One year ago, a VIA rail train leaving Fallowfield Station in Barrhaven collided with an OC Transpo bus travelling toward downtown Ottawa during the morning commute. The collision, whose cause has yet to be determined one year later, derailed the train and, tragically, sheared off the front of the bus.
In addition to injuries of varying severity to dozens of passengers, six people on the route 76 bus were killed, including the driver Dave Woodward. The other fatal casualties were Michael Bleakney, Karen Krzyzewski, Rob More, Connor Boyd, and Kyle Nash. The crash understandably shook the Barrhaven community and the city of Ottawa as a whole, and a pall still hangs a year later.
In honour of the crash and its victims, OC Transpo and the city of Ottawa will be memorializing the tragic event in a few different ways on September 18th. This morning at 8:47 am, OC Transpo buses across the city will pull to the side as a gesture of commemoration and will hold a moment of silence in honour of the dead and injured. Drivers may opt to wear green in remember of Woodward and his favourite colour. Flags across the city will fly at half mast. No public memorial service is planned at this moment, however families will grieve in their own way, whether privately or at places of faith.
Discussions are still ongoing as to the erection of a permanent memorial to the crash, which will likely be constructed in Barrhaven.
It was announced in July that route 76 would be officially retired to commemorate the victims and out of respect for their loved ones. The route was rechristened #72 earlier this month.
In light of the anniversary, moving pieces of journalism have been written honouring the dead, the survivors, and their families. Kelly Egan of the Ottawa Citizen should be spotlight for his work, including a long and touching piece profiling several survivors and other difficult updates.