TTC: Flexity Streetcars Testing & Delivery (Bombardier)

Discussion in 'Transportation and Infrastructure' started by AlvinofDiaspar, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. From the Star:

    TTC shops for streetcars
    Apr. 10, 2006. 01:00 AM
    KEVIN MCGRAN
    TRANSPORTATION REPORTER

    Toronto is like no other city in the world. That's something for its citizens to be proud of. It's also something for the TTC's engineers to worry about.

    The geography of the city poses unique challenges to Toronto Transit Commission officials who are trying to figure out how to replace the current fleet of streetcars with something more modern.

    What they know today, coming into the Joint International Light Rail Conference in St. Louis, Mo., is that whatever Toronto and the TTC ultimately choose is going to be expensive — at least $1 billion to replace the current fleet.

    Off-the-shelf streetcars — becoming ever so popular in places like Minneapolis, Houston and Portland — cost about $3 million each. But Toronto can't buy off the shelf in the manner of American cities that have seen an explosion in light rail. Those cities identified the kind of car they wanted and then built new systems to fit.

    In Toronto's case, the infrastructure is old, so new cars have to be modified to fit — bumping up the cost by $1 million per streetcar.

    "There's no light rail vehicle that can meet our requirements without some major modifications," said Stephen Lam, the TTC's superintendent of vehicle engineering, who is in St. Louis to size up the market. "It is a lot of money. Modification is going to be costly."

    Off-the-shelf cars can't handle the sloping terrain of, for example, Bathurst St., so engine upgrades must be done. Such cars also can't handle the tight turns on city streets and streetcar loops, so the axles and trucks must be adjusted. The track gauge is also different, demanding another slight adjustment.

    Lam said the best-case scenario is finding a car that can be modified to fit Toronto's system. But that's not as easy as throwing money at manufacturers.

    "They will have to decide whether it's worth their while to come up with a business case, to come up with a design that suits our system."

    The 248 streetcars on Toronto streets are close to 30 years old, the end of their useful life. They can be repaired, at a cost of $1 million to $1.25 million each, allowing the TTC to squeeze another 10 years out of them. Or the city could replace them and get 30 to 40 years out of the new stock.

    "We love streetcars," said TTC chairman Howard Moscoe. "We're ready for the next generation. The ones we have are built like tanks. They're not accessible for the disabled, which is one of our goals — to make our system entirely accessible.

    "They're heavy rail cars, very expensive to operate. They use more electricity than light rail. It's time we moved into the 21st century."

    With the TTC feeling buoyed by a courtroom victory that will allow it to convert two lanes of traffic on St. Clair Ave. W. to a streetcar right-of-way, the push is on to replace rather than repair. New streetcar lines are inevitable as the road network expands.

    "It's my goal to have streetcars running to the outer borders of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough," Moscoe said.

    AoD
     
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  2. ""It's my goal to have streetcars running to the outer borders of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough," Moscoe said."

    Uh, no thanks.
     
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  3. #3
  4. wyliepoon

    wyliepoon Guest

    Sounds like the best opportunity to design a new generation of PCC (President's Conference Committee) streetcars.
     
    #4
  5. JoeyCuppa

    JoeyCuppa Guest

    Yeah, ROWs in the former boroughs are way more than appropriate - especially considering you can build 10x as long as a subway for the same money.
     
    #5
  6. roch5220

    roch5220 Guest

    Time for new modern sleek LRT vehicles.
     
    #6
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  8. Chuck100

    Chuck100 Guest

    It would be wise for someone from YRT at minimum to join the TTC on this trip. If there are streetcars on Steeles and Finch, then a Yonge St. route into York would literally have to be compatible with the TTC's network since they'd share tracks heading into Finch station. Ideally Mississauga would be there too since it's considering its own line on Hurontario.
     
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  9. astObs

    astObs Guest

    #9
  10. cacruden

    cacruden Guest

    I know this is a silly question, but if we were "rebuilding" our tracks -- and we knew that having standard track sizes would reduce the cost .... why would we not move to standard track sizes with completely new stock on those tracks that have been rebuilt -- moving the older ones over to the old tracks until those streetcars ran out of steam :p
     
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  11. crackpott

    crackpott Guest

    Because the track network has to be compatable, otherwise getting streetcars to/from garages would require them being towed. Other issues come up, such as diversions. I remember once my friend got into an accident at College and Spadina, and the College streetcars went south on Bay I believe to Dundas, then across, and back up on Bathurst. If track isn't compatible, streetcars couldn't do that.
     
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  12. astObs

    astObs Guest

    I had that question too. I think logistics issues, plus it would have required putting off construction till the new streetcars are ordered. Also, I don't think changing gauge of tram adds much to cost when ordering new trams because these are built to order anyways. What does add to the cost are non-standard components such as the axles and trunks the article mentions.
     
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  13. ^

    Also, the gauge is a relatively minor problem. Sharp turns and slopes, on the other hand, aren't easy to fix.
     
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  14. astObs

    astObs Guest

    ^
    Also, it only becomes a problem when buying second-hand or when selling..
     
    #14
  15. EnviroTO

    EnviroTO Guest

    Why would the TTC look at North American light rail projects when virtually all light rail in North America other than the retro San Francisco line is built from scratch. To find rolling stock more compatible with tight turns, hills, etc they should be looking at places where the streetcars or street trams has been running for 50 years and see what new equipment they are using. With all the funiculars and trams on old thin streets around the world it shouldn't be too hard to create a streetcar/tram capable of taking on Bathurst St and the Union Station loop. I don't expect 100% compatibility to be easy to find because of the trolley poles, and track widths but there should be something much more similar to what Toronto needs than what can be found in Minneapolis and Dallas.
     
    #15

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