Editorial Archive

Wheels of progress

Next-generation streetcar 8/31/14 6:00 AM

Peter Witt streetcar

Peter Witt streetcar

When the TTC began operation in 1921, it was faced with the need for a large fleet of new vehicles to both maintain and expand service, at improved levels of comfort, speed and frequency.

The TTC selected a design new to Canada – a front-entrance, centre-exit, pay-as-you-pass, large passenger capacity, two-person-operation streetcar. The design had originated with Peter Witt (the Street Railway Commissioner of Cleveland).

Between April 1921 and early 1923, the TTC ordered 575 cars: 250 large Witt cars, 100 small Witt cars and 225 trailers.

The first Witt cars entered service on the Broadview route on Oct. 2, 1921 and by 1923 were operating on seven routes. With the introduction of the PCC streetcars in 1938, and later the subway system, the Witt fleet slowly declined – the very last six vehicles being retired in 1963. Small Witt car 2766 is presently held as an historic vehicle.

Principal specifications

Large Witt

Type – steel-sheathed construction
Seats – 58
Length – 51 ft 10 in (15.54 m)
Width – 8 ft 6 in (2.5 m)
Height – 11 ft 1 5/8 in (3.35 m)
Weight – 50,000 lbs (22,679.6 kg)
Speed – 20 m.p.h./15 secs

Small Witt

Type – steel-sheathed construction
Seats – 51
Length – 47 ft (14.32 m)
Width – 8 ft 6 in (2.5 m)
Height – 10 ft 8 5/8 in (3.24 m)
Weight – 39,700 lbs (18,007.6 kg)
Speed- Max. 58 km-h/36 m.p.h.

PCC streetcar

PCC streetcar

In the decade following WWI, the urban transit industry was experiencing several problems, including competition from the private automobile. In 1929, the industry endorsed a proposal for a new superior electric railway car to win back riders. The Electric Railway Presidents’ Conference Committee was formed from members representing 28 transit companies and 25 manufacturers. Years later, this committee would develop the Presidents’ Conference Committee (PCC) streetcar.

The design set new standards of excellence, and was enthusiastically received by Operators and passengers. Its significant new features included:
> Fast, smooth acceleration and braking, at higher rates, with lower jerk and to a higher top speed.
> Superior lighting and seating.
> Heat recovery system and improved ventilation.
> Electric rheostatic braking.

Between 1938 and 1945, the TTC acquired 290 cars of the original design, using air operation of doors, and wheel-tread brakes (for parking). Two cars (4001 and 4002) were displayed at the 1938 CNE. They first entered revenue operation on the St Clair route on Sept. 23, 1938. 250 more all-electric cars were purchased between 1947 and 1951.

The TTC eventually purchased a total of 745 new and second-hand cars between 1938 and 1957, giving Toronto the largest PCC car fleet in North America. The TTC’s last 19 PCCs were retired in 1995, but two of them (4500 and 4549) have been retired for charter service.

Principal specifications

Type – rigid-frame, 4 axle, light-weight construction of car body and components
Seats – 46
Length – 46 ft 5 3/8 in (14.15 m)
Width – 8 ft 4 in (2.53 m)
Height – 10 ft 2 7/8 in (3.11 m)
Weight – 37, 400 lbs (16,964.3 kg)
Speed – Max. 68 km-h/42 m.p.h.

History of Car #327

Streetcar 327

Car 327 was built by Hillcrest Shops (now Harvey Shop) in 1933-34 as a “replica” of the original 327, which was constructed by the Toronto Railway Co. in 1893 and ran until 1915. The “new” 327 was built to mark the centennial of the city of Toronto in 1934.

In building the “new” 327, the original plans were followed as closely as possible. Some original electrical and mechanical parts were used. The “Montreal” truck (made in its namesake city) on which the body mounted is thought to be the only remaining example of this turn of the century, “made in Canada” equipment.

Other features to be noted are:
> The “fish-net” fender on the front  (sarcastically called a “pedestrian shoveller”).
> “Bulls eye” coloured lenses in the front roof canopy (these lenses showed different colours at night to distinguish the various routes).
> Side curtains.
> The alternate dark and light slats in the seats (for decorative purposes).

Car 327 was donated to the Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association in 1968. It was the first car to move under its own power on the museum railway, on May 24, 1971. Since then, the car is operated regularly and is a favourite with the museum visitors, especially on warm summer days.

Principal specifications/equipment

Type – open, single-truck, single-end
Seats – 50
Length – 27 ft 6 in (8.37 m)
Width – 7 ft 7 in (2.3 m)
Height – 11 ft 4 in (3.45 m)
Weight – 20,000 lbs (9, 071.8 kg)
Traction Motors – 2 general electric Type 67, 40 HP each
Motor Controller – General Electric Model K10
Brakes – hand

CLRV streetcar

CLRV streetcar

During 1971-75, the TTC carried out a heavy rebuild of 173 PCC streetcars. But replacements were going to be required for the PCC fleet, whose average age was now about 30 years.

