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100-year-old horrific rail crash recalled

By SooToday.com Staff
SooToday.com
Monday, January 18, 2010

SooToday.com has received the following e-mail from a loyal reader who has teamed with his wife to publish a book about a century-old Northern Ontario tragedy:

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On January 21, 1910, a passenger train on its way from Montreal to Minneapolis left Sudbury around noon.

Shortly after 1 p.m., after a brief stop at Nairn, the train was approaching the Spanish River bridge when something terrible happened.

Whether faulty rail alignment or faulty equipment, four cars of the seven-car train derailed.

One car hit the bridge superstructure and split in two, with half going into the river and other half catching fire and burning on the bridge.

Two other cars, with passengers, plunged through the ice into the river.

The fourth rail passenger car turned on its side and came to rest on the embankment.

Forty-three people lost their lives in this wreck, one of the worst in Canadian rail history.

Thursday, January 21, 2010, marks the 100th anniversary of the accident.

For those who may be interested in reading transcripts of newspaper articles of this deadly derailment, Darcy and Myril Lynn Brason-Lediett of Sault Ste. Marie published a 140-page book of this tragedy, complete with an index of names of those mentioned in the articles.

Copies of the book are available at libraries and museums in Sault Ste. Marie, Blind River, Elliot Lake, Massey, Sudbury, North Bay and Renfrew.

- Darcy Brason-Lediett

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