The Titanic of a Railway Disaster — Dr. Allan McLellan of Carleton Place



Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Jan. 22 1910. — Dr. Allan McLellan,  former veterinary surgeon of Carleton Place was among those taken from the Spanish River a few days ago. He was a victim of the wreck of train no 7, and was the husband of a cousin of Mr. J.F Warren of the C. P. R. station agent in Carleton Place. His stricken wife also from Carleton Place is quite young, about 21 years of age. Dr. McLellan, who was in the first class coach, had arrived in Sudbury about a year before the tragedy with his young bride. He was married just a year on the day before the accident. This makes the third family in Carleton Place in which there is a relationship with families bereaved by the Soo Branch.

It is now believed between fourty-four persons were killed in yesterday’s wreck of train No. 7 on the Soo branch of the Canadian Pacific on the bridge crossing the Spanish river, thirty-eight miles from Sudbury, Ont. The train records show that when the train left Sudbury at noon there were approximately 100 persons aboard. Twenty-two injured were being cared for in Sudbury, and more in other nearby towns. Only a few escaped injury or death.

The exact number of dead would not be known for several days, as divers will had to thoroughly explore the Spanish River. Into the icy waters of which three of the seven cars of the ill-fated train plunged. In the burned wreckage of the four other cars were the remains of many others, making a complete list of the casualties almost impossible. The train was made up of a locomotive, mail and baggage car, express, second-class coach, colonist car, first-class coach, diner and Pullman.
The Spanish River bridge is an iron bridge and the heavy train struck it on the down grade while going at a high rate of speed. As the train was crossing the bridge the trucks of the second-class car jumped the track, presumably from a broken rail. The car was cut in two against the bridge abutments, so great was the momentum of the train. One-half of this car, with the colonists’ car, first-class coach and dining car, were hurled into the Spanish River, crashing through the ice and being swept half across the stream. The Pullman broke from the rest of the train and toppled down the bank on its side.

A more terrifying death than those who were thus trapped in the waters of the river could scarcely be imagined and was only matched by the fate that befell the helpless victims who were pinned in the wreckage of the cars that escaped the river, but which were attacked by flames almost immediately. Passengers in the submerged cars fought like mad men to escape. Many of them succeeded in breaking through the windows only to find themselves imprisoned by the ceiling of ice. Eight of those in the diner succeeded in escaping, but not one of those in the second-class coach (the half that went into the river), colonist and first-class coach escaped.The dining car was not immediately submerged, which fact enabled Conductor Reynolds and others of the train crew to pull eight of the imprisoned passengers from the windows and through a hole torn in the roof.

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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