Thursday, 29 March 2012

Railway Disaster at the Junction - 1889 Conclusion

Finally …
On June 10, 1889, the coroner’s jury investigating the Grand Trunk accident of the previous April 28th heard the coroner’s charge, deliberated among themselves for seven hours and then came out with their decisions.
The Hamilton Spectator of the conclusion of the inquest follows :
The final act in the railway disaster inquest was reached last night, when the jury, at the expiration of seven hours’ deliberation, agreed upon a verdict. Coroner Woolverton called the jury together at three o’clock yesterday afternoon, and read to them a voluminous charge, reviewing in the most exhaustive manner, the evidence which had been furnished by a cloud of witnesses during the many long evenings which had been devoted by the jury to an earnest endeavor to discover if the dreadful casualty had occurred through any negligence or preventable cause of whatever description.  After some introductory remarks, the coroner takes up the story of the conflagration as follows :
          On the morning of April 23 last, about twenty human beings went down to their death without a moment’s warning in the frightful railroad accident which you have been investigating. To the horrors of the wreck was added the greater horror of fire, which did its devouring work but too well, taking away all possibility of recognition of the unfortunate victims by their friends, except where a trinket of a bit of clothing still remained to afford a mark of identification. All the evidence goes to show that the great majority were probably killed outright, and thus mercifully saved the suffering of a second death by burning. In connection with this point, it will be your duty to consider whether this fire could have been prevented, extinguished when it was first discovered, and so have made the consuming of the bodies less complete, and thereby have facilitated their identification. As to the first point, its prevention, I do not remember one witness who stated that it could have been prevented or extinguished on its first discovery. They all state that it burst out from three to five minutes after the wreck occurred. Engineer Watson said in five minutes it was ten feet high. Baggageman Welch, whose clear-headedness and energy (himself being injured)  so deservedly met with your commendation,  stated that he saw the fire shooting up immediately after he extricated himself from the wreck, and very significantly said that it appeared as if it arose from powder or coal oil, and almost immediately the flames shot up five or five feet away. It seems to me that this rapidity of ignition can only be accounted for by the breaking of the lamps, the oil from which saturated the broken timber, which was broken, as some have remarked, into “match-wood.” I think it would be well for the jury to consider this point of lighting trains with such an inflammable substance as coal oil, and if some less flammable substance could not be substituted, as fire adds infinitely to the horror of these train disasters. Now, secondly, it is for you to consider whether the fire was put out at as early a period as possible, as the evidence goes to show that it was not extinguished till about noon, or a little after. You will have to consider several things in this connection. First, the lack of the appliances and the difficulty in getting water in sufficient quantities to have any appreciable effect upon such a fierce conflagration as this evidently was. Could the small number, or any number, of buckets, carrying water up a steep embankment of seventy or eighty feet, have extinguished the fire? If you think not, were there other means taken, or if taken, taken sufficiently early to put out the fire in such a time that would have made any appreciable difference as to the extent the bodies of the unfortunate beings were consumed? It is easy to be wise after it is all over, and judging from full information. It is only fair and just that you should take into consideration that it is given to few to have clear and decisive judgments in times of great excitement and mental shock. Chief Aitchison stated it would take at least an hour to get his engine to work upon the wreck. There is doubt expressed whether the engine could have got to the vicinity of the fire by the road. The chief said it would have been useless if taken out by train, as no water could have been procured, and the chemical engine would have been of no use in the open air. If word had been sent to the fire brigade on reception of the first news of the accident, the fire might have been extinguished at an earlier period. But there is no doubt the Grand Trunk railway authorities were deceived as to the extent of the calamity by Mr. Walker’s report. I have heard it stated that the Grand Trunk railway authorities did not wish the fire to be put out at too early a period, so that the bodies should be entirely consumed, thus covering up the number killed. But, gentlemen of the jury, this is too horrible to be believed. There is not the least particle of evidence to sustain it. I am certain that no one of you would sustain such a foul suspicion.
