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Feb. 9 marks deadly anniversary in Coniston

Nine killed in 1951 when train crashed through bus

Feb. 9 marks an deadly anniversary for Coniston. On the morning of Feb. 9, 1951, there was a collision between a bus and a CPR commuter train in the town.

The bus was carrying more than 35 passengers, the majority Inco workers on their way home from their shift at the company's Coniston smelter. Nine people were killed as a result, with dozens of others injured.

On this particular morning, the temperature had dipped to -48 degrees F (-44 C), said the Coniston Historical Group on its Facebook page today. 

“The outside air was hazy and visibility was poor.  Because of the extreme cold, more passengers than usual were crowded into the bus. Its windows were frosted; external sounds were muffled by the din of conversation within the bus. Nobody heard, saw or suspected the west-bound CPR train, which was running late.

“The train arrived at the crossing just as the bus was straddling the tracks. The terrible crash resulted in nine deaths and many injuries to others. The men who were killed were all from the same shift in the smelter. All those who died were citizens of Coniston. The whole town was in a state of shock, but the response to the grieving families was prompt and generous.”

News reports following the crash indicate the driver of the bus, Edward Carriere, 21 years old at the time, had been charged with manslaughter, but was later acquitted of those charges.

For more information, visit the Coniston Historical Group's Facebook page