Murphy's Siding
Naniamo, B.C. - Thursday, November 22, 2007

Here is a photo I took of a train "mishap" at Murphy's Siding in the late '60s or early '70s.

I'm not sure how two trains could collide head-on on a beautiful, clear, sunny summer day. It would appear from the photo they didn't hit really hard, just enough to smash the noses of both engines and cause them to rear up.

If I remember correctly, the fireman on the right-hand engine rode out the collision but the engineer bailed out of the cab and ran full tilt into a signal post, becoming the only injury. The only injury that is, except for what I would imagine would be some badly wounded pride.

As you most likely know, Murphy's is (was) located between Eldersley and Crooked River and, at one time, was slated for great things. In the 1920s it was hoped that Churchill, Manitoba would become a major exporting port for prairie grain headed for European markets. Those were the days of the old steam engines and the installations at Murphy's included a roundhouse, turntable, water and coal towers and a foreman's house.

Unfortunately the Great Depression came along and the dream never fully materialised, but for years the water tower and coal dock remained to serve the steam engines.

It would be interesting to see if any of the old buildings remain on site nowadays. Maybe some of your readers could provide more background or an update on Murphy's Siding today.

Joe Ives

Editor's note: It would appear that one of the locomotives in this picture above was never repaired but was photographed in its damaged state in 1957 while sitting in the Transcona yard East of Winnipeg. Railway photographer George Bergson captured the damaged engine without its front dolly. Click here to see the picture.

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