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Wagons for Princes, Coal and Torontonians

page 20:

London — The cars on Toronto’s Subway are full brothers to the cars on London’s famous Underground, cousins to a lot of miscellaneous rolling stock scattered from Uruguay to Rhodesia, and distant relations of one of the snootiest railway cars ever built.

That’s the state salon built for the Maharajah of Indore by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Co., which also built the Toronto subway cars.

The family resemblance is not marked, as this description of the Maharajah’s bedroom indicates: “(It) is furnished with a four-and-a-half-foot-wide divan ions [sic] with three large drawers beneath; a fitted wardrobe, a dressing table almost entirely in glass mirrors and a stool upholstered in pink tapestry.

“Woodwork is in a cream shade of polished sycamore, the carpet is hand-woven in pink, and rose-pink curtains are fitted at the side windows. All mirrors are pink tinted… Twin sliding doors of chromium plate with full-length mirrors give access to the adjoining bathroom.”

Gloucester Wagon has been making rolling stock, from colliery wagons to maharajahs’ coaches, since 1860. It is one of three manufacturers of London Underground cars, which are similar [sic] in size and appearance to those in Toronto.

When the Toronto Transit Commission went seeking bids for rolling stock for the subway, there were pessimists in Britain who predicted that, with costs of transportation to be overcome, any British bid would be high.

Gloucester, however, sent its men to Canada, made its studies, submitted a tender, and waited — until November, 1951, when word came through that it had been successful. It has now built 140 cars for the TTC — 134 of steel construction and six of aluminum.

It naturally plans to be in the thick of the fight for the contract to supply rolling stock to the projected east-west subway.