Friday, November 28, 2008

The Newcomb Wreck

Danny McCracken sent along some photos and information on the Newcomb wreck, which occurred on the Canadian Pacific Railway at Newcomb, NB on April 6, 1956. Newcomb was the first siding east of McAdam, just under 8 miles out. You can see it in the September 30, 1928 CP timetable. It was not listed in the April 28, 1968 CP timetable, so it must have been removed between 1956 and 1968.

I'll let Danny's words and photos tell the tale, with some minor editing.

The Newcomb wreck occurred on April 6, 1956 a few hundred feet East of the Newcomb (Mi 78.6) siding West Switch and Block Signals.

There was a meet between the East and West bounds and which ever train was moving on the main had a car derail into the side of the stopped train.

If I remember correctly it struck at or near the stopped engine, which would lead me to believe the car came from the East bound as the Westbound engine would be near that switch.

I was 14 at the time and was interested, so another lad and I headed to the site on our bicycles. We went out Route 4 approx 5 Kms from the R/R crossing in McAdam, and approx 3 Kms in the Little Duck Lake Road. It being the first week of April, that dirt road was not an easy bike ride. When we arrived at the tracks, we had to walk East for a fair distance. In those days cameras were a No-No around wrecks, so we had to stay well back from the work site. This was the day after the wreck and they had the siding opened up for trains to pass.

They were using 2 cranes- 1 at each end of the site and the one working at the West end would have to go all the way East on the siding, back up the Main track to clear for trains to pass. It was a 52 car capacity siding, so there was lots of room on the main track east of the wrecked cars for the 2 cranes, tool cars, crew cars and 2 steam engines.

I have 8 pictures, which was probably one roll of film in the little camera I had in those days.

Bob Nason's father would have been working there as he was the Section Foreman on the East Line at the time and maybe Bob's brother Bud also.

At that time wheat was handled in box cars and it would get inside the car walls and would built up between the inside and outside walls. In the wreck, a lot of wheat got spilled on the ground and was not cleaned up. As a result the deer would gather there to feed and then go to a near by brook and fill up on water, resulting in them bloating up and sometimes death.

At that time both Auxiliary Cranes were stationed in McAdam. One was the same size as the one at Hillsborough and the other was bigger. The small one was later replaced with a wreck dozer and when the car dept closed in McAdam the Aux equipment moved to Saint John along with the remaining men (Oct 16, 1980).

One more comment from Danny, about the telegraph poles. The more prominent pole line in the photos had multiple cross-arms, and was the Canadian Pacific line. The line on the other side, visible in the top photo, was the Western Union telegraph line from the USA to Sydney, NS.

No comments: