News   May 24, 2024
 164     0 
News   May 24, 2024
 921     2 
News   May 24, 2024
 286     0 

GO Transit: Service thread (including extensions)

It doesn't look like we reported it here; but as many of you will be aware, a young child (4 year old girl) was hit and killed by a Milton GO train just over a week ago.

First and foremost we want to note that as a tragedy for all involved, and not engage in blaming.

That said, it is always important to consider how such tragedies might be avoided.
Invariably the question arises of how the child ended up on the tracks.

The answer to which is the adult members of an extended family decided to let the children, as a group, go out to play at a park across the street from the apartment building they were at.
The children ranged as young as the 4 year old, to as old as 16.

The given explanation is that the children became mesmerized by chasing a butterfly at some point and followed it on the tracks, where upon they found the experience of being on the rail corridor terribly interesting; a few moments later, some loud honking from the train and tragedy ensued. The older kids all fled, while the young child froze in place.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/20...he-was-someone-everybody-loved-tobe-with.html (paywalled)

Avoiding the blame game overall, still leaves the need to ask questions and the first obvious one is how easy was it just end up on the tracks here.

The description given this Star article (paywalled) is insufficient to pigeon hole the spot; but I'm assuming its behind the apartment building in question.

Streetview does not have a view from the parking lot of said building, but it does, from across the street:

1659527851497.png


We all know that people regular cut holes in fences to cross rail corridors; but I have to say, that opening looks semi-permanent to me; if the one on the other side is similar that would affect my opinion on the obligation of the rail company, which, in this case would be CP Rail.

Its one thing if you fence off a section of track 2-3x per year and people keep cutting into it (though we need to discuss construction/design issues to the extent that is possible); but is another if you knowingly leave a gap.

Suffice to say, as it pertains to fencing, this flimsy nonsense seems entirely inappropriate. I'm not one for advocating fencing off all railway corridors; its impractical, has problematic ecological consequences in wild areas, and would be hideously expensive.

That said, this is the CP mainline, with commuter GO service on it, in a highly urbanized area; where there is clear demand to cross the tracks. If one is going to prevent that, this type of fence is a waste of everyone's time and doesn't prevent much.

* In fairness to CP this is the standard across most of the GTA along their tracks, CN's and Mx's.

Non-scalable, high quality, difficult to cut for the average person fencing isn't cheap; (it ranges, but $100, and about 2x that installed, per linear meter would have you in the ballpark).
Putting it everywhere, as with sound barriers comes at a great cost; but installing it strategically, over, say a 250M area prone to intrusion is probably something that needs to happen if the area is not slated for sound barriers.
That would be ~ $100,000 for both sides of a corridor, per section.

For reference, a contemporary version of wrought-iron would be about 6x that number.

There also ways to beef-up regular old chain-link to make it more difficult to get through (cross-bracing), but they are imperfect and while cheap from a parts point of view, are moderately labour-intensive.
 
It doesn't look like we reported it here; but as many of you will be aware, a young child (4 year old girl) was hit and killed by a Milton GO train just over a week ago.

First and foremost we want to note that as a tragedy for all involved, and not engage in blaming.

That said, it is always important to consider how such tragedies might be avoided.
Invariably the question arises of how the child ended up on the tracks.

The answer to which is the adult members of an extended family decided to let the children, as a group, go out to play at a park across the street from the apartment building they were at.
The children ranged as young as the 4 year old, to as old as 16.

The given explanation is that the children became mesmerized by chasing a butterfly at some point and followed it on the tracks, where upon they found the experience of being on the rail corridor terribly interesting; a few moments later, some loud honking from the train and tragedy ensued. The older kids all fled, while the young child froze in place.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/20...he-was-someone-everybody-loved-tobe-with.html (paywalled)

Avoiding the blame game overall, still leaves the need to ask questions and the first obvious one is how easy was it just end up on the tracks here.

The description given this Star article (paywalled) is insufficient to pigeon hole the spot; but I'm assuming its behind the apartment building in question.

Streetview does not have a view from the parking lot of said building, but it does, from across the street:

View attachment 417750

We all know that people regular cut holes in fences to cross rail corridors; but I have to say, that opening looks semi-permanent to me; if the one on the other side is similar that would affect my opinion on the obligation of the rail company, which, in this case would be CP Rail.

Its one thing if you fence off a section of track 2-3x per year and people keep cutting into it (though we need to discuss construction/design issues to the extent that is possible); but is another if you knowingly leave a gap.

Suffice to say, as it pertains to fencing, this flimsy nonsense seems entirely inappropriate. I'm not one for advocating fencing off all railway corridors; its impractical, has problematic ecological consequences in wild areas, and would be hideously expensive.

That said, this is the CP mainline, with commuter GO service on it, in a highly urbanized area; where there is clear demand to cross the tracks. If one is going to prevent that, this type of fence is a waste of everyone's time and doesn't prevent much.

