New Streetcar Contract Expected to Receive Funding Friday

Update: I have reworded the text, as the legacy streetcar order will still have a minimum of 25% Canadian Content, but the first order of Transit City vehicles will be 50%. You can read the economic impact report released by Bombardier here. 

It is being reported today (see the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, and the Globe and Mail) that an announcement will be made tomorrow (June 19) in Thunder Bay by Mayor David Miller and Premier Dalton McGuinty about funding the streetcar contract for the legacy network. It is not known at this time if the federal government will be part of this announcement, but many expect them to contribute one third of the $1.2 billion cost.

The contract for these streetcars has a 25% Canadian content requirement. In a report issued Tuesday by Bombardieron the economic impacts of the contract and the option to purchase Transit City vehicles, the Canadian content of the Transit City cars is a minimum of 50%.

Even though Transit City lines will be built to more flexible standards that would allow purchasing stock vehicles from anyone, having both the legacy streetcars and the Transit City vehicles built by the same manufacturer will save on future operating costs. Operator training will be less costly as both units will have similar, if not identical controls. Maintenance costs will be lower also because of reduced training costs but also due to shared repair facilities and spare parts storage.

The two types of vehicles will be different. Legacy streetcars have to be built to specifications that will enable their operation on the current streetcar network with tight (11 metre radius) curves, some steep grades, and the use of single-blade track switches. This involves engineering and development based on a stock model. One of the most notable changes to accommodate the specifications will be a slightly shorter car with a length of about 28 metres, compared to the 30 metre length of the cars that will be ordered for Transit City.

The other, more noticeable, differences are that the legacy streetcars will be single-ended with an operator’s position at one end only and entry/exit doors on the right side of the car only. Transit City cars will be double-ended with an operator’s position at each end and doors on both sides of the car. The legacy cars will have trolley pole power pickup as most of the legacy network is not usable with pantographs. As wiring is upgraded in the legacy network, it will become “pantograph friendly”, but there is no immediate need so this will take some time. Transit City vehicles will use pantographs from the start. For more details on poles and pantographs, and to see why the legacy network is not compatible with pans, see this page.

One Response to “New Streetcar Contract Expected to Receive Funding Friday”

  1. W. K. Lis Says:

    I’m guessing that Miller will be avoiding flying from the Toronto City Centre Airport to Thunder Bay. But, will McGuinty?

    Cal’s comment: McGuinty will have quite a wait, given that Porter’s service to Thunder Bay does not start until June 26!