Monday, November 7, 2011

Transit Tragedy

November 9, 1909 was a day that will forever live in sadness in the minds of Vancouverites. On this day the worst transit accident in Vancouver's history occurred.
A flatcar filled with heavy timbers bound for the iron foundry at Nanaimo and 24th got away and was hurtling towards the city and gaining momentum as it went. The runaway flatcar collided with the east-bound BCER Interurban train Sumas.

When the two vehicles collided the timbers shot off the flatcar and demolished the train. Fourteen passengers were killed instantly, one later died of injuries and nine were seriously injured.

Twelve of the victims are buried at Mountainview Cemetery.

Thirty four year old George Thorburn was the motorman of Interurban train Sumas. He lived on Hamilton Street in downtown Vancouver.

Thomas Bowes and Thomas Farmer are among the dozen victims buried at Mountainview Cemetery. 

Henry Hathway Slayton was a carpenter who lived in Vancouver on Richards Street.

William Edwards Stevens was a city employee. He laid water mains and lived on Prior Street near Gore.

Fellow victims Edward Jones Holland, Robert Lyons, Samuel Glidden Mitchel and Harry Pochin  were also laid to rest in the same cemetery.

James F. Stevens is in eternal slumber at Mountainview Cemetery as is Archer Samuel Wilkinson.

Thomas Tuttle was born in Newfoundland and, after the accident, was buried at Mountainview. In January of 1910 his ten month old son died. In April of that year both Tuttle and his son were disinterred. It is thought that his wife returned to the East and took the remains with her.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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