Geneva, ON Train Collision, Oct 1910





The Dead:
D. S. McLENNAN, engineer on express.
WILLIAM SUMMERS, fireman on express.
PERCY VICE, fireman on freight train.
Where Wreck Occurred.
The wreck occurred at Geneva, a station 117 miles west of North Bay.
Cause Of Wreck.
The wreck resulted from Engineer McLENNAN, of the express train, overrunning orders and not giving stock train time to get on siding.

North Bay, Ont., Oct. 16. -- The remarkable part of a head-on collision on Saturday morning, at 2:30 o'clock, between the Imperial Limited westbound express and a stock train, is the small casualty list, which was confined to three enginemen caught in the crash before they had time to leap from the engines. The express received orders at Cartier to meet the stock train at Geneva, three miles west, where no stop is usually made, and the stock train was slowing up preparatory to taking the siding, when the express thundered through Geneva and with a crash piled into the stock train just six minutes after leaving Cartier. A number of cattle were killed and others injured, in one car every animal perished.
Engineer D. S. McLENNAN, of the express, was primarily responsible for the accident, and before his death at the Sudbury hospital he made a statement in which he admitted responsibility for over-running his orders and expressed desire to take the entire blame.
In accordance with the rules, Conductor W. LIDKEA of the express took the orders to the engineer before leaving Cartier and each read the orders aloud, following which the engineer read the orders to his fireman. As the collision occurred just beyond the west switch at Geneva, Conductor LIDKEA could hardly have observed that the orders were being over run unless he had been standing on the platform, as the time at his disposal to warn the engineer and apply the emergency brakes would be measured in seconds, from the fact that only six minutes elapsed from the time Cartier was left until the collision occurred.
As the track is of a curving nature west of Geneva the headlights of the approaching trains were hidden and the express rushed on through the night to certain disaster.
Engineer SMITH, of the stock train, was slowing down to take siding at Geneva, and the brakeman stood upon the steps of the engine ready to throw the switch, when he observed the headlight of the coming express and yelled to the engineer and fireman to jump for their lives, at the same time making his own escape. Engineer SMITH succeeded in clearing his engine before the crash came, but Fireman PERCY VICE was caught and killed. Fireman SUMMERS, of the express, was so seriously injured that he died last night at the Sudbury hospital.
Engineer McLENNAN leaves a wife and two children. His body was taken to Ottawa for interment.
Traffic was resumed fourteen hours after the accident happened. The track was badly torn up and the wrecked engines and cars were in a shape hard to handle.
Fireman SUMMERS of the express was a resident of Chapleau, Ont.

Western Men On Board.
Nurse BLANCHE PERRY, of Yarmouth, Ont., rendered valuable first aid to the injured, no physician being on board.
Among the passengers were members of the Selkirk Centennial delegation returning from their interview at Ottawa with Premier LAURIER, including Mayor SANFORD EVANS, FRED DREWRY, and Industrial COmmissioner ROLAND, of Winnipeg.
Others were A. PREFONTAINE, M. P. P., and JOHN CRAWFORD of Neepawa, all of whom were uninjured.
Geneva is 117 miles west of North Bay.

Winnipeg Free Press Manitoba 1910-10-17


William Summers (Somers) did

William Summers (Somers) did not die in this crash. He was badly injured and in Sudbury hospital and then in Montreal. He lost his left leg just above the knee. He lived in Cartier ON for many years after the crash and worked for the CPR until his retirement in the 50's. Blanche Perry was a nurse and saved his life. She became Blanche Meredith and lived in Thunder Bay. Somers named his first daughter born in 1911 after Blanche Perry. Somers and Meredith families were friends for years.