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Abandoned Great Western Railway bridge was the site of a terrible train collision

January 2021

All across Canada and the United States, the remnants of abandoned rail lines can be found, including the bridges, tunnels and railway stations along the railway route.

In Dundas, Ontario, the abandoned Great Western Railway bridge that crosses over Sydenham Creek, at the base of the Niagara Escarpment, was the scene of a serious railway accident at about 3am on Saturday, 19 March 1859.

Many believe the abandoned railway bridge is haunted.

On that fateful night, the embankment along the line near the bridge collapsed under a torrent of rain, leaving a gorge of around one hundred feet in length, and around twenty feet deep. A Great Western passenger train, consisting of a locomotive, coal tender, and four passenger cars, came upon the scene and fell straight into the gorge.

The force of the fall buried the locomotive, with each car falling in succession into each other, taking the sixty passengers and crew with them, smashing into a pile of splintered wood and twisted steel.

Six persons were killed as a result of the collision: the engineman, George Morgan, the brakeman, William Milne, Alexander Braid, formerly Superintendent of the Locomotive Works of the Great Western Railway and Hans Peter Jochensen, of Davenport, Iowa, all of whom died at the scene.

C.V. King, the Fireman, died on Saturday afternoon of his injuries at Copetown. Reverend Thomas Fawcett, Methodist missionary to the Indians of the Grand River, was seriously injured and died Sunday morning.

Many more were seriously injured.

Today, the Great Western Railway line is gone, as is the GWR itself, which merged with the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) in August 1882. The GTR itself was taken over by Canadian National (CN) Railway in 1923.

The bridge over Sydenham Creek remains, now part of a hiking trail that winds it way through the Dundas Valley.

The current CN Rail line runs parallel to the old line, up the embankment just to the north.

Sources: https://hamiltonparanormal.com/bridge1.html,

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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