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Fatal accident with Blairton ore cars "resurfaces"

Ore Car raised from the Trent River by Parks Canada with the help of diver Brian McCrodan who hitched the chains underwater.   (Photo by dick kane)

By the early 1880's, efforts were being made to wrap up operations at the Blairton iron mine, which included shipping out the final loads of stock-piled ore to Cobourg. It was during that period - in 1881 - that a fatal accident occurred at the loading pier at Trent River Narrows. As ore cars were being 'brought into position for unloading into the two barges sitting below the cribs, the train overshot the mark, and five ore cars went off the end of the pier into the river. One man was swept into the water and died. The story about the accident was reported in the newspapers at the time, but no attempt was made to retrieve the cars from the river: the mine was closing and the cars would not have been worth the effort required to hoist them out of the water. They remained submerged.

It wasn't until 1980 - when the story came to the attention of a retired mining engineer Arthur Dunn - that the ore car story finally "resurfaced". Dunn was conducting research into the Marmora Iron Works, and was intrigued by the story from 99 years earlier. He managed to persuade Parks Canada to use their resources to retrieve the remains of the ore cars from the river- the Trent River being a federally regulated waterway.