Return to the Lounge Car


Wesly MacDonald

The first time I heard the Runaway tape, I was literally frozen. This is not a Hollywood fiction where some never seen person yells, "cut", and the actors get up and go on with their lives like it never happened. No, this was much more tragic in that although the tape ends with Wesley MacDonald walking away from what well have could have been his last ride, the story did not end there. When we first put this tape on the Web, it generated a lot of conversation. I think people were generally affected by what they heard. Many of you are railroaders or have loved ones who are. You know all too well the horror of what a runaway really is. I, like most of us, will never know that feeling of helplessness, knowing that you are trapped on board and there is nothing you can do but ride it out and pray for the best.

What follows is the whole story of what Mr. MacDonald faced as he climbed out of the wrecked cab window. Wesley MacDonald survived this incident only to find his 43 year career and pending pension in jeopardy. Wesley's worst nightmare started after the train he rode to it's derailment was over. Many of us only see the headlines and do not know of the events which happen after. We would hope that Wesley's story is not the norm, but fear that it might be. We are not presenting this story as an indictment to anyone person or organization. Let's just let the facts speak for themselves and realize that the system worked in this case. Wes would have had birthday on November 28th. He was a loving husband and father. It's in his memory we present this story and pray none of you railroaders ever have to face what he did.

Daniel Dawdy
Ribbon Rail Productions
November 1997

About This Story - Please Read

Runaway - The Audio File

Runaway - The Transcripts From The Audio File

Notes From Connie (MacDonald) Doucet.

Pictures Of The Aftermath

Bulletin No. 01/87 Issued After Accident

Engineer Escapes Unscathed

Canidian National - Employee Statement

Train Brakes Inadequate?

Bad brakes cause of CN derailment?

CN Runaway Train Report Not Expected Until July

Will Check Reports

CN Engineer Nominated For Bravery Award

42-Year Veteran Given Six-Month Suspension

MacDonald Not Celebrating Date As Suspension Gains Opposition

Perfect 42 Year Career Marred

Editorial - Covering The Rear

Bathurst Mayor Opposes Engineer's Suspension

Mayor Slams CN Action

Union To Grieve Suspension Of Freight Train Engineer

Excerpts from the Legislature of the Provence of New Brunswick

Rail Crash Probes Completed

Letter to Honourable John Crosbie

Responce from Honourable John Crosbie

Editorial - CTC Standing Pat With Partner

Engineer Would Have Been Hero -- If He Had Died

Canidian Railway Office Of Arbitration - Desision

Brotherhood Of Locomotive Engineers - Arbitrator's Decision

Paying CN's Dues

MacDonald Cleared In Wake Of Wreck

Trainmen Not Surprised

CN Engineer Cleared Of Blame

Train Engineer Cleared of Fault In Derailment