|Carl Sterling and Fred Chubb
In 1951, Canadian Pacific Railway ran a passenger service from Toronto to Windsor, across to Detroit and on to Chicago, turned around and made the same stops back to Toronto. That particular run was called "The Royal York", I guess because it started across the street from that Great Hotel. It was a "Flyer Service" between Toronto and Windsor, Ont., with only a breif stop in London, Ont. and was known as the "Royal York Flyer". On September 17th,1951, there were over 230 passengers and crew aboard as the Flyer pulled out of Windsor Station, shortly after 9:00 Am, on the return run, heading back to Toronto...
It was just about noon or shortly after, that the steam powered engine of the Royal York Flyer hit a dump truck hauling a trailor with a bulldozer on it, exploded on impact and derailed at a crossing just west of Chatham, Ont. The engineer of that train, Fred Chubb, and the fireman, stoking the boiler, Carl Sterling (my Grandfather) were the only crew ahead of the baggage car and the passengers behind. When they hit the truck, the boiler exploded, rupturing and igniting the truck's fuel tank.The engine rolled off to one side and the truck rolled over to the other and baggage car and passengers and crew rolled through the crossing, with everyone on board safe and only a few who were slightly shaken up, coming to a stop and remaining upright. The engine had torn out over 300 feet of track and they found Fred Chubb at his seat in the engine, unconscious and seriously burned, on the east side of the crossing and Carl Sterling was found dead, on the ground behind the
Later that day, my uncle Jack Sterling who was working in the CPR Shops was told that his Dad's train had been in a accident and they were sending an engine out to Chatham to bring the passengers into London. When the train pulled into London, the conductor found Jack and told him that his father, Carl, had died in the wreck when he was thrown from the train and that he should be very proud of his father because someone disconnected the baggage car, just before they hit. Since they found Fred still in his seat, it could only have been Carl who'd pulled the pin on the baggage car allowing the cars to stay upright and not derail. Fred never regained concsiousness and died 3 days later of his burns and my grandmother was left to raise six kids in London, Ont in 1951. Both men died heros...please induct them.