          The coroner then proceeded to review the evidence relating to the make up of the train at London, and the time occupied in the various stages of the journey from that city to the point where destruction overtook it. This has all been published as it was given to the jury. The evidence relating to the speed at which the train was going varied so much that it was difficult to come to any decision on that point. The testimony of the officials and employees of the road in connection with the construction and arrangement of the track and switch at the point of the accident, and the position of the rails, ties and switch after the accident was all carefully reviewed. Particular stress was laid upon the information furnished through the reports of the experts engaged by the jury, and the charge concluded with an acknowledgment of the assistance rendered the coroner’s jury by the railway company and its evident desire to discover, if possible, what caused the accident.
          At four o’clock the court room was cleared and the jury left to digest the mass of testimony. At ten o’clock the jury reported to the coroner the result of its lengthy deliberation, which is as follows :
          The jury are of opinion that Frederick Gurney, R. J. Ederer and others who were passengers on the No. 52, east bound express, on Sunday, the 28th day of April, 1889, were killed by the accident which occurred to that train at the junction cut, near Hamilton, caused by the breaking of the flange of the left leading wheel of the engine truck, which break allowed the wheels to leave the track at the switch; and the jury are also of opinion that the speed at which the train was running had much to do with the cause and extent of the disaster which followed. Your jury are also of opinion that greater efforts could have been put forth to prevent the almost entire cremation of the unfortunate people who were buried in the wreck. Your jury would recommend, from all practical evidence adduced, that on a curve with a switch and a down grade a greater speed than twenty miles an hour is not consistent with safety; and further, that fifteen miles per hour would be much safer and desirable in the interests of the travelling public at such a point, and would likewise recommend that the government take such action as may be necessary to ensure a full and complete inspection by a competent person in all cases where there has been a loss of life through accident before anything whatsoever has been removed or touched than what may be necessary to rescue bodies from the wreck. Had this been followed the jury would have come to a verdict with much more ease and certainty.
          W. A. Robinson handed in some supplementary testimony before the coroner read his charge, but it was principally amplification of points already dealt with in his previously published report.
          Before adjourning the following resolution was moved by Mr. Littlehales, seconded by John Alexander : That the time, attention and skill bestowed in this inquiry by the coroner, Dr. Woolverton, justly entitles him to some extra remuneration, and this jury respectfully makes the suggestion to the government on his behalf.
          A vote of thanks was tendered the chairman, John Hoodless.
          The jury then dispersed, no doubt feeling a deep sense of relief at having at length arrived at the end of one of the longest inquiries of this nature ever held in Canada.
          The Hamilton Spectator had the following editorial published after the coroner’s jury had made its final report:
       The jury which made inquiry into the railway accident near Hamilton on the 28th of April last has rendered its verdict. The investigation has been long continued. We believe all available testimony of importance has been brought out; and that the verdict is substantially in accordance with the evidence.
          At the beginning, the question will be asked whether the calamity was due to any serious defect in the locomotive, the cars or the roadway. That question may with confidence be answered in the negative. The roadbed was in excellent condition, the locomotive and the cars fully equal to the best which money could buy.
          The next question is, Was the train running at an unsafe rate of speed? The jurors say it was. The train was timed to leave London at 4:45 a.m., and to reach Hamilton at 6:55; seventy-five miles in 130 minutes – one mile in one minute and forty seconds – very nearly thirty-five miles an hour. Two stops were necessary – one, when approaching the crossing at Paris, the other when approaching the crossing at Harrisburg; while it is necessary to slack speed materially before passing the landslide at Dundas. An average speed of rather more than thirty-five miles an hour was necessary in order to cover the ground within the schedule time. The train was ten minutes late at London, lost one minute between London and Paris, and five minutes between Paris and Harrisburg, while from Harrisburg to Dundas it ran the time allowed by the time table, though not on time. This is thirteen miles in twenty-one minutes, one mile in one minute and thirty-six seconds, or rather more than thirty-seven miles an hour. The time allowed from Dundas to Hamilton is eleven minutes : at the rate of one mile in one minute and fifty seconds, or nearly thirty-three miles an hour. The instructions to engineers are not to make up lost time. There is some reason to fear that in this case these instructions were not faithfully followed. The train, as has been said, passed Dundas at seven o’clock. It ran nearly five miles before the accident occurred; then the conductor got out of the train, helped pull three passengers from the ruins, ran a quarter of a mile to the telegram office at the Toronto junction, and sent a dispatch to the city office, which dispatch was received at &:14. Let any person calculate for himself the time which would be consumed by the conductor in performing these various acts, deduct that time from fourteen minutes, and the remainder will be the time consumed by the train in running the distance from Dundas to the scene of the accident.
