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MP-0000.2265
© McCord Museum
Photograph
Collision between two engines, Bay of Quinte Railway, ON, 1892
Anonyme - Anonymous
1892, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
12 x 17 cm
Gift of Lady Kennedy
MP-0000.2265
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

Several accidents marked the early days of the railway. Sometimes they were very spectacular like the collision between two locomotives illustrated here. Various causes may have provoked these impressive catastrophes, such as human error or a technical failure. Accidents could also occur owing to errors in train schedules, so that two trains converged on the same location at the same time. However, later in the 19th century, technical advances applied to clocks, watches and the telegraph system considerably reduced risks of this kind.

Source : Disasters and Calamities [Web tour], by Nathalie Lampron (see Links)

What:

Single track railway lines had to be carefully managed so as to direct one train onto a railway siding if another arrived in the opposite direction.

Where:

Bay of Quinte is located north of Lake Ontario. In the 19th century, the Grand Trunk railway network and the Trent-Severn waterway helped develop this region.

When:

From 1875 to 1900, more than 750 fatal accidents and 2100 accidents causing injury occurred on Canadian railways.

Who:

Mechanics and train conductors had to follow a series of rules and signals including the rule of precedence, which obliged a train to yield the passage to another train with higher priority.

© Musée McCord Museum