Flexity Freedom

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Flexity Freedom
Demonstration mockup of first two train segments
Manufacturer Bombardier Transportation
Built at Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Family name Flexity
Entered service expected 2017[1]
Number under construction 196 ordered (182+14)[2]
Capacity 56 (seats) 130 (standees) 4 (accessible spaces) 251 (total capacity) [3]
Operator(s) ETS, GRT, HSR, TTC
Line(s) served B-Line (Hamilton), Eglinton Crosstown line, Finch West LRT, Ion LRT, Valley Line (Edmonton)
Car length 30.8 m (101 ft 1 in)[3]
Width 2.65 m (8 ft 8 in)[3]
Height 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)[3]
Doors 8-12 (4-6 on each side)[3]
Articulated sections 5[3]
Maximum speed 80 km/h (50 mph)[3]
Electric system(s) 750 V DC Overhead trolley wire[3]
Current collection method Pantograph
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Flexity Freedom is a low-floor, articulated light rail vehicle developed by Bombardier Transportation for the North American market. It is marketed as part of its Flexity family which includes other models of trams (streetcars) and light metro vehicles.

Flexity Freedom vehicles will be operated by the Toronto Transit Commission on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Hamilton Street Railway on the Hamilton B-Line, by Grand River Transit on the Ion LRT in Waterloo Region, and by the Edmonton Transit System on the Valley Line.[4][5] Bombardier will produce these vehicles in their Thunder Bay, Ontario facility, which once produced rolling stock under the names of Canada Car and Foundry (CC&F) and Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC).

Being entirely low-floor, these vehicles directly compete with the Flexity Swift, Siemens S70, CAF Urbos, and Kinki Sharyo LRVs. However, as they are designed for light rail rather than streetcar applications, they also compete against, to a lesser extent, low-floor streetcars from Skoda/Inekon and Brookville Equipment Corporation, among others.


The vehicles are have a 100% low-floor design and can be built to operate unidirectionally or bidirectionally.[6] The vehicles' design includes energy-saving features, like regenerative braking and the use of LED lighting, but they are also air-conditioned. The vehicles may be coated in special paint designed to resist graffiti. They are equipped with passenger counters at the doors.[3]

The vehicles are articulated, but unlike competing rolling stock, they are built out of similar-length modules.[3] Operators can alter the number of intermediate modules, thus altering the capacity of the individual vehicles. The Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo vehicles will contain five modules, while those in Edmonton will have seven modules. Vehicles can be coupled and operated as trains of up to four connected vehicles.

The maximum passenger capacities, in the standard seating layouts, are 135 and 251, for the three and five-module configurations respectively. When run in the five-module configuration, with train-sets of four vehicles, the maximum capacity of a light rail line is 30,000 passengers per peak hour. The vehicles' standard passenger configuration can safely accommodate up to four passengers in wheelchairs. For example, the trains for Edmonton will carry up to 275 passengers per trains.[5]

According to Bombardier, the trainsets can be built for "catenary-free" power, where, instead of being powered by direct contact with overhead wires they are powered indirectly through induction, through buried loops, a form of ground-level power supply competing directly with Alstom's "APS" system.[3]

Freedom and Outlook in Toronto[edit]

Flexity Freedom vehicles differ from the Flexity Outlook vehicles used on the Toronto streetcar system in that they are wider and faster, and use standard gauge rather than the streetcar system's unique broad gauge.[3] They are also bi-directional, with cabs on both ends and doors on both sides. While Flexity Outlook vehicles can negotiate the tight curves of the streetcar network, Flexity Freedom vehicles require a minimum curve radius of 25 metres (82 ft).

The light rail lines in Toronto will be constructed to standard gauge instead of Toronto's streetcar gauge because Metrolinx, the Ontario provincial transit authority funding the projects, wants to ensure a better price for purchasing vehicles by having a degree of commonality with other similar projects within Ontario.[7]



The Flexity Freedom cars were designed for the Transit City plan which would have created six suburban LRT lines for an order of about 300 cars. The Eglinton Crosstown line is the first to be built. Metrolinx placed its first order for 182 vehicles[2][8] under a $770 million contract announced in 2010. Bombardier expects deliveries to start in 2018.[9] The Finch West LRT from that proposal has since been also approved, though vehicle orders have not been finalized.

As of May 2016, Metrolinx has not received the prototype vehicle that Bombardier was supposed to produce by spring 2015. The prototype, once received, will be tested for one or two years to work out any design bugs before Bombardier begins to manufacture the rest of the order.[10]

In July 2016, Bombardier spokesman Marc-André Lefebvre acknowledged receipt of “a contractual notice” from Metrolinx complaining about the delay in delivery of the prototype vehicle. Lefebvre said that the prototype will be delivered in August giving Metrolinx 18 months to test the vehicle, about double the time needed for testing. Lefebvre also said production will begin in spring 2018 and the remainder of the 182-car order will be delivered in time for the scheduled opening of the line.[11] On September 1, 2016, Bombardier said the prototype was nearing completion at the Thunder Bay plant and would be available for testing in 3-4 weeks.[12]

Waterloo Region[edit]