          The immediate cause of the accident was the breaking of a part of the flange on one of the wheels of the bogey or track under the forward part of the locomotive. In some manner wholly unexplained, the forward truck axle became jammed and refused to revolve, the wheels slid along the rails till the flange broke, then that wheel mounted the rail, passed over it and slightly displaced it. The driving wheel following struck the end of the next rail about in the center, mounted it and ran off, dragging a portion of the train after it. The truck wheel which broke was sound and strong. The breakage was due to no defect of workmanship or weakness of material; and the actual original cause of the disaster will probably remain a mystery forever. What is certain is that the switch had no agency in the calamity. If it had, the point would have been bent or jammed; but there was no mark upon it.
          Absolute proof not being in existence we are permitted to theorize a little: The train passed Dundas, on a down grade, at thirty-five miles an hour. The track was slippery, the train heavy and sixteen minutes late. Passing Dundas the track is straight for about a mile; then comes the sharp curve at the crossing of the Dundas and Waterloo road; then the track is again straight and nearly level. Let us suppose that the engineer found he had greater headway than he desired. He was approaching the Toronto junction, the Desjardins bridge, and the heavy grade running down to the Hamilton yard. He put on brakes, and at once the whole weight of the baggage, express and passenger cars became a force pressing upon the locomotive. When the locomotive reached the curve, it struck the incline of the rails towards the inside, and it swerved in that direction. The springs caused it to rebound, and at the moment the centrifugal force acting with the rolling of the machine threw the forward truck wheel with unusual force against the outer rail, broke the flange, disturbed the rail itself; and in an instant all the forward part of the train was a wreck.
          Each accident of this nature is an admonition to make some endeavour to remove the causes of such calamities. We cannot ask the companies to lower the speed of trains. So long as rival lines maintain high rates of speed, this line must do the same or lose its through traffic. It would be a good thing for the public, and the companies would save money, if the maximum through rate were reduced to twenty-miles an hour: but unless all the companies agree, the thing cannot be done.
          What can be done is to heat the cars with steam and light them with electricity. Then the frightful burnings which follow such accidents will be stopped. Now the lamps are broken and the oil scattered over the broken cars; the stoves are upset, and the coals scattered around; and a few seconds suffice to put the whole mass into a fierce conflagration. There is every reason to think that all those whose bodies were burned were killed by the crashing together of the cars. But in any case it is the duty of the railway companies to make every possible effort to prevent fires after accidents.”

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Railway Disaster at the Junction - 1889 Part Nine

Detailed technical testimony dominated the coroner's inquest of June 7, 1889 :
       The inquiry into the cause of the junction cut railway disaster was resumed yesterday afternoon at three o’clock before Coroner A. Woolverton.
