Toronto streetcar system rolling stock

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The rolling stock used for the Toronto streetcar system has varied greatly since the first horse-drawn vehicles entered service in 1861. Electrically-powered streetcars gradually replaced the horse cars from 1892 to 1894, and have continued to operate to the present day. Since the formation of the present Toronto Transit Commission in 1954, hundreds of cars were inherited from the TTC's predecessor companies, the Toronto Railway Company, Toronto Civic Railways, and Toronto Transportation Commission, among others. Many more cars were acquired second-hand from various transit agencies in Canada and the United States during a long period of demise for streetcars in North America. The vast majority of the rolling stock currently in use are rigid-bodied CLRVs manufactured in the 1980s, comprising a total of 196 vehicles of this type. They replaced and were derived from the classic PCC design, of which over 700 new and used vehicles were in used at its peak. The CLRVs have been supplemented with 52 articulated ALRVs in the late 1980s. Neither the CLRVs and ALRVs are wheelchair accessible, and to this end, the TTC is in the process of introducing 204 low-floor LRVs based on the Flexity Outlook design by Bombardier Transportation. The first Flexity vehicle entered service in 2014 and it is expected that all older vehicles will be completely removed from service by 2024, following the footsteps of many modern light rail transit systems in North America.

Built from 1915 to present[edit]

Product list and details (date information from TTC)
 Make/Model   Description   Rolling stock size   Year acquired   Year retired   Notes 
Preston Car Company (ex-TCR) streetcar DE-ST 8 1915–1917 1976 Numbered 2200–2214 (even numbers only). Formerly TCR 50–57. 52 (currently RT-7), 55, 57 (currently W-28) at Halton County Radial Railway
Preston Car Company (ex-TCR) streetcar DE-DT 4 1912 1933, last car retired in 1950 Numbered 2120–2126 (even numbers only). Formerly TCR 120–123.
Niles Car and Manufacturing Company (ex-TCR) streetcar DE-DT 19 1913 4 Retired in 1933, rest retired in 1948 Numbered 2128–2144, 2148–2166 (even numbers only). Formerly ex-TCR 110–119. Car 109 (2146) burnt down and never rebuilt.
Preston Car Company (ex-TCR) streetcar DE-DT 13 1918 1948 Numbered 2168–2192 (even numbers only). Formerly ex-TCR 200–212.
Birney Car – ex-Toronto Civic Railways/J. G. Brill Company streetcar DE-ST 20 1920 1940–1941 Ex-TCR 60–84. Sold as operating cars to Cornwall Street Railway (16, 18, 20 all scrapped 1949) and Halifax ( Nova Scotia Light and Power Company, Limited) and scrapped after streetcar service ended 1949.
Peter Witt – Large/Canadian Car and Foundry and J. G. Brill Company street car; could pull trailer 525 1921–1923 1961 Numbered 2300–2678, 2900–3018 (even numbers only) 2580–2678 were Brill-type. Car 2424 and 2984 are at Halton County Radial Railway museum. 2300 is owned by the Canadian Railroad Historical Association and is at the Canadian National Railway Museum in St. Constance, Quebec. The entire TTC streetcar system was designed to accommodate cars of this size.
Peter Witt – Small/Canadian Car and Foundry/Ottawa Car Company street car 50 1923 1963 Numbered 2700–2898 (even numbers only). Car 2898 preserved at Shore Line Trolley Museum, East Haven, Connecticut. Car 2766 retained by TTC for tour service. Two cars (2894 and 2786) are at Halton Radial Railway in Milton, Ontario.
St. Louis Car Company/Canadian Car and Foundry Presidents' Conference Committee Air Electric cars class A1-A5 street car 300 1938 1972 1 car (4000) at Halton County Radial Railway in Milton, Ontario.
St. Louis Car Company/Pullman Standard Presidents' Conference Committee car street car 445 1947–1951 1995 New cars were A6-8; 205 acquired as second hand units were A9-10 – Cincinnati Street Railway, A11 – Cleveland Railway, A12 – Louisville Railway, A13 – Birmingham Railway and Electric Company, A14 – ex-Kansas City Public Service Company; A15 were A8 rebuilds

2 St. Louis Car Company PCC streetcar A-8 (used only for private charters and parades; 4500 and 4549); Pullman-Standard W30-W31 Rail Grinder – ex-A-11 class PCC streetcars, St. Louis Car 4386 (A-6), 4434 (A-7), 4684 (A-12) 4600/11/18 (A-15) at Halton County Radial Railway in Milton, Ontario.

