THE MOON AND THE TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION
CASA LOMA/RUSSELL HILL SUBWAY ACCIDENT AUGUST 11th 1995
INQUEST DAY SIX - Monday 15th January 1996
RAILS, POSTS AND YARDS
A video was taken by the police of the runs made yesterday morning for the jury's benefit. It was entered into evidence to fairly represent the view that the operator of a train in the area would have of the track and signals. One of the jurors, who has been asking questions (!!), pointed out that the video did not accurately represent the way the signals are seen. In real life they are much more apparent. Punter and Huxter agreed. Give that man a Banana!!!! The video did not show the emergency trip that was done for the jurors benefit but the video fairly represents.........!!
The morning was taken up with the evidence of Mr. Al Perkins, Superintendent of Way Technical Services. Mr. Perkins gave evidence about rail and rail maintenance and specifically with respect to the rail in the area of SP71GT.
There is approximately 100 miles of single track in the subway system. The older sections (Yonge/University ??) have 100 LB rail and the remainder of the subway 115 LB rail. Rail is replaced (condemned) when there is loss of 30% in 100 LB rail and 35% in 115 LB rail. At SP71GT the losses were 17% for the high rail and 3% for the low rail. Losses are measured in the Chunky Bit on the top of the rail and are due entirely to wear by train wheel/rail interaction. Rails last about 15 to 30 years dependant on whether they in tangent or curved track.
There is a yearly inspection of rail for wear (replacement) and every 72 hours by Track Patrol walk through. A question centered on missing bolts. In a stretch equivalent to the area of the accident (approx. 700 feet of curved track), it is within specs for 90 J bolts and 90 anchor bolts to be missing as long as there are not more than three missing in sequence. At the accident site there were 18 missing J bolts and 16 anchor bolts. Despite Punter's questions, Mr. Perkins did not explain why bolts "go missing".
At last TTC drawing W8RT-529F, the Car Clearance diagram, was introduced into evidence. This diagram is part of the TTC's accident report. In defining all the things that are at the Car/Rail interface that could cause potential interference, Mr. Perkins missed the potential detectors. Other numbers type evidence was given and, as described previously, seekers of this information should check out the official record.
The nub of Mr. Perkins appearance was a report prepared in 1978/79 the crux of which was the amendment of the Car Clearance diagram to reflect the size of the Erickson train stop trip arm head increase in size from 4 inches to four and a half inches. This change to the Car Clearance diagram did NOT include the follower arm of ANY train stop in existence in the TTC subway. Exhibit 18, a large diagram of a cross section of the track and one set of wheels of a bogie at SP71GT, does indicate this clearance envelope and how it is intruded upon by the follower arm but it is not explained on this exhibit. On the basis of evidence presented last week by Mr. Reidak, Mr. Perkins went through files at work to discover the seventy's reports which requested action be taken in the areas of clearance. No evidence was presented that this action was taken other than changes described here.
Mr. Perkins' evidence was well scattered with negatives. There are no problems with 100 LB and 115 LB rail, doesn't know where the designs of the rail came from, doesn't know where the standards for the rail came from, there are no problems with the standards, there is no checklist for the yearly inspection, there is no checklist for the 72 hourly inspection, doesn't know why nobody saw a conflict in the Wheel/Rail/Signal interface, did not answer as to how track bolts go missing, didn't know whether there were enough track maintainers on the line in the last three or four years and there is no peer review of maintenance by anyone else at TTC or outside. Mr. Perkins was very clear about his lack of knowledge at the Wheel/Rail/Signal interface. In questioning by Brian Leck, Mr. Perkins admitted that the TTC accident report contained a check list for the 72 hour inspections. Oooops!!
After lunch, a complete change of pace. A cadaverous individual (and I'm not kidding) appeared in the courtroom. He was identified as Dr. Deck, the pathologist of the three dead women. Dr. Deck described in some detail how these ladies had died, to the delight of the media who were fairly frothing at the mouth at such evidence. Dr. Deck was followed by Mr. Frank DiPaolo of the Equipment Department at Wilson Carhouse.
Mr. DiPaolo thinks that communications are better since the accident. He described maintenance of Subway cars as Preventative, controlled by a computer system, and Breakdown. An example of breakdown maintenance was given as seat slash repairs or replacement of light bulbs. Maintenance of truck bogies is done as preventative maintenance. Mr. DiPaolo described this maintenance in detail.
