During the late evening Rush Hour of August the 11th, 1995, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) suffered the greatest blow to its self-esteem in the whole of its long history. A subway train running southbound from St. Clair West station, with an inexperienced operator at the controls, ran into the rear of a stationary train just north of the Dupont Station killing three female passengers - Hui Xian Lin, Christina Munar Reyes and Kinga Klara Szabo. Nothing like this had ever happened before in the 40 odd year history of Subway Operation in Toronto. There have been deaths on the system for various reasons but no passengers have ever died as the result of negligence in the operations until this infamous date.
In November 1964, I commenced work with the Signal Design section of the Subway Construction Branch of the Toronto Transit Commission. I had served an apprenticeship with The Signal and Telecommunications Engineer of the Southern Region of British Railways and after a stint of National Service in the Royal Corps of Signals (Telecommunications), I started work in the Drawing Office at Wimbledon in South London. In my whole working career I have had an abiding interest in Railway Signals and was extremely involved with the Signal System at the TTC. In January 1995, I retired from the TTC after a career in computers and their application to real world events – especially in Subway Operations.
When the horrific news of the Accident on August 11th 1995 started pointing fingers at the Signal System as a cause, my ears perked right up and I became actively involved in the inquest process.
What follows here are reports of the weeks of testimony at the inquest. These reports were written on a daily basis and posted to a mailing list consisting mostly of TTC employees. As a retiree, I felt free to be much more objective (forth-right!!) than the official TTC reporter and over the period of the inquest these reports received widespread distribution both inside and outside the TTC. The reports as presented here have been left in their “present tense” state to give a feeling of the ongoing nature of the revelations of TTC mismanagement.
Except for some general tidying up, these pages are as they were originally published in the winter of 1995/6. It is my intention for these pages to be a record of a troubled time at the TTC. Reviewing the pages I wrote over four years ago, I have seen some changes in the operation. The stations and platforms are untidy with some bad cases of littering. The six foot and the four foot are in pretty bad shape in the stations which is not very good advertising. But generally with increasing ridership – supposedly due to high gas prices – maybe things will continue to improve.
I welcome comment on the contents. All interested parties’ mail will be most welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org