          W. A. Robinson, one of the experts retained by the jury, was the first to take the stand. He read a report prepared by himself, which, he stated, was based solely upon what had come to his personal notice. He did not permit himself to be at all influenced by the testimony which had been given to the jury at its different sittings. He presented a written report, of which the following is the text :
          Such an accident as the one under consideration would, in my opinion, be produced by any of the following causes : Some obstruction on or in the track; breakage of the leading engine wheel; a defect in some portion of the track or switch apparatus; a leading wheel jumping the track. No evidence is apparent as to the first named, and although possible, it could hardly be considered in any way probable. The disturbance of the track, however, was such that in so confused and entangled a mass of wreckage, evidence of such cause would be very difficult to discover. There is a broken axle belonging to the engine truck, which I have carefully examined and find that all the usual shop marks about the different parts of the truck indicate said axle to have been the trailing or back truck axle. A close inspection of the fracture of this axle reveals the fact that it could have made no revolutions after the fracture, otherwise the face of the metal at the fracture would have shown abrasions from the two parts coming in contact with each other, or with other substances while revolving, whereas, no such abrasions are apparent. Again, the skid or surface of this broken axle shows no marks of violence except at the place where broken, while the other truck axle is bent and bruised all over. This evidence also indicates that the broken axle was in the back of the engine truck, where it was, to a great extent, shielded by the front wheels and axle from the heavy blows and concussions to which the latter were subjected. This axle was most probably broken when the engine with its heavy boiler was forced over it in the crash which followed. The left front wheel of the engine truck is badly broken into several pieces, and there is a burnished place on the “tread” as if it had been sliding at some time. The opposite wheel has its flange broken, and the right-hand back wheel is fractured on the “tread.” Could reliable knowledge be obtained of the exact spots on the track where each part of the several fragments out of the left front wheel were picked up, I would feel more positive in my conclusions; but this knowledge does not seem to be obtainable, hence I am forced at this point largely into conjecture. One of the fragments out of this wheel, marked “5,5,L,” is free from all appearance of having been either broken off earlier than other pieces. Again, the section of the fracture where this piece fits corresponds with the indentations found on the west end of the rail adjoining the north switch-rail, so that the evidence here given would go to show that the wheel had mounted the rails on the north side near the switch; also that it was broken before it reached the next rail. The track from the switch to the wreck was so twisted and warped by the strain of the wheels running off the rails and the fearful heat from the burning up of the cars afterwards that it is most difficult to determine what, if any, portion of this may have caused or contributed to the accident. A careful examination, however, of the switch apparatus and of all the rails in the vicinity afforded no evidence that any part of them was out of order before the accident. The most significant marks to be found on the rails are as follows : Elongated abrasion on the north flange near the east end of the north switch-rail; deep groove and chamfering at the west end and indentations and elongated excoriations on top of the north rail adjoining the switch-rail; bruised fish-plate and bruised bolts on the north side of the joint at the heel of the north switch-rail; broken guard on the check-rail, which is also battered down at the west end and shows an abrasion on the inside at the east end. All of these marks and injuries are more possibly consequences than causes of the accident. As a leading wheel jumping the track there is, as already stated, every evidence that the broken left front engine truck wheel got on the wrong side of the north switch rail; but whether this was caused by the flange of the left front engine truck wheel breaking off when it struck the north switch-rail and that the wheel was at the same time instantly jerked over the switch-rail, causing thereby the fearful consequences that followed. As it would be naturally asked why this should take place on the occasion of this accident any more than during the running of previous similar trains, I would reply that such an unusual occurrence at this point might be accounted for by the “fortuitous combination of forces,” which on other occasions become dissipated or dispersed. These forces in railway practice are known as that arising from the “sinuous” or lateral motions of the railway engines and the centrifugal motion due to the curve. These forces, aggravated by the tighter gauge of the wheels at the switch, and the speed at which the train was running at the time through the switch, all united at the same instant, would cause a lateral thrust or lurch, which, on the occasion of the accident may have been sufficient to fracture the flange and jerk the front truck wheel over the switch-rail, as already explained. After this happened all subsequent marks and injuries on the rails, etc. can easily be accounted for.
          Coroner – Supposing the accident to have been caused by a broken flange, could the broken wheel have gone over the switch-rail without leaving a mark upon it?
          Mr. Robinson – This is the only missing link in the proof. Owing to the rails being wet, and the suddenness with which the accident occurred, it might have done so. At the place where I consider the wheel jumped, the rails have attained their full width.
          At the request of the jury, Mr. Robinson undertook to explain, with the aid of the model of that section of track, including the switch, where the accident occurred, how the wheel of the engine which had a piece broken out of it acted when it came to the switch-point, and showed what, in his opinion, was the course it took along the rail until it went off.
