Flexity Outlook (Toronto streetcar)
A brand new low-floor streetcar crosses Adelaide Street and Spadina Avenue on route 510 Spadina
|Built at||Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada|
|Replaced||Canadian Light Rail Vehicle, Articulated Light Rail Vehicle (phase-out occurring as new vehicles enter service)|
|Entered service||August 31, 2014|
|Number in service||5 vehicles in service as of May 2015|
|Capacity||70 (seats), 181 (standing), 251 total|
|Operator||Toronto Transit Commission|
|Depot(s)||Russell Carhouse (Connaught), Roncesvalles Carhouse & Leslie Barns|
|Line(s) served||Toronto streetcar system|
|Car body construction||Stainless Steel|
|Train length||30.20 m (99 ft 1 in)|
|Car length||28 m (91 ft 10 in)|
|Width||2.54 m (8 ft 4 in)|
|Height||3.84 m (12 ft 7 in)|
|Doors||4 (right side only)|
|Maximum speed||70 km/h (43 mph)|
|Weight||48,200 kg (106,300 lb)|
|Electric system(s)||600 V DC Overhead trolley wire|
|Current collection method||Trolley pole and will convert to Pantograph|
|Track gauge||4 ft 10 7⁄8 in (1,495 mm) TTC gauge|
The new low-floor streetcars are operated exclusively on the 509 Harbourfront streetcar line as of March 29, 2015, in place of 510 Spadina due to construction on Spadina Avenue until May 10, 2015. They will be put in service on all 11 streetcar routes by 2019 and will replace the aging fleet of Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) and the double-module Articulated Light Rail Vehicle (ALRV) streetcars, which have been in revenue service since the 1970s and 1980s respectively.
The new vehicles are low-floor and are just over 30 metres long, longer than the older CLRV and ALRV streetcars. Each vehicle has four sliding doors (opened either by the operator or when a passenger taps the buttonr), large windows, air-conditioning systems, 64 fixed seats, interior bike racks and six flip-down seats.
With the TTC's streetcar fleet nearing the end of its service life, the commission began looking for a manufacturer to build new streetcars. In mid-2009, the TTC announced that it had chosen the Bombardier Flexity Outlook to replace the existing CLRV and ALRV fleet on its streetcar network, most of which serves Toronto's downtown core. On June 26, 2009, the Toronto City Council approved funding for 204 new vehicles and signed the contract with Bombardier. A mockup of the new streetcar was put on display at the Bathurst Hillcrest Complex for tours in November 2011. The first vehicle arrived in September 2012. It was unveiled to the public and media two months later in November 2012. Beginning in 2013, the new streetcars were tested on several routes, and the first two entered revenue service on August 31, 2014 on the 510 Spadina route.
In 2010, Bombardier released the specifications of the new Toronto streetcars. The vehicle is based on the Flexity Outlook product, but tailored to Toronto's needs. The vehicles use TTC's unique gauge (4 ft 10 7⁄8 in/1,495 mm) rather than standard gauge, and trolley poles using 600 V DC for power collection. Other design requirements such as the ability to handle tight turning radii and single-point switches, climb steep hills, clearance, and ability to upgrade into a more modern pantograph current collection system were factored into the design. The Outlook is almost twice as long as the TTC's older streetcars, and has five articulated sections.
Toronto was hit by unusually cold weather during the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 winters. On the colder days, buses were used to supplement the older streetcar fleet, when the pneumatic systems on many of the vehicles failed. Small amounts of moisture that had leaked into the pneumatic lines were freezing in the cold weather. The TTC told commuters that the new Flexity vehicles use different technology that is not susceptible to extreme cold. Instead of a pneumatic system, servomotors or hydraulic systems are used to operate the doors.
A Proof-of-payment (POP) all-door boarding system is used on routes which are served by the new Flexity vehicles. Because the operator sits in a fully enclosed cab and does not monitor fare payments, the TTC's fare enforcement officers perform random spot checks to ensure passengers have POP and that they have paid the proper fares. The spot checks are carried out on board the vehicles or at terminal/interchange stations where passengers connect with the TTC's subway system and other surface routes. The cars are equipped with four Presto card readers located at each door. There are two Ticket Vending Machines (TVM) on board situated beside the double-doors in the second and fourth modules of each car. Passengers who do not carry a Metropass or transfer can pay their fare by depositing cash or tokens into a TVM. The machine issues a POP ticket receipt, which can also be used as a transfer to connect with other TTC routes. Passengers who use Senior/Student tickets must validate their tickets at one of two smaller machines situated beside the TVM which stamps the date and time fare was paid. The validated ticket must be deposited into farebox when transferring another TTC route. Presto card holders who wish to obtain a transfer must tap their card twice: first when they enter the vehicle, then at the TVM, which then issues a POP receipt. TVMs are also posted at most major stops along the route where passengers have the option to pay prior to boarding.
