Search Transit Toronto

Powered by GOOGLE.

Bombardier's Flexity Freedom LRT Mock-Up

Text by James Bow

See Also

When the province of Ontario agreed to fund the City of Toronto’s Transit City proposal, they launched the construction of what will be one of the largest orders of LRT vehicles in many a year. The province’s agreement to build the Sheppard East LRT, the Finch West LRT and the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT (later changed to an all-underground version of the Eglinton-Crosstown-Scarborough LRT, at the request of newly elected Toronto mayor Rob Ford, though this was reversed by Toronto City Council in February 2012) was part of a wider provincial transit plan, initially called MoveOntario 2020. This plan which called for provincial funding of 52 projects across the Greater Toronto Area and Waterloo Region, included LRT projects in Mississauga, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa.

As Metrolinx took over the task of designing and building these transit expansion projects, a question arose early as to whether Toronto’s new LRT vehicles would share many of the same characteristics as their legacy streetcar counterparts, or if a standard off-the-shelf model would be built instead, using standard gauge. There were obvious advantages of piggybacking the construction of Toronto’s LRT vehicles with LRT vehicles planned for other cities, but did that mean that other cities would have to adopt the TTC’s unique track gauge?

Rather than create a new, Ontario standard, Metrolinx quickly decided that all its new LRTs should be built to operate on standard gauge. This forced some changes to Toronto’s Transit City plan. It would no longer be possible to store some of Toronto’s legacy streetcars in Toronto’s LRT garages, for instance, and plans to connect the St. Clair streetcar line with the Eglinton LRT up Scarlett Road were quickly dropped. Other legacy streetcar characteristics were quickly dropped, or never considered. The new LRT vehicles would have cabs at both ends, meaning that loops would not be required to turn the cars around at the end of the line. The LRT vehicles would have to have doors on both sides to allow for both side platform and island platform loading. Pantographs would be installed from the start, and the LRT cars would be longer, and unable to take the tight curves of the TTC’s legacy streetcar system.

As part of the design process for the new Flexity Freedom vehicles, to promote Bombardier’s LRT production line, and promote the construction of LRT lines, Bombardier built a mock-up LRT vehicle. It was ready and painted in a red livery in time for the 2011 American Public Transit Association Expo. After this showing, it was redone in a green livery that Metrolinx had selected for the EGLINTON-CROSSTOWN line, showing up at locations around Canada to hlghlight what transit passengers might be riding in the future. Showings included in Vancouver (July 6-8, 2012), Edmonton (July 13-15, 2012), and Calgary. It was shown in Toronto as part of the 2012 Canadian National Exhibition, and appeared elsewhere in Toronto, in Brampton, and in Waterloo Region over the next two years. In 2015, Bombardier changed the livery again, replacing hte green with grey, possibly as Metrolinx had decided to go with this livery for its EGLINTON-CROSSTOWN LRT.

The gallery below shows the mock-up under construction, circa 2010.

TTC LRT Early Mockup Image Archive

Support us on Patreon Button

Welcome to Transit Toronto! This is an information site dedicated to public transportation in Toronto, maintained by transit enthusiasts for transit enthuasiasts. This is NOT the official website of the Toronto Transit Commission, Metrolinx or any other transit provider or government agency. To access the official websites of these agencies, consult this page here.