From Brent Eades
Hi Linda, I just came across this clipping from the online Gazette that I saved months ago, but I didn’t note the date at the time. Early 50s I think. What’s really interesting about it is the line “It is said that the engine pulling the freight was 2802, the same one that plowed into the Pembroke local at the Almonte station Dec. 27th, 1942 causing the worst wreck in Canadian history.” If that’s true, that could be a really interesting story I’ll leave this with you.
Did you know? An engine that had a life span of 49 years?
ALMONTE, Ont., (CP) A 12-year-old boy, stepping aside to push three younger companions to safety, was killed Thursday when a freight train suddenly bore down on them as the boys were heading across a railway bridge to their favorite swimming hole. The victim was Freddie Leach, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Leach of this town. 45 miles southwest of Ottawa. He died instantly from head injuries suffered when struck by the Canadian Pacific Railway train as it caught up to him near the end of the 500-foot bridge.
His three companions Gerald Clement, 9; Gerry Waddell. 9; and Billie Anderson, 8 reached safety without injury and sobbed out a story of how Freddie saved their lives. Waddell said Freddie was leading the group across the railway bridge when the sound of a train whistle sounded behind them. Freddie stepped aside and shouted to them to run for their lives. This is the way Waddell told the story: I turned around and saw the engine of a train just hitting the end of the bridge. It was coming up behind us, and I yelled and we all started to run. Freddie let me and Gerry and Billie go ahead, cause were littler. We ran as hard as we could but I never thought we could make it.
All I remember is reaching the west end of the bridge and throwing myself to one side. The engine roared by me just as I leaped. I felt the steam on my bare legs as I dove off the track. When I stopped rolling I got up and saw the other two boys, but we didnt see Freddie. Then we saw him. He was lying in a bloody lump about 50 feet away. Young Anderson said he knew “Freddie must have waited to let us start, because he had been walking ahead. “If it hadnt been for him, he added, “we might all have been killed.
The train was stopped in little more than its own length and the crew ran back to provide assistance. Doctors pronounced Freddie dead on arrival.
The Windsor Star
Windsor, Ontario, Canada21 Jul 1950, Fri • Page 19
It was designated by C.P. as Passenger Extra 2802 East, (2802 being its engine number, a C.P. Hudson [4-6-4] type locomotive), crewed by engineer Lome Richardson and fireman Sam Thompson.
THE TROOP TRAIN
Passenger Extra 2802 East was carrying soldiers and other military personnel from Red Deer, Alta., to Halifax, where they would deploy overseas to Europe’s theatre of war. Hurtling through the night, its engine, caboose and 13 metal coaches weighed more than 1,000 tons.
After 32 years working on freight trains, Smiths Falls native Lorne Richardson was making his inaugural run as engineer of a passenger train. Sixty-four-year-old conductor John Howard, meanwhile, also a Smiths Falls resident, had been a CPR conductor since 1911, five years after he joined the company as a porter. He had another year to go before retirement.
Richardson, Howard and the rest of the crew of 2802 knew the 550 was ahead of them. They’d been given orders to keep a fast train while maintaining a safe distance — 20 minutes — between the two trains. It was a difficult task given that the troop train had no speed gauge and no way of knowing exactly how fast, or slow, the 550 was travelling, except when they arrived at the stations the 550 had recently left. In such cases, the troop train would be purposely held back to restore the 20-minute gap.
Following train No. 550 was a 13-car troop train from western Canada, bound for Montreal, via Chalk River, Carleton Place and Smiths Falls on the Chalk River subdivision, and then via the Winchester sub. to its destination. It was designated by C.P. as Passenger Extra 2802 East, (2802 being its engine number, a C.P. Hudson [4-6-4] type locomotive), crewed by engineer Lome Richardson and fireman Sam Thompson. Train 550’s engine and train crew were unaware that they were being closely followed by a passenger extra but, even so, at Almonte, under the rules of the day they should have been “protecting” (with fusees) the rear of their train as it was outside “station limits” by 170 feet (as defined by the rule book). At Almonte the local was 40 minutes late, arriving there at 8:32 P.M
1942, December 27 – Almonte, Canadian Pacific, Chalk River subdivision.
Margaret Lisinski– Survivor of the Almonte Train Wreck
A Personal Letter John Reid, Almonte 1942
Fred Gauthier Survivor — 6 Months 1 Day –1942 Almonte Train Wreck – Vern Barr
The Removal of the CPR Train Station– Almonte –1978
Gravelle Toshack Almonte Farmer Killed By Train
Train Wreck January 21, 1969– Almonte Gazette
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