Audible warning signals
The Flexity streetcars use two audible warning signals. They are the first streetcars to be furnished with an amplified digital recording of a bell/gong, based on the recording used from previous streetcars which uses mechanical gongs. They are the first TTC streetcars with a built-in electronic horn (similar to the sound of a bus or automobile horn). The older CLRV and ALRV streetcars which were equipped only with gongs when they entered service in the 1970s snd 1980s respectively. They were retrofitted with horns as their secondary auditory warning device, and most have since been reconfigured with either a similar sound of air horn or an automobile horn respectively in 2011-2012. This had been installed as part of safety and technological upgrades with the fleet in the late 1990s after the 510 Spadina streetcar line opened. The previous type of streetcar horn sound had been used on the TTC's H1 and M1 subway trains which have been retired.
The Flexity streetcars have long digital orange LED destination signs at the front, rear and at the sides of the vehicle and have two blue bull's eye lights on the side of the front signifying it is an accessible vehicle like TTC buses.
It was loaded on a truck/trailer flatbed and arrived at Harvey Shop at the Hillcrest Complex a few days later.
Car 4400 was the first of three test vehicles delivered for testing and technology verification. The carset has the same number as the wooden mockup car.
Contract amendments reported on February 24, 2014 called for pantograph current collection for part of the fleet (60 cars) with the later inclusion of pantographs on the remaining 144 cars. The first three cars (4400, 4401, 4402) have both a pantograph and a trolley pole.
The Flexity streetcars entered service on August 31, 2014 on the 510 Spadina streetcar line and were later deployed along the 509 Harbourfront line on March 29, 2015. As of May 1, 2015 five vehicles, 4400, 4403, 4404, 4405 and 4406 are in revenue service. Prototype vehicles 4401 and 4402 had been undergoing almost a year of extensive testing in Toronto. That testing had triggered a change to the design of the loading ramps. The vehicles will only become TTC property when their ramps are retrofitted to the new design, and that change couldn't be made while the plant was on strike.
TTC spokesman Brad Ross said that the new vehicles would enter service on time, in spite of the strike, even if there was only one new vehicle ready for fare service. Tess Kalinowski, the Toronto Star 's transportation columnist, wrote that the Bombardier plan had been scheduled to roll out a new vehicle every three weeks, but that measures would taken to roll out three new vehicles per month until production was back on schedule.
In September 2014, a month after the rollout of fare service on the Spadina line, Kalinowski reported that riders of other routes were expressing jealousy and impatience over the delay before new vehicles were ready to serve their routes.
Bombardier workers voted to accept a new contract on September 12, 2014.
On September 29, 2014, Chris Bateman, writing in the Toronto Life magazine, described a new simulator that was being installed in the Hillcrest complex to train drivers on the Flexity vehicles. It replaces an analogue trainer used to train drivers on the CLRVs. The system allows drivers to simulate navigating the TTC's entire streetcar routes, but only landmark buildings, including the CN Tower and El Mocambo, are rendered accurately. Most of the buildings the driver passes are generic.
On December 19, 2014, Tess Kalinowski, reporting in the Toronto Star, wrote that Bombardier was behind schedule in delivering new vehicles. She wrote that, by mid-December Bombardier should have delivered 43 vehicles, but had only delivered three. Seven new vehicles should have been delivered in 2013. She noted that Andy Byford had warned Bombardier that he would insist on Bombardier meet the final schedule of all vehicles in time for new streetcars to replace the old fleet by 2019, or he would impose the penalty clauses in the delivery contract. One additional vehicle was expected to be delivered before the end of the year.
Natalie Alcoba, writing in the National Post, reported on January 28, 2015, that the Leslie Barns facility for the new vehicles was expected to be almost empty, when it opened later in 2015, because Bombardier had fallen so far behind delivery of the new vehicles. She wrote that the delivery schedule called for forty-three vehicles to have been delivered by January 2015, but only three had been delivered, with a fourth expected in February.
