Editorial Archive

TTC modernization plan starting to bear fruit with new streetcars

Next-generation streetcar 8/15/14 6:00 AM

The introduction into service of the first of our new fleet of air-conditioned, accessible streetcars is imminent.

Starting with the 510 Spadina on Aug. 31, the TTC will progressively convert each of our 11 streetcar routes to the new vehicles, retiring the old cars over five years.

Keeping the older streetcars operating is a daily challenge for our maintenance teams. The existing streetcars are at the end of their design life and are becoming increasingly unreliable. Parts are no longer available from the manufacturer, so we have to make our own spare parts and take from other vehicles that are off the road in order to deliver service to ever-increasing numbers of riders.

To ensure that service levels are maintained throughout the transition program, our in-house teams are carrying out a program to extend the lives of the best of the existing vehicles. Critical components are being refurbished and replaced to coax a few more years out of these old workhorses – no mean feat when you consider that they use obsolescent parts such as printed circuit boards to control key systems.

These refurbishment programs are possible because of the ingenuity, professionalism and in-depth knowledge of our very own vehicle maintainers and engineers.

At our Harvey Shop, where the streetcars receive heavy overhaul, many of the staff have served the TTC for decades, acquiring skills that cannot be found elsewhere. I call them – and their counterparts in the operational carhouses – our miracle workers for the job they do to put service out against the odds, day in and day out.

The TTC’s Five-Year Corporate Plan sets the stage to modernize the TTC. The Plan’s success relies heavily on the professionalism and dedication of those who maintain and operate the third largest transit system in North America – in spite of aging equipment, rising customer numbers and the lowest operational subsidy of any major transit network.

These are exciting times for the TTC and you, our customer. We are all beginning to see the fruits of our labours. The new streetcars are an unmistakable milestone on this journey.

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