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TTC Ponders New Streetcars


(link and photograph courtesy Spacing Wire)

For the past two years, the Toronto Transit Commission has been considering the purchase of its next generation of streetcars, but the matter has just recently surfaced in the Toronto Star, which has an interesting article about the issues involved. Currently, the TTC is considering rebuilding 100 of its CLRVs to extend their life by another ten years. It has to decide whether to rebuild the remaining 96, or if new vehicles, like the Bombardier model operating in Minneapolis (pictured above), should be purchased.

While many American cities are reinvesting in streetcars under the high-tech monicker of LRT, the fact that Toronto has maintained its streetcar network since 1861 presents its own challenges. The TTC’s tighter curves and steeper grades will likely prevent the TTC from buying an off-the-shelf model. Customizations could add $1 million to the cost of each streetcar — although that’s still cheaper than the idea of retrofitting the entire network to accept these.

The decision will have to be made soon, and new streetcars are likely a must, especially if Toronto proceeds with the planned construction of new LRT lines along Eglinton Avenue, Kingston Road and Don Mills. The TTC’s successful defence of its proposal to upgrade the St. Clair right-of-way has emboldened LRT activists like TTC chair Howard Moscoe, who envisions streetcars operating to all edges of Toronto.

In Other News…

  • Star business reporter Tony Wong writes about the joy of businesspeople and York University officials about the province’s decision to offer funds to extend the Spadina subway to Vaughan. Missing from the report is the fact that the province’s $670 million covers about a third of the cost of construction, and the Region of York, Toronto and the federal government have not committed their share.
  • Could we be seeing moving ads in our subway tunnels?