Dundas, ON Trains Collide, Dec 1934



Hamilton, Ont., Dec. 26. - (AP) - The splintered wreckage of a Christmas excursion train was searched today for additional victims as officials of the Canadian National Railways opened an investigation into a collision last night which took at least 15 lives.
More than a score of persons were injured, some critically when the Detroit to Toronto express tore into the rear of the stationary excursion train on a siding at Dundas, seven miles from Hamilton.
Five women were among the mangled victims of the disaster whose bodies have been recovered but as yet are unidentified. Additional deaths were feared.
Officials of the railway said the cause of the accident apparently was an open switch and promised an intensive inquiry.
Laden with merry holiday travelers the excursion train was bound from London, Ont., to Toronto. Most of the victims, all of whom apparently were Canadians, were residents of those two cities.

Wooden Cars Crushed.
Two wooden cars at the rear of the excursion train, which had been switched onto a siding because of a "hot box," were crushed and many passengers, screaming in agony, were pinned for hours beneath the wreckage.
The alertness and quick thinking of Engineer B. BURRELL of the speeding train from Detroit, No. 36, was credited by railway officials with having averted an even greater tragedy.
Seeing no hope of preventing the locomotive from piling into the rear of the special train, BURRELL ordered it cut loose from the coaches behind and prevented them from telescoping.
In contrast to the terrific crash when the giant engine struck the wooden coaches, there was only a slight jar when the express cars rolled up to the wreckage.

Passenger Is Hero.
Hailed as a hero of the disaster was W. C. RICE of Toronto. Although badly injured, RICE, a passenger, removed six passengers from the splintered coaches before collapsing.
Special trains, buses and ambulances were pressed into service to bring the dead and injured to Hamilton.
"I can't for the life of me see how anyone could have been in those coaches and lived," said DOUGLAS MACKIE, a survivor. "It was simply horrible. The screams of the injured were inter-mixed with the confused shouting of those from the other coaches."
A third coach of the excursion train was thrown upon its end, dangerously near a 150 foot bluff.

Collision Unexplained.
JOHN KENNEDY, fireman of the express which normally runs through Dundas at a speed of about 70 miles an hour, said he was unable to explain the cause of the collision.
W. A. Kingsland, vice president and general manager, central region, Canadian National Railways, issued the following statement:
"At 9:21 o'clock last night, train No. 16 en route from Detroit to Toronto and points east, ran into the rear end of a passenger extra en route from London to Toronto at Dundas siding, resulting in three cars on the rear of the passenger extra being badly damaged."
"Immediately word of the accident was received, General Superintendent V. C. Hudson, at once ordered a special hospital train with doctors and nurses and ambulances were also dispatched to the scene. The injured were immediately conveyed to the general hospital at Hamilton."
"Special auxiliary trains from London and Hamilton were likewise ordered and Superintendent Piggott of the London division, proceeded to take active charge of the situation."
"The cause of the accident was reported as being an open switch."
The stationary train was shoved along the tracks for several hundred feet in the collision.

Near Valley Escarpment.
At the point where the crash occurred the railway line skirts the escarpment of the Dundas valley.
The engineer of the second train threw on his brakes when he saw the standing train on the siding, but it was too late to do more than slow down the impetus of the speeding train.