SIG CLRV L1 street car 6 1977 2015–2024 Designed by Urban Transportation Development Corporation, built in Switzerland. These six streetcars were the prototypes for the CLRV. There were supposed to be ten numbered 4000–4009 but they were reduced to six.
Urban Transportation Development Corporation CLRV L2 street car 190 1977–1981 2015–2024 Designed by Urban Transportation Development Corporation and manufactured by Hawker Siddeley Canada; air conditioning added to car #4041 in 2006. An order was placed for 99 other cars to have air conditioning installed but was cancelled due to the confirmed new streetcar order. Cars #4030 and #4165 had an automated stop announcer tested in 2006 (without the electronic display). All streetcars have been equipped with the automated audible/visual stop announcements since 2008. Streetcar horns were installed on the majority of this fleet from retired TTC H1 and M1 subway cars (in addition to the existing gong sound used on all streetcars) in the late 1990s in an effort to combat automobile accidents when the 510 Spadina right-of-way streetcar opened. They were replaced with air horns in 2011–2012 during an overhaul project.
Urban Transportation Development Corporation ALRV L3 articulated street car 52 1987–1988 2015–2024 Designed by Urban Transportation Development Corporation and manufactured by Hawker Siddeley Canada. Demo car 4900 owned by UTDC and destroyed at test facility in Kingston, Ontario. Used mainly on 501 Queen and can sometimes been seen on 504 King and 511 Bathurst routes. Like the CLRV's, they have been equipped with the automated audible/visual stop announcements since 2008. Horns were also installed on most of these cars in the late 1990s, but have been replaced with new air horns or electric car horns between 2011 and 2012.
Whiting transfer table 1? used at Hillcrest Complex to transfer streetcars and buses within Harvey Shops
Bombardier Transportation Flexity Outlook articulated street car 98 (4400, 4402–4498) 2014–present


First low-floor wheelchair accessible streetcars, first with more than two articulated sections, all equipped with air conditioning systems, and first to have electronic destination signs as opposed to roll signs for all previous models. In full service mostly along routes 509 Harbourfront, 510 Spadina, 512 St. Clair and 514 Cherry. 511 Bathurst has seen these often in 2017 along with 504 King.

Replaces CLRV and ALRV

Accepts fare payment by credit or debit card

PCC streetcars[edit]

PCC streetcar

The TTC was among the first to buy the then-state-of-the-art PCC streetcar when it was designed by a committee of public transport operators in the 1930s and had them custom-built. These cars were bought to replace the Peter Witt cars and also older vehicles inherited from the Toronto Railway Company. The TTC's first purchase was in the late 1930s, and by the end of the 1950s, they had operated a larger fleet of PCCs than any other agency in the world, with 744 cars in service. The early cars were retired and sent to Egypt, and some newer cars were acquired from U.S. operators abandoning streetcar service, including Kansas City, Birmingham, and Cleveland. By the 1960s, the TTC sought to abandon the service as well, but, in 1972, supporters, led by Jane Jacobs and Steve Munro, persuaded it to reconsider, and so a new streetcar model was needed to replace some of the ageing PCCs.

Toronto's PCC is celebrated in a pair of enamel murals located in Eglinton West station.

Two of the TTC’s PCC streetcars, which operated in regular service until they were rebuilt and repainted into historic livery in 1989, have been retained for special events such as parades, private charters[1] and special revenue runs, such as holidays in the summer, as well as during Easter.[2]

Most of the PCCs were scrapped with a few becoming restaurants, or housing. A few cars were purchased by railway museums and five ex-Toronto cars continue to operate on a new streetcar line in Kenosha, Wisconsin. One PCC operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway is painted in the livery of the TTC's PCCs, though the vehicle itself never served the TTC.

CLRVs and ALRVs[edit]

Toronto CLRVs stored in Russell Carhouse.

When the TTC reversed its decision to eliminate streetcars in the 1970s, it was faced with the problem of how to replace their aging fleet of PCC streetcars given that most cities in North America were switching entirely to buses, and so there were no new mass-market streetcar designs already being built that Toronto could purchase as it had before. While Edmonton and Calgary chose to adapt German stadtbahn (city rail) trains for the new systems they were installing around the same time, the TTC instead had a new streetcar designed in the traditional style, and so the two models of streetcars the TTC uses for revenue service today remain unique to the city. It was hoped that the new models could also be sold to the few other cities that continued streetcar service, such as Boston and Philadelphia. This strategy proved unsuccessful as the German designs became widely used for the new paradigm of light rail in North America and other cities purchased cars similar to the CLRV built by other manufacturers for their traditional streetcar systems.

