Canadian Light Rail Vehicle

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This article is about public transport vehicle running on rails. For other uses, see CLRV (disambiguation).
CLRV 4059 Glamour Shot.jpg
A Carlton car crosses the Main Street Bridge
Manufacturer L1 - SIG
Constructed 1977-1981[1]
Number built 196
Number in service 195 [1]
Number scrapped 1 (car 4063)
Fleet numbers L1 - 4000-4005
L2 - 4010-4199
Capacity 42-46 seated*,[1] 132 crush load
*during rebuilds 4 seats removed
Operator Toronto Transit Commission
Depot(s) Roncesvalles, Russell (Connaught)
Line(s) served Toronto Streetcar System
Car length 15,226 mm (49 ft 11.4 in)[2]
Width 2,540 mm (8 ft 4 in)
(2,591 mm or 8 ft 6.0 in over rub rails)[2]
Height 3,625 mm (11 ft 10.7 in)[2]
Floor height 1,125 mm (44.3 in)[2]
Platform height curb height or level with rail head
Entry 4 steps (3 risers inside plus step up from outside)
Doors 2 (1 dual bi-fold front door; 2 paired double leaf rear doorways)
Articulated sections (Rigid Body)
Maximum speed 80 km/h (50 mph)[3]
Weight 22,685 kg (50,012 lb)
Power output 2 x 136 kW (182 hp) continuous
Acceleration 1.47 m/s2 (4.8 ft/s2) (= 5.3km/h per second or 3.3 mph per sec.)

1.6 m/s2 (5.2 ft/s2) (3.46 m/s2 or 11.4 ft/s2 emergency)

(respectively 3.6 mph per sec. and 7 mph per sec.)
Electric system(s) 600 V DC Overhead trolley wire
Current collection method Trolley pole
Braking system(s) Air (Westinghouse Air Brake Company)
Track gauge 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm) - TTC Gauge
Minimum curve 36 ft (10.973 m)
Traction motors DC
TTC Bombardier ALRV 4239.jpg
Manufacturer MAN and UTDC
Urban Transportation Development Corporation
Constructed 1982
Number built 1 prototype
52 standard
Number in service 0 (p)
52 (s) [1]
Number scrapped 1 (p)
0 (s)
Fleet numbers 4900 (prototype)
4200-4251 (standard) [1]
Capacity 61 seated,[1] 205 crush load
Operator Toronto Transit Commission
Line(s) served Toronto Streetcar System
Car length 23,164 mm (76 ft 0 in) [4]
Width 2,540 mm (8 ft 4 in)
(2,591 mm or 8 ft 6.0 in over rub rails) [4]
Height 3,626 mm (11 ft 10.8 in) to roof; roof equipment additional [4]
Floor height 1,125 mm (44.3 in)[2]
Platform height curb height or level with rail head
Entry 4 steps (3 risers inside plus step up from outside)
Doors 3
Articulated sections 2
Maximum speed 80 km/h (50 mph)[3]
Weight 36,745 kg (81,009 lb)
Power output 4 x 65 kW (87 hp) continuous
Acceleration 1.2 m/s2 (3.9 ft/s2)
Deceleration 1.6 m/s2 (5.2 ft/s2) (3.13 m/s2 or 10.3 ft/s2 emergency) (respectively 3.6 mph per sec. and 7 mph per sec.)
Electric system(s) 600 V DC Overhead trolley wire
Current collection method Trolley pole
Braking system(s) Air (Westinghouse Air Brake Company)
Track gauge 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm) - TTC Gauge
Minimum curve 36 ft (10.973 m)
Traction motors DC

The Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) is a type of streetcar that is used by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in Toronto, Canada. They are used on all 11 streetcar lines of the Toronto streetcar system.


Towards the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, TTC's fleet of PCC streetcars had approached (or exceeded in some cases) the end of its useful life. Many Toronto citizens, and a group known as "Streetcars for Toronto" had fought successfully against the TTC's plans to convert its remaining streetcar lines to buses, and thus necessitated a new streetcar to replace the aging PCCs. The "Canadian Light Rail Vehicle" was an attempt at a new, standardized streetcar design to be used in Toronto and in other new streetcar developments throughout the country. There was also a similar attempt of the concept made in the United States around the same time, with cars built by Boeing Vertol for Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the San Francisco Municipal Railway.

Production and operation[edit]

The first ten cars were to be manufactured by SIG of Zurich, Switzerland, and used as templates for Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC) (now Bombardier) to manufacture the rest at the Hawker-Siddeley Canada Ltd. Thunder Bay works. However, as a cost-saving measure this number was reduced to six, accounting for the absence of CLRVs 4006-4009. These cars are used by the TTC and are numbered 4000 to 4005, and 4010-4199. The TTC now uses CLRVs, the Articulated Light Rail Vehicle (ALRV) and Bombardier Flexity Outlook.

Car 4000 had a pantograph when being tested by SIG on the Orbe Charvonay Railway and was converted to trolley pole before being delivered to Toronto.

