Windsor Junction, NB Trains Collide, Apr 1903


Halifax, N.S., April 12. -- Four persons dead, two fatally hurt, at least one missing and several others slightly injured is the record of a head-on collision on the Inter-Colonial railway, which occurred just before midnight last night near Windsor Junction, 17 miles from Halifax.
The trains in collision were the Canadian Pacific express from Montreal and Boston for Halifax and a fast freight from Halifax for Montreal. The conductor and driver of the freight had orders to take the siding at Windsor Junction, and let the express cross, but for some unknown reason Driver COPELAND, of the freight ran past the junction on the main line and met the express two miles beyond. It is thought that COPELAND may have lost control of his train, which was made up of seventy-five cars. The freight was running 25 miles an hour, and the express, which was two hours late, was traveling about 45 miles an hour.
The dead are:
Express Driver WILLIAM WALL.
Express Fireman MICHAEL OAKLEY.
Freight Fireman HILL.
Freight Brakeman THORPE.
Fatally hurt:
Freight Driver COPELAND.
A tramp named McCREADY.
When the speed of the freight was not reduced approaching the junction, Conductor HAYNES says he realized that nothing short of a miracle could prevent a collision. There was no bell cord to send a warning to the driver and the conductor ordered a brakeman to deop off the rear end of the freight and telegraph the next station, Wellington, to hold the express. The message was too late. The express sped past Wellington station as the operator there received the warning signal. He dashed out on the platform wildly waving a lantern but the train disappeared down the line in the darkness. A few minutes later the collision occurred.
The locomotives locked together and remained on the track. The postal and baggage cars went over the embannkment down into a small lake beside the track. Two railway mail clerks in the postal car were shaken up. Their car landed right side up and began to fill with water but they escaped by climbing through a window in the roof and wading ashore. The men in the baggage and express car had a like experience except that a heavy safe broke loose in the fall and crashed through the side of the car. The passenger coaches were considerably damaged but remained on the track. Several passengers were thrown down by the shock or cut by flying glass.
Another brakeman of the freight train is missing, and the lake is being dragged for his body.

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette Indiana 1903-04-13