Thursday, December 22, 2016

Facebook gently reminded me why cats don't make great secretaries


Turns out, I *was* told about this story. I just didn't do anything with it. Because ice storm.

from:Vin "Diesel"
to:"Cindy (Cj) Smith"
date:Sat, Dec 21, 2013 at 9:19 PM
subject:RE: 22:43 Union - 23:41 Oshawa, Friday 20th December
:Important mainly because it was sent directly to you.

Friday night, I boarded a Lakeshore East train at 10:43pm. Mid-way between Ajax and Whitby (at around 11:30pm), the train hit some piece of metal on the track, damaging the brake line and the fuel tank. (No-one hurt) Clearly, the train could go nowhere, and we needed to be decanted onto some other form of transport. The loco has to be turned off, so no heat, and emergency lights only. The 112 passengers on board got moved to the accessibility car (which therefore stayed warm enough from all the body heat). I was glad it wasn't colder than -5C out.

At 3:30am (four hours later!!!!), another train pulls in beside, we transfer over, get taken back to Ajax, and put on a bus to Whitby. From there I cabbed home and ended up in bed at 4:52am, five hours late. Not Good.

There were two main problems with how events transpired. The first was how long it took for the second train to arrive. There was another train half an hour behind us, which got terminated at Ajax. Its passengers were put on buses - we saw them go past us on the 401. However, that train was not used to come and get us! (I know this because it was sitting at Ajax when we got there). I suspect the reason is because at that point, the plan was to bring buses to the side of the 401 (which was closed for the fire trucks, called as a just-in-case because of the fuel tank). 

So, that train terminates and its train crew go home from Ajax instead of Oshawa. (Instead, the train that picked us up had to come from the yard at Mimico).

Going by what the on-board staff were saying, the plan to use buses fell through because that would involve passengers crossing a track, which someone thought should be a no-no.

To me, this seemed extremely weird - the last westbound train had gone by, and plus you can use the signals to make sure no train comes along when people are crossing.

The on-board staff hinted that the control centre lacked someone sufficiently senior enough to make quick decisions, and that the plans had changed multiple times.

The second problem was that two of the passengers were obnoxiously venting at the on-train staff (who had no control over getting us off the train), to the point it was stressing everyone out, passengers and staff alike. Now, we were in a bad situation, but the remaining 110 of us managed to not be obnoxious to people who were doing all they could, and had minimal power to make things better.

Obviously I'll be writing to GO for a refund. However, I'll also be asking them just what went wrong (i.e. why it took four hours for us to get off the train), whether they have any contingency plans to deal with broken trains in any location at any time, and exactly what they will do to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Finally, I'd like to say the on-board staff did the best job they could under the circumstances. They weren't getting the information we wanted, but that wasn't their fault. They managed to handle the situation with professionally, despite very trying circumstances.

1 comment:

G said...

Wow. Well,I'm glad GO Transit learned from this incident to avoid events like we experienced in September.