THE MOON AND THE TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION
CASA LOMA/RUSSELL HILL SUBWAY ACCIDENT AUGUST 11th 1995
INQUEST DAY TWENTYFOUR - Wednesday 28th February 1996
THE PUBLIC SPEAK – AND A MINISTRY TYPE
Mr. Carl Vervort, an Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Transportation for the last six years was on the stand all morning. He was questioned intensively by all counsel on his knowledge of funding of the TTC by the Province of Ontario. He reiterated what we have heard previously about the general 75/25 (Province/Metro) split for Capital Budgets and the 68/16/16 (TTC/Metro/Province) split on Operations. He revealed that there was a potential for the province's share to drop as a result of the recently introduced omnibus bill. He described in detail the budget preparation procedures adopted by the Province, Metro and the TTC.
The TTC has no control from outside agencies and as far as he is aware there are no agencies involved in the general running of the TTC. Mr. Bassily's report was known to him.
Mr. Vervort was the last witness to be called by the Crown and none of the other counsel wished to call witnesses.
As announced by Dr. Huxter previously, the opportunity was now available for members of the public to address the jury. Three members of the public took advantage of this offer. Each member was briefly questioned as to the appropriateness of his evidence to the Inquest and in each case Mr. Punter advised Dr. Huxter that the evidence should be heard. Each member has been in the courtroom for the duration of the Inquest.
Wilfred Walker is a representative of Transport 2000, a public transit advocacy group. He presented evidence about the potential applicability of Railroad Signaling, with particular emphasis on speed control, to our subway system. His evidence was offered on the basis that there will be a review of the signal system at some point.
Peter Lambert is a private citizen who had drawn some conclusions from the TTC accident report which he wished to share with the jury. He felt that the signal system has been unsafe for the 30 years he has been in Canada based on his knowledge of signaling gained in New South Wales prior to his immigration.
Dave Irwin, a retired TTC employee, commented on the use of the word safety as it has been used throughout this inquest. He described his career in signaling and computers for British Railways and the TTC. He stressed to the jury that the signal system has a basic fail safe structure and is not something which should be tampered with lightly. Careful consideration should be given to any proposed recommendations for changes to the Signal System. He described the proposed changes to raise the trip arm immediately behind a train as an extremely expensive undertaking which would provide little or no benefit. In cross by Mr. Falzone, Mr. Irwin suggested that the jury could make a recommendation that there be a maximum length signal block to achieve the desired effect.
Mr. Irwin cautioned that there wasn't any cash anywhere as has been described throughout this Inquest and that if expenditures of scarce resources are recommended, they be done in a manner that will get the best bang for the buck (unlike the fancy coloured disks on the platform walls as the result of a previous inquest). He suggested that the best recommendation that could be made was for our funding partners to finance the budgets presented by Mr. Gunn.
1) As the Inquest wound down today, the courtroom became decidedly empty. I think the participants have little steam left. Hopefully enough for tomorrow's summations.
2) It was not my intention to offer testimony, believing that the observer should not get involved in the observed. But I was very concerned about some of the recommendations that have been made with respect to changes to the Signal System. Most, if not all, have been made by people who do not seem to have a proper understanding of what the signal system is, where it came from and what it is designed to achieve. We will have to wait to see if my interjections will be seen as going against the flow!!
Final summations tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.
Dave Irwin - 28th February 1996