In 1973, the Government of Ontario established the Ontario (later Urban) Transportation Development Corporation, which began a world-wide examination of technology and designs available for streetcars. The following year the TTC, after reviewing provincial and municipal financing, accepted OTDC’s offer to supply 200 (later reduced to 196)Canadian Light Rail Vehicles (CLRV) to be designed by the Swiss Industrial Company, which furnished the first six cars. Production of the remaining 190 cars was awarded to Hawker Siddeley Canada Ltd.

The first CLRV arrived on property on Dec. 29, 1977. The final car came in 1982. The CRLV first entered service on Sept. 30, 1979 on the 507 Long Branch route. The CLRV’s principal features included: chopper controls, electric regenerative braking, pneumatic disc brakes, air suspension, speed governor control, electrically heated windshield and five safety windows.

Principal specifications

Type – rigid-frame, four-axle
Seats – 46
Length – 50 ft 8 in (15.44 m)
Width – 8 ft 6 in (2.5 m)
Height – 11.5 ft (3. 36 m)
Weight – 50,000 lbs (22,679.6 kg)
Speed – Max. 80 km-h/50 m.p.h.

ALRV streetcar

ALRV streetcar

In 1973, the Government of Ontario established the Ontario (later Urban) Transportation Development Corporation, which began a world-wide examination of technology and designs available for streetcars.

At the same time the UTDC was developing the CRLV streetcar, it was designing a longer, articulated version of the vehicle. Designated the Articulated Light Rail Vehicle (ALRV) a prototype was manufactured, commencing in 1981, and featured an advanced concept of the articulation section. After six months of testing in 1982-83, the TTC approved the purchase of 52 ALRVs the following year after deciding that there was an application for articulated vehicles on the TTC’s higher capacity routes.

The first ALRV entered service on Jan. 19, 1988 on the 507 Long Branch route.

Shipments were completed in 1989.

Principal specifications

Type – two-section-articulated, six-axle
Seats – 61
Length – 76.75 ft (23.16 m)
Width – 11.50 ft (3.36 m)
Weight – 81,000 lbs (36,741 kg)
Speed – Max. 80 km-h/50 m.p.h.

Next-Generation streetcar

Next-generation streetcar

The TTC’s first, low-floor streetcar arrived in Toronto by rail from Bombardier Transportation in Thunder Bay on Sept. 25, 2012. The first test vehicle (#4400) was loaded on to a truck/trailer flatbed and delivered to the TTC’s Hillcrest Complex on Sept. 29, 2012.

Officials from all three orders of government attended an official reveal of car #4400 at Harvey Shop on Nov. 15, 2012.

Car #4400 was the first of three test vehicles that will be used for extensive vehicle reliability, performance and technology verification testing in 2013. System compatibility tests include: accessibility features, platform- and on-street boarding interface with the vehicle, noise and vibration, fare card system and overhead power interface.

The TTC’s next-generation streetcars are scheduled to enter revenue service on Aug. 31, 2014. Delivery of all 204 low-floor streetcars from Bombardier Transportation is scheduled for completion in 2019. These vehicles will replace the aging fleet of CLRVs and ALRVs, and provide for ridership growth and congestion relief efforts.

The new vehicles are just over 30 metres long. They have four doors, 70 fixed seats and six flip-down seats. They have many user friendly features, including: air conditioning, large windows, airy interior design, interior bike racks and a Presto fare card system (November 2014).

The TTC entered into a contract with Bombardier after a competitive procurement process for the design and supply of 204 new, accessible low-floor streetcars in June 2009.

Principal specifications

Type – LFLRV, multi-articulated, six-axle
Seats – 70
Length – 30.20 m
Width – 2.54 m
Height – 3.84 m
Weight – 48,200 kg
Speed – max 70 km/h

Latest News

 New Corporate Plan cover

TTC Corporate Plan 2018-2022

Advancing to the next level.

Organization updates

Messages from Chief People Officer/Chief of Staff.

In Memoriam

Attard, Cupek, Hoefer, Mandarino, Mastroianni, O’Connor, Rebelo, Stephenson, Warren.

The Coupler wants to keep you connected

The Coupler invites all employees and pensioners to sign up for TTC news and headlines via our mailbox at coupler@ttc.ca. Simply send us an e-mail request from your personal e-mail address and include your full name, badge number or pensioner number and work location or home address. Note: personal information is for verification purposes only. Please call Senior Communications Advisor/Editor Mike DeToma at 416-393-3793, or e-mail mike.detoma@ttc.ca, for more information.