All Aboard! Exploring the Newfoundland Railway

Railway / Coastal History

Accidents and the Weather

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The Wreck of the S.S. Ethie

After leaving Cow Head on December 10, 1919, the S.S. Ethie ran into a storm with hurricane force winds and blowing snow squalls. The captain was reduced to two choices: be dashed upon the rocky coast, or steer the ship to one spot that could offer a safe place to run aground. And so the ship was put onto the rocks at Martin's Point, near Rocky Harbour. The passengers and crew of the S.S. Ethie were put to shore using ropes and pulleys sent out from the ship. The ropes were attached to a buoy and floated to shore in the current where they were picked up by local residents and secured. Those on the ship were lowered to safety on a "boatswains chair." No lives were lost.

SS. Dundee's Christmas Disaster

On Christmas Day 1919, the S.S. Dundee ran aground on Grassy Island in Gander Bay. All passengers and crew were saved by the S.S. Clyde, but heavy weather and slab ice forced the rescuers to give up trying to salvage the ship's furnishings. The ship was abandoned, and the rescued passengers and crew were landed at Port Union.

The S.S. Ethie in Dockyard in St. John's for repairs.
The S.S. Ethie on the wooden dry dock, located at the western end of St. John's harbour. It opened December 8, 1884. In 1898 the dry dock became affiliated with the Reids. Provincial Archives, The Rooms.
The S.S. Dundee mooring at unknown location.
The S.S. Dundee was a steam passenger and cargo ship. One of her jobs was to promote tourism. Provincial Archives, The Rooms.