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Canada, Ontario and Toronto investing more than $500 million to buy new TTC streetcars


^ TTC Flexity LRV #4498 pulls away from Harbourfront Centre, heading westbound into the setting sun on the late afternoon of November 14, 2018. Photo by James Bow.

The governments of Canada and Ontario announced today, Wednesday, May 12 that they are each contributing $180 million toward the cost of buying 60 new TTC streetcars. The City of Toronto is also investing another $208 million toward the purchase.

Alstom will manufacture the cars at the former Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay. (Alstom, a French company, recently bought the rail-transportation assets of Canadian manufacturer, Bombardier. Bombardier built the TTC’s current fleet of Toronto Flexity Outlook streetcars.

TTC will procure these streetcars from its current competitively-procured contract with Alstom, which acquired Bombardier Transportation last January 29. According to the Government of Canada, “Fulfilling the TTC’s immediate need for 60 more streetcars will [also] help sustain… [Alstom’s] Thunder Bay plant in the short term, and could also create a bridge to longer term transit procurement projects. Under TTC’s existing contract with Alstom, TTC will be able to secure a product order with the plant, protecting hundreds of highly-skilled workers’ jobs at a world-class facility.” Alstom is supposed to start delivering the new cars in 2023.

In a news release, Ontario explains, “These new streetcars will ensure that the TTC can address immediate streetcar fleet needs, match capacity of customer demand, and reallocate 50 buses that are currently supplementing streetcar service to return to operation on local bus routes.” Sixty more cars will increase number of streetcars in the TTC fleet to 264.

Funds from Canada and Toronto will also support expanding the TTC’s Hillcrest complex to include a new carhouse — a maintenance and storage facility to accommodate the new cars.

In addition, Metrolinx is also continuing discussions with Alstom under its existing contract to refurbish more GO Transit bi-level cars.

Ontario says, “Refurbishing GO rail cars will keep more trains performing at peak service levels for GO customers. These safe, reliable and comfortable coaches provide riders with better, more enjoyable journeys across the GO network.”

The Thunder Bay facility has built rail cars for GO Transit for more than 40 years. In September 2019, the Province announced that it was buying 36 bi-level cars from the Thunder Bay plant. The agreement allowed Metrolinx to add 31 standard and five accessible cars and, which Alstom / Bombardier is on track to fully deliver by this summer. The order for 36 bi-levels brings the total bi-level fleet to 949.

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