In July 2013, the Region of Waterloo finalized a deal with Metrolinx to join their contract to the Toronto order and purchase 14 vehicles for the Ion light rail system at a cost of $66-million.[13][14][15]

Bombardier's Thunder Bay plant will build five production vehicles with the Kingston plant making the remaining nine.[9] To avoid bottlenecks and shipping delays at its Thunder Bay plant, assembly work for the Flexity Freedom would be shifted to Bombardier's Kingston, Ontario factory.[16] Bombardier is also moving the building of vehicle sub-assemblies from a plant in Mexico to one in La Pocatière, Quebec, and cab structures to another unspecified plant.[10][11]

The delivery of the first vehicle had been expected in August 2016, and the remainder by the end of 2016.[17] However, by May 2016, Bombardier announced that delivery of the first car will be delayed to December 2016, and the last car will be delivered by October 2017.[10]


As part of a consortium that won the contract to build and operate the Edmonton LRT Valley Line in February 2016, Bombardier is providing Flexity Freedom vehicles for use on the new line,[5] as opposed to Siemens LRVs on the existing Capital and Metro Lines.


  1. ^ Melissa Murray (11 July 2013). "Region finalizes LRT vehicle deal". Kitchener Post. Retrieved 16 November 2013. By 2017, the LRT will serve a 19-kilometre corridor from the Conestoga Mall in Waterloo to the Fairview Mall in Kitchener. 
  2. ^ a b "Metrolinx spends $770-million to order 182 LRT vehicles from Bombardier". The Globe and Mail. 14 June 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "FLEXITY Freedom" (PDF). Bombardier Transportation. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-07-13. Retrieved May 2013.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ "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. 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 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. 
  5. ^ a b c "Bombardier Wins Order to Supply Light Rail Transit System for City of Edmonton's Valley Line in Canada". Bombardier Transportation. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  6. ^ "Freedom takes Flexity to the North American tram market". Railway Gazette. 2011-10-22. Archived from the original on 2013-11-21. Reflecting Canadian conditions, the trams are designed to cope with heavy snow, featuring heated door thresholds and couplers, heat exchanges on the HVAC, and the ability to cope with snow settling to 355 mm deep on the roof. The underframe will be fabricated from stainless steel to resist corrosion from road gritting salts. 
  7. ^ "Transit City measures up to international standard". Toronto Star. January 6, 2010. Retrieved 2014-10-04. 
  8. ^ "Metrolinx exercises option for 182 light rail vehicles". Railway Gazette. 2011-10-22. Archived from the original on 2013-05-20. Reflecting Canadian conditions, the trams are designed to cope with heavy snow, featuring heated door thresholds and couplers, heat exchanges on the HVAC, and the ability to cope with snow settling to 355 mm deep on the roof. The underframe will be fabricated from stainless steel to resist corrosion from road gritting salts. 
  9. ^ a b Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press (20 May 2016). "Bombardier shifts production in bid to speed up Toronto streetcar deliveries". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  10. ^ a b c Ben Spurr, Staff Reporter (24 May 2016). "Bombardier delays force Waterloo to push back LRT opening". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  11. ^ a b Ben Spurr (20 July 2016). "Metrolinx threatens legal action over late delivery of light rail vehicles". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  12. ^ Ben Spurr (1 September 2016). "Bombardier misses another deadline for Eglinton Crosstown project". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-09-01. 
  13. ^ Douglas John Bowen (2013-07-12). "Waterloo opts for Bombardier LRVs". International Railway Journal. Archived from the original on 2013-07-13. Retrieved 2013-07-13. The first of the Flexity Freedom LRV are due to be delivered in mid-2016, and will be used on the 19km, 16-station line from Conestoga Mall in Waterloo to Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener. The $C 92.4m ($US 89.2m) contract will include an option for 16 additional vehicles. 
  14. ^ Paige Desmond (2013-07-11). "LRT model rolls into Waterloo Region". Kitchener, Ontario: Kitchener-Waterloo Record. Archived from the original on 2013-07-13. Retrieved 2013-07-13. Councillors decided in June 2012 to piggyback on an existing contract that Crown corporation Metrolinx has with Bombardier instead of putting out a request for proposals. 
  15. ^ Paige Desmond (2013-07-11). "Region approves purchase of Bombardier LRT trains". Kitchener, Ontario: Kitchener-Waterloo Record. Archived from the original on 2013-07-13. Retrieved 2013-07-13. The region's train order will be added to a contract Metrolinx has to buy light rail vehicles for the City of Toronto. Officials said it would lower costs, keep the project on schedule, improve vehicle reliability over a longer period and offer an opportunity to share parts and knowledge. 
  16. ^ Paige Desmond (2016-05-20). "Bombardier moves LRT train production to Kingston to keep project on track". Kitchener-Waterloo Record. Retrieved 2016-05-22. Marc-André Lefebvre, head of communications with Bombardier Canada, said five of the region's 14 light rail vehicles will be completed in Thunder Bay and the rest will be made in Kingston starting in 2017. 
  17. ^ Murray, Melissa (26 February 2016). "Bombardier cuts won't affect delivery of region's LRVs". Kitchener Post. Retrieved 2016-05-21.