Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tractor trailer dies on train tracks. Milton GO train comes along and punches it. Passengers stuck for three hours waiting for cops to break it up

Photo by thee_armoni via Instagram


GO has never made an effort to be transparent and communicate with its customers Metrolinx's protocol for investigations, evacuations or emergency safety inspections.

Instead, we're all held hostage on the train. Last night, hundreds of passengers on the Milton line were stuck on the coaches for three hours after a disabled transport truck was struck resulting in a police and safety inspection. I don't know if the passengers were evacuated and put onto buses while the train was still at the collision scene, or if they were allowed off after the train had hobbled its way into a station.

When trains are delayed, we truly are left in the dark. No one tells us why we can't be evacuated and find our own way home. I am sure there are rules and safety regulations that prevent or restrict the release of thousands of people into active rail traffic, but can't this same traffic be temporarily halted so we can make our way out onto a road?

This is Canada. If I want to hoof it up to Kingston Road and walk all the way home to Courtice, after a train quits on the outskirts of Pickering GO Station, I should be "allowed" to do this. You know, single-file, follow the man with the flashlight and all that jazz.

What the hell would happen in a natural disaster, such as an earthquake and a stretch of track would become compromised beyond conventional repair? Would we all be expected to sit there? Wait for the army? Bunker down for 10 hours?

Does Metrolinx even have a disaster plan?

That "little" flood that compromised a Richmond Hill train back in July was a complete and total gong show. GO Transit demonstrated quite clearly, with the whole world watching, that there may very well be no disaster plan.

Well ... ?

Now, not that I have trolled the Metrolinx website looking for this information but if it does exist, please share it in the comments. Don't be afraid to say, "Duh. Cj, it's right there". Yes, you're right, it is there but what's described is how to get out of the train, no where is it documented what sets forth an evacuation procedure such as, "if your train has become disabled and rail traffic cannot proceed due to earthquake, serious collision, flood, hurricane or other natural disaster, and conditions determine that you must be moved from the train out onto the tracks to be assessed by emergency personnel, please ... (insert the steps to be taken).

What if the CSA is killed (God forbid) and the train crew is seriously injured? Do we just sit in the coaches and wait for the firefighters? What if they can't get to us? What if no one can communicate from the train about the situation we are in? You know, some psycho hijacks the train?

I don't know. I'm just in a mood today. Just let me rant, k?


mike f. said...

I guess in a psycho hijack situation or terrorist situation, Metrolinx would just leave it up to the cops and other tactical forces to figure it out. Why should they worry about a hijacking?
With a disaster, like the flood, people did swim away from the Richmond Hill train and no one stopped them.
In my opinion, nothing is stopping anyone after three hours from removing a window and climbing out and walking home.
This is where I agree with you that more information is needed to give us what we need in order to make such a call as removing the window and hoofing it.

Anonymous said...

I was one of those stuck on the flooded Richmond Hill train that day..and trust me..we were not informed of what's going on.

I got most of my information from friends/co-workers watching the live TV and texting me with updates.

It took them over an hour to get to our coach to remove the emergency exit windows for ventilation.

Been stuck on a train for 7 hours with no food, no water, no power, and no washroom isn't exactly a good experience. and trust me, i panic every time we get a thunderstorm warming now.

we watch from the train that the emergency workers were at the edge of the dry land just watching us. sending over paddle boats and moving people out 4 at a time isn't exactly evacuating.

we calculated while sitting on the train that it would have been at least another 36 hours before they reach our coach.

oh...and we saw that police truck carrying 2 banana boats float away in front of our eyes and the police officers climbing onto the roof holding onto dear life as well..

Bicky said...

It would be a good idea to have a clear plan and know what it is. These extreme weather events are only going to get more frequent.

Anonymous said...

Folks, if the GO train is stranded because of an accident or whatever, pull the emergency exit handles found on the windows and doors and just escape that way. Be sure to look both ways before leaving and stay away from the tracks.

And if Metrolinx/GO were to charge you for improper use of emergency exits then just fight them in court claiming that your section 7 constitutional rights were violated. Case dismissed.

C.J. Smith said...

^ ... And case closed.

Anonymous said...

So if I was on that train and at the 2 hour mark, I can remove the window and leave?

Michael Suddard said...

CJ...what does your lawyer say about Section 7 of the Constitution in this case? Does it apply?

If it is not too much trouble, could we have a clear explanation as opposed to "fuzzy thinking". :)

C.J. Smith said...

When he is awake, I'll plop him onto the keyboard of the laptop. No guarantees though. He really does work on his own time.

Anonymous said...

If there is an accident such as this one, rail traffic is halted temporairly, but it can and does resume before the incident train is released. They need to conclude the investigation, inspect for damage and change operating crews. As for leaving the train... Its a big step down to the roadbed; its not like the short step down onto a platform. People would fall, injure themselves and if they make it out, walking on the ballast is uneven and awkward even if you have the proper boots. Plus what do you do with thousands of people wandering down the tracks? Quite frankly, I wouldn't want to be walking down an active rail line. Not to mention you're now tresspassing on railway property, the cops on scene (GO TSOs, host railway and regional police) would be more than happy to ticket and arrest you for trespassing and damaging GO equipment. If people were free to come and go, it would be chaos. No doubt it sucks being stuck on a train for hours, but its the best place to be.. If people can't even keep their feet off the seats, line up to enter the train or even show up on time, what will happen with these folks leaving a train with no idea where to go? Let their entitlement guide them to safety?

GO can certainly communicate better, but that will not get you off the train any faster. Its a risk that comes with commuting.. You wouldn't just leave your car in a traffic jam and walk home, would you?

Constitutional rights for "improper use of an emergency exits" sounds wonderful, until you step out of the train and get fined/arrested for tresspassing. You're also putting your safety and those around you in jeapordy.

C.J. Smith said...

Actually people did abandon their cars in that flood in July. Very few stayed overnight with their car.

I can tell you that there is no way I'd sit on a GO train during a zombie apocalypse. I'd run the risk of falling onto the tracks and attempting an escape. I've seen the movies. You gotta go.

Squiggles said...

Technically, it is the Zombpocalypse. And I will be right there with you, after I grab the axe.

Anonymous said...

i have to say, if your train hit a car, you are more than likely to be at a crossing, meaning a would not be much of a problem to be walking onto a road that's maybe 200M away from where you are sitting.

C.J. Smith said...

So... ah, this rant of mine, besot with all kinds of questions and scenarios has caused quite a stir (and read by 1,108 people according to the metrics so far) among ML, GO and other transit officials, various law enforcement people, rail heads, rail fans and fellow commuters like me. I am disabling commenting for now as too much mis-information has flowed from the keyboards of a few. I will post an official response in short order. Thanks for the feedback!