Alstom announced Nov. 17 that it has delivered the first of 60 additional new low-floor Flexity™ light rail vehicles to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) as the first step in fulfilling a contract signed in June 2021. The remaining LRVs will be delivered throughout 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The new LRVs, which are jointly funded by $568 million in contributions from the federal government, Ontario government and City of Toronto, officially entered service Nov. 17 with an inaugural run on the 504 King route.
The vehicles, which are being produced at Alstom’s Thunder Bay facility, “will help to enhance experience for Toronto’s transit users and to meet population growth in the Greater Toronto Area.” These 60 new streetcars will be added to a fleet of 204 Alstom Flexity LRVs built by predecessor company Bombardier Transportation. According to the company, “close to 400 highly skilled Alstom employees in Canada are at work ensuring the flawless execution of the contract until early 2025.”
“The team at our manufacturing facility in Thunder Bay is unsurpassed in their experience with assembling and testing TTC streetcars, having delivered more than 200 of these vehicles through the years,” said Alstom North America Vice President Rolling Stock David Van Der Wee. “We are proud to offer our customer and Torontonians the public transit they deserve through our ability to manufacture and test locally thanks to Alstom’s large industrial footprint in the province.”
Alstom’s former Bombardier site in La Pocatière, Quebec, supports Thunder Bay’s final assembly line in providing component subassemblies for the project, such as the flat pack, which includes the underframe, side walls, roof and articulation portals and truck frames. This was made possible, Alstom says, thanks to a Quebec government forgivable loan that allowed the site to “boost productivity through modernization and automatization of specific areas of the facility.”
In addition to streetcars, Alstom has also supplied 480 Toronto Rocket open-gangway subway cars to the TTC (also built by predecessor Bombardier) and is currently providing an Urbalis 400 CBTC (communications-based train control) system on Line 1 Yonge–University, as well as the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE).
Globally, more than 5,000 Flexity™ LRVs have been ordered or are already in successful revenue service. According to Alstom, they are “renowned for their ability to run smoothly in addition to their spacious interiors, wide doors, air conditioning, enhanced features for people with limited mobility and improved passenger information, all to ensure a more comfortable journey and passenger experience.”
“A thriving Toronto—with reliable and sustainable public transit—is very much a part of our economic plan. Just as creating good-paying, middle-class jobs in Canada and in this city is central to our economic plan,” said Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. “We are investing in Toronto, and in Toronto’s transit infrastructure. These new made-in-Canada streetcars for the TTC are yet another example of how the people of Toronto have no greater partner than our federal government.”
The TTC’s 2023-2032 Capital Budget and Plan includes a $568 million streetcar program, consisting of 60 additional low-floor streetcars and the reconfiguring of Hillcrest Complex to accommodate the storage of at least 25 streetcars. This program, the Commission says, “is essential to ensuring the TTC can meet future ridership growth and demand over the coming years.”
In May 2021, the federal and Ontario governments each announced up to $180 million toward the TTC Streetcar Program. The remaining $208 million is coming from the City of Toronto.
“Streetcars are a vital part of the TTC and the city, and I am pleased that we are continuing to expand our fleet and plan for ridership growth and increased demand,” said TTC Chair Jamaal Myers. “Our goal is to run a sustainable transit system that our customers can continue to rely on and be proud of. This is a big step in that direction.”
In 2022, the TTC operated nine streetcar routes spanning approximately 355 kilometers, carrying more than 26 million people.
Since 2020, the TTC has operated only low-floor, high-capacity, fully accessible streetcars on its network. Buses also operate on the streetcar network in the short term to support ongoing construction projects in the city. The capacity of one streetcar is equal to two and a half buses.