|Thursday, July 23, 1925, Vol. 63, No. 30||The Barrie Examiner||Page 5, col. 3|
Train is flagged, stops at washout
Mr. Leigh's presence of mind prevents bad accident near Oro Stn.
Presence of mind displayed by J. W. Leigh of Oro, C.N.R. section foreman, was responsible for the flagging of the evening passenger for the flagging of the evening passenger train which passes through Barrie at 7.45 and stopping it before it ran into a washed-out culvert between Oro and Hawkestone caused by the cloudburst on Tuesday. The actual flagging of the train was done by Thos. Shellwell, an Oro farmer, whom Leigh stationed at the washout while he went to examine the roadbed in other places and to phone the despatchers at Allandale.
An accident to Leigh's young son, while playing football the day before, played a part in stopping the train. Mrs. Leigh had taken the boy to the Orillia hospital for an X-Ray on Tuesday and had returned with him as far as Hawkestone. At five o'clock Leigh quit work, to out his car and motored to Hawkestone for his wife. It was on the return trip that he discovered the washout. The journey home was one fraught with difficulties and in some places Mr. Leigh had to stop and remove fence rails which had floated onto the road, before he could pass. When he reached the point where the creek which later passes under the railway culvert crosses beneath the road he suspected trouble and decided to investigate. The waters of the creek were swollen and raging and Leigh knew the culvert was not likely to accommodate the torrent. He waded through a field in water two feet and more deep to the railway track. There he found the culvert washed away and a gaping four feet deep and two rail lengths long in the roadbed. It was a time for quick action. The passenger train was due at Oro at 8.12. It was now nearly that time. Leigh made his way to the home of Thos. Shellwsell and tried to phone the despatchers at Allandale, but the wires were down and the message could not be put throught. After sending Shellswell with a lantern to flag the train, should it appear, Leigh went to examine the roadbed at another point where be thought a washout might occur. He found the track in good order, then motored to Oro and got the despatchers on the company's phone. The train had just left the last station, it was now up to the man stationed at the washout and he performed his duty.
After being stopped, the train backed to Allandale and was sent around by Birch to OrilliaThe routing was Allandale to Colwell on the Meaford Subdivision, Colwell to Birch on the Penetang Subdivsion, Birch to Tay on the Wyebridge Subdivision then Tay to Orillia on the Midland Subdivision; a routing that will not be possible six years hence when the Wyebridge Subdivision is abandoned. and on to the north. The total delay was three hours and forty-five minutes.
Leigh further assisted by motoring three passengers from the washout to Hawkestone. He has been in the employ of the railway since 1907 and has been at Oro for ten years. His intimate knowledge of the condition of the roadbed and the size of the culverts over the different parts of his section proved of life-saving value in this instance. Supt. Weegar has recommended high recogniition of Mr. Leigh's conduct and it is certain that his meritorious conduct will be rewarded.
Stations: Hawkestone, Oro