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TTC Union Alleges CEO Rick Leary Covered Up A 'Near-Catastrophic' Subway Crash

Narcity logo Narcity 2021-09-15 Canada - Toronto Team
a subway train at a train station © Provided by Narcity

A union that represents nearly 12,000 transit workers is calling for the dismissal or resignation of TTC CEO Rick Leary. ATU Local 113 alleges Leary attempted to cover up a "near-catastrophic" subway crash near Osgoode Station on June 12, 2020.

"Someone is responsible for that cover-up attempt," President of ATU Local 113, Carlos Santos, said in the release. "That someone could only be the CEO. Who else would have the authority to keep such a major incident under wraps?"

The subway incident, which the union refers to as the "Osgoode Pocket Incident," happened on Line 1.

According to the union, a southbound train going into a siding (or "pocket") near Osgoode station moved over to the northbound track to fill in for a temporarily delayed train at St. Andrew station.

While the move was in progress, a subway guard at the back of the pocket spotted the delayed subway train from St. Andrew coming in at "full operating speed" on the same northbound track.

"Thankfully, the Operator reacted immediately and had been proceeding cautiously at only 7.16 km/hr (6.5ft/sec)," the union reported in their statement. "His train came to a stop less than five feet from the northbound track as the passenger train from St. Andrew sped by. Less than a second later, had the pocket train still been moving, it would have caused a massive collision, derailment and an unknown number of fatalities and serious injuries."

The Toronto Star published an investigative report about the incident on June 4 this year after obtaining an internal TTC review summarizing the details of the event, as well as a video of the moment it had happened. According to their investigation, the TTC hadn't publicized the details of the incident.

Narcity reached out to the TTC for comment on the union's statement.

"Thanks for the opportunity to comment, but we're not going to dignify the union's statement with a response except to say that the evidence shows the facts of how this incident occurred," said TTC Senior Communications Specialist Stuart Green in their response over email. "Mr. Leary looks forward to continuing to serve as the TTC's CEO and working with the 16,000 incredible employees of this organization to safely provide our customers with the best service possible."

A bigger TTC report published in February this year documents what happened in further detail.

According to their agenda for June 16, 2021, the TTC live-streamed a board meeting discussing the incident. Currently, the video appears to be private and cannot be viewed.

The union's statement also alleged that this is not the first time Leary has "failed a public accountability test."

"It was truly inexcusable that the person in charge of the TTC should not inform the Commission Board, the Mayor, and the public that Toronto's subway system had been less than one second from a horrific disaster," Santos said, adding that "more information about Leary's past track record as a public transit executive will be revealed in the near future."

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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