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GO buying more two-level coaches to expand fleet

Update — 5:33 p.m., March 15: Thanks to reader Robert Lubinski for his details on the history of GO’s two-level cars.

GO Transit is spending $125 million to expand its rail fleet by buying 50 more two-level passenger coaches. This means GO will have room for another 8,000 commuters a day by next year.

By placing the order now, GO can start putting these vehicles into service later this year and put more of them into service throughout 2012. This new order will bring the total number of two-level coaches in GO’s fleet to 565.

Bombardier will start building the new coaches this June at its plant in Thunder Bay. GO Transit and Hawker Siddeley Canada originally designed the two-level in the mid-1970s to replace GO’s original single-deck diesel multiple units. Later, Urban Transportation Development Corporation/Can-Car and finally Bombardier, who now own the designs and factory, made the cars.

Bombardier also has contracts to build the TTC’s new Toronto Rocket subway cars and its upcoming low-floor streetcars.

Last year, Metrolinx signed a $770 million contract with Bombardier to build 182 light rail vehicles over ten years. The contract included an option to buy as many as118 more vehicles to a total of 300.

(Metrolinx originally planned to use the light-rail vehicles to serve four of Toronto’s Transit City light rail transit (LRT) lines, but now that the City may not proceed with some of those projects, the status of the contract isn’t certain.)