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Terrible subway accident in Toronto

They could zoom through underground tunnels at high speeds, transporting passengers to their destinations comfortably and efficiently. Canada's two new subways were considered marvellous feats of modern engineering in the 1950s and '60s. As the decades passed, Toronto's subway and Montreal's metro became more than just technological marvels — they were also places for people to meet, musicians to perform and artists to display their work.

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It's the worst subway accident in Canadian history. On Aug. 11, 1995, three people are killed and 36 are injured when a moving train collides with a stationary one. Emergency workers toil well into the night to extract injured people from the horrible wreckage. "Did the subway signals go wrong, or was it because the driver was new on the job?" asks reporter Brenda Craig in this CBC News clip.
. The moving train was travelling at 56 km/h. The two trains carried about 700 people.
. More than 150 firefighters, 100 paramedics and 130 police officers helped in the underground rescue effort. During this gruelling process an intense heat built up in the tunnel. Thanks to Air Canada, a huge air-conditioning machine was hooked up to the underground subway tunnel to combat the heat. Numerous volunteers also provided refreshments for exhausted rescue workers.

. An in-depth report released one year later blamed the crash on a combination of human error and mechanical failure. The driver -- who was only on his second day on the job -- had run three red lights just prior to the accident, setting the stage for the tragedy, but a failsafe trip arm that should have triggered his emergency breaks also failed to work.

. The report also blamed TTC management for not training new drivers properly and for regularly failing to discipline them when they ran red lights. As a result of the inquest, the TTC tripled the length of the driver-training program, and threatened to fire managers if they failed to discipline a driver for running red lights. The trip arm was also redesigned.

. Internationally, there have been other similar subway crashes: in 1975, 43 people were killed when a London Underground train carrying a rush hour crowd smashed into a dead end of a tunnel. And in 2000, four passengers were killed and more than 40 were injured in a rush hour collision between two trains in the Tokyo subway.
Medium: Television
Program: Sunday Report
Broadcast Date: Aug. 13, 1995
Guest(s): David Gunn, Howard Moscoe, Mike Sale
Reporter: Brenda Craig
Duration: 2:52

Last updated: August 12, 2014

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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