The CLRV (Canadian Light Rail Vehicle, ordered 1977 – version L1 and L2) and the one-and-a-half-length ALRV (Articulated Light Rail Vehicle, ordered 1984 – version L3) were designed by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC), an Ontario Crown corporation. The first six cars were built by Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (Swiss Industrial Company, SIG)[3] and the rest by Hawker Siddeley Canada Limited in Thunder Bay, with a propulsion system by Brush of England and bogies by MAN of Germany.

Issues using this stock have arisen. The radio system is antiquated, and TTC has a blacksmith on hand to make parts for the vehicles that are otherwise unobtainable.[4] As well, the pneumatic systems cause problems in very cold weather.[5] The CLRVs and ALRVs retain many features of traditional streetcar design: they collect their electric power by trolley pole rather than the pantograph more common on modern vehicles, and are unidirectional, with an operating position at only one end and doors on only one side, requiring track loops in order to turn around. Even the ALRVs, which have two body sections connected by an articulation, are shorter than some other modern vehicles, which may have as many as four articulations. This is because the TTC network is largely a "traditional" streetcar network dating to the 19th century, and not a recent light rail system built to modern standards. The infrastructure already in place and the need for compatibility with a large fleet of existing vehicles meant the CLRVs and ALRVs were built to fit the existing system. The TTC has not had strong reason to upgrade the infrastructure, but the option to buy bidirectional and pantograph trains has been included for the next generation of European-style vehicles.

According to the TTC,[6] one CLRV replaces 60 private motor vehicles in the morning rush period or 72 passengers, whereas one ALRV can carry the equivalent of 90 cars or 108 passengers.

Both models of streetcar have high floors accessed by stairs at each door. TTC staff have explored a number of possible means to make them wheelchair-accessible, including constructing level boarding platforms, lowering the track level, installing wheelchair lifts, and attach wheelchair-accessible trailers, but have concluded that none of these options is practical.[7]

Unlike the TTC's earlier PCC and Peter Witt streetcars, the current models are never run in two-unit combinations or with trailers; the replacement of the two highest-volume routes with subway lines has decreased the number of passengers streetcars must cope with, and a single ALRV has been estimated to be long enough to provide sufficient capacity on today's busiest routes. Notably, the CLRVs came with couplers, but these were covered beginning in 1984 owing to safety concerns, and removed in 1988 as no longer required.[citation needed]

There have been a few technical additions to the current CLRV/ALRV streetcar fleet including a horn, most of which retrofitted from the retired H-1 and M-1 subway fleet, as a enhanced safety warning signal to the gong (which remains intact), an automated audible and visual stop announcement system, which was installed in 2008 and the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) security camera system in 2009, all of which have been installed on both the CLRVs and the ALRVs, similar to the system used on TTC buses. The additional hardware is located behind the left rear seat of the both types of vehicles.[8][9]

Flexity Outlooks[edit]

The Bombardier Flexity Outlook being tested in Toronto.

The original CLRVs are reaching the end of their thirty-year service life. The TTC had planned to rebuild the CLRVs to extend their useful life by about ten to fifteen years and add new features such as air conditioning. The rationale was to not purchase any new streetcars until the ALRVs reached obsolescence. On July 26, 2006, the first streetcar with air conditioning (number 4041) entered revenue service. However, with new funding from senior governments, new low-floor, higher-capacity streetcars began replacing the current fleet and route by route starting in 2014. The plan has been changed to refurbish only 100 CLRVs to meet Toronto's immediate requirements as the new streetcars come in, with the remaining 96 streetcars rebuilt only if the introduction of new models is delayed.

In June 2007, the TTC launched a public consultation on the design of its new streetcars, including an online survey,[10] and displays at Finch and Scarborough Centre stations, the Albion Centre, and Yonge–Dundas Square. Mock-ups of the Bombardier Flexity Swift (as used in Minneapolis) and Siemens Combino Plus were on display at the 2007 Canadian National Exhibition in front of the Enercare Centre, then known as Direct Energy Centre.

On September 19, 2007, the TTC published their specifications for the ‘LF LRV’, as they are calling the proposed new streetcars, which explains what they are seeking beyond that the vehicle be compatible with the TTC’s existing tracks, which require tight turning radii, good hill-climbing ability, and compatibility with single-leaf switches. The tender requests a tram/streetcar of 27–30 m, with multiple points of articulation, and three powered bogies.

