Collision on the Grand Trunk.
Three men killed.
One of the most disastrous railway accidents which have occurred on the Grand Trunk line from some time past, happened at the place called the Dangers, about fours miles of Brighton station between 1 and 2 o'clock on Saturday morning. The collision resulted in the death of three men and injury of several others, one of whom it is feared will not recovered. Eighteen freight cars, with their valuable contents, and two locomotives, are totally destroyed, one of the latter being almost new.
The facts of the affair are as follows;—It appears that since the arrest of Ryan, the former station agent at Brighton, who is accused of embezzlement, a young man named R. W. Ward has been performing the duties of operator and station master. Ward has been on duty for about ten days and nights, having applied several times to the Toronto office of the Grand Trunk for assistance, stating that he was unable to carry on the work single handed. On Saturday morning, wearied with the continued loss of rest, he must have fallen into a dose, and failed to hear a message sent from Colborne, to the effect that No. 15 freight train had left that place, and would cross No. 10 at Brighton. The last named is a Merchant's Express through train, and has the right of way over all other freight trains; and the conductor receiving no orders from the station agent, proceeded on his way towards Colborne. At the place known as the 'Dangers,' the two trains met while going at full speed; the crash [that] took place must have been something frightful, judging from the appearance of the wreck when we visited it some hours after the accident. The two locomotives were smashed literally to atoms. The cars which caught fire soon after the collision were piled one on the top of the other, and were in [illegible] mass of flames. The smell of the burning flesh of five or six valuable horses which were on the train and also of the remains of the unfortunate engineer and fireman of No. 10, who were buried in the red hot ruins of their engine, was most sickening. The track for some distance along was strewed with the freight, which consisted of fry goods, raisins, nuts, boots and shoes, grain and a variety of fancy wares of a most valuable nature. To say that the whole was damaged to such an extent as to be rendered perfectly valueless hardly expresses the complete nature of the destruction; by the time the fire had burnt itself out; and the track ware cleared, there was hardly a vestige of what had once been a train to been seen, the wheels and iron work being all that remained.
The following is a correct list of the killed and injured:—
List of killed and wounded.
Daniel Montgomery, of Roxborough, county of Stormont. He leaves a wife and three children. He was proceeding with a team of horses to the lumber district back of Peterboro, and was in the car with his horses next to the engine. Death appears to have been immediate.
Thomas Wright, engineer of No. 10 train; unmarried; aged about 40. He was an Englishman and had been in the country about 5 years. He was formerly employed as engine driver on the Newcastle and Berwick railway. He was burnt to a cinder under his engine.
Charles Chandler, fireman of train No. 10, aged 35, was about two years in the employ of the Grand Trunk Railway. He was married about three months ago in Cobourg and resides with Mr. Travis, Front street, Toronto. He was burnt with Wright, under the engine.
William Brown, engine driver of train No. 15, was slightly injured about the legs and groin.
Raply Hutchinson, fireman of No. 15 train, was considerably bruised about the head and face.
James Shea, teamster, resides in the county of Stormont. He was in the same car with the deceased Montgomery. He was seriously, and it is feared, fatally injured.
James McDonald, teamster, county of Stormont, slightly hurt.
The verdict of the jury.
Brighton: Dec. 7.
The verdict is as follow:—That the said Daniel Montgomery, Charles Chandlers, and Thomas Wright met their deaths by a collision of trains Nos. 10 and 15 of the Grand Trunk Railway, on the morning of the 3rd December inst., at or near a place known as the 'Dangers,' between Brighton and Colborne; and that the said collision occurred in consequence of the regulations of the Company with regard to the duties of employees having been recklessly violated. It appears from the evidence [illegible] that Ward, the person in charge of Brighton station, having received an order that 10 must cross 15 at Brighton, failed to deliver that order to the conductor of 10, in consequences of not having sufficient time allowed him by the dispatcher, Kelly and also being, as shown by medical and other testimony, quite incapable of discharging the duties required of him, he having been on duty during 9 consecutive days and nights. The jurors in this case have no doubt that the party applied to by Mr. Ward for assistance, viz.: J. Stepheson, Esq., did not fully realize the urgency of the case; notwithstanding we cannot but feel that had his urgent and reasonable requests been complied with, the sad accident and consequent loss of life would not have occurred. And the jurors also consider that the evidence in the said case clearly showed gross neglect of duty on the part of officials and employees of the company; also, the jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, to say that the said Daniel Montgomery, Charles Chandler, and Thos. Wright, in the manner and my means aforesaid, accidentally, casually or by misfortune, came to their death, and not otherwise. In witness whereof, we, the coroner as well as the jurors, have attached our signatures, on the day and date above mentioned.
... On the same evening took place our railway meeting. There was a good attendance, and a good deal of interest taken to the matter. Norwich, Otterville and Springford, are quite agreed in their request, and are co-operating. They want [illegible—two sections] in this township—one on the east quarter town line, and one on the west. This will accommodate it, Springford people, and all in the neighborhood, and the Norwich and Otterville people too. Requisitions were unanimously passed, appointing men to draw up a requisition, to be signed by the inhabitants, asking the directors of the road to locate a situation at each of these places. Two men were appointed on each concession to get signatures. They expect that three-fourths of the inhabitants of the township will sign the requisition. Springford has appointed Mr. Wilcox, Otterville, Mr. Bullock, of Norwich, Messrs. Bar and Moore to present the requisition to the directors at Fort Erie. I hear that they are working at the line now. They expect to have all the cutting done this winter, and to have the road running by this time next year. ...
Ref: Otterville Subdivision