Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hey, did you hear about the one about the GO train and wet leaves?

The Canadian Press sure did.

In fact, the rogue wet leaves situation from yesterday has caused me to coin a new word: "vegetation malfunction". As in, "Sorry I'm late boss, but my train had a vegetation malfunction".

Apply a big fat "TM" after that when you use it and we're good.

Here's the story:

Maple Leaf stops Go train dead in its tracks
Tue Oct 26, 5:35 PM
By Pat Hewitt, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - What does it take to stop a train? Apparently, the mighty Maple Leaf — and a few of its leafy cousins.

GO Transit, Ontario's commuter rail service, cancelled its first train of the morning Tuesday, blaming slippery conditions as a result of leaves on the tracks.

And it was the second time in two days.

An incredulous Twitter tweeter who identified herself as Sheltie Addict wrote "So my 6:18 GO Train is cancelled due to wheel slippage from too many leaves on the track?"

"In 25 years of GO Training, this is the first time I have heard this excuse, er, reason, for a GO Train delay."

But in fact leaves in their glorious fall colours of red, orange and yellow put the brakes on trains fairly regularly.

Leaves fall on the tracks, get crushed and bake onto the rails at a high pressure leaving behind a hard, smooth Teflon-like coating. The condition is called slippery rails, and it's similar to black ice, said Metrolinx GO Transit spokesman Mike Cyr.



TomW said...

"CN Rail said it manages to stay ahead of the problem by keeping its tracks clean."

That is the biggest load of BS EVER. Those of us on the Lakeshore West line were delayed because of CN's failures, not GO's.

Anonymous said...

despite the 5:20 getting into oshawa almost an hour behind schedule. go won't refund $ for those who purchase single ride/10 ride.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let everyone know that the delay was for safety reasons. Leaves, with added moisture and at a certain temperature on the tracks leave a greasy and slick surface.

The locomotives can try putting sand on it to gain additional traction but that didn't work, causing the delay. They only way you can get it off is with high pressure washers. If the train continued, the locomotive's system would have either turned itself off entirely or just overrun the engine. Two things that you wouldn't want in the middle of the 905.

It's not a BS answer. I think customers wanted to be informed of what was going on whenever there was a delay and didn't want to hear the vague "track issues" or "switch problems". The moment GO goes into detail everyone thinks it is a BS excuse. These are real problems that happen all the time and the extra measures are taken for your safety.

C.J. Smith said...

I think most were pissed at CN for not staying on top of the situation but the safety reason is pretty much understood.