TTC warned in advance about deficiencies in lead up to Scarborough RT derailment

The TTC had been warned in advance about deficiencies leading up to the derailment of the Scarborough RT last July, according to four independent external consultant reports.

The advocacy group TTCRiders says the four reports were discovered on the TTC’s website by independent transit expert Steve Munro but have never been presented in any public TTC board meetings.

A report by Network Rail Consultants noted that defects were not being managed effectively by TTC officials and that additional staff were needed to help patrol the tracks.

“Using colour codes is not an effective way to manage defects. Instead, I proposed using a monthly coding system which allows a better level of planning for the more severe defects and allows for defects to be moved up the priority scale as reported by the patrollers,” read a portion of the report presented in August 2023.

A consultant report from Sytra Canada in November 2023 noted seven factors that contributed to the Scarborough RT derailment – two of which were previously identified by Network Rail Consulting in early 2023. The report went on to say that another contributing factor was the reduction of preventative maintenance work after the TTC announced that the Scarborough RT would be closing in the future.

The consultant reports also provided clues to the widespread “Reduced Speed Zones” that the TTC employed across the subway network in late January 2024.

“TTC management needs to answer for why they failed to act on warnings about Scarborough RT maintenance, why they stopped some preventative maintenance work, and why external expert reports have been kept quiet instead of being shared publicly at a TTC Board meeting,” said TTCriders director Shelagh Pizey-Allen. “These reports raise troubling questions about how maintenance and inspections happen across the entire TTC subway system, not just the Scarborough RT. Toronto residents and transit users need honest answers and accountability.”

Mayor Olivia Chow says she is awaiting an update from the TTC on the issue.

“As we speak, the TTC board and the CEO, Rick Leary, are seized with this issue. It’s important to assure riders that everything is safe, that the state of good repair is important, and the TTC needs to be accountable,” said Chow during an unrelated announcement Thursday on housing.

In September 2023, the TTC’s own investigation determined that bolts that hold down the power rails had come loose over time and were to blame for the Line 3 derailment, which ultimately led to the transit agency permanently shutting down the RT service.

Five people suffered minor injuries in the July 24, 2023 derailment after the rear car separated from the rest of the train and derailed.

The SRT was designed for a 25-year lifespan but the TTC had kept it going for a total of 38 years. The line was set to be decommissioned in November but was moved up following the derailment.

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