THE MOON AND THE TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION
CASA LOMA/RUSSELL HILL SUBWAY ACCIDENT AUGUST 11th 1995
INQUEST DAY EIGHT - Wednesday 17th January 1996
TRAINING THE TRAINERS
†††††††† The jury (by all accounts) went to Hillcrest this morning and saw the Transit Control Centre and the Operations Training Centre (School Of Instruction). This afternoon Peter Leahy, Instructor at the School, gave a detailed and clear description of the 12 days of Training that subway operators received prior to August 11th. (Since the accident, it appears that there has been an increase to 20 days and then 30 days of training. No extra instruction is given at the school, rather divisional trainers (not clearly explained who or what they are) give the extra training to the new operators.)
†††††††† The question of operators being "sent to the school" was raised, as it might be perceived by the operating staff. As this attendance (due to infractions on the operator's part which the Divisional Superintendent considers requires further training) is at the Operators own expense and time, Mr. Leahy agreed that this could be perceived as punishment. Although such attendance is not paid for and is on the operators own time, the attendance is recorded.
†††††††† Further points from Mr. Leahy's evidence:- There is no need for an operator to go to track level to tie down a trip arm. It is not a procedure that is taught at the School. There has been some talk about putting the trip cock reset inside the cab. Mr. Leahy pointed out that the reason for having the trip cock reset where it currently is, is because it ensures that the train does indeed come to a complete stop and that it is an indication that the operator has the train under control, otherwise he would not be able to exit the train. Resetting the trip cock outside, he suggested, was a deterrent to tripping!! He had heard that there was "cheating" going on to keep up with the schedule (Oh Dear!!). Once an operator has passed his training, there is little or no control and the operator is very much on his own. Drivers are told they can trust the system and this is done early and often.
Mr. Leahy had no particular wish list except that operators should have a flashlight as part of their equipment and a decent simulator at the School would be nice. Last year (1995), 66 operators were trained for 12 days each by 11 instructors. Mr. Leahy pointed out that the basic exam at the end of the training course is not changed if an operator has to redo the exam later (sometimes within a day or so). Counsel expressed concern that this more or less guaranteed that the operator will pass the exam. (I thought about people trying to pass an automobile driving test and they don't change the exam there either and look at the carnage on the roads as compared to our safety record.).
No evidence has yet been offered on our operator selection criteria and the enormous costs of training which we don't want to waste by failing operators for silly reasons. Much of this evidence is being extracted in the event that Mr. Jeffrey (and others?) will describe the ineffectiveness of our operator training. When Mr. Leahy stated that there was a minimum of three blocks protecting a train, 2 reds and a yellow, Mr. Falzone expressed disbelief. Yet one more day has gone by without a description of what the Signal System is supposed to do, not what it did on August the 11th. Despite Mr. Thomas' evidence yesterday, Mr. Leahy stated that NO changes have been made to the timing sections yet, although testing is being done and when he stated that some of these timers might in fact have their timing reduced, in contravention of Mr. Thomas' evidence yesterday, Mr. Falzone nearly had a fit !!!
1)††††† Mr. Leahy's testimony so far is the most competently presented testimony of any TTC personnel. His description of the training process was clear and concise and even the "problem" of helping examinees to understand the question was covered in a supportive manner.
2)††††† The inexcusable delay in explaining the Signal System lead Mr. Falzone off on one of his tangents today. There is a complete misunderstanding about the Grade Time Signs at a signal. For the benefit of my readers, I will explain. During the design of the signal system, the Speed/Distance curves are used to predict the speed of a train passing a Grade Time signal in Miles Per Hour. (For those born yesterday, Jack Harvey decided many years ago that the Subway would be run on the Imperial system. Despite efforts by some to undermine this edict, generally this ruling has been and is obeyed.) This speed is then used to order the signs from the signal manufacturer. In order not to be TOTALLY confusing to the operators, these signs have generally been in increments of five miles per hour. As has been pointed out by more than one witness and more than one counsel, there are NO speedometers in the train, so telling an operator that he has to pass a signal at no more that 40 miles per hour is information as to the approximate speed. As there is NO way for the operator to gauge his speed in a timed section, the only way he can ensure that he performs correctly is to follow the Power On and Off signs as Mr. Leahy pointed out. Any operator who trips, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, does not have his train under proper control. There have been some very stupid statements made by people who ought to know better at this inquest when it comes to what is expected of an operator. We do NOT change the subway layout day to day. We do NOT expect an operator to operate in a brand new environment every day. We do NOT expect an operator to operate except by the established wayside signs. We do NOT mess around with the signs on a continuing basis. We DO expect operators to obey the rules. To think that we have provided a signal system and operating instructions on the basis that the train can be operated by someone walking of the street who has never seen the subway before (which is the gist of some counselsí questions and points) is to be REALLY stupid!!
†††††††† Day 9 commences at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.
†††††††††††††††† Dave Irwin†† -†† 17 January 1996