Video captures moment two TTC subway trains narrowly avoided collision last year
Published Monday, June 7, 2021 8:48PM EDT
A new video is shining light on just how close two TTC subway trains came to colliding in a near-miss incident that could have had a disastrous outcome.
The incident occurred on June 12, 2020 but just came to light last week in a story first reported by the Toronto Star.
The near-miss incident occurred between Osgoode and St. Andrew stations on Line 1 just after midnight.
In video of the incident obtained by CTV News Toronto, the view from the camera at the front of one train shows it coming to a stop just before another train zooms by on the track that the first train was about to merge onto.
The incident occurred as both trains were attempting to pull up to the northbound platform at St. Andrew station.
One of the trains had been southbound at Osgoode station, but had been ordered to turn around in order to provide supplementary northbound service. At that point, the operator switched from automatic to manual control in order to navigate a section of railway used to connect to the northbound track.
The operator did not see the other train approaching from behind, but slammed on the brakes after being notified by a guard stationed at the rear of the train.
According to the TTC, the two trains may have come less than a metre apart during the incident.
While the TTC’s Automatic Train Control system is meant to monitor the position of trains at all times, the system was blind to the one vehicle when it switched to manual control.
TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said the driver missed a red signal that told him to stop.
The TTC told CP24 last week that its internal review of the incident so far indicates that “this was a case of human error while operating in manual mode in a section of the tunnel that was not Automatic Train Control (ATC) activated. The ATC system as a whole remains safe.”
The TTC said such incidents are “extremely rare” but the transit agency said it nonetheless called for a third-party external review “to guide next steps.”
Both the operator and the guard were suspended following the incident, but their union has filed grievances on their behalf.
The TTC has been gradually eliminating the guard position on trains as it rolls out the ATC system across the transit network.
The union has said the incident demonstrates just how important the position is.
Councillor Shelley Carroll, who sits on the TTC board, told CTV News Toronto Monday that she was surprised to learn about the incident through the media.
“When you have an incident that is serious enough that you’re doing an immediate internal review, and you are doing a third party review, those are good things to do, but they’re also a flag that it’s time to tell your board,” she said.
Carroll also said that while the ATC system will help the TTC be more efficient, there may be room to maintain guard positions.
“If we have ATC do we want to get down to one-person trains? If it turns out there are still places for human error, and places where having that second person on the train can safeguard against, then we really have to look at that,” she said.
“At the end of the day there are plenty of savings and plenty of increased volume just by using that automatic train control. We can get up to 30 per cent more riders because with this signalling system we can have longer trains, trains running closer together. But if we need this extra layer of safety that’s an investment worth making,” she said.
- With files from CTV News Toronto’s Jon Woodward