Though the document stated that the TTC would accept a well-designed 70% low-floor streetcar, it decided to seek a 100% low-floor design; folding ramps may be fitted at the doors to allow stepless boarding where platforms are not available. The fleet replacing the CLRVs and ALRVs was to remain single-ended with doors on the right only, and to retain current collection by trolley pole, but the TTC also requested that provision be made for future conversion to pantograph, and that the option of buying a bi-directional version of the streetcar for new lines be available. Provision was to be made for ticket-vending machines on board, rather than have the driver take fares.

The TTC are tendering for an initial order of 204 Flexity Outlook Cityrunner streetcars, with the first prototypes to be delivered in 2010.[11] Current projections for population increases and new lines indicate that by 2026, the TTC will need to extend its fleet to between 350 and 480 streetcars, suggesting that the replacements for the CLRVs and ALRVs will be merely the first of a large fleet.

Bombardier, Siemens, AnsaldoBreda, Mytram, Vossloh Kiepe, and Kinki Sharyo all expressed interest in competing to supply the new streetcars, but most dropped out of the bidding at various stages.[12] While the TTC expressed interest in the cars built by Škoda for the Portland Streetcar, that company did not submit a bid. Siemens gained a great deal of attention for its Combino Plus in 2007, with newspaper advertisements and a website, but eventually decided that ‘it was in our better interest not to bid’. Only Bombardier and a small British firm, Tram Power, submitted bids.[13]

Flexity Outlook #4402 being used as a training vehicle.

Bombardier displayed a mock-up of the Flexity Swift built for the Minneapolis project, but later offered a variant of the Flexity Outlook to meet the 100% low-floor requirement,[14] promoting it with a website called ‘The Streetcar Redefined’. TRAM Power's product was the Citytram, a prototype of which was being tested on the Blackpool Tramway until it caught fire on January 24, 2007.[15]

On July 18, 2008, the TTC announced that both bids had been rejected — according to then-TTC chair Adam Giambrone, Bombardier's entry "would have derailed on Toronto streets", while TRAM Power's was not "commercially compliant" — and reopened the contract.[16] Bombardier actively disputed this claim, adding that it could either supply a compliant car or pay for $10.4 million of construction to make the TTC's track network compliant. The TTC entered into direct negotiations with three companies (Alstom, Siemens, and Bombardier) following its August 27, 2008, commission meeting.

On April 24, 2009, the TTC selected a customized version of the Flexity Outlook for the upgrade,[17] with possible use for the Transit City plan as well.

The City of Toronto committed one third of the necessary funds, and requested funding from the provincial and federal government for the streetcars. While the provincial government agreed to fund ⅓ of the project, the federal government was unwilling to provide any money before the June 27, 2009 deadline approached to finalize the contract with Bombardier. Finally, Toronto City Council voted on June 26, 2009 to commit the other ⅓ of the funding by deferring other capital projects, such that the funding formula became ⅔ municipal and ⅓ provincial.[18] The official contributions were announced by TTC Chair Karen Stintz at the unveiling on Nov 15, 2012. The Province of Ontario contributed CDN $416.3 million, the federal government indirectly contributed CDN $108 million through its gas tax fund, and the City of Toronto and TTC contributed CDN $662 million for a total cost of $1.2 billion.[19]

The new Flexity Outlook streetcars entered revenue service on August 31, 2014, serving route 510 Spadina. The new streetcars have also entered revenue service on March 29, 2015, serving route 509 Harbourfront. The Flexity Outlook streetcars also serve routes 514 Cherry and 512 St. Clair.

List of past vehicles[edit]

Traffic cars

Product list and details
 Make/Model   Description   # of vehicles   Year acquired   Year retired   Notes 
Canadian Car and Foundry/Brill Peter Witt streetcar – Large with trailers streetcars 392 1921–1923 1963 retired
Canadian Car and Foundry/Ottawa Car Company Peter Witts – Small Witts streetcars 196 1921–1923 1965 retired; 1 refurbished for tours
St. Louis Car Company and Canadian Car and Foundry PCC streetcars streetcars total of 745 with 205 second-hand and 540 brand-new; some PCCs became work cars for the streetcar service and some to the subway 1938 1996 retired; 2 refurbished for tours