* In fairness to CP this is the standard across most of the GTA along their tracks, CN's and Mx's.

Non-scalable, high quality, difficult to cut for the average person fencing isn't cheap; (it ranges, but $100, and about 2x that installed, per linear meter would have you in the ballpark).
Putting it everywhere, as with sound barriers comes at a great cost; but installing it strategically, over, say a 250M area prone to intrusion is probably something that needs to happen if the area is not slated for sound barriers.
That would be ~ $100,000 for both sides of a corridor, per section.

For reference, a contemporary version of wrought-iron would be about 6x that number.

There also ways to beef-up regular old chain-link to make it more difficult to get through (cross-bracing), but they are imperfect and while cheap from a parts point of view, are moderately labour-intensive.
I think that the solution is not to prevent people from crossing the tracks by using fencing but rather properly educate people of the dangers of crossing the tracks. Regardless of how high or strong you build a fence if people have this idea that trains are slow and don't come around very quickly, there will always be these types of incidents. However I must say that in every case proper adult supervision should be present at all times and in this situation it looks like it was left to order children to watch their little brother/sister.

Also if there are these places where people often cross as a short cut perhaps a pedestrian bridge should be build. But again people may still choose to cross the tracks because it's faster.

Again education is key in preventing these incidents.
I would say that it's similar to wearing your seat belt in the car, it's almost second nature to wear your seatbelt. You need to drill it into people's heads the same way.
 
If you look at historical street view images, you'll see why there is a gap in the fence. Around 2014 they were replacing the poles. Looks like just as they build the fence, this pole replacing projected may have started which would explain why there was still a gap in 2014 with both poles (perhaps they were going to wait till the old pole was removed to finish the fence). Looks like they just never decided to close the gap after the old pole was removed.

As to why they couldn't build the fence behind the poles? Well if you go back even more in time there used to be a 3rd track right by the fence.

Screen Shot 2022-08-03 at 8.37.14 AM.png
 
Last edited:
^ In urban areas, the solution has to be to protect people from themselves. A seamless security barrier is required and ought to be a “code” issue. This is not to say that the entire onus falls on the railway - one could for instance require landowners abutting a railway to share the cost of building the fence alongside their property line. It could be a valid use for Section 37 monies as property is developed along railway corridors.. Where railways abut public roadways, parks etc there could be an onus on the municipality to secure the boundary, no different than their diligence in keeping playground equipment and sidewalks in good repair.
Placing the problem in the hands of one agency might be preferable to assure the seamlessness…. I could interpret your image as two good-faith efforts by different contractors to erect a barrier, but each erred on the side of saving a few feet of chain link, or didn’t feel they had the right to secure to the other entity’s fence, or waited to see if the “owner” demanded it….
At minimum, there should be an onus to assess and document every existing gap and assign someone the task of correcting it. I’m not aware that there is any regulatory requirement either to install barriers or to monitor and maintain their integrity.
No amount of education is going to solve the temptations and tragic errors in judgement that happen regularly along railway lines. Fencing is not really that expensive.

- Paul
 
If you look at historical street view images, you'll see why there is a gap in the fence. Around 2014 they were replacing the poles. Looks like just as they build the fence, this pole replacing projected may have started which would explain why there was still a gap in 2014 with both poles (perhaps they were going to wait till the old pole was removed to finish the fence). Looks like they just never decided to close the gap after the old pole was removed.

As to why they couldn't build the fence behind the poles? Well if you go back even more in time there used to be a 3rd track right by the fence.

This reinforces my suggestion that this become a "code" matter. Hydro poles don't sprout without planning. Someone has to come out, do a field inspection, and write a work order for the task. The whole point of the field visit is to identify things that might have to be done - a cement cut, tree trimming, a fence shift - before the pole crew can do their thing. If there was an intact fence before the pole work, the code should say "integrity of fencing must be maintained" and the work order would outline how that must be done - either the pole setting stays clear of the fence or arrangements are made to remove a section of the fence beforehand and then replace it afterwards. With yellow tape, pylons, or movable barriers, just like on any construction project.

Sure, everyone in the construction field bemoans the complexity of codes and how red tape constantly multiplies and how much coordination there has to be on even simple jobs ...... but this is indeed a protection of life provision, no different than requiring electricians to secure cables in a certain way or maintain separations. We do at least that much just to protect trees. First world problem, if you ask me.

PS - just wait until we electrify, and every inch of that fence has to be electrically bonded and grounded. ML is being very proactive about fencing, and often uses other forms of barrier rather than metal fencing. Sadly, the latest incident happened on CP rather than ML territory.

- Paul
 
^^ One problem with any kind of shared responsibility regarding fences/barriers, as it is in so many endeavours, is it becomes the foundation for confusion, finger pointing and ducking direct accountability. Not to mention that, without some manner of detailed, metre-by-metre database, complete confusion for some poor MOW crew.

