Desjardins Canal Disaster

How the accident was first discovered

Desjardins Canal disaster, 1857
The Toronto Railway train breaking through the tressle bridge over the Des Jardines Canal, falling sixty feet into the gulf below. From a sketch by Col. Frank Foster, of Philadelphia. (Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 4 April 1857: 265.)

There is but one small house, belonging to the poor woman who behaved so nobly by the Doyle children near the fallen bridge; and she was looking out of the window as the train approached. She says the catastrophe made little noise. The train seemed to sway to one side, and then all disappeared. It is probably the swaying was the first passenger car overturning. She says she saw a man leap from the locomotive immediately before it disappeared. This was likely the engineer, as he was found with his neck broken on the ice. At the same time one of the workmen at the station house - it is about a mile distant from the broken bridge - who was watching the train coming in saw the steam suddenly stop, and a sort of dust arise. In a second there was no train to be seen. The alarm was at once given; and we believe that all persons connected with the railroad have exerted themselves most assiduously since, to render all the assistance they could. The crash was not heard at the depot.

("The Calamitous Railroad Accident at Burlington Bridge! Over the Des Jardines Canal, Canada." Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 4 April 1857: 277-278.)

Collection of Desjardins Canal Disaster Illustrations

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