My name is Brad Sterling and I am the grandson to the late Carl Sterling. I know my brother Randy Sterling has sent you extensive emails regarding getting our Grandfather Carl Sterling inducted into the Railway Hall of Fame because of his heroism in 1951.
I first heard the story of that fateful day from my Grandmother Helen Sterling ( Carl’s wife). She told me that when Carl earned his Engineers Papers it was the happiest day of his life. He worked very hard for this qualification and was very proud of what he had achieved.
Because Fred Chubb was the senior engineer Carl had worked the fireman duties the day of the accident. I know that you have read the events of that day from correspondence from my brother and my cousin Alan Mayhew. There are a few things that stand out as very important details to note. When the recovery crew was dispatched to bring the passengers and the remaining cars back to the rail yard they were startled to find the brake had been deployed and because of the intense heat had caused the brakes to seize and they were afraid the car would overheat and start fire if they tried to haul the car back to the rail yard. This could only have happened if Carl had gone back to the baggage car and engaged the handbrake and uncoupled the car before the collision.
Fred Chubb was found in the engine and Carl was found outside the train where he had been thrown at the time of the collision. Both these men showed valor and courage that day and because of their actions 237 passengers were unharmed. When the recovery crew returned to the St Thomas yard the conductor of the original train searched out my Uncle Jack ( Carl’s son) who was an employee there. He told Uncle Jack he should be proud because his Dad saved a lot of people and was truly a hero.
Back in the 70’s I was managing a clothing store in London, Ontario. One day an elderly gentleman came into the store to buy a new tie. He was sharply dressed sporting a watch fob with a tie bar of a steam locomotion. I asked if he worked on the railroad and he told me he had retired from the railroad with 30 years of service. I told him my Grandfather Carl Sterling had worked for the railroad . He was clearly quite taken back. He told me he had known my Grandfather and that he was a very courageous man and that he saved a lot of people from harms way. I felt very proud of my Grandfather although I never had the opportunity to meet him. ( Unfortunately none of his 12 grandchildren got to know him).
Both Carl Sterling and Fred Chubb were courageous that day and gave their lives for their duty to the railroad. This brave act should be recognized. Carl still has 3 daughters that lost their father that fateful day. To have their Father acknowledged and given the recognition they deserve would be a great honor. We all believe both Carl Sterling and Fred Chubb should be inducted into the railroad Hall of Fame.