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Extreme cold affects streetcar service

The extreme cold is affecting the TTC’s streetcar service today, Friday, January 3. As the extreme cold continues, the TTC is warning that afternoon rush hour service will see a shortage of 50 streetcars across the network. The TTC normally operates about 195 streetcars during peak service. During morning rush hour today, the TTC was short 48 streetcars.

The TTC is preparing to use buses to supplement those streetcar routes that will see fewer than half the usual number of cars it requires to provide regular service along the routes.

The streetcar fleet and equipment — older than 30 years in many cases — do not respond well to extreme cold. Specifically, moisture can build up in the pneumatic air lines that provide braking and door operation then freeze, requiring the TTC to remove a streetcar from service.

The new fleet of low-floor, accessible streetcars that begin service this August will not be susceptible to extreme cold as the current fleet is. They use a combination of electrical and hydraulic systems, rather than pneumatic.

The TTC is phasing in the new cars over six years.