          Coroner – Can you tell what caused a portion of one wheel of the engine to be burnished?
          Mr. Robinson – I can only give theories as to the cause of the burnishing. One reason might be that that portion of the wheel became covered with clay or some substance, and when the fire took place this portion remained untouched by the fire and retained its brightness.
          In answer to a juryman, Mr. Robinson stated that the train must have been running at a speed of not less than thirty miles an hour to produce the result which followed. In answer to the foreman, he said the gauge at the switch-point was four feet eight and three-quarter inches. There is a difference of half an inch between the switch-rails, which would be dangerous to a train running a high rate of speed. Changing speed on a curve is more dangerous than keeping up a uniform speed.
          Mr. Littlehales – Have you detected anything in the course of your investigation which would lead you to suppose that there was any defective construction of the engine or track?
          Mr. Robinson – I saw nothing to indicate that any part of the engine or track was defective.
          To Mr. Thorne – I would recommend that, where practicable, in cases of accident like the one under consideration, the coroner in the district should engage practical men at once to examine everything at the scene before any change was made, and have those experts make a report to the jury afterward empanelled. I agree with the statements which have been made that there is no danger in going at high speed around the curve; but when a switch is placed on a curve, then the danger is very much increased. I would say that the speed in that case should be kept under twenty miles an hour.
          T. D. Townsend, the other expert, then read his report, which was very lengthy, and dealt to some extent with evidence given by witnesses already published. He said :
          I would submit that it is of the first importance in the interest of the public that complete observations should be recorded at the earliest possible moment after an accident. The accident may have occurred from any one of the following causes : Failure to some part of the permanent way; imperfect operation of the switch; failure of some part of the engine; derailment by what is known as jumping the track: failure partly referable to the engine and partly to the permanent way. I have confined my observations of the permanent way chiefly to that part included between the switch-point and the “frog” or crossing point. I think it will be shown that the commencement and complete destruction of the continuity of the track was within the distance; and if this is established with reasonable certainty, it will follow that the beginning of the general collapse of the rolling stock found east of the “frog” began there. The first recorded marks are found on the north flange of the switch-rail about ten feet east of the switch-point. It is a cut or groove more or less irregular, and is continued until the fish-plates and fish-plate bolts are reached. There are indentions and other slight marks on several parts of the rail. Probably every wheel that passed the “frog” delivered a blow on this rail (the south check-rail). We will now endeavor to trace up what we conjecture were the order of effects. Before the train reached the switch it is more probable that a crack had been produced in the skidded wheel, and when the point was reached a sudden jar occurred referable to the slight bulging in the general line of curvature at that point. This jar caused a section of the wheel to fall outward between the switch and V rails, which was pressed in and carried forward on the north flange of the switch-rail until the fishplate bolts were reached, when it sheared off the nuts of the first and second bolts with the threaded portion of the bolts close to the fishplate. The violence of the blow knocked inward or southward the heel of the switch-rail and laid the end of the next rail open for a blow. The triangular sectional portion of the rail, which has been partly crushed, I am of opinion was the last work done by the detached section of the wheel and it was thrown off the track at this point. The triangular groove in the south part of the section was most probably made by the advancing fractured face of the broken wheel, which struck the end of the rail and mounted it, cutting the marks on top and finally leaving the rail near the point between the second and third rails. The driving and trailing wheels of the engine in passing pushed back the heel of the switch-rail and left about one and an eighth inch of the end of the second rail exposed to the flanges of succeeding wheels.
          The sections of the broken wheel were brought into the court-room, and Mr. Townsend used them in helping to make clearer to the jury some of the statements made in his report.
          The coroner said a gentleman had suggested that the bolts which support the springs on the truck sometimes break, setting the weight down upon the wheels and causing them to skid. He asked Mr. Townsend if that would be the result.
          Mr. Townsend replied that it would. The whole circumstance of the accident must have taken place in about a second and a half, as the engine was covering over forty-feet per second.
