Editorial Archive

Signal problems this week illustrate the scale of our challenge

7/5/13 6:00 AM

On Wednesday (July 3, 2013), many riders suffered horrendous commutes along the Yonge line when signal problems occurred at Bloor Station at the height of the morning rush hour.

Having spent 90 minutes at Bloor assisting customers and supporting staff, I know only too well how angry our customers were at the extended journey times, inadequate information and general unpleasantness of the situation.

As soon as the problems began, we dispatched response staff to the affected location to find and fix the failure. Shuttle buses were arranged and additional customer staff were positioned at Bloor and other locations to assist with crowd control.

The root cause was a sustained drop in electrical current to the signal system in the vicinity of Bloor Station, caused, it would appear, by interference between the track and the signal rail.

So what are we doing to fix this?

First and foremost, there is an urgent need to replace the signalling and some sections of track on the Yonge line. This signal system is 60 years old in some areas and while safe, it is worn out. We have plans to replace the signalling to make it more reliable and to allow more trains to run. This will not be easy to do as we need to keep customers moving while we undertake the work, but we have to bite the bullet.

In parallel, and more immediately, we need to get better at keeping you informed when things go wrong, and at maintaining the equipment that we have to work with.

It’s my job to make that happen, and I will redouble this organization’s efforts to improve.

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