He hoped the 509 Harbourfront (which began to be serviced with the new low-floor vehicles on March 29, 2015), 510 Spadina and 511 Bathurst routes would all be using new vehicles by the end of the year. He said that the TTC already knew it would need to place an order for additional vehicles. The TTC can purchase an additional 60 vehicles at the current price, if the additional vehicles are ordered before the 60th vehicle is delivered. Colle said that the additional vehicles would not be ordered, and paid for, until Bombardier was close to delivering the 60th vehicle, as an incentive for Bombardier to keep to its delivery schedule.
In March 2013, the demonstration car set made several test runs throughout the streetcar network including one trip from Hillcrest Complex down Bathurst Street to Bloor Street and another trip to Bathurst and Lake Shore Boulevard.
The TTC has been running LRV 4401 with the pantograph within the Hillcrest Complex and the trolley pole on the street.
On June 19, 2013, the TTC announced that the new vehicles would be operated on the Spadina streetcar line. The first two new streetcars (cars #4400 and #4403) officially entered revenue service on August 31, 2014. The full fleet will not be rolled out until 2019.
The new streetcars are operating on the 509 Harbourfront and will be redeployed on the 510 Spadina on May 10, 2015 after track reconstruction is complete. As more new streetcars are delivered, more routes will begin to be served by the new cars. The rollout schedule is listed below (subject to change).
- 511 Bathurst: Mid-2015
- 505 Dundas: 2016
- 501 Queen: 2016/2017
- 508 Lake Shore: 2016/2017
- 504 King: 2017
- 512 St. Clair: 2017/2018
- 502 Downtowner: 2018
- 503 Kingston Rd: 2018
- 506 Carlton: 2018/2019
The existing two carhouses are oriented to service the older high-floor cars with most equipment located under the vehicle floor. They are not oriented to low-floor vehicles with equipment located on the roof. Thus, the TTC constructed a new building at the Roncesvalles Carhouse to serve the new vehicles. The TTC is also scheduled to open Leslie Barns, a new maintenance facility, at the corner of Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard by summer 2015.
Flexity Freedom LRT
On June 14, 2010, an option for an additional 182 Bombardier Flexity Freedom model for suburban use was exercised to provide vehicles for several new light rail lines, collectively dubbed Transit City; there is an option for up to 118 more. These vehicles included a number of differences from the streetcar replacements:
- They are double-ended, as Transit City lines would not have had turnaround loops at the ends of the lines;
- They are standard gauge, not the unique gauge used for TTC streetcar and subway lines;
- They do not need to be able to navigate the sharp curves found on some TTC streetcar lines.
- They have pantographs instead of trolley poles.
The Flexity Freedom is scheduled to be used on the Eglinton Crosstown line running under and beside Eglinton Avenue between Black Creek in the west to Kennedy Road in the east. Other lines approved include the Etobicoke-Finch West LRT along Finch Avenue west from the Yonge–University subway line and the Sheppard East LRT along Sheppard Avenue east from Don Mills subway station.
- Steve Munro. "LRV fact sheet" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 16, 2013.
- "Meet Your New Ride". The Toronto Transit Commission. Toronto Transit Commission. Archived from the original on 2015-01-12. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Ontario Funds New Streetcars In Toronto". Government of Ontario. June 2009. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013.
- "TTC picks Bombardier to supply streetcars". Toronto: Toronto Star. April 24, 2009. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013.
- Toronto Transit Commission (April 24, 2009). "TTC Staff recommend Bombardier for new streetcar order". Archived from the original on March 16, 2013.
- Toronto Transit Commission (June 26, 2009). "City Council approves funds for TTC purchase of new streetcars". Archived from the original on March 16, 2013.
- Kevin Connor (November 15, 2012). "TTC officially unveils new streetcar". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on November 16, 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
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 to operate the new low floor streetcars starting August 31, 2014.
- Kyle Bachan, Hamutal Dotan (November 15, 2012). "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 November 16, 2012.
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.
- The Torontoist (November 17, 2011). "The Toronto Light Rail Vehicles (The LRVs)". James Bow. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- "Media to get sneak peek of new TTC streetcars". CP24. November 10, 2011. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013.
