Bombardier Awarded New Streetcar Contract

I wanted to absorb the details of this announcement after it first came out. Also, Bombardier has put up a website to showcase the new streetcars.

The contract is for 204 new articulated light rail vehicles for the replacement of the legacy streetcar fleet between 2012 and 2018. The contract has provisions for order extensions for additional vehicles of the same type which will likely be needed when the various waterfront plans move forward. There remains the question of the funding for two thirds of the estimated $1.22 billion (plus taxes) price tag for this contract, and that must be determined before June 27, when the bid price expires.

This contract is not necessarily related to Transit City plans, but it is possible that the vehicles needed for Transit City may be similar in design to permit having a single base for spare parts and repair skills. Transit City vehicles will differ from legacy vehicles in a number of ways:

  • TC vehicles will be double ended while legacy vehicles will be single ended; TC will use cross-overs to turn back while legacy cars will use loops - a single-ended car will have a driver’s cab at one end and loading doors on the right only, while a double-ended car will have a driver’s cab at both ends and doors on both sides.
  • TC vehicles will be a more “off the shelf” design, meaning that its network of track will be built to standards that are fairly common around the world for LRT systems; the legacy network has track geometry (tight curves at intersections) and steep grades that “off the shelf” equipment generally cannot negotiate. It is not known at this time if the TC network will use standard gauge track or “TTC gauge”.
  • TC vehicles will run on track with double-blade switches, while legacy vehicles must negotiate single-blade switches.
  • TC vehicles will use pantographs to pick up power, while the legacy network will continue to use trolley poles; the legacy network will likely eventually move to pantographs - new overhead wiring for the past year has been “pan friendly”.

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