Today’s extreme cold has delayed the roll-out of morning streetcar service due to frozen switches in Russell and Roncesvalles yards and problems with the pneumatic air lines on some vehicles. As the extreme cold continues, the TTC is warning that morning rush hour will see a shortage of streetcars across the network.
Shuttle buses are supplementing streetcar service on all routes as crews work to resolve the issue.
The age of the streetcar fleet and equipment – over 30 years in many cases – does not respond well to extreme cold. 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.
The new fleet of low-floor, accessible streetcars that begin service this August, and phased in over a six-year period, will not be susceptible to extreme cold as the current fleet is. They use a combination of electrical and hydraulic systems, rather than pneumatic.