Compared with existing streetcars, the TTC said the new streetcars are more comfortable, reliable and spacious enough to carry almost twice as many passengers to meet increasing ridership.
- Steve Munro. "TTC Unveils New Streetcar Design and Mockup (Update 2)". Steve Munro. Archived from the original on 2015-03-04. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
- James Armstrong (2014-01-03). "Extreme cold forces 50 TTC streetcars out of service for rush hour". Global News. Archived from the original on 2014-01-23. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
“The age of the streetcar fleet and equipment – over 30 years in many cases – does not respond well to extreme cold,” according to a statement released by the TTC. “Specifically, pneumatic air lines that provide braking and door operation can see moisture build up in the lines that then freeze, causing the streetcar to be taken out of service.”
- "Why 'ancient' TTC streetcars don't like the cold: Moisture in pneumatic door and brake lines clog in frigid temperatures". CBC News. 2014-01-08. Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
Byford said the decades old vehicles' "critical weakness" is the pneumatic air lines used to operate the brakes and doors. TTC crews purge the lines at night but during the day, moisture in the lines can freeze and prevent the doors from operating.
- "Frequently Asked Questions - Passenger Experience". TTC. Archived from the original on 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
- "TTC Proof-of-Payment (POP)". TTC. Archived from the original on 2015-04-04. Retrieved 2015-04-05.
- Bells and Whistles on TTC's newest streetcar YouTube
- Kalinowski, Tess (September 26, 2012). "TTC’s new streetcar spotted in the Junction". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
- "Exclusive: New TTC streetcars (pictures)". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
- Chris Fox (November 15, 2012). "TTC officially unveils new streetcar". CP24. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013.
- ] thestar.com, published on November 15, 2012 Tess Kalinowski (November 15, 2012). "TTC unveils Toronto’s new streetcars: Fully accessible, with room for twice as many riders, the first of the new TTC downtown streetcars will be in service in 2014". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013.
- Douglas John Bowen (June 25, 2013). "TTC mulls 60 more Bombardier Flexity streetcars". Railway Age. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) CEO Andy Byford said Monday the agency is urging Toronto to order 60 more Bombardier Flexity streetcars to bolster the 204 Flexity cars already on order.
- Steve Munro. "TTC Board Meeting Preview: February 24, 2014". Steve Munro. Archived from the original on 2015-03-04. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
- Tess Kalinoski (2014-09-08). "TTC’s Spadina launch inspires streetcar envy on other lines". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2014-09-09. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
Normally, the Bombardier plant produces one light rail vehicle (LRV) every three weeks, said spokesperson Marc Laforge. That’s not happening while a strike at the company’s Thunder Bay plant is in its eighth week. Once production resumes, however, Bombardier can accelerate its schedule to three LRVs a month. The two sides are back in bargaining, and Bombardier will discuss a revised delivery schedule with the TTC, he said.
- Christoper Hume (2014-09-01). "Toronto rides new streetcars to its urban future: Hume Getting there will be half the fun now that Toronto's new streetcars are in service". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2014-09-09. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
Seeing these beautiful behemoths rolling through Toronto might force us to reconsider the complaint heard over and over that streetcars are forever in the way. Once all 204 new vehicles have been deployed in four or five years, they will be the undisputed masters of the streets; it will be cars that will have to make way.
- Kim Brown (2014-08-31). "New TTC streetcars make their debut". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2014-09-01. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
Torontonians taking the Spadina streetcar might have noticed something different when they stepped on board today. That’s because the Toronto Transit Commission has finally launched the first of its new streetcars.
- Dana Flavelle, Tess Kalinowski (2014-07-10). "Bombardier streetcar plant workers go on strike". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
The TTC said it still plans to move ahead on an Aug. 31 launch of the new streetcars even if only a single vehicle is available for service, transit agency spokesperson Brad Ross said.
- Dana Flavelle (2014-08-12). "Bombardier workers bring strike to Toronto: Striking Bombardier workers who build TTC vehicles at a plant in Thunder Bay bring their protest message to Toronto". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2014-09-01. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
The strike comes at a critical time for the TTC, which has two separate billion dollar contracts with Bombardier to update its subway and streetcar fleets.
- "Bombardier striking workers vote 85% to accept new contract". Thunder Bay: CBC News. 2014-09-12. Archived from the original on 2014-09-12.
