GO Transit and UP Express service are on the road to normalization after a massive “network-wide system failure” at CN Rail wreaked havoc on the schedules of commuters throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on Tuesday.
The disruption, which lasted several hours, began just before 1:45 p.m., halting all GO and UP Express trains, causing them to remain stationary at their nearest stations. This left countless passengers stranded, facing lengthy delays, and seeking alternative modes of transportation.
The cause of the outage was attributed to an “internet connectivity and electronic data interchange issue” at CN Rail. While the company has since confirmed that internet connectivity has been restored, there remains no indication that the disruption was related to a cybersecurity issue. This statement was echoed across sources, with CN emphasizing its proactive approach to rectify the issue and ensure that passenger safety remained paramount.
As we work with our rail partner to resume regular rail service tonight, we have modified the schedule and are running trains approximately every half hour. Further delays and modifications are expected. You can see Union Station departure info here: https://t.co/n8ELbTv4jf
— GO Transit (@GOtransit) October 4, 2023
Tuesday’s afternoon and evening rush hours were particularly tumultuous for many. Large crowds accumulated inside Toronto’s Union Station, waiting for news on their scheduled trains. This influx of passengers in need of alternate transportation inadvertently caused a surge in pricing on ride-hailing platforms like Uber. Some commuters reported astronomical fares upwards of $400-$650 for rides to destinations like Brampton, forcing many to reconsider their options.
In an effort to alleviate the increased demand for transportation, the TTC ramped up its services, adding 10 additional trains on Line 1 and five trains on Line 2. They also enhanced service on certain streetcar lines and stationed extra buses at pivotal subway stations, including Kipling, Kennedy, and Dundas West.
Metrolinx, which operates GO Transit, expressed their commitment to provide passengers with timely updates and thanked them for their patience during the disruption. The provincial transportation agency expects services to be back to normal by Wednesday, but encourages travelers to check their Service Updates page for the latest information.
As for the railway giant, CN Rail has extended apologies for the inconvenience caused by the outage. “CN would like to apologize for the impact caused by this outage,” said CN spokesperson, Jonathan Abecassis. The company has reiterated its dedication to working closely with GO Transit and other impacted services to understand the root cause of the problem and to implement processes that would prevent any future disruptions of this magnitude.
This event, while disruptive, has shed light on the importance of the robustness and reliability of our interconnected transportation systems, and the shared commitment of agencies to ensure the safety and convenience of their passengers.