TTC Streetcars of Tomorrow

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Yesterday I was able to take a look into TTC streetcars future without even getting into a Delorean. Both the Siemens Canada Ltd’s Combino Plus model and Montreal-based Bombardier Transportation’s LRV model are displayed at the CNE for all commuters to see. Personally I don’t ride the street cars being a North Yorker and all, but for a second I put myself into the downtowners shoes and checked out what all the big fuss is about regarding these streetcar models.

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The Siemens model pitch focuses on a Wheel Trans friendly streetcar which is totally unheard of on our streetcars today. I love the “Save your stair climbing for the gym” sign they have up. Fortunately I was able to witness a lady in a wheel chair try it out and it seemed as easy as Kraft dinner.

I gave the Siemens model two thumbs up for its interior and exterior look as they did a good job of making it look a TTC streetcar even with full ads in the inside.

The one ‘con’ I did notice was the number of seats in this thing, not very many. Based on the few times I have ridden a streetcar, I was trying to picture this model heading south or north on Spadina during the rush hours. To be honest, it was hard.

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I had an easy time picturing the Bombardier model full of people on Spadina because of its roomy interior. This thing had way more room than the Siemans car. We have enough trouble as it is with a transit system bursting at its seams we could use all the room we can get.

Standing in the Bombardier car almost had a subway feel to it as I held on to the pole waiting for the next imaginary stop. The one thing they could have done was make it more appealing to the commuters. Make it look like a TTC streetcar. Its a model and would not cost much to paint it to look ike a real TTC streetcar. Even the interior looked awful. A mixture of yellows and blues seems a little far from the greys and reds we all are use to. How appealing would it have looked in the TTC colors being out in the open and not covered up under a tent.

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Having walked through both models I can safely say that I am leaning towards the Bombardier model a little more. I believe the roomier concept a must in this city. They just have to lose the bike rack. They could have done a little more with presentation because after all it is a competition. There was one Bombardier representative who asked me if I had any questions upon finishing my walkthrough. I did have a few but I couldn’t even tell if he was a Bombardier rep or a CNE goer. The other side was all up in my face even before I entered their car. Giving me information on features, reasons why it was designed the way it is and even through a few flyers, handouts and a little fold up model my way. So of course my decision was not based on presentation but what I believe the cities needs, a roomier street car that will my trip from Bloor down to Dundas along Spadina a littel more enjoyable.

8 Comments so far

  1. Mark Dowling (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 11:21 am

    It’s important to note that both the Siemens and Bombardier cars are likely to be different from what TTC actually buys – these are off the shelf models in service elsewhere. The TTC order will have vehicles suited to TTC’s weird track and the tight turns and steep gradients of the existing network.

    The TTC are also likely to specify a different seating layout, and one would hope that the mynewstreetcar website and the Ex show gave them some other ideas for what their customers want.

    The reason for the lack of seats is that these cars have doors on both sides and double ended (at least they would be if the entire vehicle was present) so that the squealing loops can be replaced with crossovers like subway cars.

    The advantage of the newer cars is that you can lengthen them by dropping in extra sections in the middle, which wasn’t possible with the old ones.

    As for North Yorkers – the first two new lines are likely to be in North York (Finch West, Sheppard East) although one online poll (I know I know) had Eglinton at 78% over all the other choices.

    Check out this Siemens promotional site:
    http://www.combinoplus.ca


  2. alden (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 11:33 am

    I must admit, the guys and Siemens are doing a good job making it look good and if they become rommier I could be persuaded. That’s an amazing promotional video. Thanks for the link Mark…


  3. talk talk talk (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 5:28 pm

    Thanks for all the info you guys!

    That is some promotional site. Genius to show the combino plus on the road and next to a streetcar. If it really will be longer and wheelchair accessible, then I’d agree with going for Eglinton over the more northern routes.

    I can see those living near the streetcar loops being real happy with a change to a crossover design. I’m surprised Bombardier doesn’t have a similar promotional site, but maybe they think they have it in the bag (with Howard Moscoe and all on their side).

    Accessible, quieter, longer … sounds too good to be true.


  4. Charlie (unregistered) on August 24th, 2007 @ 1:29 am

    streetcar is a waste of money and causing tons of traffics…better off getting rid of it


  5. Rob Italiano (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

    If they shut down the Sheppard Subway line, they should convert it into an underground LRT section when they build the Sheppard East line from Don Mills to Durham Region. This way you could save billions of dollars and passengers would not have to transfer at Don Mills Station. If this happened, I could see one of these Bombardier cars on this line right now. Capacity of a Subway train with subway train-like cars for less than a quarter of a price to run a subway train. Doesn’t get any better than that!


  6. Rob Italiano (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 10:53 pm

    Now in reply to Mark Dowling’s comment about converting the loops to crossover’s, you could add a combination of loops a crossovers to both existing and new lines, this way it could accomodate both our current models we have on our streets as well as the new ones that are coming, until we have enough of the new ones to take over the entire fleet, and then the existing loops could still be used then for older models when they are going around Toronto giving city tours and much more.


  7. Rob Italiano (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 10:57 pm

    Alden, what if we used the Bombardier cars with the Sleeman’s interior and exterior colours?


  8. alden (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 8:58 am

    Rob- I fugured if teh Bomardier cars were chosen they would convert the colours to the regular ttc grey and red. If they were converted already on the show models at the CNE I would have been totally been convinced they were the ones for us.



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