Work cars

Product list and details
 Make/Model   Description   Rolling stock size;   Year acquired   Year retired   Notes 
Birney Car – ex-Toronto Railway Company (retired) rail grinder 1 1931 1976 retired
St. Louis Car Company W30-W31 rail grinder 2 1976 1999 ex-PCC streetcar – retired. Now at the Halton County Radial Railway. W30 still operational, W31 has driving motors removed.
St. Louis Car Company W28 rail grinder 1 1931 1976 ex-TRC Preston car – retired
Toronto Railway Company C1 crane 1 1921 ? sold to Halton Radial Railway
W5 snow plow 1 ? ? ?
W16 dump car 1 1920s ?
W26 sand car 1 1950 1967
S-30 snow sweeper 1 1947 1970 New York City's Third Avenue Railway System
Russell Car Company/S-31 snow sweeper 1 1947 1973 Built in 1920 as Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway P-601; to Third Avenue Railway System as 86 in 1935; to TTC as S-31 in 1947; preserved at Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport, Maine
S-33 snow sweeper 1 1947 1960s New York City's Third Avenue Railway System
Russell Car Company / S-36 snow sweeper 1 1947 1973 Built in 1920 as Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway P-607; to Third Avenue Railway System as 89 in 1935; to TTC as S-36 in 1947; preserved at Shore Line Trolley Museum, East Haven, Connecticut
Russell Car Company / S-37 snow sweeper 1 1948 1973 Built in 1920 for the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway; to Third Avenue Railway System 1935; to TTC as S-37 in 1947; preserved at Halton County Railway Museum
Russell Car Company / S-39 snow sweeper 1 1948 1973 Built in 1920 as Trenton & Mercer County 31; to Third Avenue Railway System as 82 in 1935; to TTC as S-39 in 1948; to Public Service of New Jersey as 5246 in 1973; now at Transport of New Jersey in Newark as 5246, semiactive in stub tracks at Newark terminal


  1. ^ "Red Rocket Historic Charters". Toronto Transit Commission. January 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  2. ^ Bow, James (August 2007). "TTC Runs PCCs on August Civic Holiday". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  3. ^ Chris Bateman (2014-02-24). "Days are numbered for TTC's "Original Six" streetcars". Blog TO. Archived from the original on 2014-02-25. The design of the new streetcar was produced Swiss company SIG to the TTC's specifications. As part of the agreement with SIG, the first ten vehicles would be built in Europe and shipped to Toronto where the design would be replicated by Kingston engineering firm Hawker Siddeley, the company that was also building Toronto's subway cars. 
  4. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Torontoist (3 January 2014). "Extreme Cold Forces TTC to Take Streetcars Out of Service". Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  6. ^ "TTC Operating Statistics" (PDF). 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  7. ^ "Accessible Transit Services Plan – 2006 Status Report". Toronto Transit Commission. February 22, 2006. Retrieved February 22, 2018. 
  8. ^ "TTC launches next vehicle arrival program at Spadina Station – Spacing Toronto". 15 December 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  9. ^ Promagstyle (21 December 2008). "TTC Can-Car Rail ALRV 4251 – 501 Queen to Kingston Rd Part 2". Retrieved 18 January 2017 – via YouTube. 
  10. ^ "My New Streetcar". Archived from the original on 2007-06-16. Retrieved 2013-09-11. 
  11. ^ Toronto Transit Commission (September 19, 2007). "Status of Low Floor Light Rail Vehicle Procurement Project". 
  12. ^ Toronto Transit Commission (June 13, 2007). "Light Rail Vehicle Acquisition Update". 
  13. ^ Campbell, Matthew (2008-07-02). "Bombardier set to score streetcar contract". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2008-08-02. 
  14. ^ Gray, Jeff (24 November 2007). "Toronto's $1.25-billion light-rail gamble". The Globe and Mail. p. M3. 
  15. ^ "Rail Accident Report: Fire on prototype tram 611 at Blackpool 24 January 2007" (PDF). Rail Accident Investigation Branch, Department for Transport. November 2007. 
  16. ^ Gray, Jeff (2008-07-18). "TTC reopens contract after derailing Bombardier's bid". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. 
  17. ^ Kalinowski, Tess (2009-04-24). "TTC picks Bombardier". Toronto Star. 
  18. ^ Kalinowski, Tess (2009-06-27). "Council votes to double spending on new streetcars". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  19. ^ Tess Kalinowski (2012-11-15). "TTC unveils Toronto's new streetcars". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2013-09-11. Even the federal government, which was steadfast in its refusal in 2009 to contribute to Toronto’s new streetcars, was represented by MP Peter Van Loan (York-Simcoe) because the city used $108 million of its share of the federal gas tax toward its two-thirds share of the cost.