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Sunday, May 27, 2012

GO Train Sabotaged

Yesterday morning, around 8am, a westbound GO Train struck a piece of rail just to the west of the Danforth GO Station.  According to police, the short section of rail was placed across the track deliberately.  The impact caused one wheel on coach 2028 to derail.  The train remained upright and stopped safely, no injuries were reported.  Damage to the train is estimated at up to $100,000.  The investigation continues.

Coincidentally, I was travelling to Toronto yesterday morning on the next train.  As we approached Danforth, we were informed that we would be stopping to collect the passengers from a disabled train and that we would be delayed for around 20 minutes.  Passengers were invited to leave the train at Danforth.  Curious, I stayed on board.  After Danforth, we pulled up alongside a stopped GO train and I immediately noticed the derailed wheel (pictured).  After a while, we continued on having collected the passengers from the disabled train. 

By early afternoon, the coach had been re-railed, but the train remained on site.  As a result of the incident, slow orders were in place through the area, meaning that all GO trains were running at least 20 minutes late. 

This incident is very worrying as it could have been much worse.  The stretch between Danforth and Toronto is the fastest on the Lakeshore East line with trains routinely travelling over 80 mph.  Had the train reached full speed after its stop at Danforth, it is likely that the derailment would have been much worse.  Track maintenance has been ongoing in the area and this is likely where the piece of rail came from.  The location is also poorly fenced in places and people often walk along the tracks here.  This apparent act of sabotage was a very close call.

GO Transit's safety record is exemplary, with few serious incidents.  The most serious incident occurred in November 1997, when two GO trains collided at Union Station during rush hour, injuring 50 passengers.

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