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Scarborough RT Derailment Sparks Questions About Safety

A transit advocacy organization is speaking out and demanding answers after a train on the Scarborough RT separated and derailed Monday evening injuring several passengers in the process.

“The derailment of the Scarborough RT (Line 3) is unimaginable and must be fully investigated. The consequences could have been much worse,” TTCriders said in a statement issued late Monday night.

“Transit riders need answers about how this happened and whether the infrastructure and vehicles were being adequately maintained.”

The group noted that last night’s “terrifying accident” serves as a reminder of the “urgent need to invest in maintaining our public transit system.”

“The TTC created a ‘State of Good Repair’ program for a reason: the fatal 1995 Russell Hill subway accident,” TTCriders said, noting that the TTC “recently cancelled a Request for Proposals to replace subway trains on Line 2 because it could not secure the required funding from provincial and federal governments.”

“The TTC has a State of Good Repair backlog of $6.3 billion over the next ten years. All levels of government must invest in maintaining a safe, reliable system.”

TTCriders is demanding that this incident be “thoroughly and independently” investigated with a report done on “critical unfunded gaps in the TTC’s State of Good Repair program and what the TTC will do to ensure a derailment never occurs again.”

Roughly 45 people were on the train’s rear car when it came off the tracks around 7 p.m. on Monday near Kennedy and Ellesmere roads.

Many of those riders had to walk down the tracks to Ellesmere Station, which has been closed.

In total, five passengers were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The cause of the derailment remains unclear.

Crews worked well into the night to remove the train and assess the damage to the tracks.

In a tweet, the TTC said for “several days at minimum,” buses will be running in place of trains along the Scarborough RT’s Line 3 “until it is safe for us to resume train service.” Passengers are being advised that they can ride the GO train on a TTC fare at Milliken, Agincourt, and Kennedy on the Stouffville Line and at Scarborough and Eglinton stations on the Lakeshore East Line as alternatives.

Speaking to the media at the scene Monday night, Scarborough Centre Coun. Michael Thompson said questions should be asked about the safety of the Scarborough RT, which has exceeded its lifespan by almost 10 years and is set to be completely decommissioned on Nov. 23.

“I think we have to ask ourselves, is the system safe? Obviously at this point, the answer is no,” he said.

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

“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.”

And while the Scarborough RT is set to be decommissioned this fall, the Scarborough Subway Extension is expected to be under construction until 2030 or later. In the interim, the plan is to replace the RT line with bus service.

TTCriders is also advocating to ensure that this replacement service, which requires 70 buses during rush hour, meets Scarborough’s needs. Bus bay refurbishments are currently underway at Kennedy Station in preparation for that plan.

The group is calling for Toronto City Council to immediately move forward with its approved plan for red bus-only lanes, “so shuttle buses do not get stuck in traffic.”

They also want the provincial government to immediately fund free TTC to GO transfers to “unlock more rapid transit options for Scarborough residents and commit to fully funding a busway in the Scarborough RT corridor, “which will save riders 10 minutes in each direction.”

Source : CP24