You’ll probably be seeing mention of this video in the local media in the coming days (hopefully some will actually look into the issue instead of just posting the video with baseless conjecture like I am here). It shows a metro train travelling between the Assomption and Viau stations on the green line with a door stuck open, and is already getting traction on Twitter.
It shouldn’t be difficult to see the very serious safety implications of this kind of failure.
Metro trains are designed with a safety system designed to prevent exactly this (which is why it’s so rare). When it detects that a door has opened beyond a set limit, it automatically commands the train to stop. This is what causes a train to come to an abrupt halt, usually as it’s leaving a station, when someone either accidentally or deliberately attempts to force a door open.
Clearly, unless this video is an elaborate fake of some sort, this system failed on this train. Hopefully it will prompt an investigation that ensures it never happens again.
Since the failure happened on an older MR-63 train, expect some people to link this to the age of the trains and the apparent desperate need to replace them with new ones from Bombardier-Alstom.
UPDATE (Nov. 9): The Gazette’s Max Harrold has preliminary details from the STM: It was just that door, it was locked closed when the STM discovered the problem at Berri-UQAM, and it has since been fixed.
The spokesperson also adds “someone should have pulled the emergency brake” – though those handles on board the trains don’t actually stop a train in motion, they merely prevent it from leaving the next station.
Just about everyone has picked up the story, with varying amounts of journalism involved:
- Radio-Canada posts the YouTube video, and has a phone interview with STM spokesperson Marianne Rouette, who’s had a busy day
- Agence QMI says the video came to it via Mon Topo on Monday, and it has quotes from Rouette. It also says the train was in the direction of Honoré-Beaugrand, which contradicts the video and what Rouette says.
- Métro posts the YouTube video, the basics, and links to Radio-Canada for STM reaction.
- CBC Montreal posts the YouTube video and quotes Rouette, including the statement that parts from the door were sent “to the lab” for analysis.
- The Gazette posts the YouTube video and quotes Rouette
- CTV Montreal posts the YouTube video and interviews Rouette.
- Branchez-Vous does its usual form of “journalism”, posting the YouTube video and quoting Radio-Canada without linking to it.
- Montreal City Weblog points out that in 2004 the doors opened on the wrong side – twice. Not exactly the same issue, but it’s another case of doors being open when they shouldn’t.
- Benoît Dutrizac interviews general manager Carl Desrosiers, who says this was caused by a simultaneous failure of two systems that were completely replaced only three years ago.
There’s also commentary already, mostly along the lines of “why did they just film it instead of pulling the emergency brake?” – from bloggers like Cécile Gladel. While I think I would have pulled the emergency brake if I was in that position, I would have also taken photos or video of it.
- As much as safety is a consideration, there didn’t seem to be any immediate danger because the train wasn’t full
- Pulling the brake or warning the driver would have caused delays as the problem was discovered and fixed, and most people on the metro are looking to get somewhere quickly
- There’s a reasonable belief that the STM will take this more seriously now that there’s video of it in the news
The Metrodemontreal.com forum also has some discussion of this event and testimonials of similar things happening in the past.
UPDATE (Dec. 30, 2013): It’s happened again. Story includes disturbing quotes from STM spokesperson suggesting this is a “fairly rare” occurrence, but it’s “normal” that such things happen a few times a year.