Mr. DiPaolo would not be pressed on the subject of whether we have enough maintained vehicles to make service of 44 trains (264 cars) on the Yonge/Spadina line out of a base stock of 328 cars (approx. 54 trains). New wheels have a 28" diameter, they are replaced before they go below a 25" diameter at which point they are subject to cracks and the tires falling off. Mr. DiPaolo has seen 2 cracked wheels and 2 broken axles in 22 years of service. He described how the cars are shimmed as the wheel diameter decreases to maintain a car height to top of station platform measurement of within an inch. In admitting that he did not know why we had added the headlights on the cars, other than they were done after a previous inquest, Mr. DiPaolo would not comment on the fact that misaligned headlights might give false lunar white indications. Mr. DiPaolo admitted that the alignment of the headlights has not been carried out correctly since they were installed.
Mr. DiPaolo always thought that there was proper clearances at the Wheel/Rail/Signal interface. He did however perk everyone's ears up when he suggested that trip cocks and their supportive brackets and valves have to be replaced as a result of striking trip arms under various circumstances. He described tripping through as one of these circumstances but no others. Punter started on again about livening up the trip cocks in the middle of the train "as extra insurance". Mr. DiPaolo treated the suggestion as coming from someone who "didn't understand" what went on the subway.
Under questioning in depth about speed, Mr. DiPaolo opined that trains cannot go much above 50 miles per hour if on unregulated straight track and that going around a curve at 50 miles an hour would derail the train (better not let the French know this!!!!!!). He thought that the reduction of speed to 35 miles an hour would be a "quality" improvement.
1) Again the medical evidence provided (out of turn due to scheduling conflicts) was colourful but of no bearing to the inquiry. Dr Deck even let the Emergency Services of the hook by opining that there was no way the three ladies could have been saved. During the break which followed his evidence, I saw that Dr Deck was backed up against a column outside the building by a LARGE media scrum who were not about to let him go!!
2) Al Perkins has brought the date of identification of the Wheel/Rail/Signal interface back to 1979. There is still no evidence as to what has been done about this interface and in the evidence we have heard so far from representatives of all three fields, there is a demonstration of a complete lack of co-ordination between departments within the TTC. Despite everyone's impression that recent organizational changes will fix this, this is only bravura in the face of something new. The inertia to change in an organization as large as the commission has already cost us three Chief General Managers and we're counting out the fourth!!!
3) Mr. Punter has computers on the brain. He thinks installing a computer system is the answer to everyone's problems. Every witness, except Mr. DiPaolo, has been pressed on the need for computers to improve things. One day he will get the message but I don't think it will be during this investigation.
4) It was a bit of a pity that Brian Leck had to shoot Al Perkins in the foot over the 72 hour checklist but even supervisors can be ignorant of what their staff do !!!!!
5) Although Mr. DiPaolo has been on the job for 22 years, I detected the "I am not going to push this foreigner who may not be too sure of the English language for details in case he doesn't understand" syndrome on the part of Mr. Punter. Punter allowed DiPaolo "to get away with murder" on the subject of train speeds and allowed a very muddy situation to develop. He has a chance to clear these waters when he is examined by Mr. Leck tomorrow.
6) Last week a valiant effort was made to deny the existence of High Rate Keys. Mr. DiPaolo squashed that effort by describing keys in all cars and with all Equipment department line mechanics. The issue of keys is being overblown by the TTC. The High Rate Key is a key similar to a brief case or locker key which, when inserted into a key switch in the drivers compartment, reconfigures the wiring of the driving motors. The effect of this is to make a Montreal or Hawker car operate at the slow rate equivalent to the 2.8 miles per hour per second acceleration rate of the old Gloucester cars or to operate at the Montreal and Hawker design of 3.0 miles per hour per second acceleration rate. Prior to the installation of in-line Automatic Train Despatchers and more recently the Intermediate Point Headway Control system, having a High Rate Key in your possession allowed you to operate your train at the higher acceleration rate ON THE YONGE/SPADINA LINE ONLY so that you might get to your terminal faster for a break. The Bloor/Danforth line always operated at High Rate until the cut-off problem, recent service cut backs, equipment maintenance problems, scheduling problems etc. forced the Bloor/Danforth to operate at Low Rate (equivalent to the old Gloucester cars). The Yonge/Spadina line has always operated at Low Rate, which is why the old Gloucester cars never left the Yonge Line (except during the Integrated Service test). The possession and use of a High Rate Key HAS NEVER BEEN A SAFETY PROBLEM, only a discipline problem and as we are hopeless at dealing with discipline problems, the High Rate Key remains in controversy. Mr. Thomas is going to explain tomorrow that the Signal system is designed for a train we never had. The high rate performance of the Montreal and Hawker acceleration and the slower deceleration (braking) of the Gloucester's. The two types of trains have effectively the same braking rate but as the Gloucester cars were very much heavier, they took longer to brake from the same speed. Or at least I HOPE Mr. Thomas is going to explain this because right now confusion reigns!!
Tomorrow's excitement commences at 9:30 a.m.
Dave Irwin - 15th January 1996.