I haven't done extensive research on the railway legislation, I get the sense that, like most property access (trespass) legislation, the responsibility of the landowner pretty much ends at notification and delineation ('ours - stay out').

If the photos of the area in question are reflective, the two fence sections are terminated in end posts (one with a brace) so it seems clear some contractor, sometime, did something in compliance with the terms of a contract and somebody from whoever let the contract signed off.
 
OK I found the thing I was mentioning

from the Initial Business case for the Kitchener Line:

"Travel between Kitchener / Waterloo and Guelph is the second largest market on the corridor. An estimated 32,000 trips are made each day between these cities."

"The third largest market is the long distance inter-regional trips between the outer ring municipalities (Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph) and Toronto, totaling approximately 18,000 daily trips."
 
OK I found the thing I was mentioning

from the Initial Business case for the Kitchener Line:

"Travel between Kitchener / Waterloo and Guelph is the second largest market on the corridor. An estimated 32,000 trips are made each day between these cities."

"The third largest market is the long distance inter-regional trips between the outer ring municipalities (Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph) and Toronto, totaling approximately 18,000 daily trips."
It needs an express service to be competitive with driving.
 
Ahead of what was expected to be a significant improvement in scheduled service for GO after Labour Day................

Alstom, who manages the crewing of Trains for GO has quietly recalled non-vaccinated staff (30 employees) who have been on unpaid leave since December.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/20...called-back-to-work-amid-staff-shortages.html (article is paywalled)

As the article does not break down the roles of the train staff laid off, if we simply assume that on average they constitute 10 3-person train crews, that represents something like 300 weekly hours of trains runs depending on dead-head times and precise schedules.

***

Because the article is behind the paywall, I'll grab a couple of bits:

“As previously notified, from December 5, 2021, Metrolinx expected all employees to be fully vaccinated to work on their premises. We want to notify you that this is no longer a requirement for current employees,” reads a letter signed by Christelle Migayron, Alstom’s human resources business partner and obtained by the Star. “We are recalling, from unpaid leave status, those employees who either self-identified as unvaccinated, or chose not to disclose vaccination status back to work by August 15, 2022.”

“Failure to respond to this notice by August 12, 2022 will be considered a resignation,” the letter goes on to say.

***

There's a bit of bafflegab in the article next:

“There are no changes to Metrolinx’s mandatory vaccination policy at this time,” Metrolinx spokesperson Nitish Bissonauth said in a statement to the Star. “Should any changes be made to this policy, Metrolinx will ensure that employees and the public are made aware.

**

Metrolinx did not clarify Friday whether its stance on the vaccination status of contractors had changed.


One could read that as saying 'there is no change to how we treat our directly employed staff; but we have allowed contractors to do something different...........or not; its a bit ambiguous.
 
Ahead of what was expected to be a significant improvement in scheduled service for GO after Labour Day................

Alstom, who manages the crewing of Trains for GO has quietly recalled non-vaccinated staff (30 employees) who have been on unpaid leave since December.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/20...called-back-to-work-amid-staff-shortages.html (article is paywalled)

As the article does not break down the roles of the train staff laid off, if we simply assume that on average they constitute 10 3-person train crews, that represents something like 300 weekly hours of trains runs depending on dead-head times and precise schedules.

***

Because the article is behind the paywall, I'll grab a couple of bits:

“As previously notified, from December 5, 2021, Metrolinx expected all employees to be fully vaccinated to work on their premises. We want to notify you that this is no longer a requirement for current employees,” reads a letter signed by Christelle Migayron, Alstom’s human resources business partner and obtained by the Star. “We are recalling, from unpaid leave status, those employees who either self-identified as unvaccinated, or chose not to disclose vaccination status back to work by August 15, 2022.”

“Failure to respond to this notice by August 12, 2022 will be considered a resignation,” the letter goes on to say.

***

There's a bit of bafflegab in the article next:

“There are no changes to Metrolinx’s mandatory vaccination policy at this time,” Metrolinx spokesperson Nitish Bissonauth said in a statement to the Star. “Should any changes be made to this policy, Metrolinx will ensure that employees and the public are made aware.

**


Metrolinx did not clarify Friday whether its stance on the vaccination status of contractors had changed.


One could read that as saying 'there is no change to how we treat our directly employed staff; but we have allowed contractors to do something different...........or not; its a bit ambiguous.
A lot of employer's have dropped this requirement as of Aug 1 st.

I wonder if they plan to keep vaxxed and unvaccinated employees separate?

Especially considering you are working in such close quarters for such a long time.
 
I wonder what the actual reasoning is behind this. Staff illness is too generic to be the actual cause.

Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist but my gut tells me there is more to this story.

No, actually the sick calls are real. The complicating factors are a) it’s summer, so staff who would normally be available to backfill a sudden absence aren’t available b) a Covid absence is not a 24-hour flu…. once the person gets sick they stay off longer, so the impact of any one absence is greater and c) there is a staff shortage, so again no defense in depth.

- Paul
 

Back
Top