          Continuing, he said : I quite agree with Mr. Robinson as to the rate of speed which it is safe to run around that curve, but differ a little from him as to the reason for it. I consider fifteen or twenty miles an hour the maximum speed trains should make at that point, not because the curve is dangerous, but because the switch there is most dangerous. The engineer cannot see more than 200 yards ahead at that point, and there is the possibility of running into some unseen obstruction. The weight of that train was about 340 tons, and supposing it was traveling at the rate of thirty miles an hour it had a mechanical force capable of lifting 12,000 to 14,000 tons one foot high per second. If it had struck a solid mass of rock under the same circumstances there would have been nothing left but fragments.
          Next Monday afternoon at three o’clock was the time fixed for hearing the coroner’s charge and deliberating upon a verdict.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Railway Disaster at the Junction - 1889 Part Eight

The inquest into the cause of the junction wreck gets bogged down in legal matters before further testimony was given at the May 28, 1889 session, full Spectator account follows :
       The apparently interminable inquest on the junction cut railway accident was continued last evening at No. 3 police station before Dr. A. Woolverton, and again adjourned until Tuesday next.
          Chief McKinnon stated that he had spoken to Mr. Stiff in regard to the delivery up to him of the relics found in the wreck, and Mr. Stiff referred him to the company’s solicitor, Mr. Bell. Mr. Bell refused to deliver up the relics at present, but said that they would be kept for examination by relatives, and he would give the chief an inventory of all the relics in their possession. The reason for doing this is in order to protect the company from imposition.
          Mr. Applegarth asked the coroner if the company could be compelled to give the relics up.
          Dr. Woolverton said he had consulted the crown attorney regarding his power to make the company give up the relics, but got little satisfaction from him. He inferred that it was because he did not give the crown attorney a fee.
          Mr. Thorne suggested that part of the money at the credit of the jury be used to obtain legal advice.
          Mr. Pope, assistant solicitor for the company, said the company had no intention of keeping the articles permanently, but until the rightful owners had a chance to claim them. The company would give an inventory to the chief of police.
          Mr. Magill thought the Grand Trunk should grant the request of the jury, as the articles did not belong to the company and should be in the possession of the authorities.
          Mr. Thorne thought a test case should be made of it.
          The coroner had confidence in the company and thought every practical purpose would be served by having an inventory.
          Mr. Alexander moved, seconded by Mr. Thorne, that legal advice be obtained on the subject.
          Mr. Smith moved, in amendment, seconded by Mr. Luxton, that the company be requested simply to furnish a proper inventory of the relics.
          A protracted discussion then ensued among the jurors on the parliamentary law on the subject, and after nearly an hour had been wasted, the amendment was carried.
          Wm. McClure, car foreman, stated that he had held that position since 1876, and his duty was to attend to the running and rebuilding of cars. He reached the scene of the accident at 8:10. Mr. Nelson called his attention to the switch, and he found the west truck of one of the cars on top of the switch, four wheels being east of the points. The switch was alright and could not have been moved with the car in that position. On the following day, while clearing the wreck, he found the broken axle of the engine about twelve feet west of the locomotive, with the axles sticking up. One wheel was broken, and a piece of the flange was found, but he could not discover where it was found, or by whom. The piece was quite bright at the break, and had evidently not been under the fire or water, but must have lain somewhere outside the wreck. It was a piece about eight inches long – a splinter off the flange. Did not think such a break would cause the derailment of the train.
          James Steadman, sworn, said he was foreman of the erecting shop, and was engaged in clearing away the wreck. He gave it as his opinion from the marks on the track that the engine went off the track at the switch. He examined the locality and the marks on the rail and came to that conclusion. Coming round the curve might cause the engine to leave the track, or there might be a stone in the switch. When he reached the wreck that there was nobody in the debris. Did not think the curve was dangerous to trains going from thirty to thirty-five miles an hour.
          Mr. McLure, recalled, said that since his appointment he had known of about seven wheels being broken upon the Copetown grade and east of that point, mostly on freight trains. Some of them break through the middle, or a quarter or an eighth, is broken off. These wheels were broken by the brakes being kept on too long, thus causing the wheel to heat and burst.
