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Scarborough RT car separates from train, derails, July 24

Update — Thursday, April 24, 9:35 p.m.: The TTC has confirmed that it is permanently shutting down Line 3.

Monday, July 24, the last car of a southbound Scarborough RT car along the TTC’s Line 3 Scarborough separated from its train-set and derailed after leaving Ellesmere Station. Five passengers suffered minor injuries during the incident.

According to CP24,

“Approximately 45 people were on the train when the derailment occurred. Many of those people then had to walk down the tracks to Ellesmere Station after the rear car was separated.

“In a statement issued on Monday night, TTC CEO Rick Leary said that he has ordered ‘an immediate review of this incident, using outside help and expertise as necessary.’

“Leary said that buses would also be running in place of trains along the line for the time being.

“‘I know this will be an inconvenience to our customers, but it’s the right thing to do,’ he said. ‘I apologize to all those impacted by the incident.’

“The Scarborough RT has exceeded its lifespan by nearly a decade and is currently set to be decommissioned entirely on Nov. 19.

“At this point the cause of the incident is not clear, though the city councillor for the area told reporters at the scene that questions should be asked about the safety of the trains.

“‘I think we have to ask ourselves, is the system safe? Obviously at this point, the answer is no,’ Michael Thompson said.

“Ellesmere Station is closed and approximately 20 shuttle buses are running between Kennedy and McCowan Stations while service is suspended, the TTC says.”

CBC Toronto reports,

“The TTC says it is bringing in external experts to review what caused a Scarborough Rapid Transit train car to derail Monday, with the transit agency even considering shutting the line down permanently — months ahead of its scheduled decommissioning…

“The TTC has replaced all of the RT with shuttle buses running from Kennedy to McCowan stations. The closure will remain in place until further notice.

“It is going to be at least a few days,” [TTC spokesperson Stuart] Green told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning. The agency has already begun exploring what went wrong with the help of outside experts who specialize in train derailments.

“‘The damage was significant. We need to know exactly what caused it. Was it something to do with age? Something to do with infrastructure? Was it the vehicle? All of that is under investigation,’ Green said. ‘At this point we just don’t know what caused it.’

“Green added that there are internal conversations happening about whether the light rail service will be resumed at all.

“University of Toronto engineering professor Amer Shalaby said the current Scarborough Rapid Transit line has been running much longer than what it was designed for.

“”We have waited far too long and debated too much on how and what should replace the Scarborough RT,” he wrote in an emailed statement.

“”I guess what happened is a lesson on the risks associated with inefficient decision making for our strategic transit projects.’

“Line 3… trains have been in service 10 years past their design life, according to the TTC’s own website. The line is scheduled to be decommissioned in November and is set to be replaced by buses until the Scarborough Subway Extension is finished, likely in 2030 at the earliest.

“Green said the November timeline would give the city time to prepare, including altering traffic signals and installing more rapid bus lanes. It also would give the TTC leeway to reroute other buses and allocate the staff and resources needed to operate the replacement bus network, he said.

“Green added that the TTC currently has capacity to move up its timeline if need be, but cautioned it would take some time to implement the bus network the agency intends to replace the RT.

“‘We know how to run a shuttle service, but it’s not going to be the best shuttle service,” he told guest host Eli Glasner. “But it won’t be the kind of service that our customers deserve.’”

In a news release Thursday, July 27, the TTC advised passengers that “the comprehensive investigation into the… derailment… will take at least another three weeks to complete. Frequent bus shuttle service will continue to run. The release quotes CEO Leary, who explained, “”We have enlisted the support and help of some of the transportation industry’s leading experts in rail, infrastructure and vehicles to assist and ensure we are leaving no stone unturned. Safety is paramount to all we do and only once we know exactly what happened can we make a decision about the future operations of this line. In the meantime, we are making contingency plans to ensure we are providing the people of Scarborough with frequent and reliable transit options.”

The release then states that a decision about the reinstatement of train service will only be made once the review is complete.

The TTC has assigned staff to all Line 3 stations to direct you to the shuttle buses. You can also ride GO Transit trains for TTC fare during the closure:

  • 09 Lakeshore East line: Eglinton and Scarborough GO stations.
  • 71 Stouffville line: Milliken, Agincourt and Kennedy GO stations.

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