Editorial Archive

TTC’s storm plan put to the test last week

2/15/13 6:00 AM

Last week saw the TTC at full stretch as we battled the snowstorm to keep you moving.

Where I’m from in the United Kingdom, the slightest dusting of snow normally results in complete chaos. So it was with   some trepidation that I checked in with my team about preparations for the coming storm. As was reported in the press, this was the biggest snowstorm to hit Toronto in five years. The TTC, of course, was fully prepared to keep the service running across all modes.

Tried and tested plans were put into action, including overnight storage of subway trains in the tunnels, treatment of power rails with anti-icing  agents, deployment of specialist teams to critical sites, and the fitment of slider devices to streetcar poles to cope with any ice buildup on the overhead wires.

By and large, the plan worked and it was nice to see positive feedback from riders who were appreciative of being able to get to and from work in spite of the conditions. Our bus Operators showed tremendous professionalism and skill in coping with treacherous road conditions. A number of routes, however, did become impassable despite the best efforts of city crews to keep them plowed.

The subway generally held up, although we did face some challenges early Friday evening near Warden Station that may have affected your commute home if travelling beyond Woodbine Station. We also had to suspend the SRT late Friday afternoon due to severe snow conditions. Across the streetcar network, we contended with vehicles parked afoul of the rail as a result of snowbanks at curbside.

As staff, we will review what worked well and where improvement is needed. I am particularly keen to review how we handled the few isolated, albeit major, incidents that occurred and to work with the City to find better ways to keep key surface routes open.

I would like to thank you, our customers, for your patience and understanding as we worked to get you where you needed to go safely. I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of TTC staff in battling through the snow to provide you with service, and in then doing everything possible to try to keep the network running. To the infrastructure and janitorial staff braving the elements to keep things safe, to the garage staff working flat out to fix snow-clogged equipment, to the Operators and control teams that kept everyone moving, a big thank you and respect from an Englishman who witnessed
just how well Canadians deal with winter!

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