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Friday, October 30, 2015

Tragedy on the Milton line

UPDATED

CP24 says the the tow truck operator had inadvertently parked near the tracks and while the gate was against the truck's windshield, he climbed into the truck to move it when he realized the train was approaching.

The tow truck operator had parked the way he had to make way for fire trucks attending a nearby collision.

Earlier accounts claimed he tried to jump the gates. Police continue to investigate and told CP24 a full reconstruction of the collision will take place.

The train struck the tow truck near Lisgar Station, on Ninth Line, north of Derry Road before 7 a.m.

The tow truck was then dragged about half a kilometre. The driver of the truck died at the scene.

Passengers on the train were uninjured while police investigated, and thousands more had to figure out alternate ways downtown. GO was helpful in asking local transit to assist by supplying buses. CN police eventually assisted passengers off the train when it was safe to do so.

One passenger wrote to tell me it took him over four hours for him to finally make it to work. He's just grateful the train stayed on the track and didn't derail.

15 comments:

George said...

Another tragic story involving GO Trains and vehicles. I wonder how many fatalities have been recorded this year. Seems like a lot so far.

I wonder how many people will ask for service guarantee refunds when this incident when no way Metrolinx is at fault.

RIP to the driver but folks, those bells and gates are there for a reason. Your time is not as valuable as your life.

Bicky said...

Well said, George.

Anonymous said...

How ironic, racing to the scene of a small car crash only to cause a much bigger crash.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if the writer of this article updated the story with facts on what happened.

C.J. Smith said...

Thanks for letting me know

Anonymous said...

How could this tow truck driver not realize he was on active railway tracks???????

Not sure if I want to use the D word here.

Stan Salter said...

When there is any kind of incident near the tracks police & Fire notify the railways and ther is a slow order through there. Was this not done this morning.
I saw a truck hit a crossing gate a couple of years ago and the go train stopped before the crossing and a crew member walked the train through the crossing before getting back on and continuing.

Anonymous said...

Darwin award!

Anonymous said...

'Ambulance chasing' tow trucks drive as though the rules of the road don't apply.
I've seen so many close calls, I'm surprised this hasn't happened more often.

Sorry for the families effected.

Anonymous said...

Stan Salter - You can not be serious...? Are you frigg'in blind or something? Did you not see the photo(s) of the incident? The pickup truck, or rather what was left of it, was literally wedged underneath the front of the locomotive and bits and pieces of it were strewn across the tracks. They actually needed to call in a large crane to remove it.

Furthermore your example has absolutely no relevance at all here. That train was able to continue because it was only required to manually protect a crossing in case it was not functioning, it was not involved in any kind of incident. However in this instance a vehicle was actually struck at a crossing and worse yet someone was killed!!! How you are not able to make a distinction between the two I will never understand - just smh.

Here, let me get into the specifics;
Trains can derail when striking debris on the tracks. It's absolutely vital that the train comes to a complete stop as quickly as possible and not move once stopped. The rules and regulations in place require such, especially where it appears someone has been INJURED OR KILLED. At that point life saving measures take precedent over ALL ELSE. Do you think it's ok to just drive off after you hit someone with your car (by accident)? Why would anyone think its any different for a train?

Once the rescue efforts are completed there needs to be a complete and through investigation. Only after that is also completed can the focus change to restoring train service. For that to happen the entire incident area needs to be examined and cleared of derbies and that includes the adjacent track. The train in question also needs to be thoroughly examined before it can be moved.

Lastly this is CPR's mainline. They don't give two shits about how badly GO service is effected. The way they see it, Milton GO service on THEIR MAINLINE is a privilege, not a right. Their only concern is about getting their freights moving again, GO service is secondary. By the time it was all said and done it was well past rush hour and there was no point in sending trains through.

Stan Salter said...

My point was there was another collision close to the tracks. Usually railways are notified and go slow through the area. The GO train was full speed. There was no excuse for the tow truck to be on the tracks. Usually the trains are on a slow order if there is any incident close to a crossing.

Stan Salter said...

Anonymous did you read the news release. It said the tow truck moved out of the way of the fire department responding to the earlier collision and inadvertently parked on the tracks. Not a bright move but if fire and police are close to the tracks they usually notify the railways to be sure.
imagers that the tow truck was 100% at fault but what if the fire truck responding to the first collision was closer to the tracks or the closest hydrant if there was a fire was on the opposite side.

Anonymous said...

Stan Salter - No we do not operated on a "slow order". If there is enough time the RTC will either warn us to proceed with caution through the location or to stop prior to reaching the location and not proceed until he gets back to us. There are no specifics about speed.

Anyhow, your still making generalizations about these situations. The railways are notified - IF the people in the vicinity decide TO DO SO and trains will then be directed to slow down or stop prior to reaching the location IF that information is relayed to them in time. Often it is not. Trust me I know - I've stuck dozens of objects and killed a half a dozen people so far in my railroad career so far, with many more to come in all likelihood.

There was a minor accident in the vicinity of the crossing prior to the train collision. Clearly the people on the ground for what ever reason decided to either;
A) not call the railway, because they felt like there was no need too i.e. the original collision was clear of the crossing envelope or they simply failed to realize the potential danger
or
B) they were in the process of doing so but that information could not be relayed to the train crew in time

Based on the information we have available, the original collision was clear of the railway crossing. So they likely figured there was no need to call the railway. Was that a mistake on their part? Perhaps. But without actually having been there I can't possible make a determination in that respect. The tow truck driver then took it upon himself to direct traffic through the area. It's clear that neither he nor anyone else in the vicinity called the RTC/railway to inform them BEFORE he foolishly decided it would be appropriate to move his vehicle foul of the crossing to facility this activity.

Under no circumstances should you do something as nonsensical as that without first informing the the appropriate authorities in advance. The onus is on the people on the ground in the vicinity to do something about that situation. The railway is not God, they don't know what's going on every sections of the thousands of miles of track across Canada.

Ultimately people need to take responsibility for their actions and their own safety, nobody else is going to save you from your own stupidity or lack of common sense.

Anonymous said...

I find it bizarre that Anonymous, who admits he's been in these fatal situations before, is berating Stan who is actually making sensible suggestions on how we might alleviate them in future. If we were able to improve the monitoring of gates and line blockages then we could avoid the very incidents that Anonymous is predicting he will encounter again.

Anonymous - why can't we put a monitoring device on the gates or tracks to detect blockages? We have the technology after all

George said...

Why do we need more expensive technology to monitor the crossings when a really simple solution is to not block them as the tow truck driver did? The people on the ground make the call and if they don't see a violation then it can (and did) cause a catastrophe.

In this case it wouldn't have helped anyway as the driver apparently moved into the ROW without telling anyone and the train was moving fast enough to need a full kilometer to stop using the emergency braking system.

There are thousands of gates and crossings in Ontario and to monitor all of them and respond to false alarm blockages would be very expensive for the taxpayer.

I'm wondering though what technology is out there to perform this task? Just saying we have the technology means nothing really. They already have a system for detecting malfunctioning gates and the lights on the tracks will indicate to the train driver that the gates are malfunctioning.

Simply keeping off the tracks and out of the ROW unless directed to go there is a very good system.