Return to the Lounge Car


Comments and Reflections

by Connie (MacDonald) Doucet

Westly MacDonald I recently received a copy of the transcript of the runaway at the Nepisiguit from my uncle who was a dispatcher in Campbellton N.B. for years. The reason that I was interested in that is because the crewman on that train was my father Wesley MacDonald.I noted that there was some confusion as to the cause of the crash.It at first was blamed on my Dad but later he was cleared as the reason was determined to be brake failure. He walked away from the crash but later developed seizures which he attributed to getting hit on the head with the seat as it broke when the train left the track. He was very fortunate that he was in the second engine as the first was completely buried and they had to dig him out of the second one as it was. He never fully recovered from that crash and was never able to return to work. He put in 42 years of service with CN. My Dad passed away at the age of 66 in Jan. of 1994.It was so nice to hear his voice again after all these years even though it was under those circumstances.

Apparently there was an internal investigation into how the Tape got out into the general population. Life was made rather difficult for Alphie even though it was never proven who "leaked' the tape. The superintendent (Levesque) didn't appear to be too aware of what was going on as was shown by the comment about not moving anything until he got to the scene. Could you just imagine????? I agree that Alphie was the hero of the day and it definitely was his calm attitude that probably was one of the reasons that daddy survived the crash. The other was the comment that Dad made when he spoke to Alphie after the wreck (missed in translation) and that was "Still here anyway. The old fella wasn't ready for me I guess..."

I've been thinking about the derailment and my father's reactions to it. He was devastated. To think that he worked 42 years incident free for a company and was blamed for the accident was almost more than he could bear. He never really got over it..He never returned to work..He developed a seizure disorder which they attributed to the hit on the head that he got from the seat in the engine when it derailed so was on disability pension until the age of 65. He was worried financially as he was working on his last 5 year salary to determine his pension and with the 6 month suspension without pay that would affect it greatly. It worked out well however as he was reinstated without incident. It was however 10 months of hell before the final decisions were made. There was a lot of relief when the decision was made. The victory was bittersweet.I remember when they(CN) came to the house when he had decided to retire to present him with the gold watch. I felt like telling them where they could put it but Dad never said a word. He still was dedicated to them...

Let me say one thing before I end this note. My father was proud of the work that he did with the railroad. It would be one of the highlights of his life if he knew that this was causing the stir (and intrest) that it is.