          Chief Aitchison, recalled, said that from the same time he would receive notice of a fire at the junction it would take an hour to get to work. The Victoria avenue wreck was all ablaze within three minutes from the time of the crash, and from the fact that he gave it as his opinion that half an hour from the time of the junction accident the fire would have been beyond control and it would have taken quite a while to get it out. There were sixteen tons of coal in the junction wreck, which made a very hot fire and was located in close proximity to the place where the bodies were. He did not think it strange that the city department was not summoned, because the Grand Trunk has a trained fire department and apparatus of its own, and besides it was outside the city limits.
          Thomas S. Bell, civil engineer, said he was in the employ of the Great Western for eighteen years up to 1875. He considered the curve a dangerous one for fast trains, partly on account of the switch and because of the dangerous nature of the locality. Thought twenty-five or thirty miles an hour would not be too high a speed on a curve of 2,200 feet radius. The former chief engineer  of the Great Western objected to putting on switches on grades or curves, as they are more liable to get out of order.
          Joseph Wallace, recalled was asked if the conductor informed anybody officially if there were any bodies in the wreck. He said that Conductor Poole informed him as soon as he arrived from the bridge at 11 o’clock, and he went immediately out to the wreck, but could find no trace of any remains.
          The inquest then adjourned until Tuesday evening, when the officials of the roads will be examined, and it is fondly hoped that a verdict will be reached.”

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Railway Disaster at the Junction - 1889 Part Seven

The long delayed coroner’s inquest into the accident at the Y resumed on May 222, 1889. Full Spectator coverage follows :
The inquest in connection with the recent railway accident at the junction cut was resumed last evening at No. 3 station before Dr. Woolverton.
          Before the taking of evidence was resumed, J. K. Applegarth moved, seconded by S. Thorne, that the whole of the jewelry and other property belonging to the victims be handed over to the chief of police. The motion was carried.
          Constable Wm. Rasberry, of West Flamboro, testified that he lived near the scene of the wreck, and saw the train passing while he was at breakfast. His attention was directed to the train by his son, and he said ; “Yes, she’s running nice and steady this morning.” He meant by that that the express was not going as fast as ge had seen her go. He subsequently went down to the wreck and assisted generally.
          James McKenna testified that he had been in the employ of the Grand Trunk until Dec. 9, 1888, as an engine driver. He was suspended for accepting a time order from the train dispatcher at London between Princeton and Governor’s Road, a distance of five miles, and he had thirteen minutes to do it in. The time order leaves it to the discretion of the driver to make these points if he thinks he can do it. He accepted the risk in the case referred to and came within an ace of having a collision with the limited express, which saved itself by applying its air brakes. He went to the scene of the junction cut accident at twelve o’clock. The witness caused a good deal of amusement by his garrulous manner of giving testimony. He said that if he could see an engine’s wheels he could tell exactly what state the whole machine was in, just the same as by looking at the wear on a sole of a shoe you can tell the state of the uppers. He ran for seven years past the junction cut and knew the track well. There was a switch there as now. He sometimes came past the curve at the scene of the accident at the rate of thirty-six miles an hour and did not think it unsafe. All engineers check the speed just before reaching the curve. Did not think the curve and everything about it was beautiful, A 1, perfect. He, however, considered a switch was safer on a straight road than on a curve. The reason it was not safe was because in rounding a curve the wheels hung the outer rails and the flanges of the inner wheels are “tip-toe” on the other rail. In case the wing rail should give way or slide out of its place a little, it would let the outer wheels foul the frog. There are lots of switches on curves along the company’s line and he considered them as safe as running on a straight line. He said it was safe to run past the curve of the junction at fifty-five miles an hour.
          Q. – Could you judge of the speed the train was going at by looking at the wreck? A. (cautiously) – Well, one thing was evident – that they were running. (Laughter.)
