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TTC unveils mock-up of safer train

Security-enhanced subway cars expected in service by 2009

Changes meant to quell riders’ fears in age of terrorism

Jun. 6, 2006. 01:00 AM
KEVIN MCGRAN
TRANSPORTATION REPORTER

In an age of terrorism, the next- generation subway trains will offer more security to passengers in the form of easier emergency exits, open communication with train operators and on-board cameras, TTC officials say.

There also won’t be space under chairs for “potentially” dangerous items to be tucked in and left behind, said TTC vice-chairman Adam Giambrone.

“Those are things that are going to make our system safe,” he said. “We can never prevent an attack. But we can take steps (to enhance security).”

Giambrone was showcasing the security features as well as the rider-friendly benefits in a mock-up of a new type of subway car the transit system hopes to have in service by 2009.

The event at Davisville station yesterday kicked off the TTC’s Name the Subway Train competition, but was overshadowed by talk of terrorist threats. Over the weekend, police arrested 17 homegrown terror suspects. Police said possible targets included the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre, and pointed out the subway was not a potential target for this group.

Terrorists have hit public transit systems in London, Madrid and Moscow in recent years, something citizens must keep in mind, said Giambrone.

“We’re a big city; I think we have to be realistic that the TTC � while not a specific target � is a possibility, he said.

Some of the security features of the new trains:

  • Full-length open train, making going from the front to the back easier.

  • Built-in ramps at the front and end of the train to make evacuation easier.

  • On-board LCD screens that can transmit emergency messages.

  • Ceiling-mounted security cameras to deter harassment and assaults.

  • Passenger alarm intercom systems, so riders can talk to train crew members.

“Torontonians need to know their system is safe and we’re taking action to ensure it’s safe,” said Giambrone.

The TTC is replacing 234 of its cars in what is expected to be a $755 million purchase from Bombardier. The cars, which will be delivered between 2009 and 2011, will operate on the Yonge-University-Spadina line.

The new cars bring the TTC into the gizmo and gadget age.

Other features include:

  • An electronic map that will show exactly where your train is and what direction it’s going, while highlighting transfer points.

  • Blue lights on the exterior to make it easier to identify the best door for wheelchair and stroller entry.

* Vertical poles and hanging handholds will be outfitted with anti-microbial covers for better hygiene.

  • An electronic display in the centre of the ceiling, indicating which station is next and which side of the train the doors will open on.

  • An automated recording calling out stations, as well as textured floors to assist visually impaired passengers.

The TTC wants riders to name the new train. You can offer your choices at ttc.ca.

The TTC also wants public input on the design, including the colour scheme for the interior. A survey to collect passengers’ thoughts will be available at the mock-up train’s public showings. It will be open to the public between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Davisville station, June 6 to 20; Finch station, June 21 to 23; Kennedy station, June 26 to 30; Kipling station July 10 to 14; and Downsview station July 17 to 21.

“What we’re hoping people will do is walk through the car, take a look at the new features and, hopefully, tell us what they want to see in these new cars,” said Giambrone. “There’s a lot of time to modify these cars. We want to know what people like, what they don’t like, everything from the very mundane, like colours, to very important, like how the seating is arranged.

“Since these cars will ultimately be in service for more than 30 years, this is the opportunity people will have to give us their input.”




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