THE MOON AND THE TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION
CASA LOMA/RUSSELL HILL SUBWAY ACCIDENT AUGUST 11th 1995
INQUEST DAY† TWO - 9 January 1996
STAFF SERGEANT STAPLES EXPLAINS ALL
It has been pointed out to me that technically this is Day three, but as Day one was way back when, no evidence was given, the jury was not present and actually TECHNICALLY it is Day 4 because of the Non Attendance of everyone at Day two in December, I reserve the right to call it as I see it!!
Staff Sergeant Staples continued his testimony at 9:30 a.m. He had made arrangements for an unmodified, mounted and fully operational Spadina Line train stop to be on display in the court. This train stop and the actual sheared bolt from the SP71GT train stop were marked as exhibit thirteen. Is there a message here???? SS Staples pointed out that SP53GT had only one tripping train stop protecting it, more on this later. SS Staples also had produced various videos taken during dynamic testing of the bogie from run 35. By a video producer, SS Staples is no video producer and he succeeded in wasting a lot of time showing some very poor quality video of the train passing SP71GT. During the reversal of the test train, the follower-arm retaining bolt, which is considered to be a contributing cause of the accident, was sheared off. SS Staples reiterated a number of times that all wear (rail, wheel, restraining rail etc.) were within tolerance.
†††††††† During the morning break, a circus took place in the courtroom that only yesterday was told that cameras and recording equipment would not be allowed. The Staff Sergeant, at the centre of the circus, described in detail for 4 TV cameras, 1 press camera and 12 press personnel the actual operation of the train stop with much demonstrating of the action. There were no Court personnel present to protect the other exhibits and the jury and coroner were not present.
†††††††† SS Staples finished his evidence leaving a few more facts:-
1) it took 235 feet to stop a train tripping at SP71
2) modifications have been made to the signal system to return the trip arm to the tripping position once the approach track is clear as with interlocking signals
3) the minimum speed of the collision is estimated to have been 21 miles per hour
4) radar guns at the Russell Hill exit tracked 10 trains at speeds between 34 and 43 miles per hour
5) a modified Spadina Line trip arm was shown to the jury
6) SS Staples produced so many white boards with photos on, he was getting lost constantly searching for the one he wanted at various times.
†††††††† In the afternoon, the other lawyers present examined SS Staples. All except Brian Leck (TTC) asked only a couple of clarifying questions. Brian ensured that SS Staples described correctly the signal system and the actual aspects that Mr. Jeffries saw as he proceeded from St. Clair West to the crash site. SS Staples also volunteered the information that he thought Mr. Jeffries did not understand the Grade Time Signaling principles. WHAT ?????
†††††††† It also became very apparent that although SS Staples has become very familiar with the signal system between St Clair West and Dupont, he has no comprehension of what Signal Design is all about. He kept on about the fact that this was one of the few places where grade time signals only had one protecting trip arm behind them. He obviously is quite unclear as to what a trip arm is supposed to do and what a signal is supposed to do. Brian let him ramble on and although most of his evidence suggested that he had a good grasp of our system, he fell into the witness trap of volunteering information that has not been elicited by counsel thus demonstrating some severe ignorance of our system.
†††††††† Although SS Staples would not admit in as many words that the design of the train stop was at fault, Brian got him to say so in as many words!! SS Staples also opined that no one at the TTC knows anything about the dynamic profile around the rail/train stop interface. I find this very hard to believe.
†††††††† The last witness of the day was Sergeant Buchanan who, as an accident reconstructionist (what an awful word!!), had produced a video animation of the accident and the view Mr. Jeffries had as he left St. Clair West (southbound) through to the rear of run 34. This is the first time that the jury has seen any evidence showing what happens when a train stop is hit by a trip cock. Given that this is a very restricted view, I do hope that someone at the TTC, when they are giving their evidence, will produce for the inquest a very high quality film of what the police are trying to show happened with their animation. Without such a high quality film, we are going to leave the jury with an extremely bad impression of what goes on in our subway from a driverís point of view and this will be a very unfortunate situation. I suggest that anyone in authority at the TTC who reads this gets the message and gets something done about it.
†††††††† Day 3 starts tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.
††††††††††††††††††††††††† Dave Irwin† -† 9 January 1996.