          Continuing, the witness said he could not judge of the speed of the train, but thought it was going about twenty to twenty-five miles an hour. He never had any hesitancy in reporting anything wrong with the track and did not know why he should. On one occasion he ran round the junction curve at the rate of over forty-five miles an hour with a freight train. (Laughter.) He had not applied for reinstatement on the road, but might do.
          Sergt. Pinch, of the city police, said that he heard of the accident about eight o’clock from Sergt. McMahon, who had got word, by telephone, from No. 4 station. McMahon called up the Grand Trunk station and asked if it was true that there was an accident at the Y and the passenger coaches were on fire. He next asked did they require any assistance. He next said : “Why men;” and turning to the witness said it was a ridiculous question to ask what kind of assistance they could give. Witness subsequently called hospital, and Dr. Beemer said he heard of the accident. Later on he received an application to have the patrol wagon sent to the crossing at Victoria Avenue. To transfer the wounded. He heard of the accident about 8:05.
          W. H. Ralston, night operator at the telephone office, testified that at 7:30 on the morning of the accident he was asked to call up a number of medical men and the officials of the road. He received the call from Sergt. McMahon, about eight o’clock, to be connected with the Grand Trunk station. Did not receive a call from the station for the police until after this.
          John Weatherston, the aged general manager of te Hamilton and Dundas railway, said he was track superintendent of the Great Western railway previous to Mr. Broghton’s regime. He was familiar with the Y before the switch was put in. There was then a trestlework there, and the curve was much shaper than it is now. He did not believe much in having these point switches on the main line, as they were liable to get out of order, he thought. He had never seen them worked, and it was merely a matter of prejudice on his part against these patent switches. He thought a switch was safe enough on a curve if it was in good order. He considered that thirty-five miles an hour would not be too fast a speed to round the curve, provided the track was all right. He did not think that it would be dangerous to round that curve at fifty miles an hour, but it would not be wise to do so because of the terrible result  of an accident to a train going at that rate, should it occur. He never knew of men being reprimanded for reporting accidents. During the twenty-four years he was on the road, there never was an accident at that curve, and it was sharper then than now. On a curve of twenty-four in the 100, the elevation of the rail should be one and one half to two inches. Letting off the air brakes suddenly while coming down a grade gives the engine a jolt, but did not think it would be sufficient to make it jump the rail.
          John Hall, locomotive superintendent, said that engine 758 was built at Kingston in 1888. She was originally a freight engine with small driving wheels, four feet six inches in diameter, but was changed to larger wheels, five feet eleven inches in diameter. Seven or eight months ago, she had a cylinder replaced and her wheels were turned. Since that she has been in good condition. At 8:25 on the morning of the accident, he went out on an auxiliary with twenty-six men. The wreck was then all on fire to the last car. Shortly after ten o’clock he had steam up on the pumping engine and got a stream of water playing on the wreck. They extinguished a fire on a large heap of coal beside the track. Did not know there were bodies in the wreck at the time, having been told by Mr. Walker, of Toronto, that there were none. Pumped on the wreck until five o’clock. Gave an opinion that it was safe to go at full speed round a curve, and thought that a curve with a switch was not more dangerous than any other. Men were never reprimanded for reporting accidents or defects.  On the contrary, the difficulty is to get the men to make reports when anything occurs. He gave the driver of the limited express a very high character for carefulness and reliability. In his opinion, if the switch was partly open, as by a stone getting into it, the engine would go off the track without injuring the points of the switch in any way, and this would also account for the marks found on the rails after the wreck. The flange of the wheel would pass inside the point and then as the wheel dropped to the ties at the place where the rails separate sufficiently it would force over the east end of the switch and break the coupling as it was found; at the same time the pressure on the “butt” of the switch rail would cause the switch to close automatically, ands this would account for the baggage car shooting past the rest of the wreck. The south wheel, after dropping from the rail, would, in its subsequent course, strike the end of the wing rail and bruise it in the way it was found. He was inclined to think that the breaking of the axle occurred in the wreck after the train had left the track, and was not the cause of the accident. A train came from the west and entered the Y forty minutes before the accident.
          The inquest then adjourned until Tuesday night, when it is expected that a verdict will be arrived at.