It will be back to business for Bombardier Transportation and more than 900 striking workers in Thunder Bay. A total of 85 per cent of workers who voted Friday morning cast ballots in favour of the new contract.
- Chris Bateman (2014-09-29). "The TTC’s new life-sized streetcar simulator is not a toy—but it looks like one". Toronto Life magazine. Archived from the original on 2014-09-30.
Halfway down a long corridor inside the TTC’s Hillcrest facility, on Bathurst Street, there’s a room marked “streetcar simulator.” Inside is a state-of-the-art training device on which the next generation of TTC streetcar drivers will earn their wheels.
- Tess Kalinowski (2014-12-19). "TTC riders ask: Where are Toronto's new streetcars?". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2014-12-19.
But so far, only three are running on the 510 Spadina line. Many Torontonians have assumed the protracted roll-out is the result of last summer’s eight-week strike tat Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant. Few are aware that the late delivery actually pre-dates that labour disruption and that the originally contracted schedule specified there would be 43 in the city by now. There should have been seven in service by the end of last year.
- Natalie Alcoba (2015-01-28). "Massive $500M facility for new TTC streetcars might sit nearly empty when it opens". Toronto: National Post. Archived from the original on 2015-01-30.
The problem is, the order is delayed. Instead of the 43 originally anticipated by this time, or even the scaled-back expectation of 15, only three are in service.
- Chris Fox (2015-02-23). "City to have 30 new streetcars by end of 2015 as Bombardier agrees to new timeline". CP24. Archived from the original on 2015-02-24.
Since August the Toronto Transit Commission has only received four new streetcars, three of which have been put into service, but TTC Chair Josh Colle told reporters on Monday afternoon that Bombardier has now agreed to a revised timeline that will result in an additional 30 vehicles being delivered by the end of the year. The initial timeline called for the arrival of 43 of the vehicles by this past December.
- Graham Slaughter (March 14, 2013). "TTC’s new streetcar takes early morning maiden voyage down Bathurst St.". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013.
- Tess Kalinowski (June 19, 2013). "TTC announces Spadina as first line for new streetcars". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
TTC riders on Spadina and Bathurst will be the first to ride the city’s long-anticipated new streetcars when they roll out next year. Kingston Rd. and Carlton car riders, however, will be waiting until 2018 to 2019 for their turn.Chris Kitchings. (June 20, 2013). "New streetcars will roll out on Spadina, Bathurst first". CTV News. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
After Spadina and Bathurst, the streetcars will be introduced on the 509 Harbourfront route next year, followed by 505 Dundas in 2014-15 and the Queen and Lake Shore routes in 2015-16. The Bombardier streetcars will roll out on the King route in 2016-17, and the St. Clair Avenue right-of-way in 2017-18. Riders on Kingston Road and Carlton Street will have to wait until 2018 or 2019, according to a rollout plan that is being presented at Monday’s TTC board meeting.
- Joshua Freeman (2014-08-31). "TTC's new streetcars roll into service on Spadina". CP24. Archived from the original on 2014-08-31.
- Oliver Moore (2014-11-29). "TTC set to put third new streetcar into service". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-11-29.
- "FLEXITY Freedom: Riding the Winds of Change". Bombardier Rail. 2013. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013.
- "Bombardier façonne l'avenir de la mobilité avec ses solutions d'avant-garde pour le secteur ferroviaire à l'EXPO APTA 2011" [Bombardier is shaping the future of mobility with its avant-garde solutions for the railway sector in the APTA EXPO 2011] (in French). Le Lezard. October 3, 2011. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
A l'EXPO APTA 2011, Bombardier Transport fait le lancement de sa nouvelle plate-forme de véhicule léger sur rail très éconergétique FLEXITY Freedom, destinée au marché nord-américain. FLEXITY Freedom combine des innovations et des éléments éprouvés tirés de la réputée plate-forme de tramway modulaire FLEXITY pour en faire le véhicule de choix de tout développement futur dans le domaine du transport urbain.
- "Toronto buying 182 more Bombardier streetcars". Toronto Star. June 14, 2010. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013.
- Kalinowski, Tess (January 6, 2010). "Transit City measures up to international standard". Toronto Star (Toronto). Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- Media related to Bombardier LRV in Toronto at Wikimedia Commons
- "Toronto: Meet Your New Ride". Toronto Transit Commission. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013.
- Flexity official site
- New streetcars TTC official site