Trenton, ON Train Wreck, Nov 1898


Canadian Grand Trunk Express Crashes Into a Freight Train in Ontario.

TRENTON, Ontario, Nov. 15.----A Grand Trunk express train bound for Toronto crashed into a moving freight train near Murray Hill crossing, two miles west of here, at 3:30 this morning, and several cars were smashed almost to splinters. Twelve persons were killed and a dozen or more seriously injured. Their names so far as they are known, follow:

KILLED--- William Luness, cattle drover, Toronto; Charles Goodchild, cattle drover, Toronto; John Casey, engineer off duty, Belleville; William Brady, engineer of Montreal express, Belleville; John Macdonald, fireman of Montreal express, Belleville; Merie C. Kern, George Habrich, Katrine Habrich, natives of Russia, and three other Russians, man, woman, and female child, all unidentified, and an unknown man whose legs and a part of his trunk only were recovered.

INJURED---William Kinnear, Prescott; James Newman, baggageman, Toronto; Leon Lablanc, baggageman, Montreal; John McNamara, fireman, Brockville; Albert Tracey, Toronto; A. P. Walker, fireman, Belleville; Frederick Cohen, German immigrant; C. Paulin, Chesley; A. Carey, Cobourg, and B. Backus, Brockville.

A misplaced switch was the cause of the accident, the west-bound train taking the wrong track, on which was the east-bound freight. The train, which left Montreal at 8 o'clock last night, consisted of express, mail, baggage cars; a second-class car, one first-class coach, and two Pullman sleepers. The second-class car was next to the baggage car and ahead of the first-class coach and sleepers. It was pretty well filled with people, there being twenty or more passengers in it, and hardly any of them escaped without injury.

Between Belleville and Murray Hill crossing the road is single-tracked, the only piece of single track between Toronto and Montreal. At Murray Hill crossing the west-bound express usually leaves the single track and takes the double track, and it was about a mile and a half west of this point that the accident occurred. Whether the signals were right or not this morning will never be known from the engineer or fireman or the wrecked train, for they are both dead. Both engines were totally destroyed and the freight engine was thrown completely over the passenger engine into the ditch beyond. The engineer and fireman of the freight engine, Thomas Ivens and Alexander Toppin, both of Toronto, jumped and escaped with slight injuries. W. H. Brady, engineer, of Belleville, and John McDonald, fireman, of Belleville, who were in charge of the passenger engine, were killed.

The greatest destruction was wrought in the second-class car, which was full of passengers, including a number of cattlemen and a party of Poles. The baggage car was driven into and almost completely through it, the passengers being crushed and mangled underneath the timbers of the car. The mail car was forced right on top of the baggage car, and the express car was partially wrecked. The first-class car was uninjured, as were also the two sleepers, although the passengers were awakened by the shock.

The work of pulling out the dead and injured was commenced immediately, but it was late this morning before all the bodies were got out. Some of them were so horribly mangled that recognition was almost impossible. The injured were taken to the hospital at Belleville.

The New York Times, New York, NY 16 Nov 1898