TTC LRV deliveries gaining ground

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The roller-coaster-ride story of the Toronto Transit Commission's 204-unit Bombardier Flexity Outlook LRV order appears to be leveling off.

Bombardier told Railway Age on Jan. 12 that it expects to deliver all 204 LRVs by year-end 2019, the contract’s original deadline, and is making steady progress catching up to the original delivery schedule, even though just 59 LRVs had been delivered by year-end 2017 (the original schedule called for 148). The carbuilder said it has overcome the supply chain problems it has cited as the primary reason for the delays. The first of the new streetcars entered service on the 510 Spadina line on Aug. 31, 2014.

Curiously, but possibly for public consumption, TTC Acting CEO Rick Leary recently told a Toronto newspaper that the agency was considering a backup plan in the event that Bombardier did not complete the order by the end of 2019, as scheduled. Leary declined to elaborate. Leary’s predecessor Andy Byford, now President of New York City Transit, in the past had been quite vocal in the press about the delays.

The TTC has been forced to overhaul some of its Canadian Light Rail Vehicles and Articulated Light Rail Vehicles, which vary between 30 and almost 40 years of age, to try and fill the gap. The agency said it hopes to recover the costs of doing so from Bombardier. Meanwhile, the non-overhauled LRVs have been failing at an alarming rate, forcing the TTC to replace some runs with buses. About 40 of the CLRVs have been retired, with some of them scrapped; several of the ALRVs are also gone, as they were considered beyond reasonable repair.

Bombardier has also been experiencing problems delivering Flexity vehicles for several new-build projects to Metrolinx, the agency responsible for public transportation in the GTHA (Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area; TTC is mostly independent from Metrolinx). The company recently came to an agreement with Metrolinx, modifying its contract.

With reporting from Canadian Contributing Editor John Thompson.

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