Witness on fateful train tells her story

The Canadian body responsible for investigating rail accidents, the Transportation Safety Board, has said they will not investigate the deaths of 3 young men struck by a VIA Rail passenger train on the early morning of Oct. 31. The once-delayed train was travelling at 112 kilometres per hour when it struck the teens. This independent investigation hopes to find the reasons for this unexplained calamity. Why were these three persons unable to avoid the train?

by Jack Locke

“What a tragedy.”

These were the first words spoken to me by Eve*, a passenger on the VIA Rail train that struck and killed Montreal-area teenagers Dylan Ford, Mitchell Bracken-Guenet and Ricardo Conesa on Oct. 31.

Eve, 42, was returning to Montreal after participating in a performance-art festival. She is an accomplished artist who was invited to perform there. She was pleased to attend the festival but looking forward to returning home to Montreal. Her train left Toronto at about 6:35 P.M. on Oct. 30 but was immediately delayed.

“After two minutes it stopped,” she says. “They said there was an accident and we must wait until the track is free.”

The train finally recommenced its journey at about 9 that evening, says Eve. Because of the delay she emailed ahead to notify a colleague that she would not be able to make a 10 A.M. commitment the next morning.

At 3 A.M., as the train entered the Turcot area of Montreal, Eve was startled. She had been awake the entire trip but was momentarily resting her eyes.

Ticket shows train's scheduled 12:16 A.M. arrival time

“I don’t know if I noticed the train braking before or after I felt a bump. I felt we were passing over something. I thought it was an animal.”

“I heard no train whistle, at least not that I can remember,” she says.

According to Eve, the train stopped with a portion extending out of the east part of the Turcot tunnel, leaving some passenger cars remaining in the blackened tunnel.

File photo showing Turcot tunnel area where VIA train came to rest.

“Eventually an attendant made an announcement saying ‘I am sorry, there’s been a fatality and that we need to stop,’ ” she recalls.

Eve asked a train attendant for information and was told that the coroner had been called.

“The crew members looked white and I thought they were going to have a nervous breakdown,” she worried. Eve had been previously told at least one member of the crew had started work at 7 A.M. the day before.

The worst part of the train trip, Eve will never forget. It was not the sight of anything, but the feel and the sound.

“The biggest feel was when we went over a body. I heard sounds like branches. It was bones.”

* Eve’s real name has been removed from this story upon her request.

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2 Responses to “Witness on fateful train tells her story”

  1. Possible explanation to death of 3 Montreal teens | Lockeblog Says:

    […] was coming into Montreal from Toronto. It was three hours late, passengers on the train were tired(Witness on fateful train tells her story), and then it happened. The train travelling at approximately 113 kilometres per hour(70 mph) ran […]

  2. publicpoetry Says:

    Reblogged this on Lockeblog and commented:

    I am reposting my series on The Turcot Train Tragedy as it approaches the second anniversary of that horrible event. Alas, with no government accountability. Installment 4.

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