TTC STATEMENT TO CUSTOMERS
The following TTC statement was issued to customers today (Nov. 5, 2014) through the TTC website in response to major subway delays during this morning’s peak period, which affected both Line 1 and 2:
Dear TTC Customers,
This morning saw two major system failures on the subway. Here’s what happened and here’s what the TTC is doing about it.
At 6 a.m. this morning, the signals at St George Station failed – the cause is still under investigation. We are limited to where we can reverse trains up or down the line when there is a problem. St George Station is one of those stations with cross-over track that allow us to reverse trains. But because the problem this morning was near St George Station itself, the next northern point with cross-over tracks is St Clair West Station; to the south, it’s Union Station.
We implemented a shuttle bus service while crews worked to make necessary repairs. Service was restored on Line 1 about 90 minutes later.
Around 7 a.m., the system that detects a train’s presence on the tracks failed near Broadview Station. The system actually detected a train’s presence when there wasn’t one there. As a result, the signal fails-safe to red, preventing any train from passing through the area.
To overcome this until the problem is fixed, Operators “key-by” – a process where the Operator approaches the signal at 3-5 kph and observes the train stop on the track go down. If we don’t do this, the train is thrown into emergency stop, compounding the delay. TTC procedure dictates that the train must then operate at less than 15 kph to the next signal to ensure safety. The problem we had this morning resulted in us having to do this procedure on three consecutive signals (two entering Broadview Station and one leaving) making it incredibly slow across the entire line.
The knock-on effect of such a delay, however, is the activation, then, of emergency alarms due to overheating and crowding on trains, as the entire line is affected by trains needing to move slowly through just one area. An emergency alarm can take anywhere from two to 20 minutes to clear, depending on the nature of the emergency.
Here’s what we’re doing
For two years now, the TTC has been closing portions of Line 1 for “signal upgrade” work. The existing signal system is 60-years-old in many places and should have been replaced 20 years ago. This work, though, takes time, but to replace the entire signal system with a modern, reliable system that is computer-based, and does not rely on fuses and relay switches, is about five years away from completion.
Signal replacement for Line 2 is something we must also do and is part of the TTC’s 10-Year Capital Budget Program. Renewal of transit infrastructure is critical to keeping the system operating safely and effectively.
We thank you for your patience as we continue to make upgrading the system a priority – and to continually improve all aspects of your transit system.