In 1980, cars 4027, 4029 and 4031 were leased and tested by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).[5] During this time, the cars were occasionally operated as two- and three-car trains.

CLRVs and ALRVs have two green bull's-eye lights in the upper corners of the front, above the destination sign, which uses back-lit roller boards.

When the CLRVs and ALRVs were first delivered back in the 1970s and 1980s respectively, they were equipped with gongs as an audible warning signal. Most cars were retrofitted with horns in the late 1990s when the 510 Spadina line opened. The horns were salvaged from retired H1 and M1 subway cars. However, in 2011-2012 the CLRVs and ALRVs were equipped with new air horns or automobile-type electric horns.[citation needed]

As of 2014 the only CLRV to be retired was 4063. The car was intended to be the first prototype for the TTC's CLRV overhaul program, which was to include a complete reconstruction of the body as well as new propulsion and control systems. However, after being stripped, the overhaul program was cancelled. Because of a diminishing source of spare parts for the active fleet, it was decided that the unit would be scrapped and all usable parts be salvaged for repairs to the existing fleet. The shell was sold for scrap in March 2009 to Future Enterprises of Hamilton, Ontario.[6]

Articulated Light Rail Vehicle[edit]

The ALRV is a double-module version based from the Canadian Light Rail Vehicle design, it features an articulated joint. A pantograph-equipped prototype, numbered 4900, was built in 1982 and used by the TTC for testing. It was returned to UTDC in 1987. Following a test run, it was rear-ended by another streetcar on the test track, suffered extensive damage, and was scrapped.

The production cars were built by two contractors, MAN of Germany for bogies and articulation and UTDC at the Thunder Bay Plant.

ALRV streetcars operate mostly on the 501 Queen streetcar line. They are also used sometimes on the 504 King, 511 Bathurst and 508 Lake Shore streetcar lines (for instance: during rush hour periods or special events such as the Canadian National Exhibition respectively).

The cars are numbered 4200-4251.

Impact and legacy[edit]

The previous attempt (made in the United States) to design a US standard light rail car design was unsuccessful, and the resulting cars proved troublesome to both transit systems that had purchased them. While the CLRV had fared better for Toronto's streetcar system, other cities expressed little interest in the design, and thus remained exclusive to Toronto's streetcar system. Consequently, this has made the cars increasingly difficult and costly to maintain, as they required specially made parts. This, combined with the fact that the cars are not wheelchair accessible, and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act mandating all public transport to be fully accessible by 2025, triggered the TTC to replace them with a version of the Bombardier Flexity Outlook, inspired by modern European articulated trams.[7][8][9] The Flexity vehicles are low-floor, accommodating passengers in wheelchairs, have four double doors, enabling quicker loading and unloading, and may carry a kiosk to recharge electronic passes.

The new vehicles were supposed to begin entering service in 2011 and replace all vehicles by 2015, and would implement the Presto card fare collection system. Because of this, the TTC had no plans to install Presto readers on board the CLRVs and ALRVs. Due to delays in production and delivery, only three Flexity streetcars were in service in January 2015, well behind the 43 expected at that time. As a result, the TTC will be retrofitting Presto readers on board the CLRVs and ALRVs by the end of 2015.[10]

It is expected that the complete replacement of the CLRVs and ALRVs will not be finished until the entire streetcar network is equipped with Flexities by 2019.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g
  2. ^ a b c d e The Canadian Light Rail Vehicles (The CLRVs) - Transit Toronto - Content. Transit Toronto (2013-01-27). Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
  3. ^ a b TTC - The Coupler - Wheels of Progress. Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved on 2015-03-16.
  4. ^ a b c The Articulated Light Rail Vehicles (the ALRVs) - Transit Toronto - Content. Transit Toronto (2012-12-24). Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
  5. ^ 4029 and 4031 at Arborway Station in Boston, Massachusetts
  6. ^ Toronto Transit Commission 4000-4005, 4010-4199 - CPTDB Wiki. Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
  7. ^ Kevin Connor (2012-11-15). "TTC officially unveils new streetcar". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2012-11-16. The current, 35-year-old fleet is being replaced by 204 new vehicles, which will be in service by 2014 and introduced to Toronto’s streets during a five-year period. The 510 Spadina line will be the first route equipped with the new acquisitions. 
  8. ^ Kyle Bachan, Hamutal Dotan (2012-11-15). "TTC Previews Our New Streetcars: Media and politicians explore the first full-size test vehicle from Toronto's new streetcar fleet.". The Torontoist. Archived from the original on 2012-11-16. Key is the new Presto fare payment system, which will include open payment options—by credit and debit cards, and by mobile devices, as well as the Presto fare cards. Crucially, this will allow for all-door loading and hopefully cut down on the amount of time vehicles need to spend at each stop. Also crucial: the new low-floor design, which will make it much easier for people using wheelchairs and other mobility aids to board and exit. 
  9. ^ The Torontoist (2011-11-17). "The Toronto Light Rail Vehicles (The LRVs)". James Bow. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  10. ^ Moore, Oliver (21 January 2015). "Presto system coming to all TTC streetcars this year". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 

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