ditch."
"Cornwall Police Const. Pierre Lalonde presented 16 photos taken shortly after the mishap. Photos of the locomotive showed the left front headlight was shattered.
The inquest, being held by Dr. Arthur Peachey, was to continue today.
Ottawa Citizen 22 March 1991
Engineer says train was cleared
CORNWALL A coroner's inquest heard conflicting evidence here Thursday about whether a passenger train that killed a CN Rail worker had permission to speed through a work site without slowing down.
"I was under no obligation to slow down because I got the required permission to proceed at normal speed," said Danny Stock of Laval, Que., the train's engineer.
Stock, testifying during the second day of the inquest, estimated the westbound train was travelling 152 kilometres an hour when it went through the work site on Sept. 19, killing Matilda Township resident Robert Brown.
Brown, 41, was part of a CN crew repairing sections of the tracks at the level crossing on Tollgate Road between Pitt Street and Brookdale Avenue.
CN employee Ray Amelotte of Cornwall Township told the jury that he had given the train permission to go through the work site.
"But I only did so after first getting the all clear from Norm Primeau," said Amelotte, referring to the CN work site's foreman.
But Primeau denied giving clearance for the train. "I didn't OK that train because I didn't have enough time to tell everyone the train was coming."
Amelotte's brother Brian, who was working at the site, said he overheard the conversation. "I heard Primeau say everybody's clear and let him go through."
Under railway regulations, work sites are marked by yellow and red flags, and trains can only proceed through after obtaining permission from a designated foreman in this case, Amelotte.
Blaine Newton of Ingleside, the local CN track supervisor at the time, said he arrived at the scene shortly after the 5:10 p.m. accident.
"When I saw Amelotte he was cryirig." Amelotte told him he let the train go through without slowing it down, said Newton.
Earlier, Cornwall pathologist Dr. John MacAuley said the victim died of multiple and massive injuries.
Ottawa Citizen 23 March 1991
Reduce train speeds at work sites: inquest
Cornwall. Trains should slow to half their normal speed when passing through a railway work site, says a coroner's jury looking into the death of a CN Rail worker here.
That was one of seven recommendations made by he five-member jury Friday.
CN worker Robert Brown, 41, of Matilda Township, died Sept. 19 after being hit by a westbound passenger train at the level crossing on Tollgate Road. Brown was part of a CN crew repairing sections of the tracks.
The train was travelling at 152 kilometres an hour when it passed through the work zone, evidence presented during the three-day inquest showed.
The coroner's jury also recommended the installation of a strobe light and an air horn or siren at work sites to warn workers about oncoming trains.
Most of the recommendations were based on suggestions in a 26-page report prepared by Labor Canada safety officer Timothy Pullen of Nepean, who investigated the accident.