THE MOON AND THE TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION
CASA LOMA/RUSSELL HILL SUBWAY ACCIDENT AUGUST 11th 1995
INQUEST DAY TWELVE - Tuesday 23rd January 1996
TRANSIT CONTROL? IíM A FIRST TIME CALLER. I JUST TRIPPED!!
†††††††† Today we were promised the star witness of the Inquest. Although there was a 9:30 a.m. start, spectators, including a large family block, were still arriving after the start time and by about ten o'clock there wasn't an empty seat. The witness looked rested and well in a nice blue suit and tie. He drank copious quantities of water and seemed at ease.
†††††††† Mr. Robert Jeffrey described in great detail how he had owned a restaurant called Ruffage in the Yonge/Eglinton area which closed for economic reasons. After what he described as a very determined effort on his part to join the TTC, Mr. Jeffrey was hired on the 24th April 1993 as a bus operator. He had been to some "cattle calls" at which the TTC recruiter said they were getting away from hiring truck drivers and were more interested in hiring people who were "customer service oriented" (Yech!!) people. I don't know if anybody has noticed, but we are a Transportation Company and we have passengers, or at least we will have after this inquest.
†††††††† Mr. Jeffrey spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon describing in great detail his employment, training and service at the TTC. I made 9 pages of detailed notes which can all be summarized as "I can remember everything I ever did but once run 35 left St Clair West on Friday August 11th 1995, I can remember nothing until I saw the back of this stationary train which I knew immediately I was going to hit. I applied the Service Brake (I didn't trust the emergency brake due to a training incident) and hung on till the inevitable crash.". Thus ended the testimony of Mr. Robert Jeffrey. He admitted his culpability and was sorry for all the trouble and hurt he caused.
†††††††† The remainder of the afternoon was taken with the introductory evidence of Ken Edgar, the guard of run 35. He thought Mr. Jeffrey was a good operator from the two days he had with him. He described his activities during the crash having hinted at other things which Mr. Punter kept him off until he had described the crash. He described being harassed by Equipment Department employees when signing in trains with defects, he attempted to explain problems with the signals from St. Clair West to Dupont as being caused by problems enumerated in the TTC report.
†††††††† At this stage, an alarmed Mr. Punter, who saw his witness going off like a loose canon, called a halt to the proceedings and declared tomorrow, Wednesday, as a day off to "regroup" (my word!!).
1)††††† The only new information which I found somewhat disturbing (all other information by Mr. Jeffrey had been offered by others) was that there was no training into pocket tracks. The apprehension and concern felt by Mr. Jeffrey aside, and considering that many thousands of others have gone into the subway for the first time alone,† it appears to me from what I have heard so far that our training has a very cavalier attitude to it. This may be intentional, who knows, but it doesn't give a good public impression.
2)††††† In response to his counsel, Mr. Falzone, Mr. Jeffrey said that he had been looking to this day for the last five and a half months but he had done no preparation for it. I listened to him and he was prepared!!
3)††††† Mr. Punter has a mantra which he has used on every witness:- "Do you believe that the subway was safe on August 11th?" "Do you think it's safer now than it was then?" He usually gets a "Yes" to both questions. He gets a "Yes" to the second question because either he or Mr. Leck have had the witness describe, in detail, improvements we have made since August the 11th. When he asked Mr. Edgar the first question, he got a "No". It was at this point that Mr. Punter realised that, although he expected the answer, he did not expect the follow up, hence the postponement. Can you spell paranoid??
3)††††† As some of you may know, there is a growing list of people who are reading these notes and I am very happy to be able to provide them and glad that so many find them of interest. Each person who is on this mailing list has received the report of the first day back in November. This November report contains some caveats which apply to these notes. If you have not read the caveat(s), please do so at your convenience.
†††††††† Day 13 commences at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
†††††††††††††††† Dave Irwin††† -††† 23 January 1996