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Toronto - March 2007

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Rail Transit Online, March 2007

New Streetcars

The Toronto Transit Commission has decided to replace its entire fleet of 196 aging streetcars with 204 new low floor light rail vehicles or modern streetcars.  TTC Chairman Adam Giambrone says a request for proposals will be issued next year, with deliveries starting in 2010 and continuing through 2018.  Existing streetcars, now approaching 30 years old, would be refurbished to keep them running until their replacements arrive.  The price tag could be up to C$650 million and Giambrone said there will be a Canadian content requirement.  The proposal still requires city council approval and funding from the provincial and federal governments.  The chairman told reporters during a tour of Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant that the facility is the only one he is aware of in Canada that can manufacture streetcars.  But TTC officials have said the order will be competitively bid and at least one commissioner has met with representatives from the Czech Republic after finding that modern Czech streetcars running in Portland and Tacoma could be modified to meet TTC specifications. 

St. Clair Line Reopens

The first segment of the rebuilt streetcar line along St. Clair Avenue West between Yonge Street and Vaughan Road reopened on Feb. 18.  The complex and contentious project placed the tracks in a center median, separated from other traffic.  The new configuration will help eliminate bunching and speed up service because streetcars will no longer be blocked by left-turn traffic.  The C$65 million job, which includes sidewalk improvements, pedestrian crossings and new streetlights, was delayed by neighborhood activists who claimed that constructing the median and eliminating some parking along St. Clair would change the area’s character and adversely impact small businesses.  Streetcar service was suspended during construction and will be again when work starts on the remainder of the 4.2-mi. (6.7 km) route to Weston Road and Keele Street in the city's west end.  Completion is expected in 2009. 


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