The first of Toronto's new streetcars have been delivered by rail from Bombardier's manufacturing facility in Thunder Bay. The streetcars are state-of-the-art Flexity Outlook models and, over the next few years, the Canadian transportation giant will deliver 204 of them to replace the TTC's aging fleet of Canadian Light Rail Vehicles (CLRVs) and Articulated Light Rail Vehicles (ALRVs).
The most-recent TTC CEO report gives the following explanation and timeline:
"The low floor light rail vehicle procurement project is partway through the Final Design phase. The first of the three prototype LRVs is scheduled for delivery in September, with the other two scheduled for delivery before year end. The prototype vehicles will undergo extensive vehicle reliability, performance and technology verification tests. System compatibility tests including accessibility features, platform and on‐street boarding interface with the vehicle, its bridgeplate and ramp deployment, farecard system if available, and overhead power interface, etc. will be conducted.
Based on the prototype tests, a baseline vehicle configuration will be established for production vehicles, scheduled for delivery beginning in the fall of 2013."
The car (number 4400) was photographed atop a flatbed truck in the CPR Lambton Yard which straddles the boundary between The Junction and York. It has since been moved to the TTC's Hillcrest shop for final outfitting and performance testing.
In the first few years of operation, the cars will use a 'trolley bar' similar to those atop current CLRVs and ALRVs
In the future, the TTC plans to upgrade its catenary to handle stronger and more reliable pantographs.
Unlike current CLRVs and ALRVs whose doors open when an operator reaches a stop and presses a dashboard-mounted button, the new cars put that power in the hands of riders with exterior-mounted buttons operating individual doors. The TTC also plans to transition from an operator-based fare collection system to a proof of payment (POP) system similar to that used by GO Transit. This allows riders to use all four doors to enter and exit the vehicle, spreading them evenly along the car and avoding the bunching which often occurs when a large number of riders board at once and do not move back.
Toronto's new streetcars are scheduled to begin revenue service in early 2014 on the reconstructed Spadina Right of Way.