Breakthroughs in Flexity LRV deliveries

Written by John Thompson, Canadian Contributing Editor
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TTC Bombardier Flexity Freedom LRV at Union Station, Toronto. William C. Vantuono photo.

The first Bombardier Flexity Freedom LRV for Toronto’s new Eglinton Crosstown LRT arrived Tuesday, Jan. 8., on the property. Meanwhile, delivery of the Toronto Transit Commission’s much-delayed order of Flexity Outlook LRVs has improved since the opening in 2018 of a second production line at the company’s Millhaven, Ont., plant.

Delivery of the first Eglinton Crosstown vehicle was made to the nearly complete yard and maintenance facility in west Toronto after a journey by flatbed trailer from the Bombardier Millhaven plant, some 136 miles eastward. It is the first unit of a 76-car, C$392 million order; another five are scheduled to arrive by Feb. 1, 2019. The cars will be assigned to service on the Crosstown LRT, which is scheduled to open in September 2021.

Bombardier was expected to deliver this prototype car in August 2016; when this proved impossible, the date was revised to November 2018. However, an inspection by Metrolinx staff determined that the LRV was not ready at that time. “The vehicle required some corrections and adjustments prior to being released for shipment to Toronto,” according to Metrolinx communications officer Jamie Robinson.

Bombardier decided to hold off on shipping the car until early January, due to traffic congestion on the highway and in Toronto during the holiday period.

Metrolinx said the LRV will undergo numerous tests over the coming weeks, including safety and communications testing. It will then be subjected to dynamic testing, and vehicle to infrastructure integration activities.

The Crosstown LRVs are similar to those built by Bombardier for the new Kitchener-Waterloo (Ontario) LRT line. However, they have just one cab, rather than two, as they are planned to operate as married pairs. They are painted, somewhat surprisingly, in a grey and white livery, rather than the Metrolinx colors of green and white.

TTC Order Nearing Completion

Delivery of the TTC’s 204-unit Bombardier Flexity Outlook order is moving along. The TTC, as of Jan. 7, has 117 Flexities in service, with an additional four approved for delivery. This was close to Bombardier’s target of supplying 121 cars by Dec. 31, 2018.

The TTC is hoping that Bombardier will be able to complete the full order by the end of this year. It has been plagued by numerous delays from various causes, including welding issues at Bombardier’s Mexican plant, and supply chain problems.

As a consequence, the TTC has had to keep its aging CLRVs (Canadian Light Rail Vehicles) and ALRVs (Articulated Light Rail Vehicles) in service longer than anticipated. This has involved shopping these cars at the agency’s Hillcrest Shops. The TTC has said is planning to recover from Bombardier, as much as possible, the costs of keeping the older vehicles operational.

At press time, the TTC remained noncommittal about the status of its option for an additional 60 Flexities from Bombardier. These cars would be used to provide improved service on existing lines.

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